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I can't help you make the disk boot and work again but if you want to get the data of the disk I sujest you remove the disk place it in a external usb caseing and use either of those live cds to boot some other computer with the usb disk attached. You could probebly even use a windows system or any other system which automatically mounts usb disk. This should give some access to the files on the disk at least the ones that are not corrupted.
It could just be that you might need to delete the corrupted file, ie a confiuration file and recreate it in the same directroy with the correct set up info in it. Some systems might automatically create cirtain files. As you dont have enough access to the disk to be able to tell say what the actuall problem is these are just some things you could look at trying.
I have personally recovered data of drives that did not boot buy pluging them into an exteranl usb hard drive caseing.
Just a doubt: why USB? Why not simply change the boot to the secondary IDE bus? Could I mount the its partitions in such a location if boot the box with a LiveCD? Even more, if I leave the troubled disk as boot one and boot from a LiveCD, could I mount the partitions one the system is up and running?
I've not an available USB box, but it is not big deal to move the disk to the secondary IDE bus.
I've already tried to do that, but I don't know how to mount the partition.