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Recovering data from external hd

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I have a 500G WD external hard-drive with over 400G of archived files (it was a backup drive). The drive has a single NTSF-formatted partition. The disk is ~83% full.

My venerable Gateway pc (circa 2003) used its Soundblaster card to provide its built-in 1394 (Firewire) interface. As nearly as I can tell, the firewire interface died during the middle of a backup (sadly, unattended). It seems to have scribbled over the volume bitmap on its way down, badly enough that chkdsk hangs in phase2 while trying to repair it. The first symptom was a long list of delayed write errors to the drive. I tried to repair the volume by running chkdsk on it from another pc, with no luck.

I've replaced the soundcard and added a separate 1394 card that seems to work fine. I can read and write other drives just fine now, and the system seems stable again.

Sadly, I can't seem to get the trashed drive put back together. The disk seems to spin up just fine, I can get as far as reading the top-level directory on it from WindowsExplorer. Nothing beneath it will read, however. I think the files are probably still on the disk, I think the hardware is working fine (though perhaps with a bad cluster or two).

Does anybody know of a utility I can run that will read the files on the disk and reconstruct enough of the headers to get at least some of these archives off the volume? I've got years of stuff on there that I'd *really* like to save if it's at all possible.

I'm a reasonably seasoned developer, so I don't need a click-and-run tool, I just don't know where to start. Any suggestions?
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