Even though I have fallen victim to some disk failures it seems I had always been quite fortunate with regards to what I was able to recover straight away - some corrupted files but that was it mostly.
Today, I had the brilliant idea to put some quite important data on my external disk to free up some space on my notebook since my desktop failed to boot - and of course it died on me...
First, MINT 13 complained about not being able to mount the disk when I wanted to copy the data back onto my notebook, telling me to run chkdsk - which in a state of panic I did. chkdsk failed to recover the MFT and now I am dealing with the mess that is left of my filesystem. I tried Get Data Back for NTFS and using the standard options only was able to view one folder in the final step (default settings).
Now I am reading up on what I can do and ended up with TestDisk - my initial attempt to recover the MFT failed (mft & mft mirror bad). For diagnostics, I am now running a deep search on my partitions. Before that I had a brief look at "rebuild boot sector", but aborted since it took me more than half an hour to reach 1% (it's a 1TB usb3 disk).
The current status is that in the trial version of get data back it doesn't show any data anymore, I have not written anything to the disk and can't mount whatsoever.
This is my output so far for the partition analysis:
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Disk /dev/sdc - 1000 GB / 931 GiB - CHS 121602 255 63 Analyse cylinder 90477/121601: 74% HPFS - NTFS 0 32 33 121601 25 24 1953519616 [Externe Platte] check_FAT: can't read FAT boot sector Invalid FAT boot sector 0 D FAT32 198266 29 1 464356 47 22 4274737006 FAT32 198266 29 1 464356 47 22 4274737006 Invalid FAT boot sector 0 D FAT16 <32M 98160 150 44 330021 231 59 3724852084 FAT16 <32M 98160 150 44 330021 231 59 3724852084
Thanks a lot already for every reply, this is killing me right now - usually I would never store any crucial data on just one disk, but since my desktop was giving me a hard time and I needed to get work done, I just hoped for the best...