I'm trying to recover data from my sister's hard drive that failed over a year ago. It is a Seagate Barracuda 7200:12 500GIG POS (The POS is not anything to do with the part number, just my opinion). I am using Windows 7 32bit and Ubuntu to perform a resurrection. This hard drive is at least 6 years old and my sister does not know the meaning of "backup" or "store photos of your son from birth to the age of 3 somewhere other than the c drive". So there is the background story and this is what I have done so far...
Since the hard drive would not boot at all, I first tried hard wiring it into a brand-spanking new motherboard with her shiny new hard drive, but it would not be recognised in Windows. It was, however, detected in BIOS. Since I wasn't able to get it up and running there, I decided to bring it home and work on it with my system, which I am familiar with. I tried hard wiring it into my system, but the same thing happened. It was detected in BIOS, but not in Windows.
So I shut down my computer and disconnected my hard drive to see what would happen. It tried to do a system restore, but windows was not playing well with others and gave up with a shrug, or was unable to locate any restore points. Windows tried it's darnedest to do a startup repair, but again walked away after trying for a few seconds. I repeated this process 3 times as suggested on this forum, to no avail. Windows was still not recognising the hard drive.
Next step was making a Live USB of Ubuntu which made me giggle with delight when I booted up into Ubuntu and the hard drive partitions were not only visible but were accessible. For a short time. While transferring files across to a 1TB external hard drive, the computer froze (which I let hang for a good 15 minutes) and I had to do a hard shutdown. I now know this was a big mistake as the hard drive is apparently now classed as "unclean" by Ubuntu after just one tiny incident. When I booted up after the crash, Ubuntu reported the error that it exited with a non-zero exit status and to fix this issue, I had to do a chkdsk /f on Windows then reboot into Windows twice. Seeing as Windows is unable to boot on that hard drive and is not being recognised in Windows when set as the second hard drive, I began to sob quietly into my pillow.
After hours of scouring forums and even posting on Ubuntu forums, trying to do system restore, booting and rebooting in various ways i.e, Bad HDD with Ubuntu, Good HDD and Bad HDD, Bad HDD with Windows startup disk, Good HDD, Bad HDD and Ubuntu. It was still not working.
On the Ubuntu forums it was suggested I get an external enclosure and mount it via USB, eject through Windows and access the data that way. Sounds simple and logical, right? I followed the advice of the delightful fellow/lovely lady and acquired an external enclosure, plugged it all in with lights flashing and excitement building to finally see the hard drive being recognised in Windows. Clapping my hands with glee, I tried to open the first partition in Windows to receive the message "Partition must be formatted before it can be used". I cancelled that and went on to the next. Same message. So I tried to "safely remove hardware" which froze up Explorer and I had to do another hard shutdown.
I have tried booting with the hard drive connected, connecting it via USB after startup, connecting it just prior to shutdown in both windows and Ubuntu, sometimes with the Good HDD, sometimes with just the Bad HDD via USB. Every single time the hard drive is connected, it freezes the computer and I can never get a "clean" shutdown. Even if I connect the hard drive externally, do not open or interact with it and then try to shutdown, it hangs on the shutdown screen and the computer reboots saying there was an error.
I have seen posts about recovery software, but I am unsure if it would work or which one would be best in this situation. I also found information on a "force" unmounting in Ubuntu but I'm unsure of how to write the code, or even how to find out what exact code I need. There is also the option of imaging the hard drive and doing a recovery from there, but again, I am not sure of how to go about this or what program to use.
So, I am stuck on how to make a clone or backup image of the drive without having to convert it to NTFS. I've looked on Google for quite a while trying to find the answer. All that I can find is that the image that is created is RAW, not if I can create the image from a RAW drive. I don't want to plug the drive in and have to do more hard reboots to save more damage to the drive and to my poor computer.
Do you knowledgeable folks know the answer to my conundrum?
I am especially trying to find out if I can use ddrescue to make the backup.