Well, a setback on the road to recovering my work on the fpga and python GUI program arose yesterday. After seeing the list of files that the data recovery service was able to extract from my failed hard drive, which included everything I was worried about, I paid the fee and scheduled access to my data.
The service (Datacent) offers up to 10GB free by FTP, otherwise for an added fee they will load the data on thumbdrives or hard disks and ship them. While the extra fee wasn't a concern, the delay waiting for 'standard shipping' from Canada was an issue.
I found a way to get the maximum useful data to fit in their limit, essentially taking all of C:/Users/Carl but with two big folders excluded to bring it all under the max. I excluded my Dropbox folder, since that content is already accessible from the Dropbox cloud, and I excluded a 3+GB folder of reference files that is very old and available on my backup media.
They gave me the link and password to fetch down 8 individual GB sized segments of a zip archive, all of which are needed to unzip the data. This took hours to download, but finally it was on my disk and I launched 7-Zip to unpack it. Aaaarrggh. They gave me the dropbox folder and the static old folder, nothing else. The exact inverse of my request! Useless.
I have to wait until Monday when they return to work and hope we can get the proper data loaded up. I don't want to think of a scenario where they might have scrapped the data already. While I would still have no big reservation to paying for a thumbdrive of all 35GB of recovered content, I really want to get my key data right away.
I hope they will just put up the 6.08GB of content I requested (all of c:/users/carl EXCEPT for the dropbox and other folder) - but will be anxious until I actually have the data spinning on my laptop.