With scanning and repair tools.
More to come, but these cover most needs. …
EaseUS® Data Recovery Wizard
Free Undelete (OfficeRecovery)
Handy Recovery (30 day trial)
PhotoRec, Digital Picture and File Recovery
EXTRACT FROM DAMAGED OPTICAL DRIVES
Roadkil’s Undelete and Unstoppable Copier (useful for damaged data CD/DVDs)
Exact Audio Copy (rip or re-make a scratched Audio-CD)
INFO, SCAN, FIX and Salvage
SpinRite – (The best there is, but no free version)
HDD Regenerator (commercial product, but will fix 1 block at a time for free)
HDDScan – free HDD diagnostic utility
RS Software Lab, Disk Checker
MHDD by Dmitry Postrigan (low-level diagnostics and repair)
Miscellaneous Disk tools at HDD Guru.
Ultimate Boot CD (many tools in one bootable ISO)
Many excellent tools from MiniTool (even for Macintosh)
Many tools from Active@/NTFS.com
Victoria HDD Utility
Acronis Drive Monitor
Hard Drive Monitor
Defraggler (inc. SMART tab)
—-> HDD FAQ <—-
Fix Corrupt Files
All Media Fixer
Free Tools lists
The drive got very slow to boot Windows over the days/weeks and now the drive/partition cannot be read or says is unformatted
Sounds like it was struggling to read blocks, but was not retiring them.
Usually these are blocks near the begining of the drive.
It really needs a Low level format to start with fresh blocks again.
I assume you are now booting from another drive.
As long as Windows can see the device rather than the contents, a SMART tool will report the current condition (and show history if available).
HD Guardian is the best, but can be heavy on CPU, and uses .NET4.
It is very complete and can enable all disabled SMART modes.
There are also links to some manufacturer tools there.
You have several choices.
First it may be worth booting the “Ultimate Boot CD” and running Partition Magic.
This boots to a mini Linux distro with disk fixing and preparation tools.
Sometimes its file-manager can still read the partition and let you in. If it takes ages to list, then it is hitting the bad blocks in the file allocation table.
However you may be able to copy the files you wish to save before repartitioning and full formatting the drive.
Alternatively, boot Ultimate Boot CD and run the drive manufacturer DOS tool, See if you can enable the offline data collection and test modes.
Do a quick SMART test. (2-3 mins max) This checks for errors and should be able to list them.
A long test will take about an hour or more, but will try to move the data from the bad blocks.
The 2 tools that would do the best “fix in place” job are both commercial.
SpinRite and HDD Regenerator (you can use HDD Regen to display all the errors and delays on the drive. If you only have 1 bad block, the free demo is all you need !).
MHDD is free and can display and fix blocks, but is a bit confusing unless you are used to DOS programs.
Disk Fresh is free and only runs in Windows, but does not show much feedback, and you can’t see where the bad blocks are.
If you use Disk Fresh, use the RAW device mode if you can.
Chances are, if you check with HDD Regenerator or MHDD you will see a cluster of bad blocks near the beginning. If they are dotted all over the drive, you must do a complete wipe and format. If you just get a cluster, you can just fix those blocks.
If they are right at the beginning of the drive, you also have the option to leave a space before the partition and ignore that area.