Re: Spinning Rust
The most spectacular failures were always the big drives, I've seen pictures of drives that had broken loose from their floor mounts, my understanding is that those were like those out of balance washing machine destruction videos on Youtube.
But the best one I've personally seen was a much smaller drive, a 2.5", the glass platters (does anybody still use those? They were supposed to be the next great thing for a while, I've not seen a drive with them in years) had apparently exploded at speed.
When I got it drive rattled weirdly. Acted really strangely when power was applied, the spinup/spindown sounded very odd. After poking at it for a bit, decided that data recovery wasn't going to happen, opened it to see how bad the head crash was.
There were no heads. There were no platters. The head carriers were mostly there. And there were lots of little chunks of broken glass and glass powder.
The user claimed that the computer hadn't been dropped. I tend to disbelieve the user's account, but there wasn't any obvious sign of drop damage.
(Of course there wasn't a backup. The user was initially upset that I hadn't tried harder, then I showed him the drive internals and the internals of a normal-looking drive. A quick explanation of how a hard drive worked, and he believed me that there was absolutely no point in further recovery attempts.)