Oh yeah, I'm 100% sure it's a hardware problem lol the HDD took a dive from a 5 foot desk while running onto tile, it's shot. Replugging would be easy to do but I've found the best option is to wait it out, as getting the drive spinning and functional again can take up to an hour. Canceling a transfer in progress just greys out and doesn't move, so I try 19 times to kill the task in task manager until something will react. At that point it's usually a 50/50 shot whether explorer itself will crash or not, which renders my desktop, the task-bar, and any icons invisible and unavailable but the system still running. I've lost a few settings, like my rocket dock for some reason, but I'm planning on a reformat sometime soon anyway so I don't really mind.
I've found at this point when explorer crashes I can create a new task under task manager and run cmd and just type a few things and bring it back to life. Weird I know, but just fooling around I found a little trick to jog it back into life. It's still super annoying and wish I could just isolate my OS from the drive's problems. I'm wondering if a virtual machine would do this...
At this point I'm doing the 5 pictures at a time process, and playing a game while they transfer. Sometimes it will take 10 minutes, others it will hang, and sometimes it will complete in an hour. With this many pictures it's tedious as all hell, but every picture saved is a moment he will be ecstatic to have back; as far as he's concerned they're gone forever. So far I've recovered 1300 pictures and growing with many many to go. I'm disappointed the shrink and clone trick didn't work.
I also tried to turn off the recycle bin and delete a lot of the files I wouldn't be working with like the program files folders and windows folders. Permissions are a problem since it hangs if I try to adjust them, but I got a lot cleared off. I'm not sure if it's counter-productive or not. My theory is if I try to run another diskcheck that the process will run faster if there are less problem files to deal with, and the drive may become a little more reactive if I can get the system files off. Although I've gotten a lot off of there, I've abandoned that quest for now as it is lengthy and I'd rather focus on transfering some pictures while I can still access them.
Thanks for sticking with me on this one Linky. +Rep