Oh yes hard-drive crashes are very very common. I had my playstation hard-drive got crashed and believe it or not local ony tech support people couldnt get it fixed too. How pathetic... But we just googled how to fix a crashed hard drive of PS3, bought one from the market and fixed it ourselves.
I had aother extrenal storage drive that too got crashed when I moved between countries. But hard luck no data could be got back. YOu cannot have back ups of backups and back ups. There has to be an end to backup and may there is some storage that doesnt crash :-)
I have had no luck backing up my phone's contacts to iCloud. Only a few contacts seem to get there. I read somewhere that it has something to do with groups and it may be something to do with the fact that our two phones were on the same Apple ID at one time. So instead, each phone syncs to a gmail account.
I had a hard drive fail in a smokey way. The +5V red wire (well, it used to be red before the insulation melted off) indicated it was the HD that shorted; the resulting lack of power supply regulation caused the +12V to rise and took out the CD drive as well.
Maybe I am the exception. I have yet to have my hard drive crash. But I have lost two motherboards to unexplained premature failure (one deskside, one laptop), and another motherboard that was easily repairable. All the disk drives were fine. I have more working disks than computers to put them into.
I did have a drive that started returning errors and timeouts until it warmed up, but that's a separate issue. It never crashed or failed. That was from the stone age of PC disk drives and not the most mature technology, and I think maybe the separate controller card (back when they had those) was actually at fault.
I've been told that you can harvest incredibly powerful permanent magnets from dead hard drives ... as in, if you stick the magnet on your fridge, you might not get it off again. I've got to try that ... if I ever get a dead drive to take apart.
Andy_I you are certainly an exception. The last desktop I bought had its hard drive (Western Digital) die after 15 months. The boot sector failed. I reformatted the drive and reinstalled Windows and it failed again a week later. I replaced it with a Seagate and that's been running for 8 years. No data was lost as we ere able to get animage fo the drive and copy it to the new drive.
Just look at the review section on Newegg; I've had several memory sticks fail.
At least one plus for rotating rust: often, there's often a warning that the drive is starting to fail (e.g. increasing number of bad sectors) and you can often get something off it. With flash, it seems to be much more all or nothing.