Why I tell people I can help with their problems and the end up in this kind of situation is something I don't understand!
Asus Pundit, book sized PC, significant water damage, no post, no boot.
Connect new PSU, boots intermitently to 'Disk Read Error'.
Replace Bios battery, slightly more reliable boot to above.
Remove HDD, place in caddy and try on other machine via USB. HDD activity light goes to red for disk activity and stays there. Disk not seen on other machine. Try to reboot, the presence of the HDD prevents PC from booting.
Return to damaged machine, replaced HDD Booted with win XP disk, got disk read error.
Then booted with Seagate utilities disk (It is a seagate Barracuda 160 GB HDD) Drive is recognised and identified for capacity and type. Start diagnostics but disk fails read test and diagnostics abandon test.
Then booted to DOS with a disk from bootdisk.com. CHKDSK will not run, in fact DOS cannot see the disk at all.
The HDD is making 'normal' noises, it is powering up and reading/writing. ie whirrrr....crackle crackle!
I am now checking out MB and IDE connections with a clean windows install on the damaged machine, which, as we speak is about 23 mins away from completion.
Thanks for getting this far, I know the HDD needs to go in the bin and probably the rest of the system too but is there anything else I can do without sending the HDD off to a proffessional data recovery specialist to get this fellas photos back?