I have just been told by a data recovery expert that my broken external hard disk , containing all my family photos is unrecoverable. (Damaged Platter apparently) However, when I went into my adobe lightroom 3.4 is was amazed to see that all the thumbnail images still existed.
I would be really grateful if someone could tell me if its possible to export these images as they are now the only record I have of my family growing up.
You can extract low resolution images (the previews) if you want, using this plug-in: Jeffrey Friedl's Blog » Jeffrey’s “Extract Cached Image Previews” Lightroom Plugin
From this point forward, you need to make automated and regular backups of your catalog file and your photos. No excuses!
Thanks very much for the advice but I note form the documentation on the page that this add in doesn't support LR 3. is there a version of the add in that works with 3.4?
I don't know. You can contact the plug-in's author.