Can you tell if the drive spins up? Putting an ear to it is the most likely way. Even if it doesn’t, there is still a chance of recovery. I managed to recover the data from a failing Green drive, which only appeared off-and-on in BIOS. Mostly, Windows would not finish booting with this drive connected, even though it had nothing to do with the system (data only.) When I did manage to get access to it under Windows, TestDisk reported nothing but errors.
In the end, a combination of approaches got me enough access to copy the data I wanted. Please understand that this will seem fairly bizarre, but it worked for me, and others have similar accounts.This is not for the faint of heart, and there are no guarantees of success. If you can afford professional data recovery, and the data is critical, by all means go that route. On the brighter side, nothing I say here should void the waranty. No seals will be broken. The drive remains intact. Nevertheless, when I did these things I had nothing to loose and much to gain. The drive was out of warranty, and there was a large amount of data which was either irreplaceable (an email archive), or which would require tens or hundreds of hours to replace (over 500 GB of high-resolution film scans.)
First, put the drive in a heavy plastic zip bag- a quart freezer bag is ideal. Orient the drive with the connections toward the zipper end of the bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible and seal it up. Put it in the freezer for several hours. The idea here is that chilling the mechanical components may increase the bearing clearances and allow freer movement and spin.
Meanwhile, download the Hiren’s Boot CD here-
http://www.hirensbootcd.org/download/ (use the Linux boot option, default settings.)
You can read a great deal about data recovery here-
I highly recommend lots of study before getting into the nitty-gritty of things.
As noted above, I got results with the Linux boot option, with the default Parted Magic selection. I suggest experimenting with the boot disk and becoming familiar with the graphical desktop this takes you to.
Part of the whole procedure is to be able to work as quickly as possible (this is a relative thing!), and keeping the drive cold. I packed my in between frozen gel packs such as you wrap around a sore knee, and wrapped the whole thing up in towels.
When you are actually contemplating an attempt at this, it is best to have only your sick drive and one to recover to hooked up. I did this with direct SATA connections to the motherboard. It might work via USB, but I can’t vouch for this. The Linux boot does load USB drivers, but this will make transfers slower. Having only the Source and Destination drives attached makes it easier to know which is which, and prevents mistakes which might screw up other things like your OS drive.
If I haven’t given you the total heeby-jeebies just talking about this stuff, I’ll be happy to carry on discussion after I get some sleep. If you are willing to consider these extreme measures, look through the linked material and post back.