No, the HDD data were not preserved. When I upgraded the hard-drive in mine, I used the built-in backup utility with a 16 GB USB flash drive to keep about 14 GB worth of downloads and saved games. It didn't recognize my 120 GB USB hard-drive for some reason.
Sony's retarded schemes won't see anything unless its formatted as FAT16. . . . you read that right . . . . .FAT16. Not FAT32 or any other kind of data setup. The drive must be formatted using FAT16, then the PS3 will see it, but don't be surprised if you have to go through folders in an odd way to find and copy your files. If they now see drives that were formatted using FAT32, I will be quite surprised and happy at the same time.
As much as I use my PS3, I hate the way the music software is setup - it actually puts songs in different locations if I copy a whole folder, and won't let me move the song back into the folder where it belongs, and a re-copy won't do anything. So annoying.
. . . this is the digital projection of your mental self. . . .
Darth Lex-idius vs. Obi Lex kanobi