Help - recover formatted drive with bad sectors keeps hanging!

Folks, here is the situation. My brother's external hd crashed when he came back from college. Figuring that he didn't really need the files anymore, he reformatted the drive. A week later he learns that he is in danger of failing a class because the professor doesn't seem to have any record of his work -- which were saved to the external drive.
I ran two programs so far, the free versions of Easus Data Recovery Wizard, and Recover My Files. So far it has found several .docs and .pdfs, but none that were specific to this class. They even found .docs from 2 years ago!
The problem however is that both programs hang/stall/run extremely slow after the first few hours. I leave the programs running overnight for 8 hours, and it barely even reaches 25%. According to RecoverMyFiles the first time it ran there were 271 unreadable blocks (733,064 of 950,000,000!!); the second time it read a little bit more (735,033) but now with 1027 unreadable blocks. After 8 hours!
I adjusted the settings of both to search for .docs and .pdfs only to speed things up, but they still hang around the same point. With Easus, I clicked "ignore bad sectors"; RecoverMyFiles has no such option.
This is simply taking too long and all 4 times that I ran the programs, they hang around the same area of the progress bar and find the same files. I did notice that when I aimed a fan and air conditioner at the drive to keep it cool (the second runtimes of each program) the progress improved ever so slightly.

What do you guys suggest?
The external is a Buffalo 500GB; I'm not sure if its FAT or NTFS but Easus finds files in both, and RecoverMyFiles search results are in NTFS.
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More about help recover formatted drive sectors hanging
  1. The bad sectors are not sounding good at all. I think you will need to use the manufacturers tools to repair the drive first, and then use the RecoverMyFiles to find the old data. I use

    to use the manufacturer's utilities. I hope you can find the necessary files and rescue your brother's marks!
  2. Try an application called GetDataBack. It works well, it is not free, but you can run the
    demo and buy it if you feel it did a good job.

    However, with failed drives, it is quite hard to get a quick recovery going. If this is about failing college, it might be worth while paying a professional like Drive Savers. They have services under $1000 bucks.
  3. Thanks for the responses. I did read about GetDataBack, so i may try that next. I'm not sure what it means to repair the drive with manufacturer's tools? Will this affect its current state in a possibly negative way?

    Since posting this morning, I have let RecoverMyFiles continue running. It is now almost 14 hours, and has jumped to now scanning 4 million blocks of 970 million, with 3,483 unreadable blocks. The progress is still slow, but at least it is moving! But is this time/speed normal?? The help file said a normal scan should only take a few hours at most!

    No new files have been found in NTFS; however I may be looking in the wrong place. In addition to the files found, there is a Lost File Results folder with a file named LostFile_Docx_6261592.Docx. I can't see a preview, but the property values list 15 files, 15 number items, and filesize of 15476.
    I saw this same file in Easeus but didn't think to check it.
    Could this be what i am looking for? What exactly is this one document file that claims to have 15 files within? How can I access it? Will paying for the software Ropen this and release the 15 files within?
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