This page exists because disk drives fail. If you suspect something is wrong with your disk drive, the first step should be to confirm or deny your suspicions with Gsmartcontrol. If the SMART statistics imply the drive is failing, do NOT try to “fix” the drive with chkdsk(Windows) or fsck(linux) or ntfsfix(linux). The first step in data recovery, assuming the disk is showing signs of failure, is to make a “sector by sector” copy of the disk with something like ntfsclone(linux) or ddrescue(linux). Attempts to fix the “file structures” of a disk drive that is failing, can lead to more “lost data”.
Data and/or disk recovery can be a challenge. The Testdisk program identified in a later paragraph is a tool that requires patience. The name “Testdisk” does not come close to indicating what the program can do. Opinion…. Maybe “DiskWizard” would be more appropriate. There are non-destructive options for learning how it may or may not help with your problem. Testdisk definitely requires you to RTFM (Read The Fine Manual) and then investigate/try the options to determine if it may lead you down the path of recovering data. It is the only free software we have found that offers data recovery features. The source is available here: https://git.cgsecurity.org/cgit/testdisk/ Reading the source code might add to your knowledge about disks and file systems. The author of Testdisk put the source under an Open Source license. After scanning the source a bit, it is evident a lot of effort has been invested and the results warrant some form of compensation, should you choose to use the software. If you find the program provides some benefit to you, consider providing compensation to the author.
Careful… This is not a trivial tool. Reading the documentation and experimentation will be necessary. Here is another reference to the documentation.
Then goto: https://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk
This item was added after attempts to recover data from a disk that had lots of reallocation failures on an NTFS partition. GetDataBack was able to discover and/or use the “mirror/secondary” MFT and show me the data on the disk. Wow!! It did “take a while”, for this program to deal with or tolerate the non trivial number of bad sectors in the MFT, but the end result was IMPRESSIVE. Today's opinion…. If you do not have backups, this tool might be helpful
GetDataBack is “not free” as is the typical recommendation in this wiki. However, I tried it. It has a good UI and it found/dealt with bad MFT corruption, that included bad disk sectors. You do not need to buy a license until after you try it. If it works and shows you the data (Graphical File Explorer User Interface) then you can opt to purchase a license. You need to buy a license to copy the data it finds to another place. At this point in time, it is a tool that I will try/use again, the next time I am faced with an bad hard drive.
Using internet search for “GetDataBack vs EASUS data recovery” may lead to this page: More disk/data recovery tools
Here is a list of alternatives. These alternatives may be “out of date or not current”.
GetDataBack NTFS by Runtime Software
Supposedly can unformat partition; free trial (view-only)
Recuva by Piriform
Unerase files; dunno about unformat. Same guy as ccleaner.
iCare Data Recovery Software v4.5.2 and iCare Format Recovery by iCare
iCare Data Recovery Free by iCare
EasyRecovery Professional by Kroll Ontrack
Free trial lets you see the files that can be recovered
EaseUS Data Recovery by EaseUS
NTFS Data Recovery 188.8.131.52 by DiskInternals
(I think they promote it with a bogus “review” site, http://recovery-review.com, but maybe it's legit)
Recover My Files 184.108.40.2067 by GetData
Data Recovery Pro by ParetoLogic
Recover Data for NTFS by Recover Data
iRecover by DIY Data Recovery
$40 - $90
Power Data Recovery by MiniTools
free or $49 or $119
P.S – found another list right here on MajorGeeks: