The recovery partition that everything was supposedly copied to is, by design, not accessible except during recovery, so that viruses and stupid users can't fuck it up (according to a web search on 'how do I get my files back from the stupid recovery partition'). I suspect that I actually just had it copy everything to the same partition that it then formatted, though, and not to the recovery partition at all. I really wasn't expecting it to format anything.
So, yeah. Blank system. Well, okay, I reinstalled Steam and SWTOR's launcher this morning and told them to download some stuff while I'm at work. And told Amazon to get to re-downloading the mp3s I got from there. Most of the rest are still on my laptop so I'll need to copy them back. Most of my personal files are there too, or on a thumb drive I use for informal backups, or on Skydrive because I was editing them from both.
I think the only actual data I lost was the latest chapter of Space Captain Pinkie Pie which I'd barely started writing anyway. And all my IE favorites.
But ugh, it's going to take forever to get the computer back in shape.