well i finally was able to load the live cd into memory so i could burn the partition magic iso. this did the desired function as it quickly erased the windows partitions so i could install the live cd. since i dont use windows it was fine.
Glad to see it worked out OK.
For those with a similar problem but feel they can't yet live without windows, and stumble across this thread, I will suggest some precautions and try to better outline a procedure for dealing with this.
Most computers that come with windows preinstalled have a program that allows you to create recovery disks, this is the first thing you should do when you buy the machine.
And of course you should always ensure you have a working backup of any important data, but especially if you are making any changes to your partitions.
ooooooohhhhhh icky. yep the attempt to create the extended partition and subsequent install resulted in a slight setback. the win 7 install and recovery are unbootable and the install of pclos resulted in an error from diskdrake.
At this point the partitioning has changed and I should have requested the new output of fdisk -l
is likely to be the best chance of recovery, there are detailed tutorials in the link so I won't go into detail of its use here, but it allows you to see file lists of data on the partitions it finds, allows you to save data from those partitions, and to exit the program without writing changes to disk, so if used sensibly is safe to use.
It has a menu entry for it on the PartedMagic live CD http://partedmagic.com/doku.php?id=downloads
If all goes well you would then have your original partitioning back, and a working windows.
If so you would boot Parted magic and run Test Disk again following this tutorial http://mypkb.wordpress.com/2007/03/28/how-to-non-destructively-convert-dynamic-disks-to-basic-disks/
Now you should be able to delete one of those partitions and create an extended primary for your Linux partitions.
And finally, install Linux.