Literally leaning on this problem was the answer. A client brought me an unusual laptop. They said that they had problems with it but that they had found a workaround. In order for this hp laptop to work – turn on then place both palms on the machine either side of the trackpad. Watch the disk activity light and stay in this position until the machine boots. However what they didn’t say was how they did any work with both hands tied up this way.
My solution to get the machine booted and get data restored was slightly different. Place two 2KG weights either side of the trackpad and use and external mouse and usb key to cover the required data off the machine.
Probably the closest that I will get to exercise today. But hey it worked.