But it wasn't under the machine (Dell) warranty...
My wife has a Dell, it had a 12 month warranty.............after about 6 years the HDD died electrically. I can't do anything about that, so I just replaced it. Her documents were backed up and e-mail is on the provider's server so I just put a new drive in. The original was an IBM Deskstar ("Deathstar" we used to call them ).

I have three dead drives on my shelf right now, two Western digital and the IBM. Normally I return the drives to the customer as they have their data on them and disposal is their responsibility. Anyway I have no Idea what might be on them...............if you know what I mean?

One of the WDs was mine and a disappointment as it is a 100GB that had really not seen much use. The other is a 1.1GB from an old PI/133. I persuaded that to take a 3.2GB I had lying around. But it is hardly surprising the old drive failed, given its age and the fact that it had probably seen a lot of use.

I am not qualified to comment on the server issue other than to suggest that it is a different type of criminal who targets them, as opposed to home and small business systems. I think that you can be sure that they are technically competent and the "security through obscurity" proposition doesn't work.