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Rescue disk's cfdisk reports HDD is corrupt

I've done searches at the list archive and FAQ-O-MATIC for similar
problems, but it would seem I've found a new one.

System Config:
368Mb RAM
10Mb IDE HDD, 512Mb FAT, 3092 NTFS, remainder unpartitioned
Windows NT 4 SP5 (required for RealWork(tm))

Install Debian on the unpartitioned region of the disk and modify
boot.ini to run bootsect.lnx as an option. (Which I have done on several
other machines without any difficulty.)

On running install.bat from DOS (512Mb FAT partition), I cannot get
cfdisk to run successfully.  The error message reports that "THE
PARTITION IS CORRUPT!" and then offers to wipe the partition table for
me and start over - not exactly the best choice option for me.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what might be causing the error?
Has this been seen before and I missed the post?

Or is this a bug report for the maintainer/upstream developer?



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