On the home PC front, things are looking even better. I had reported that my data drive was fine, and that only the OS drive had failed. Of course, it turns out that there’s valuable data on that latter drive as well, including a year’s worth of Outlook email, as a start, before I switched over to Gmail as my primary mail service, as well as software license keys and installers. Commercial drive recovery services, though, start at several hundred dollars for small-capacity drives, and go up to the thousands to recover drives that still are smaller in capacity than mine, so that wasn’t really an option; the data was important, but not worth thousands of dollars.
Last night, though, after trying a couple of freeware data recovery tools that weren’t able to recover any data from my damaged drive, I came across and downloaded a demo version of a commercial tool, Stellar Phoenix, and on the basis of its preliminary scan (the demo will show you everything it thinks it can recover, but won’t actually do any recovery) and the reviews and testimonials I’d read, decided to chance the $100 on the software.
And it looks like that investment paid off, as already I’ve been able to recover the most critical information from the damaged drive. Without it, there are a couple of applications I might have had to repurchase, because I no longer had their license keys or proprietary installers, so I’ll recoup the cost of the software pretty much just on that basis alone.