If your computer has crashed, it’s unlikely that your pictures, documents and movies are all gone. Many times, it’s a matter of simply replacing the hard drive and copying files from the old drive. There are other times when special professional data recovery tools are required and finally there is the somewhat expensive clean room repair.
If you want to avoid shipping your drive to an expensive clean room recovery center, bring your computer in whenever it becomes slow, has intermittent boot failures or displays a message that says ‘impending drive failure’. Keep in mind that your data is almost always recoverable as long as it isn’t overwritten with more data.