So, I have (had) two hard disk drives on my pc, one external WD Elements and one internal WD Caviar, along with 2 other unrelated SSD's.
Some time a few days ago I noticed that my pc had started to lag and the task manager showed 100% performance on the internal HD. Trying to open folders that were on the HD proved difficult as it was taking too long so I tried to restart the pc. It got stuck at the restarting screen for some time until I got impatient and pressed the power button to force the pc to shut down. During the boot up and before loading windows it sent me to what I assume was an automatic chkdsk process, on which the ETA appeared to be around 300 hours. I forced the pc to shut down again but each time I turned it on it would get stuck at the loading screen before loading windows. Once I disconnected the drive the pc returned back to normal.
I tried reconnecting the drive back again a couple of times but while the drive would not appear in Drive Manager or Disk Manager, it would still cause problems if it was connected while the pc booted up. After a day or two I tried again, putting the drive on a different port on the same power cable. While it took longer than normal to boot, windows loaded and I could see the drive and its contents although it would still take too long to load some folders.
Thinking I should take advantage of the opportunity, I tried copy & pasting the most important stuff off the internal drive on to my WD Elements (the external one). The process was slow (double digits kb/s kind of slow) but it was chugging along, until the copying stopped, showing a 0 kb/s. Now it was my external drive that had stopped responding so I tried to quit the copying process and restart it but that wasn't responding either. Ending the process was basically impossible, task manager showed a not responding status but I couldn't figure a way to actually stop it.
During this, the external drive made a few sad beeping sounds which I assume was the Beep of Death or something, so I forced the pc to shut down. Once again, before windows loads the same scan and repair thing comes up, this time for my external drive instead. Again, the process appears to be around 330 hours so I just restart without the drive plugged in. This time the drive appears in Disk Management as "Unknown – Not Initialized". Trying to initialize it gives an "the request failed due to a fatal device hardware error" message, while still making the sad little noise.
Now, I assume that at least the external drive is beyond salvation but is there a way to get my stuff from it before recycling it? Is there a hope that I can still use the internal drive for storage if I format it? And more importantly, is there any danger in trying to copy stuff I can access from it?