Ok, there is no such thing. But here's the story...
Late one afternoon last week, I was preparing to review a presentation for a strategy meeting and I collided into a glass conference room door, dropping my laptop at the same time. (Visitors to our office will note that there are now dolphin stickers on the door.) Amazingly enough, my hard laptop continued to operate for another hour. As a slight precaution, I emailed myself the last file I was working on, in case things went wrong. As I drove home, I started to feel nauseous and my thinking was a bit cloudy.
When I got home, I realized that both me and my hard drive were suffering a mild concussion. The laptop would only boot part way, restarting mid-stream, even in safe mode. So I completed my work using my desktop machine and the file I had emailed to myself while holding an ice pack to my head.
The next day, I handed my laptop over to our IT gurus and they gave me a spare to use in the interim. Later in the day, it became apparent that there was no easy way to read from the hard drive, even when booted from CD. They could send out my hard drive for recovery, but the cost of that would likely be more than $2000. Since my last backup was about 8 weeks old (doh!) most of what I was going to lose was some power point presentations, budget files and a lot of email. (Some people would consider the loss of email is a good thing, and there are times when I would agree.)
It wasn't worth that much money, but I told them if there was a software solution that would enable us to recover some of the most recent data, then it would probably be worth a few hundred dollars.
They were able to locate a software package called RecoverSoft which does Emergency Hard Drive Recovery. The software can recover both PC and Mac hard drives. It comes on a bootable CD with its own graphical user interface and lets you recover files selectively. The software does a low-level read, copying sector by sector so it is a slow process and some files may be damaged beyond repair. Nonetheless, I was able to recover about 95% of the most recent files I needed.
Later, I wondered about the hard drive recovery and the value that it had for me. There is a moment in time when hard drive recovery is urgently needed and it's value is very high. (Optimal pricing point is when the laptop is sailing through the air.) However, there are actually few moments when you have a crisis and the value of recovery can diminish over time as you work around the loss of those files. On the other hand, for the vendor of the hard drive recovery software, there could be a larger opportunity to sell "guaranteed hard drive recovery" at the point of purchasing the computer. Likely many people would gladly pay $100 for the recovery software as a form of insurance before they have a hard drive loss and especially if they know that using an emergency recovery service after the fact can be very expensive.