Tried out the spinrite hard disk data recovery pkg. It's produced by GRC.com. of Steve Gibson fame. I was attempting reclaim data on a failed notebook drive, for another client. Ordinarily, I'd simply try using knoppix, but I figured I'd play with spinrite.
For whatever reason, the BIOS would not recognize the drive.
Apparently, there was a problem with boot sector of the disk. Nonetheless, I figured that spinrite was worthy adversary. However, it wasn't able to either diagnose a problem or recognize the disk either. In all fairness maybe sp6.0 isn't invincible.