I've got a Windows harddisk that had been partitioned into three drives:

  • some proprietary ACER recovery partition
  • C drive, about 90 GB
  • D drive, about 60 GB

It died hard, so now I've been running ddrescue for the past three days like so:

ddrescue --no-split /dev/sdb2 /mnt/elements/AcerC_091122 /mnt/elements/AcerC_091122.log

/dev/sdb2 is on a USB drive. The recovery destination – /mnt/elements – is a physically separate USB drive.

ddrescue took 12 hours to process the first 30 GB in about 12 hours, and then next 60 hours to do another 2.5 GB, with a current errsize of about 20 MB.

I assume that I could, in principle, run a separate processe to begin to recover the D drive, e.g.

ddrescue --no-split /dev/sdb5 /mnt/elements/AcerD_091126 /mnt/elements/AcerD_091126.log 

but since sdb2 and sdb5 are on the same (failing) physical disk, this seems like a bad idea. Is it?


I would say bad idea because it introduces more head movement, back and forth between the partitions, which would make the total time longer. (Unless that magically makes the recovery work better. I once was able to access a bad disk by resting the laptop on its side, so with the lid open ninety degrees, it was like an open book standing up; and without the power plugged in, presumably running it cooler on battery. So anything might help.)

You should also try to recover the partition that has more important data first, not Windows and programs, which you can reinstall; in case the drive goes permanently at some point.

  • Good point on skipping around. I shifted my attention to the D drive portion late last night, and ddrescue promptly recovered 45 gigs in about 15 hours. I'll stick with that and then go back to the rough parts of the C Drive. – Citizentools Sep 26 '11 at 18:49

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