At the risk of pointing out what SHOULD be obvious at this point (but may not be) any data worth "recovering"
is FAR better "protected" by keeping multiple copies on OTHER hard drives.
It's not so much a matter of "if" a hard drive fails as it is "when", it will, trust me, they ALL will fail...
a new BARE drive is FAR cheaper than the cheapest recovery.
My big thing is audio files and frankly I have atleast FOUR copies of EVERYTHING
and two of those copies are on "inactive" drives that are physically removed from my computer
And that doesn't count optical backups
And it isn't so much the data that's important because I have the parent source CD's that it all came from...
what I'm considering is the time spent extracting, compressing and tagging those 20,000 files.
It's the meta data and the time spent creating it.
It's nothing I can't replace, but it represents in aggregate somewhere in the neighborhood of three
months of my life... Compared to that another (or two or three) $70 HDD's is dirt cheap.
There is NO data except my e-mail archives and browser favorites on my boot drive, but even that is backed up DAILY (every morning after I download my overnight e-mail) to a flash drive (actually three 2gb stick drives that are colored red, yellow and Blue used in rotation)
My OS drive is backed up any time I change anything, and my boot setup is run on TWO 80Gb
Seagate Drives in Raid1, but I still keep a seperate backup...
My Backup is on a WD drive that in the year I've had it from NEW has been run less than three
hours in aggregate WHEN (not "if") one of the seagates fails I'll immediately clone my OS to
another formatted but otherwise "virgin" WD-80Gb drive and switch to a pair of WD's in Raid1
"data" is data but if your OS drive crashes without a backup you get to spend an hour (minimum)
on the phone with Microsoft getting it "verified"...
What is your time worth?
However much time you spend protecting your data it'll be far cheaper than "Recovery" or "Reconstruction".
You have (hopefully) learned a valuble lesson that it is important to protect your data....
So even if you don't recover it, you will probably take exhaustive steps to prevent future "disasters"
It's not at all about being paranoid, it's about being paranoid enough....