Well, the old HP Pavillion laptop wouldn’t boot last week. Panic time! It kept trying to do a network boot, which failed, and just looped and looped in network boot mode.
No clue about what happened, but I suspect it may be related to hibernating while a windows update was pending a reboot. My very first thought was that the hard drive died, but running SpinRite against it revealed no issues or problems other than reporting that it was an empty drive.
My first step in exploring what that empty drive meant was to boot up Ubuntu from CD and seeing what it thought about the drive. The partition editor reported it empty, so time for some googling on the subject of corrupt partition tables.
Google revealed SystemRescueCD with an indispensable tool on it, TestDisk. Following the Step by Step instructions outlined on the Wiki found the missing partitions and quickly and easily rebuilt the partition table. Ten minutes after booting up the SystemRescueCD it was booting to windows and back in business.
Can’t say enough about these tools, truly indispensable and my hat’s off to the authors!