Hard Drive has failed - recovery of data?

My custom-built WinXP Desktop's boot drive is a WD Raptor SATA. My PC began having lock-up issues and strange behavior. One day after noticing it frozen on WinXP screensaver, I powered down hard. Upon restart, the system would hang on the WinXP logo screen and eventually auto restart. I tried Safe Mode and it would stop on dontgo.sys. After several attempts at figuring out the cause... I eventually determined it is a failing/bad HDD.

I have both a external HDD enclosure and a set of cables/adapters to hookup internal drives thru USB. Using both of these, I was able to access the drive via my laptop only ONCE after freezing the drive overnight for about 1.5hrs before it stopped being recognized. I was able to obtain about 60 to 70% of my Docs, financials, .etc. Now, when attempting to access the drive, Disk Mgmt does see the drive (two partitions) as healthy and active, but when attempting to 'Open' or 'Explore' either partiion, I get the message "You need to format the disk in drive G: before you can use it." Once, before receiving this message, I did receive the message on one of the two partitions as "Data error cyclic redundancy Check". But, this error no longer appears. Only the format error. I have attempted multiple freezes and attempts to access the drive to no avail now.

Yes, I know ... backups. My backup drive faild about 7 months ago and hasn't been replaced. My backups on DVD in safe deposit box are 2yrs old. I failed to get a new backup drive in time. Now I may pay the price.

I have many experiences with attempting to retrieve data off of failing hard drives for clients. Howevever, whenever I've gotten to this point, I was out of options unless my client chose to send off the drive to a professional data recovery company and spend a pretty piece of $$.

Does anyone have any suggestions?
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More about hard drive failed recovery data
  1. Do you think the partition table needs to be repaired? Honestly, I don't know what kind of advice we can offer a professional like.
  2. I've not that familiar with repaired partitions. Is this a scenario in which that might help?

    If you were referring to 'me' as a professional, not sure where you got that idea. I am not a professional, just someone who enjoys this kind of stuff. Ran into a dead end on my own equipment and now looking for advice from the community of like-minded folks.

    Thanks for any suggestions folks may have.
  3. It was the part where you said, "I have many experiences with attempting to retrieve data off of failing hard drives for clients."

    This is the one that I used a couple of days ago, to repair my drive. It wasn't as bad as yours, but when I tried to access it, it said that "this drive has not been properly formatted." Plus, the partitions weren't in My Computer.
  4. Best answer
    I guess it's not clear whether the problem is in the Partition Table or in some corruption of data in one or both Partitions. tosh9i's suggestion on how to fix the Partition table is a good place to start. If you do that and still can't access some of the data, try Getdataback NTFS. You have to buy it, but they may have a free trial version that will go as far as showing you what it found and can recover, without actually doing the recovery for you. Then you know whether it is worth buying. There are other data recovery software packages that do a similar job, with free trial version offers that operate similarly.
  5. Actually GetDataBackup worked. Thanks for all the suggestions.
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