Robert_Charlton - 9:59 am on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)
I've just been restoring a system with a corrupted drive, but I have 3 external cloned backups (which include the OS and applications) that I rotate, with one always in a bank vault. In addition, I have an extra drive in the machine simply for incremental data backups in native format. I've gone to the most recent clone for a new drive, which is current running on an outboard sSATA cable.
My experience is that chkdsk does not necessarily show up flaws that the Western Digital diagnostic utility shows clearly.
Actually, Acronis, which I use for clones, is a very sensitive barometer to problems on the source drive. I'm now looking for a gentle defragging utility.
For data recovery, a problem I didn't have to deal with but thought I might, I'm going to mention Spinrite, which has been mentioned a number of times favorably here. As I read critiques of it, though, I'm less sure it should be used on a failing drive, as it's apparently really rough on the drive heads, doing many passes on a bad sector to see if it can extract a statistically meaningful indication of possible data. It may be that this is acceptable if the drive is failing anyway, but I read a lot of skeptical reviews about the use of Spinrite on modern drives.
It's apparently also years old at this point, and is reported to be very slow. At the same time, I know members (and mods) here who have had very favorable results with it. For an old 60GB drive, it may be ideal.