Whenever one of my computers breaks, it's a painful experience. I usually back up quite often, so it's never an event full of panic, but I still prefer keeping my most recent data and documents, so I spend a considerable amount of time trying to fix things.
Unfortunately, no luck last night. At one point, my NTFS partition (the one that stores Windows) decided to think it has been formatted. Luckily I also run Ubuntu and could play around with different options, but nothing worked to convince the hard drive otherwise. Stubborn thing!
Five hours later, I even tried to use Ddrescue and NTFS Undelete... Both failed in helping me recover my experiments (I won't get into details), but definitely showed me some interesting, long-forgotten (and long-deleted!) files... Half the stuff I didn't even recognize!
So if you have time, play around with those tools. I'm sure there's Windows equivalents as well, but seriously... Use Ubuntu.