|What do you mean you installed another Vista?|
If you actually ran a new install on the drive how did you respond when prompted as to the partition/drive to install to?
You might need to take it to a shop where they can test the hardware and examine the partition for data. You are correct in part, Vista does not have the same repair functions we use for XP. You refer to not having the correct disk. What is the disk you have been trying, is it a Vista DVD or a factory recovery disk?
I have seen customers that thought they could install windows to the drive again when trying to get to the data (docs) and wiped out the drive to the point the data was not retrievable under typical data recovery procedures.