Brand new Acer 4520 Laptop...
120GB HDD, pre-partitioned as 50/50/10, with 50 being Vista Root, 50 being Data, and 10 being Recovery.
I shrunk the Vista root to 40GB then the 10 was broken up into ~9GB for / and ~1GB for swap from within the Mint installation dialog. The 50 for data was formatted to ext3.
Anyway, the output from my terminal in recovery mode states that /dev/sda5 (/) does not exist.
I have then ls /dev and found that there is only /dev/hda, which is the cdrom drive. ls /dev/s* returns only one result, and it is not a drive at all.
cat /proc/diskstats shows only ram disks, all with 0 bytes, plus hda which is also 0 because of the lack of a disk within the drive bay.
I'm not a new user, be as techie as you wish.