** Details have been changed in order to protect friends and customers! **
A few evenings back, I was twiddling away in my home office when the phone rang. It was an old friend; hadn't heard anything from him in awhile. He had a friend who was a professional photographer.
It turns out the friend of a friend had recently completed some customer sessions (with obviously irreplaceable photos) and was editing them on an external enclosure. When he turned to take his laptop computer to another room, he forgot it was attached to the enclosure. The enclosure slid across the table, and quicker than you can say "uncontained disaster", the hard drive hit the floor.
Thereafter, it made funny clicking sounds. If it was a living creature, you could almost imagine blood flowing out of it as it made moans of death!
A couple of days later, we sent the damaged drive to Drivesavers. They have a thriving little business (actually, it's not so little) helping folks recover from these disasters.
Now the bad news: they had no good news, and there is no happy ending to this story. They pulled it apart and discovered that the drive was irreparably damaged, and the irreplaceable photos were gone forever.
The moral of the story: ALWAYS make a backup of your data.