Hi Derek & guest;
I have been trying a couple of other things in the meantime; here's the "blog" that has got me to the "nothing works now" phase.
- read the available Mandrake docs, did a restore of saved partition table, & lilo -U to uninstall everything (aim was to get back to Win2k "as it was before" then proceeed to install somewhere other than MBR).
This got us back to Win2k booting, apparently OK, but with NO visibility of all the partitions I had created when installing the disk & Win2k (kept just the OS in C:\).
- dug out my old MaxBlast 3 bootable CD & re-read Maxtor site, suspecting it would help me return to the "original" partitiontable.
Found the option to "restore partitiontable" so used it...
This was BAD; as Windows now refuses to boot, gives a stop Error 0x0000007B (Inaccessible Boot Device).
- Start up recovery console; chkdsk claims that there are irrecoverable errors on C:; MAP shows several partitions, including one called C: that is around the right size, but no filesystem type listed against it...
- AS this is turning into a "fight PC + Windows" session, not sure how much sympathy I'll get on this board, so will post an update to my question in the Maxtor help board to see if there any low level disk / partition editors available that can help me recover the maximum from the disk before resorting to the last option of wipe all & start again....