I have a clients DELL 8300. He was installing digital camera drivers, and when asked to reboot, he complied. The system comes up with "operating system not found". The existing hard drive is an ATA serial drive. I have installed an IDE drive and installed the operating system on that drive. My hopes were to boot to the IDE drive, copy the data from the drive that cannot find the operating syste, and then do a system restore.
I can see the ATA drive, but cannot access it. When I try from my computer, it shows the entire drive in blue and cannot recognize the format of the drive.
When I run XP in repair mode, and go to DIR it cannot access, but I did get indication there was data on the drive. Obviously vigilant backups were not my clients strong point.
Dell do not go beyond assisting with a restore that will remove all data.