I know there are many restoration-related articles (read through some of them), however my scenario seems to be less generalizeable and the data is critical, so any serious recommendation will be much appreciated:
I've extracted a regular 3.5 Seagate 1Tb SATA HDD from its USB box and plugged it into my desktop (unfortunately, there were reasons to do it, can elaborate on request, but those are not-related to the question). The disk has only data, no software installations.
I've plugged it to power and SATA and put it on the bottom of the tower. Fixed, not moving. The disk was recognized and worked properly for two days.
I've got a message from Win7 that something is wrong with the disk and that I am required to backup the data asap. Unfortunately, by that time I had no other free place on HDD. Everything still worked fine.
I've tried to share the HDD and suddenly got a message that HDD is not accessible. No files, nothing.
Downloaded Ubunty on CD and burned it on the other computer. Could see the entire directory structure along with the red message "disk failure is imminent". Tried to press some "fix" and got no actions, they seemed to do nothing.
Tried to copy at least some of the files to the other disk - it started very fast, but then got too slow so, I've aborted the process by soft shutdown.
Now I have unplugged the hard disk in my hands. I guess the problem (worst case) might be in bad sectors, which might be both in some bootstrap data (kinda FAT but I am not an expert in NTFS terminology) and in files' data.
I know (from my previous experience) that if I continue to read/write a damaged drive - the damage might increase (meaning that with each subsequent read more and more data can be damaged). So, is going to a "big bucks specialist" is my only option or there can be other solution I can try at home? I know, the situation is delicate, and nothing can be promised. I will appreciate your comments/thoughts/advices. Recommending "to see a specialist" is a valid one as well, but do I have other relatively reliable choices?