My laptop display was failing so I sent it back to Acer for repairs. As I was just between trips, I didn't find the time to do proper backups. The idea was that it's the display that was failing, not the hard drive.
The lack of proper backups turned out to be a grave mistake on my part. Acer returned the laptop with the display fixed and the hard drive switched for a new one. Upon inquiry I was only told that my former hard drive was found to be failing a test and was to be disposed of, and that its whereabouts is internal information.
I admit I was sloppy and made a mistake, but Acer's approach doesn't strike me as very sensible either.
So the question is, where do the HDDs go? Where to ask?