I know you said you fixed the issue, but I just had something very similar to that happen recently with my wife's Dell Laptop. I'll tell you what fixed the issue for me:
Here I am thinking I am a computer expert, so when my wife had a problem with her four-month-old XPS M1330 freezing on her, I nonchalantly said I'd fix it. After a few hours of making no progress, even after starting in safe mode and disabling all but the basic startup options, I found myself calling the free customer service line that I bought for four years (wound up saving me).
I talked to the guy for about an hour and a half, and the computer got slower and worse progressively even after all the options he could recommend for me. I was surprised, but he said since I seemed to know a good bit about computers, it would be okay and not void my warranty if I take the drive out and hook it up to my desktop and format and then reinstall Windows.
I was slightly surprised when I hooked up the 200GB HDD to my system and saw four partitions. One was Dell Media Center, about 3GB, one was Data Backup, about 9GB, one was the OS, about 187GB, and there was this other mysterious one that was something like 175MB, that it kept telling me I did not have the authority to touch.
Instead of potentially ruining things, I decided to format each individual partition, except the one I could not access. When I went to reinstall Windows, I was getting very similar messages to what you posted.
After another call to customer service and about 4 more disk checks, they resolved to dispatch someone to replace my hard drive. As it turns out (this was news to me and yet another reason I love building my desktops), Dell has a "factory image" on the hard drives of their systems, and I had somehow corrupted it.
But props to Dell service at home (glad I bought it for 4 years)! I called at 9am one morning, and the guy was at my house at 2pm the next afternoon with the replacement hard drive they overnighted to him, and he was done and out of my house in 45 minutes. Granted it took about 2 hours to finish installing, but at least he didn't stick around for that. I should try and apply for a job like that from Dell......probably better than the Geek Squad.
So I'm not sure if your goal was strictly to restore the files on the drive or get the drive working again. I just thought I'd share that information. Did you wind up just installing Linux?