A friend of mine lost access to his laptop disk. Here’s the tool that saved his day, restoring the partitions table: TestDisk. It’s an open source simple command line utility available on a bunch of OS, and included on LiveCDs distros like GParted LiveCD, Knoppix and Ubuntu-Rescue-Remix.
TestDisk assured access to the partitions, but on this case Windows didn’t bootstrap. Here’s what really saved the day: this was a Windows Server 2008 installation, so no repair is directly available. He had to execute the repair shell from the Windows 2008 DVD: