Well I see the infamous name of plodder has been mentioned in the last three posts so I had better reply.

I think I have got a little lost regarding what you what to do. I see you have quoted the instructions from post #92, which was the first version of the grand plan. However, that envisaged deleting sda3 (linux swap) and sda6 (linux root) leaving sda5 (Windows) inside the extended partition sda2. Grub is not removed by this process so attempts to get the compaq diagnostics facility to recreate Windows will be stymied by grub resident on sda2, as you correctly pointed out. There was a plan to convert sda5 to a primary partition via testdisk, which may have solved the problem, but that is a little complicated.

Your new plan, I think, is for you to retain Windows and add on Suse by:

1) Taking a backup of the whole disk,

2) Deleting all partitions apart from sda1,

3) Invoking the Compaq diagnostics and seeing if that recreates Windows and

4) Adding on Suse 11.2 (you could wait a few more days and try 11.3 note).

I don't think you are bound by any agreement to make this a test case. If you are happy with just Suse then follow the suggestions of the other posters. My views on the viability of recovering data from borked (after Suse installation) Windows partitions have changed a little and I think the newbies will have to live with the consequences of what they do. I merely suggest to the powers that be that it might be better to offer newbies a VM download of Suse, that can run directly under either Virtualbox or VM Player in Windows, in addition to the DVD. But this is another matter that could be discussed elsewhere.

Whatever you do, 1) in this post is an INSURANCE POLICY so, if you don't like the results of what I and other posters have suggested, you can always return to the rather depressing situation that currently exists before trying something else. Otherwise you have lost Windows for good, unless you can grab a full CD from somewhere.

A) Ignore this if you have backed up your disk. OK have you done the backup as in 1)? I note your 500GB drive appears to be formatted as NTFS so it can hold a really large file of 120GB which is your entire disk. Do you have enough free space? If you are in PartedMagic, the File Manager should show you. The File Manager can mount the 500GB drive automatically if you click on the entry for that 500GB NTFS partition. Have you done that? What free space does it show? Can you navigate to a suitable directory on the 500GB drive in which to store the 120GB image? The command for backup, whilst in that directory, is then:

dd if=/dev/sda bs=10M of=sony-all.raw

Will take about 3 hours I think.

B) Deleting all the partitions apart from sda1. You can use cfdisk and various other low level utilities but I am thinking you could use the GUI GParted partition in PartedMagic. If you want to use cfdisk (I think I gave the instructions for that) then you are correct when you come to the "Write' command - you do have to type in "yes" and press Enter. Otherwise the partition table is not updated on the disk and you are back to square one.

Let us know how you get on. Sorry I did not reply sooner I had the impression you were taking a different course.