I was trying to help my friend out by fixing his computer /never, ever again
Anyway to get the data off his machine before reinstalling everything I booted up with knoppix live cd (a linux distro that boots from cd, v. useful if you dont screw things up)
and then mounted an external usb drive in linux so that I could copy his files off. I then told him to copy everything over and forgot to tell him to dismount it after.
The state of play now is that it when added (to a vista/xp machine) it recognises a usb mass storage device but doesnt appear in 'my computer' - no drive letter. (also I tried remounting in linux but I get the error 'NTFS is either inconsistent, or you have hardware faults......')
So I tried going into disk management in administrative tools, and tried to 'initialise' and selected MBR. It gives an error message that I will add to this post when I get home.
Any ideas? I think the partition table is corrupted but the data is still fine /crosses fingers