That is 100% wrong. The second you initialize the harddrive in disk manager your data is gone but you can connect a drive to windows machine and look a the raw data. I've cloned my PS3 harddrive a dozen times with HD clone in the past few weeks with 0 ill effects. Now I have 3.41 and a 3.55 with the same trophies and game saves depending on my firmware mood.
The harddrive physically failed. It did not operate in the PS3 so I could not save them. There was no warning, I paused a game to talk to my kid seconds later I tried to unpause and the machine was frozen. I rebooted and the PS3 said the HDD was missing?? When I pulled it out and tried to connect it to a PC even XP did not recognize it.
After hours of attempting to get the HDD working it suddenly did. I quickly cloned it and I had a full backup of my encrypted harddrive. Once I put the new 160GB drive in the PS3 everything was there and I had my data back.
I hope you're not talking to me. I was very clear in my above post about what worked and what did not. If it was to me... and the horse you road in on if it was for the other person then I apologize and you can refer to my response above.
At this time all my data has been recovered on the new 160GB drive using HDclone in windows XP doing a full bit by bit copy. The failed 160GB drive worked only once more and never again no matter what I tried. The gods were smiling on me for 4 hours while it back-up and now it is destined for the recycle bin.