Spent over 48 hours trying to recover a drive to a machine which lost
power during startup, causing the head to hit platters and corrupting
sectors vital to bootup. Ouch.
Then we lost power during recovery.
However, all user-data was recovered in the end, backups are now in place, and things appear to be stabilizing. I just wish there was enough cash to throw at the problem to fix it properly. New drives + UPS would be necessary it seems. And we don't like that.
As for my home systems, 1 drive is failing ( sector reassigning failed ) and going back to the store next week. Fortunately it's 1 disk of a raid mirror, so it should be fine to recover.
The other set of raid5 is currently being shrunk (filesystem) in preparation of using mdadm to transform my raid5 to a raid1, in order to remove some drives from the chassi. Takes time, but should be lossless. Only reason for doing this is really to move hardware around, No faults so far.
Good news, USB stick and GNU ddrescue is the winner. dd_rescue is to be avoided. Bad news, ntfs-3g handles _badly_ with disk images, and consumes a _ton_ of cpu. Do not even attempt to use it.
gparted will do some interesting things when resizing partitions, for example, read only moves of data. Will take 12+ hours to operate. Make sure you don't lose power.