OK so what basically happened was this. Whilst installing the most recent XBOX Live system update I got kicked out of Live and the machine rebooted to early and when it came back to life my console and my HDD were no longer speaking. The HDD was totally invisible to the 360. Did all the clearinf the cache stuff, booting up with sync held down etc etc nothing.
So I phoned the UK Xbox Customer Support number!!!! That was when the hell began!!!!
I'm not sure where in the world the Call Center is but all the staff appear to be Belgian girls called Monique or Natalie which is very very cool if you're having a gap year and hitting on them in a bar in Amsterdam over a few Kronenbourgs but far less attractive if you need then to help you with a problem with your gaming console.
Highlights of my experience include;
The kind lady who when discovering that my 360 and Laptop are connected told me I could format my HDD using format on my Laptop. She even went so far as to suggest I select the c;/ drive on my laptop and hit format!!!! I didn't I hasten too add. Reports that she recently told someone that the 3RROD problem is due to the cooling elves, small faerie like creatures homed within the case of your 360 that blow cooling air on the overheating chips, being "all puffed out" are unconfirmed at this point.
Eventually it transpired that unless your console has gone completely and the staff at Xbox HQ can send your a shipping label they are in fact completely uselsess, rude and very very unhelpful. Especially the girl who didn't know what a HDD was and hung up on me. She'll be wearing her Kronebourg when I next bump into her in Holland. Or better still I know a nice little Hostel in Bratislava where her and all her Microsoft cronies can go holiday.
As for my 360. I bought a new HDD. It works fine although I lost all my saves dating back to 12-15 am 25th Nov 2005.