Just today I fielded a question on my computer help forum from a person who had data (operative word “HAD”) on an external hard drive. The drive no longer works and the company wants him to send it in for replacement.
His question was “how do I recover the data on my external hard drive?” Good question. If the drive is good but the enclosure bad (perhaps a bad power supply) you can get a Vantec USB adapter and recover the data – possibly voiding the external hard drive warranty when you take out the hard drive.
See the data recovery with Vantec adapter video.
The answer is redundant hard drives.
I have profiled some very nice network storage devices for home use where you can have a RAID1 (mirrored hard drives) NAS where your data is safe when one hard drive fails. The other drive keeps you running, the NAS sends you an email alert, you replace the failed drive. No data lost. No down time.
Doesn’t that sound like a better idea?