Regarding the failed hard drive issues. I agree we don't know all the details other than that it doesn't work and is broke. That makes any actual recommendations difficult!
Having said that, there are tools and methods available depending upon the situation. If it clicks, or doesn't mount in the system BIOS, don't attempt to do any recovery yourself. There's not much you can do so plan on sending it out if the data is critical. This is an expensive proposition and should be considered only if the data is truly important.
If the drive spins, however, it is quite possible using software tools to rebuild the drive. A working drive, without data appearing, that used to be there, usually means the MFT has become corrupted. The MFT is what keeps track of what's on the drive similar to the old FAT, but more reliable. A few years ago, I used to use Disk Doctors NTFS Data Recovery from Disk Doctor Labs www.diskdoctor.net .
This does a track, by track recovery that lets you see the data and hopefully recover it to another device by copying the files and folders. For the times I used it, it was quite successful and my end-users were quite happy, being mostly C-Level management this made them even happier.
The program wasn't expensive, if I recall, probably in the $200 range about 4 years ago. I have used it for Windows XP and Windows 7 machines, and I'm sure it will work for Windows 8.x