A friend called with a sudden hard drive disaster and I was able to help her recover at least 95% (she's still validating) of her data as we talked on the phone - a neat trick as I have no experience doing this and guessed my way through it.
Wanted to pass on - the software that successfully recovered her data is R-Studio
and can be found here:
We tried straight PC & Windows methods and her Norton utils and some other recovery software without success before trying R-Studio. She even rebooted the machine in the midst of the recovery process and it STILL worked.
You download their demo software and use it to see the drive and preview the files that it finds. Supposedly you can also recover files smaller than 64k with the free demo but she didn't even try that. Paying the $50 gets you the demo registration key, then you can run the full recovery set.
Of course a current data backup would have cost $50 less
so this can serve as a reminder as well as a software recommendation!