One day your console will fail. Sony has put measures in place to ensure its crafty and guilty-until-proven-innocent users will use their hard drive data for Good and not Evil. "Good" in the sense that no one should ever copy game data to another machine outside the approved backup/restore process.
On your PS3 Sony has encrypted the hard drive data and married it to your device. Till death do they part. Here is a list of Thou-Shalt-Nots in regards to Sony's data (did you think it was yours?) on your drive:
- install the hard drive in a new PS3 with data/game saves/media intact (you must format first)
- boot existing PS3 with a new drive (your old drive will not work without a format. Hope you backed up your stuff)
- connect old drive to new ps3 and transfer data
- connect old drive to *anything* and transfer data
This is all brought to you by Sony's DRM.
TL;DR: If your PS3 dies and will not boot, you cannot retrieve data from your drive.