Recuva’s very good I believe, though I’ve not used it personally I’ve had it highly recommended. There’s other options too, Linux boot disks and so forth. But in honesty, you might need to accept that any ‘recovery’ program might not be 100% and take what you can get.
Backups usually would an option, but they were all new files from a friend and I managed to delete them before they got anywhere near a drive that is backed up. On the plus side, that does mean the drive hasn’t been touched since the delete so should be fairly recoverable.
Will any Linux boot disk do? I’ve a Ubuntu knocking round, what software would do the job?