I read an article about the efficiency of DELL in churning out and delevering the computers in record time. The writer boasted about how every step in assembling is supr fine tuned for saving time. This may be supposedly a good thing for the bussiness, but it definitely put me off. I shudder to think of somebody hurrying through assembling of my dream machine. I too prefer building my own with due care in putting it all together.
BTW, did you try 'Freezing' and 'Knocking' of HDD? These methods sometime work, though I have no first hand info because I havenever hadan HDD die on me.
Good luck with retrieval.