Already there on the "hours of reading" My premise is the hard drive is good, boot sector data screwed up, and recordings are good. (if recordings screwed up, no sense in proceding). My goal is to copy the data, and then restore a good boot image to the new drive. If this process isn't doable, hopefully someone will let me know to stop hitting my head against a brick wall. So I've tried dd_rescue from free download here: http://www.dvrupgrade.com/dvr/stores/1/lba48.cfm It has an old version of dd_rescue and evenutally caused kernel panic (locked up). So then tried tools from mfslive.org, as they appear more recent and a later version of dd_rescue (along with the start from end of disk option). Had some better luck, but still had same problem. Tried both dd_rescue and backup/restore (full w/recordings). Both crap out within 15 minutes or so (about 50Gig gets transferred with dd_rescue. -r command didn't make a difference, it still crapped out.). Can get backup/restore to work without recordings, but new drive doesn't boot (as I expected). I may be having hardware issues causing the kernel panic so may try another hardware platform. Still might try the spinrite, but not there yet.