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Today I had a hard drive crash.. Not fun.
Turned out that most of the files were still readable, the problem was that the handful among the 100,000 files that were not readable were causing major troubles.. Causing windows to hang when trying to access them, and causing all attempts to backup/image the drive to fail.
These days, looking for "free" software is an utter nightmare. As most of you know from experience, most "free" software nowadays is basically non-functional trial software whose main job is to trick you and then make you buy the full version after you install a bunch of adware.
Imagine my surprise at finding an amazing piece of real freeware: Unstoppable Copier.
This wonderful savior of a program let me very quickly back a copy of all of the files on the hard drive, SKIPPING over the bad, unreadable ones, and giving me a nice list of the ones it couldn't copy.
It has some functions to try to repeatedly read corrupt files, but I have to admit that my hard drive was not having any of that. No matter, the fact that I was able to quickly copy all of the readable files was enough to save me and let me just restore the bad ones from a separate backup.
This is a keeper.
It's donationware, and truly fully functional and free. I made a donation.