8-Ball says: "Not looking to good"
Having replaced several hard drives in recent weeks, my first thought is that you are out of luck. This is especially true if you have already hit the drive with one or more of the "recovery" programs you mentioned and they did work. Sometimes they work and or other times they will make the disk entirely unrecoverable (if it ever even was recoverable).
There are some failures that even the VERY EXPENSIVE data recovery centers can not recover. I had one person that had their PhD thesis on a hard rive that failed. She sent it to a California based recovery service. Their estimated cost, prior to seeing the drive, was $1,700. After they received it and did the preliminary test, they returned it as totally non-recoverable. At least they didn't charge her very much for the inspection. The only thing I could do was install a replacement (empty) drive and start over.
Have you taken a look at the BIOS (PC systems) to see if the disk is even recognized as being present? You would have to boot up and then hit the key specified by the manufacturer (Delete, Escape, Tab, one of the "F"unction keys or perhaps some combination) prior to the Windows program starting. Apple will usually show the presence of a disk if you check the Systems Profile utility when booted from a CD or different hard drive than the failed one.
If the disk does not even appear in Bios or Profile, you are probably dead in the water! The lack of any recognition will make it virtually impossible for the recovery software to even find the disk.
If Bios or Profile does show the disk, at least some of the communications to and from the system's data bus are working. You MIGHT be able to find some data. Disk recovery, usually the first try is the only good effort, might work. If it starts its processing but then fails, you may have just lost most everything.
If the Master Boot Record (the very first file the hard drive will try to read) is just corrupted, you might be able to rebuild it using a disk editor. This is not for the faint of heart or inexperienced user since you will be working with hexadecimal notation and one wrong move can really screw things up. The MBR tells the disk software where to begin looking for the next file called for. If the disk has a hardware failure somewhere in its read or write electronics, you are pretty much dead. A small example of what a MBR looks like is copied from Wikipedia and shown below.
Absolute sector 0 (cylinder 0, head 0, sector 1)
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
0000 EB 48 90 D0 BC 00 7C FB 50 07 50 1F FC BE 1B 7C .H....|.P.P....|
0010 BF 1B 06 50 57 B9 E5 01 F3 A4 CB BE BE 07 B1 04 ...PW...........
0020 38 2C 7C 09 75 15 83 C6 10 E2 F5 CD 18 8B 14 8B 8,|.u...........
0030 EE 83 C6 10 49 74 16 38 2C 74 F6 BE 10 07 03 02 ....It.8,t......
0040 80 00 00 80 DF 0A 93 01 00 08 FA EA 50 7C 00 00 ............P|..
0050 31 C0 8E D8 8E D0 BC 00 20 FB A0 40 7C 3C FF 74 1....... ..@|<.t
The next set of files looked for are the partition tables. Again, if these are corrupt or missing, the hard drive will not be able to find your file.
Once the MBR has been read correctly, the drive starts looking for the track and sector (portion of the called track) that contains the next bits of data called for. If the "Roadmap" showing where the next file is located is missing or wrong, a disk editor might be able to write the correct data IF YOU KNOW WHERE THE NEXT TRACK AND SECTOR IS. This is usually impossible if there are many tracks. At the end of the data for the first track is information to get to the next track. With one file, say a .DOC file for example, spanning many many tracks and sectors, this may or may not be possible. If there has been writing activity on any of the tracks you need, you have lost pretty much everything since the needed information to locate the next track you need no longer exists.
Sorry to give you such a "Doom & Gloom" scenario but that is pretty much the way it is.
My favorite saying comes to mind. "There are two types of computer users. Those who know what the term 'Backup' means and do and those, who at some point it time, wish they did!" I am afraid that you are probably in the second group.
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