Chip has a failed hard drive and doesn't really want to spend over $500 to repair it. Is there a way to do it himself? Leo says that a hard drive dying can mean a lot of things. It could be a hardware failure or it could be a software failure. It could be a corrupt sector on the boot record. Software failures are easy to fix and inexpensive. Hardware failures will cost a lot. Drivesavers charge a lot because they have a clean room with all the parts, and can replace bad parts and recover the data. Backing up the data is always the cheapest way to go. The hard drive is eventually going to die. That's why everyone needs a backup. In fact, three copies of the files are better, with one being off site.
Another idea is to have a network attached storage device. Leo likes Synology. They will automatically sync computers across the network, and then back them up.