I had a friend give me her boss' disk for data recovery. The disk is detectable in the BIOS but neither Windows nor Linux are able to see the disk (not even as a physical device, forget partitions). Linux is slightly better in that it can see the disk (but not access it), telling me that sector 0 is bad.
The disk has no partitions (all of them got dropped in the failure). The other thing I've tried is spinrite, which completed 34 mb of a 200 gb disk in 12 hours.