If it's pictures and videos you might have luck with file recovery programs that run in DOS or LINUX, as long as your computer will allow the bios to make it to DVD DRIVE booting. Sometimes bad hard drives will stop the bios from ever moving from the first page while if tries to read the bad drive. Also need to set your DVD as first boot drive.
There are other partition programs designed to recover lost partitions tables and recover bad or missing Master Boot Areas. These are quite tricky and need a bit of reading first. More than likely you will be using something like this. But there is another option, WINHEX is designed to help police in investigating crimes where drive contents have been deleted or purposely damaged even physically but not all drives can be read in the damaged cases. They would require removing the discs or repairing the pick ups first.
Since yours has windows expecting to format it first I suspect it's a partition problem, WINHEX should be able to read it. You would leave the drive disconnected until after windows has started, then start WINHEX and connect the drive as a hotswap drive, refresh WINHEX and if the pickups are working it will show you exactly what's on that disc surface. You can extract portions of the drive that are not damaged you can reconstruct filed by providing the missing characters, you might be able to repair partitions and master boot records to get the drive working again just by using a simple partition program as well. There are many free programs but require some reading to use them without losing all files.
Good luck on this one, it could take a very long time since the drive is so large, many of these programs were made for fixing and reading drives like floppy's and when a big HAD was 500mb or maybe at largest 40gb. It could take days to scan a bad drive in hopes to fix the bad sectors maybe even weeks if it's reading slowly. Last one I tried to recover a bad MASTER BOOT RECORD ended up at showing the remaining time at 900 hours after it ran for 2 hours. Every sector showed up as bad and it went to .05% finished before I quit the test and tossed the 1.5tb drive in the trash. It would format, be prepared for an OS install but it wouldn't go passed the 12% mark on installation. 3 times I formatted it and tried to install OS, windows could see the drive and showed it as OK ready to use but when I did a CHKDSK it would say it couldn't be done. Lost MBR, I couldn't get it to wright to any sectors even after partitioning it into 10 partitons hoping to find the bad areas. But it did format so I was stumped!
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