when you do a backup please remember that 2 gigabytes of storage can be just 1 usb flash drive, or you could use; 1/2 dvdrom, 3 cdoms, 20 zip disks, 1390 floppys
data retrieval vs data recovery and 
why the words are used to mean different things

take your hard drive to a local computer shop 
that "says" they can do "data retrieval" or "data recovery"

for the "bench fee" ask them to test IF 
the drive its self is likeley to be readable or 
is a good canidate for or raw read retrival

have them plug the drive its self 
into a computer as a secondary drive and 
see if it shows up in the computers bios / startup
AND in LINUX  as a "mountable" drive  
(if apears blank thats BAD!  BUT still do-able )

DO NOT HAVE THEM READ IT UNDER WINDOWS UNLESS 
windows IS CONFIGURED TO NOT WRITE TO THE DRIVE 
windows may assume it should "help" and will try 
to write corrections to the drive when it should not

if it is unreadable due to ;
logical damage = very do-able but expensive due to how long it takes
phisical damage = rarely do-able and psychoticly! expensive 
seek damage (click click ?) = sometimes do-able but expensive ,, 
  

if the drive its self is unreadable 
then you may need to give up sorry, 

if the drive its self is readable then its time for 
the first "data recovery" step data retrieval attempt
this is  simply forcing a  drive to cough up the data
(wikipedia listed types/process out of sequence)

(first type) WHEN windows go's kablooie but your files are "easily" found by using a diferent computer to read it
they are simply copied to a hard drive or cd / dvd roms
this takes as long as a full scandisk at a cost per hour
or
(third type) "logical damage" to the file system
this is like the directory structure (tree) is damaged or if the hard drive has been formatted by accident
the files are there but windows cannot "easily" find them ,,
so worst case is , the drive is read raw, byte by byte and the files are "found" and made visible ,,,
takes 3 - 10 times as long as a FULL scandisk at cost per hour

(second type ) "hard disk failure" "physical damage" like this is the next step up in "data recovery" (think space shuttle recovered drive )

although i have done the first type of Hardware repair pcb hot swap i will not do platter damaged "data recovery"
due to the extreem equipment needed and the high percentage of data NOT recovered

this is done as a large unit cost (per BYTE!) and $500 minimum to start ,,
for this next level you go to places like totalrecall Ontrack or drivesavers


sometimes the eye sheds a tear to find its focus
C:\backup\>cd.._