many days, boots and installs later in attempting to avoid wiping
XP and the Dell rescue partition, we gave up, decided that parted had somehow
trespassed on the XP data because it uses MB addresses instead of
cylinders which XP expects, this is roughly how we got it
back (along the way liberally saving mbr's in files on the Linux
partition for rescue-ability using commands like
dd if=/dev/sda of=attempX.mbr bs=512 count=1
Don't ask me to explain all of this.... I suspect the partition table
wasn't in good order for the WinXP world, i.e. parted's use of LBA
conflicted with XP's use of cylinders (CHS), as others have noted.
If i do hear of a better procedure for this , i'll try and ammend this story.