Thanks for the tip, Frank.
Unfortunately, that trick only works for EZ-BIOS installed with EZ.exe from an original EZ-BIOS installation disk (at least as far as I can tell). Those are really hard to come by as I discovered (although I did finally uncover a copy on a private FTP site by Googling for ez.bin). Current versions of MaxBlast and similar DDO utilities integrate the EZ-BIOS installation files. Regardless, the ez /mbr switch didn't work.
There just doesn't seem to be any way of awakening that crippled partition.
Of course, there's a great, rich irony in all of this:
I am the biggest proponent you are ever likely to meet for data safeguarding practices. "Backup your files in triplicate!" I can often be heard preaching to friends, clients, family, complete strangers and anyone else unfortunate enough to come within earshot. Many an hour have I spent in explanation that one's data is one's most valuable resource; that a hard drive or a CPU can be replaced, but the blood sweat and tears of thirty-seven hours hard labour poured into that research paper are gone forever if the only copy goes up in smoke the night before submission.
I tell the same thing to people reinstalling their OS. Burning a CD? Burn TWO for crying out loud! Are seven years' worth of business files not worth the extra five minutes of prep work?
Heck, I tell the same thing to everyone. All the time.
Except to myself. This time.
Hindsight is 20-20 as much as great losses are sobering. None of you can even begin to imagine how hard I'm kicking myself right now. I remember sitting there, studying the drive configuration and consciously collecting all my client's data and moving it (read: retaining only one copy) to this partition. A doomed EZ-BIOS partition that I installed. There is a CD writer on this machine. Did I burn a backup? No, of course not. Did I make redundant copies to the other installed hard-drive or to the attached ZIP drive? Goodness, no. I just sat there and flagrantly violated my own prime directive. The picture of oblivion; inviting trouble over by name. Sure, nobody could have known that the partition would vanish, but that's the point of backing up. You do it because you don't know what's waiting around the corner. I should have seen it coming.
Serves me right.