Hard Drive Recovery - NTFS WinXP - Spinrite?

Hello,

I have a hard drive, its about 5 years old.  It was running Windows XP on a laptop until a week ago.  Windows stopped booting, just started in a cycle of rebooting instantly after the Windows logo appeared.

I installed the drive in a different computer and did a scan disk on it, etc and it came up with many un-recoverable errors.  What I need to do is recover some documents the user's folder Documents And Settings -> Username -> My Documents.

Windows will not even attempt to read it, it just asks if I want to format the drive.  I have tried booting from a Linux disk, tried several free recovery programs.  Most of the free programs map out all contents of the drive when looking at the root except "Documents and Settings".  All other folders are listed.  

At this point, it has been recommended that I purchase Spinrite software for the drive.  I was told that if anything could get the data back, that would be the best bet.  

Does anyone agree/disagree with this route?  Have you had any luck with Spinrite, is this the right kind of situation to use it?

Thanks for the help.
compsol1993Asked:
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DRZCMCommented:
Try using a win 98 dos bootdisk.  Try copying the files with DOS.  I find that DOS tries harder to read through disk errors (assuming your FAT is relatively intact).

DR Z
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willcompCommented:
Spinrite is very good, but it may take several days (I'm not kidding) to restore a faulty drive.  Run time is your enemy when trying to recover data files.  I personally prefer GetDataBack and ERD Commander (purchased by M$ and no longer available).

GetDataBack --->   http://www.runtime.org/
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nobusCommented:
another thing to try is hdd regenerator, which claims to repair bad sectors
- but i did not try it- some say it works well, others say only temporary; but that can just be what you need :http://www.dposoft.net/      
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ComplyCommented:
There are a few software companys that can see a NTFS Drive.

They can boot-up on a floppy then recover all the files on the drive.

Some are freeware trials, That will only let you see the drive and files. But will not allow you to recover them. If you like it then pay to get the full version. This way you know at least it can see the drive and files before you buy it.
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compsol1993Author Commented:
GetDataBack worked great.  I used that program before but completely forgot about it.  It did the job very well and had all the data backed up in a matter of two hours.

Thanks for the advice.
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willcompCommented:
You're welcome.  Good end result :)
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