A friend lost a hard drive about a year ago - alot of viruses, and it was old. The worst problem was that it had all of their photos on it. That is the WORST.
Over the last year I've been working on trying to recover the photos. Physically there is something wrong with the HDD - it won't even spin up. Every once and a while it does, though, so I kept trying.
This week I had it connected in a system, and I heard it spin up. Problem is, it has a Master Boot Record on it, and XP wouldn't let me look on the HDD to pull pictures and MP3's off of it. The system could see it there, but File Manager wouldn't let me on it.
So... Photo_rec.exe to the rescue! I was able to see the HDD with this utility (I've mentioned it before), and let it search through the HDD. It recovered more than 22,000 JPEG images! Hundreds of videos and MP3 files, too! Hurrah!
Many of the images were from internet caches... but a python script took care of most of them. Now they have 12,000 images to look through - many of them are 6-7 years old.
This is a nice project to be done with!