I've been very perplexed with my recent battle to recover files off of a WD15EARS 1.5TB internal SATA drive until today.

The story began when the drive simply failed to appear in Windows. Disk mgmt suggested that the drive was not initialized, and unfortunately, I initialized it... and so, no partitions appeared and the disk showed up as unallocated space. No SMART errors/warnings, no physical symptoms.

RMF 4.6.8 (1093) was very quickly able to search the drive and display my file structure. I saved the search, tried restoring a few files with success, and made a plan to recover the big files/folders overnight. Unfortunately, after sleeping a few hours, no progress had been made whatsoever.

I've tried multiple power & SATA cables/ports, and even took a stab in the dark & went from a Win7 64-bit to 32-bit to see if there might be an issue there. Surprisingly, my 32-bit system did seem to perform a little better, but it would still stall during recovery on one large file everytime, and sooner or later, on any random small file -- even just a 1MB file.

After trying everything I could think of, I thought to run a fresh search on the 32-bit system, just to be sure that moving the search results & drive to another system didn't cause a problem. About 12 hours into the search, at 124966 of 182395 locations for lost partitions, Windows has recognized that the drive is failing.

I'm not sure what to do at this point. Stop the search? Give up on recovering any slow-to-recover files, load my original search results, and take what I can like a thief in the night? If I could even clone the disk, that would be great... but unfortunately, as the disk shows up as unallocated, that'd not be an option. I don't want to work with utilities like TestDisk, as they'll often write some data (partition info) to the disk... which might allow me to clone the disk via another Windows application, but could also further depreciate the drive.

If you're still reading at this point, pat yourself on the back.

I wish I could say that my job or life depending on the files, but it they don't. It's just a random collection of files, from music to photos, etc., but some of it even goes back to high school with me.