I am working on a client's PC in order to try and rescue data. I'm getting the "Invalid System Disk..." message on bootup, with no CDs or Floppys present. BIOS correctly recognizes the hard drive and partition utilities correctly recognize the single partition on the drive. The system is bootable with a 98 startup disk and a dir of the C drive lists only 2 folders and 0 files, including "Windows," which has zero contents. I scanned for viruses using McAfee viruscan in a BART PE environment and it came up clean. ScanDisk shows 600,000+ Lost Clusters, which I assume is the bulk of the 11GB which partition utilities (Partition Magic) shows as being used (30GB drive).
I tried running a program called Hard Disk Mechanic, with no results (and I also used this program's Restore utility afterwards to reverse any changes). The drive is not making any strange noises, BUT, the Western Digital drive tester program shows an error 0356, indicating a need to replace the drive. However, I am not convinced that this means the drive is totally gone at the moment (data still retrievable?)
I am thinking that maybe a virus or something else may have messed up the FAT, although ScanDisk doesn't list a problem with the FAT, only the lost clusters.
Please help! I need to save this client's data.