I'm tech support for my family and bothering you all with it. Thanks for having me on the forums!
My uncle mistreated his laptop with crapware and poor file management, to the point where it stopped turning on. SMART analysis gives it a "BAD" bill of health, with a value of "1" for reallocated sectors and a threshold of 5. I'm not sure how that makes sense, but other programs seem to agree.
The drive is 250gb, Toshiba default. small files transfer from it to an external eSata drive at 10 to 15Mbps. Even some large files will transfer at reasonable speeds. However, when I attempt to transfer certain files, they slow to a crawl at as low as 36kbps, which I take to mean "Not actually transfering". As a test, I tried playing some of the videos that caused this lockup. The first section would play fine, but they would suddenly drop to 1 or 2 fps. My rescue system has a 3rd gen i7, so that's not the problem here.
I've tried running Diskcheck, but it seems to hit the same wall, stopping at a particular file and refusing to move for hours. I'm using Defraggler hoping to shuffle things around, but it's just a shot in the dark. Any ideas? I'd appreciate anything at this point, I have to get this stuff off before I reformat the drive.
alot of times i find windows will slow down a drive that is about dead and end up running itself into errors. try loading the drive in a linux environment with a live-cd such as knoppix http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html which works awesome for recovery purposes you may be able to recover the data you are looking to get off the drive. Good luck, there is software out there for dealing with hdd with bad sectors on them and that may be your only other option.
After several hours of file rescue from windows, I can no longer see several directories. They're just disappearing. I'm going to try Knoppix for recovery, but even if it doesn't work, most of the important stuff has been saved. I'll tell you how it goes. The drive might work after a format and DiskCheck repair, anyway, it will never be trusted with valuable data again, hopefully. Thanks for the knoppix.
Data recovery professionals will advise you to clone the drive as quickly as possible without dwelling on bad sectors. A freeware tool for this purpose is ddrescue. Ddrescue is a multipass cloning tool that tries for the easy sectors on the first pass, and the more difficult ones on subsequent passes. It keeps a log, allowing it to resume after an interruption.