*Update* R-Studio lessens pain of %$&[email protected]* Media Hard Drive Failure

My 500GB WD My Book just failed.
And of course, it was the drive I was using to consolidate my Media before burning it off on DVD, which I have been lazy about for the past few months.
I had the USB connection on it die a few times while streaming some shows to my PS3 and I didn't think anything of it. Then today I wanted to put together a couple new driving cds when it disconnected again. Load the diagnostic and the SMART bad sector count failed. Friggin' great. Now it disconnects every few minutes and has started giving me CRC errors. YAY! I'm gonna let the drive cool down a little and then try to pass some more stuff over to my new 500GB drive, but I really really would rather be playing Disgaea 3 right now. In fact... screw this...
Definitely going to include some RAID setup in my next build. Grrrrr!

UPDATE
So after sitting on the broken drive for a week and doing the math on how much time/effort would be needed to recover my stuff I crossed my fingers and purchased a license for R-Studio. After a few disappointing runs and some scary moments of the drive failing to load ANYTHING I found the magic combination of cooling, angle, and R-Studio settings and managed to recover 280 Gigabytes of my stuff including 100% of my music library. Hoo-Freaking-ray! Thanks for the recommendations!

Not sure if you're willing to shell out for it, but I've had some success with R-Studio in the past.

Ripped it out of the case and connected direct via SATA. Found and downloaded this Unstoppable Copier. 2.5 gigabytes recovered of my music library and counting.
The OS file copy process in Windows is almost criminally inept. With this little program I can pause the process when the drive locks up. Reset the drive, and then continue trying to copy. Keeping my fingers crossed!
Dinner then Disgaea.

EDIT: I was recommending SpinRite, which is great for in-place data "recovery", but if you're recovering data from one drive to another, R-Studio makes more sense.

*Legion* wrote:

EDIT: I was recommending SpinRite, which is great for in-place data "recovery", but if you're recovering data from one drive to another, R-Studio makes more sense.

Yeah, I checked out the R-Studio page.
So far I'm getting pretty lucky and have got 12.705 gigs of the single-source data recovered.
Once I've exhausted the free options I'll reconsider whether my data is worth the $40 Fat32 license (or if I want to go ahead and shell out for the more comprehensive $80 program). As for SpinRite, I get mixed feelings when I read about that program. Half of the people seem to think it's the most amazing thing EVAR and the other half believe it's a basic tool with lots of holistic mumbo jumbo. "Refreshing" the surface indeed!

Not quite sure what to believe.

EDIT 14.164 Gigs. It seems I get bigger chunks if I let it sit for about an hour between attempts.

Rezzy wrote:

As for SpinRite, I get mixed feelings when I read about that program. Half of the people seem to think it's the most amazing thing EVAR and the other half believe it's a basic tool with lots of holistic mumbo jumbo. "Refreshing" the surface indeed!

SpinRite has (or, at least, had) some definite overstated marketing-speak going on, but that doesn't diminish the product itself.

It's quite telling that all of the "SpinRite sucks" posts I've ever seen all attack the marketing speak, yet virtually none offer a suggestion of another product that really does the same thing. (I'd be interested to find one)

The SpinRite tech notes, you'll note, have no reference to "refreshing" anything. Funny how Jon Navas seemed to stay far away from these.

If I ignored every graphics card that promised me a photorealistic 3D "VR" uber-experience, I wouldn't be able to play PC games. Getting riled up over marketing is kind of dumb, I think.

SpinRite is not magic, but it most certainly is a fantastic tool for single-disk recovery.

I'll agree that SpinRite isn't perfect (no program of that type can ever be) but it works well. It's saved several drives of mine and my customers. Digital Lifeline is going to buy a site license for it when we have the budget. I highly recommend it. There are quite a few people out there who try to tear apart everything Steve Gibson does for some reason and like Legion said, many of them like to go after stuff like SpinRite with no real proof of how it apparently doesn't work. He's also said on SecurityNOW! that if you buy it and it doesn't work, he will refund you no questions asked. So it's definitely worth a shot.