I've heard a lot of talk about ZabaSearch. It searches publicly able government records as well as some commercial sources. A lot of people say that it violates their privacy because it's so easy to find people, so I guess it works pretty good.
As silly as it sounds, try popping that HD in the freezer for an hour. I had an external HD that I thought was all but dead until a friend told me to put it in the freezer for an hour and then hook it up and I was able to salvage everything off it.