Yet again, I am impressed by the real-time response, drs!
I'm restoring from GHOST image now. I'm cautiously optimistic that the image has the MBR; it claims it will overwrite the entire disk and put back three partitions - one was ntfs, one was the Dell untility partition,and another (sorry - forgot to note).
On a separate happy note, I have now successfully created two fully functional Ubuntu 10.10 USB sticks. I gave one to my daughter to use while I struggle with a Vundo variant virus that was the original cause of the problems with her computer that led me to try to put Ubuntu on a stick. She actually likes having a complete computer in her pocket! She can surf, do her homework, print, etc. If we could get iTunes to work she probably would be ready to abandon Windoze forever ...
So, if I need to restore the MBR via Ubuntu, that will be easy via the stick.
I've been working with Sophos tech support on this pesky virus. They did not have a signature for it - it puts copies of itself into the system as dlls of the form mlmnlm.dll, hhggty.dll, etc. They do various mischief such as redirection, suppress malwarebytes, etc. I sent them a sample and they have produced a sig that will supposedly remove it. Before they got back to me, I was determined to remove the infection manually, and via the Ubuntu stick I deleted all instances of the .dlls I could find. But, I cut too deep and removed part of Windoze's brain, and now it is pretty sick. (But at least free from virus! ). So, I'm restoring from the GHOST backup, which is infected, but now that Sophos can remove the virus, I think I see a path to victory.
Restore is running, will take about 2 hours. Please stand by ...