Vista recognizes F:, too, but has decided it's a "Raw" partition, rather than an NTFS partition, and can't read even a bit of it. Vista's error checking stuff can't even access the drive, and neither can Chkdsk.
After my last podcasts, I put the old drive back into the regular drive bay, and let Spinrite run without interruption. I let it run for about a week. It started having problems at 76.0994 % complete. A week later, it had managed to scan all the way to 76.0997 % complete. You do the math.
Just didn't seem like it was gonna happen, not without leaving the laptop tied up for another month or two. So I put the new drive back in. Maybe someday I can devote some workable hardware to trying to recover the drive. Sure could use the data.
This is not to say that Spinrite couldn't recover the data, just that it'd take way too long. I felt compelled to try a week. I might have gone for a bit longer, but I have too many commitments for the hardware right now, and can't spare the time. I think Spinrite might be quite worthwhile for someone with enough spare equipment to just let it run, but it isn't worthwhile for me.