No, no data. Well, there was some, but it's long one. Mostly saved games for the kids. We'll just reinstall everything. My daughter will be disappointed about losing her hours of "alice" development, but that will be a good experiential lesson for her in the importance backing things up.
Sadly, the partition on the C: drive is hosed, the Recovery Console doesn't see it.
I think it's time to run the recovery CDs again, using the destructive option to reformat and reinstall everything. Then, if it won't boot, I'll repeat the sequence we've run through here.
The C drive is way bigger than the 136G max that the basic BIOS handles, could that be adding to the confusion? When I formatted the drive, I used the disk manager in sp3, which seemed to handle it just fine. It won't be a problem if I end up with a smaller hard partition (100G?), it will just make the job of eventually installing a dual-boot with Linux that much easier.
If none of this works, then I suppose I"ll bite the bullet and take the box for some paid support. I've got a guy here who's really good, I just like to avoid the expense if I can.
Speaking of which, I plan to make a donation to the site here, in appreciation of everything you've already done. This is a *great* resource, and I'm happy to support it financially.