|Image it to an external drive. Images are compressed and portable, so they are more manageable (you can move the image files around, extract contained files from them, restore the image to multiple drives, update them differentially, etc.)|
I've had good experience with Terabyte Unlimited's imaging software, but any of the imaging software (Ghost, Acronis, etc.) available should work.
Your post doesn't make sense. If the hard drive crashed then you wouldn't be able to access it.
I think he's just naive about his terminology. Yes, it's likely that some critical operating system files become corrupted.
So, the recommended course of action here is to image the drive and run a repair installation using the operating system disc or included recovery system on the hard drive.