The FREE Emergency Boot CD = EBCD has among it MANY included programs, an "Un-erase" [actually an undelete] program [on menu 2] that is effective and simple to use.
It scans a chosen partition/drive for deleted files, lists all of them, and rates the likelihood of them being recoverable.
Provided none of the links in the file "chain" have been overwritten since being deleted, they will be marked as "good" and fully recoverable.
You just choose them for recovery.
"Dip your toe in the water" by first recovering a single file.
It also includes the "DiskEdit" program [menu 2] that can look directly at the partition/drive contents, but this is not nearly so easy to use.
The "File Manager" [menu 1] allows you to browse the partition/drive folder/file contents, before and after recovery to see if the files are there.
It has left & right panes to display 2 partitions/drives, and you can use it to copy the files from [a folder on] one partition/drive to the other.
Also includes "MS Scandisk" [menu 2] so you can scan/fix the file systems on all the partitions/drives.
Also includes "Drive Fitness Test" [menu 1] so you can scan the physical HDD to see whether all's well.
Also includes "Win98/ME Registry Tool" [menu 1] to scan & fix the registry [you might find that useful]