My 250gb drive crashed last night. Specifically, it started to say "you must format this drive before you use it" every time I plugged it into my laptop. OK, this kind of sucks. My backup plan has been to backup all my data onto this drive, and then delete it from the laptop for space.
Frantically, not to mention cheaply, I looked for SHAREWARE DRIVE REPAIR.
I downloaded SoftAmbulance Partition Doctor, and ran it on the drive. The program scans your drive and does a pretty good job of recovering data from unrecoverable HDs. The shareware version tells you what it finds; you have to pay for the full version.
SoftAmbulance Partition Doctor took a few hours, but it seems to have found thousands of my files. I've recovered lots of what I need from it, and it was a LOT cheaper than sending the drive away for recovery.
Verdict: This program actually did what it said it would, and the $140 was worth it. And the best part about it is the ultra-sexy About dialog!