The authors then explain:
If your files don't show up on the secondary computer, then you are at one of those pivotal moments in life when you find out how much your hard work and treasured memories are really worth to you. Depending on how your drive is damaged, an attempt to salvage your data can cost anywhere from a hundred dollars to several thousand. What's more, the process can take days—and there is no guarantee that the money and time you invest will produce any results whatsoever.Read the whole thing.
There are two ways that drives crash: Logical failure and mechanical failure. In a logical failure, the drive's components are physically undamaged, but because of either accidental formatting or a corrupt file system, the drive is not able to find and navigate its own data. However, unless it has been overwritten, that data still exists on your drive.
A mechanical failure means that your drive has broken parts that are preventing it from working—busted drives often make a telltale clicking sound as they futilely attempt to access their files. If you hear that, your data may still be there, but you're not getting it back without calling in the experts (see "Worst-Case Scenario," next page). And those experts make good money. . . . But if you are just dealing with a logical failure, you can get your files back on your own for far less.
We recently attempted a data recovery from the crashed drive of a Popular Mechanics colleague whose 120 GB MacBook drive had spontaneously given up the ghost. We removed the drive from her laptop, then used our USB drive adapter to hook it up to a desktop computer for diagnosis. We didn't hear any sounds that indicated a truly dead drive, so our first step was to download the free demo diagnostic tool at Prosoft Engineering to check what might be salvageable. Many companies offer demos that will scan your drive and give you a pretty good idea of what's recoverable before you lay down money to buy their software.