Not to be hypercritical, but a real tech would have cracked that case open, pulled the USB to PATA (or SATA) interface board out, and hooked the raw drive to another interface board. Chances are that if the USB port was bad, replacing it with any of a number of cheap imported ones would have saved the day.
Having said that, I use 2 USB drives so that I have a one backup at home and a second one in the safety deposit box in the bank. I sync and rotate them monthly (well, most of the time).
I'd love to have a pair of Drobos, with one offsite.
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