A first step...
It is advisable to use Clonezilla or the command dd to make a cloned copy of the HDD, or that Vista partition, on another HDD as a prelude to any attempt to recover the lost partitions. Working on the copy allows you more than one attempt on the problem without loosing the contents of the original. Obviously, you should not now be writing anything to the disk, or that portion of the disk that you wish to recover, assuming it appears to the system as formated.
Several live-cds have recovery tools. Testdisk has been recommended on this forum and there have been several good posts. Use the forums search function and google for howtos.
I merely refer all of this information, as I have never had the pleasure of solving such a problem on my own behalf. I usually endeavour to avoid such difficulties by using a live-cd of Parted Magic to partition and check partitions, as it has both GParted with its GUI and fdisk and cfdisk if I need them.
Good luck, and your post reads as if your chances are good.