Some background first (a little long):
A while ago, my desktop got stuck at the "logging off" screen (prior to shutdown, the machine was sluggish and I suspected some process making trouble). I waited for it to finish up overnight, but it failed to do so. Seeing no other way out, I chose to force a shutdown using the power button. When booting, I encountered a disk read error and after a few tries i managed to run the recovery console and preform some sort of repair using the built in software, though I am unsure on what it actually did. I booted into safe mode and saw that an AVG-file (avgidseh.sys) was having trouble, so I followed troubleshooting instructions and uninstalled the software.
Unfortunately, after another reboot I encountered another disk read error.
From this point I chose to use an AVG rescue CD and see if I can find anything using the utilities in it. To my surprise, the utilities (Midnight Commander) could neither find nor mount my boot disk. This is clearly related to the problem.
All HDDs in my device are mechanical and my boot drive is less than a year old.
Is there any way for me to re-discover and/or re-mount the missing boot drive without resorting to formatting or similar methods that would require re-installation of the OS (and software)?
And, on a related note: does anyone have an explanation as to why this happened? It would be nice to know for future reference.