I'm going to try to remember and summarize the important steps that I've taken. Someone else may benefit from what I've learned.
First of all - I started off with a partly damaged disk that wouldn't load Windows. And we found out through the process that indeed it was truly damaged. The owner (my friend) had never made any recovery media, but the recovery partition was intact. I bought a new hard drive (larger size) and have now restored all the original software, and am working on the final Windows Updates to get it back up to speed (if nothing else, all those updates are enough to make me super glad I'm using almost only Mac myself! I have BootCamp Windows 7 from which I worked anything that couldn't be done on the original computer).
I used TestDisk to copy the User folder for all the owners personal files (moved it over to my good hard drive). I also created an image.dd file of the two small partitions on the drive that are used for Recovery - when they can be booted into.
Then I did all kinds of attempts to see if the disk could be repaired, which all failed... Bought a new hard drive!
Then I set up the geometry and partitions on the new drive exactly like the original drive had been set up - even to the naming of the partitions. I formatted the partition that would be the main Windows system as NTFS.
I used Mount Image
(free trial) to read the image.dd files and copy them to a partition of an external hard drive I was using (I think a large thumb drive would have worked for this too) - and made that partition as close to the size it would be copied to as possible.
Then I used a bootable CD with freeware DiskCopy from EaseUS
to copy the Windows RE(store) and HDDRecovery partitions onto the prepared partitions on the new drive.
I used TestDisk to write a new MBR (and partition table) making the HDDRecovery partition the bootable partition.
And it worked! The Toshiba Recovery program loaded and set me up with a good set of Windows (and all the other original software and drivers).
BUT, at that point, the part of the drive that was larger than the original drive was not recognized (I suppose I could have just made yet another partition).
So I made recovery media (DVD/USB) - which is what obviously my friend should have done months ago.... Then I messed enough with the current setup so it wouldn't boot into any of it, and used the external recovery media to make a completely fresh full installation of all original software. This time, the whole new drive is easily accessible as the main drive.
And all I'm busy doing is just getting Windows Updates, and setting up software and copying her documents and photos back into place...
I hope that helps someone!