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Stick it in the Freezer

Mark Edwards

For those of us who have experienced it, a hard drive failure is one of those unpleasant events that can befall your PC and generally wreck your day.

Whilst good data management practices should prevent us from losing anything of importance, it always seems to be the case that these failures occur at the worst possible time. The hard drive that you knew was a bit dodgy will always fail the week before your new terrabyte data storage system arrives. It will also fail just when you have finished, but not backed up, that report you were working on for the last month.

As I recently learned, there are varying degrees of hard drive failure. If your drive has not irrevocably crashed, there may be ways to recover some of if not all the data.

Here are some ideas from an article at Tech Republic with some very interesting ideas that have worked and saved many a hide.


From: Cheyenne Robert Alspach

Here are some drive recovery tricks that have worked for me, in the order that I do them. Try booting the drive and copying the data off after every step.

Hold the drive upside down, making gravity change the head geometry ever so slightly. Vertical is also another option.

Slightly rap the drive with your knuckle, (but nowhere near hard enough to damage the drive).

Try the drive in another machine, (slight drive voltage change assumed to be the miracle worker here).

Rap the drive just SLIGHTLY harder than you did above in step 2.

Freeze the hard drive in the freezer for two hours, and place in a plastic zip lock bag to prevent condensation from forming on the drive when you plug it back into the system, (head geometry, electrical resistance lowered, electrical contact points adjusted, etc., assumed to be the miracle here).

After the drive warms up to room temperature or better, rap it even harder with your knuckle this time.

Repeat all of above steps on next day, as sometimes I've gotten data off drive simply by trying again.

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