It looks very much as though its all over, R.I.P.
I coupled the drive as slave on another machine to check it out.
It all looked fine, could see the directory/file structure, blah, blah . .
Ran chkdsk /r from a Dos Prompt and it appeared to do a lot of fixing, i.e. deleting corrupt attributes, correcting errors in index, recovering orphaned files. By the time it was finished everything seemed OK, as far as chkdsk was concerned.
Put it back in original machine, ran the HDD long test
Showed 54 errors at 7% test, and 64 errors at 62% and concluded with 'failed'
Decided to see what happens if I tried to boot machine as before, when I could at least get to WinXP splash screen, and now at first post screen it identifies the primary master accurately for what it is, Maxtor . . but then it halts with "Primary master hard disk fail", so it is worse than it was before I ever started (not that it was much use then anyway)
A quick shift back as slave as previous on other machine, and now even BIOS fails to recognise its existence.
Terminal case I'd say??
EDIT: co-incidentally, the ubuntu cd now loads. Its a funny old world.
Edited by analyst, 22 November 2010 - 06:31 AM.