I have an external hard drive that is starting to fail; it has some bad sectors. It's a 1 TB Fujitsu Siemens case with a Western Digital hard drive inside.

Eventually I will backup the whole drive with some backup/imaging software, but I don't have the free space to do that. At the moment I want to copy some video files, but I'm not able to because the drive hangs while copying a certain file, and disconnects. If I try to resume (using TeraCopy, great tool by the way) it hangs again and disconnects...

I don't seem to easily find a tool to copy that one file (and maybe others later), preferably freeware of course.

Another problem:

I have run chkdsk /r on that drive, and about 4 hours in it was at 1% (phase 1,2 and 3 were done in a few minutes, but phase 4 took hours to get from 0). At the moment I don't have access to a PC that can run long enough to get the job done in one sitting.

Is there a better tool out there so I could cut this job in pieces (or faster, but that seems unlikely)?


Roadkil's Unstoppable Copier recovers files from disks with physical damage and allows you to copy files from disks with problems such as bad sectors, scratches or that just give errors when reading data. The program will attempt to recover every readable piece of a file and put the pieces together. Using this method, most types of files can be made useable even if some parts of the file were not recoverable in the end.

Unstoppable Copier is freeware.

If that doesn't help, try fixing the drive with HDD Regenerator and salvage your files.

HDD Regenerator is shareware (US$39.95, money-back guarantee) and is try before you buy.

PS: I have pretty good experiences with this program, but of course success depends on the severity of the damage.

  • 3
    Thx, unstoppable copier did the job as expected. It stopped for a moment where teracopy also had problems, but didnt cause the drive to disconnect/unmount and then just went on copying the rest.
    – Emile 81
    Jan 3 '10 at 20:27
  • as i said, you can try to revive bad sectors with HDD regenerator, it's doing a very good job.
    – Molly7244
    Jan 3 '10 at 20:29
  • That particular file was being downloaded by a torrent client, it uses hashing to verify the download and for now i will re-download the damaged parts of that file. But thx for the clarification, I didnt understand it would actually try to recover bad-sector data.
    – Emile 81
    Jan 3 '10 at 20:35
  • HDD Regenerator does actually not recover data, it will attempt to repair the disk surface so the sector can be read again.
    – Molly7244
    Jan 3 '10 at 20:42
  • 1
    Yea, this answer is 7 years old.... Just saved my bacon! I was trying to copy over 4tb of data, a lot of it is corrupt... this tool by roadkil is amazing, appreciate the help! Mar 4 '17 at 17:35

If you can handle Linux, ddrescue will do a block by block copy, recovering bad sectors, (like the dd command) to another hard drive. I have used it successfully in the past to recover the contents of a hard drive Windows wouldn't mount.

It is included on the Linux System Rescue CD so you don't need to install Linux on a hard drive.

  • 1
    Keep in mind that on Debian (and Ubuntu), GNU ddrescue is in the package gddrescue. The older dd_rescue is in the package ddrescue. So, grab the gddrescue package to run the new, better, ddrescue command.
    – Bob
    Feb 24 '13 at 7:06

I wrote a simple PowerShell script here which allows better fine-tuning than Roadkil's Unstoppable Copier. Precision is up to the cluster size.

Currently I am trying to access the RAW disk/file with it, so that I am less limited and have more recovery options.

  • Cool, can certainly be useful in certain cases
    – Emile 81
    Jun 10 '13 at 19:25

I've been given two drives from two separate machines that had bad sectors, and had to research this topic quite extensively. Some notes that may be useful:

  1. Roadkil was great for raw data copy. Unfortunately, I could only get it to work on Windows 8, not Windows 10. But hey, it's free!
  2. On Windows 10, Zinstall's Computer Rescue Kit worked fine. It also does migration, so you basically do recovery and redeployment in one shot. However, unlike Roadkil, it's not free (not even cheap, though worth the hassle in my view).
  3. On Windows 10, CHKDSK has been significantly dumbed down. The GUI CHKDSK practically does nothing. Have to do "CHKDSK /f /r /x" to get results.
  4. CHKDSK may kill a drive that's barely breathing - do it last!

You can try FileSaver. It will copy file in blocks. Even in case that some data cannot be read (after multiple retries) it will continue copy operation (with that data omitted of-course).

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