Testdisk found one partition with files and folders in it. But as I describe below, after testdisk restored that partition table, only a few of the drive's original files were accessible.
The drive was never put into another system running Windows again to assure none of its data would be overwritten. I booted the system from a USB flash drive running Linux Mint and ran:
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Create > [Drive Selection] > Intel > Analyse > Quick Search > Continue > Deeper Search
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Results HPFS - NTFS 0 1 1 60800 254 63 976768002 [Max500GB] NTFS, blocksize=4096, 500 GB / 465 GiB FAT32 LBA 0 32 33 60801 80 15 976771072 FAT32, blocksize=32768, 500 GB / 465 GiB HPFS - NTFS 38244 193 30 60801 47 46 362369024 NTFS found using backup sector, blocksize=4096, 185 GB / 172 GiB
I went back to testdisk's list of partitions and used the right/left arrows to set writing that HPFS - NTFS partition as a primary bootable partition, and had it written in the next screen.
The system BIOS then recognized the drive as bootable, and handed off the boot process to Windows. But Windows couldn't find the operating system, and failed to boot.
So I booted the system into Linux again, and browsed the file system on the target drive. It turned out that the only root folder that contained any further folders and files was the top most folder I had seen in testdisk's 'deeper search' results. All of the rest of the folders in the root of the drive were empty.
But 2 data recovery programs run from a bootable BartPE disk managed to find most all of the data. And using one of them, I've managed to copy all of that data over to a new drive.
So I'm wondering at this point if testdisk still might be able to find the files and folders that the recovery software found, and repair the drive so that it might still be able to boot the installed Windows 7 OS?
Kind thanks for any feedback on this.