ddrescue is running PAINFULLY slow

I have a physically damaged drive that I need to clone as best as possible. The problem I'm having is that I am having extremely slow speeds when cloning the bad internal drive to my external hard drive, the fastest being 161KB/s and the slowest being anywhere from 200-500 B/s. I started the cloning process by using this run command:

sudo ddrescue -r 3 /dev/sda image log

I'm cloning the 350GB bad drive (sda) to the good 500GB external drive's specified partition (sdb1). I know that the -r 3 makes it read the errors over 3 times before going to the next block (right?).

It's been running this slow for the past 3 days, and I'm only at 10970MB rescued and 322MB errsize. So I decided to interrupt ddrescue, and I typed in this to restart it and possibly have it run faster:

sudo ddrescue --no-split /dev/sda image log

I got this recommendation to get the good data off the disk as quickly as possible. Speeds are the same--still not going over 161KB/s w/ an average of 8000 B/s. I even rebooted the computer and resumed with that command--no change.

I am very new to this and have never used tools like this before. Is there something I'm doing wrong? Is there something I can do to speed it up so it won't take 2 months or longer to recover? Is it perhaps a damaged head(s) from the reader on the bad drive? Any help would be GREATLY appreciated. Also, please let me know if I need to post more info (and possibly how to get access to that--again, VERY new to this). Thanks.

Hi. GNU ddrescue has a

Hi.

GNU ddrescue has a really good algorithm for dealing with bad blocks, so I tend to never use the --no-split option - I don't think it will save you any time.

It probably is the source drive that's the issue and you may have to deal with it by being patient. You can try to change the way you connect these drives to your computer. Can you connect the drive using a different interface? You can also try tweaking the command you run. I find that sometimes the -d or -D options (or a combination of both -dD) can make a difference. Sometimes, the drive reads at a very nice rate but keeps cutting out and that interrupts the recovery - I often try to use Direct mode which slows things down and usually eliminates that problem of the drive power cycling.

Good luck.