I had a hard drive crash a couple years back. The system wouldn't boot until I swapped it out for a new drive and reinstalled, so I thought it was lost. But I held onto it anyway, in the hopes that I could one day salvage something.
This year, I finally got around to buying a hard drive enclosure. You can use them to plug regular hard drives into the USB slot, so it acts like an external hard drive, or a backup drive, or something like that. So I put the old hard drive in it, and was able to salvage pretty much everything.
It's not a guaranteed solution, though. I tried the same thing with the hard drive from a friend's laptop, but it didn't work. It kept making that "click...click...click..." sound of the read arm smacking against something.
For around $30 and fingers crossed, it might be worth a shot. But if that doesn't work, the only solution I know of is data retrieval services, which could be expensive.