Resurrecting dead hard drive

  Wrinkles 22:43 26 Aug 05
Locked

I thought this might be of interest and use to some of you chaps. It sounds implausible but it can and does work.
I recently had a friend call me in a panic when his 40Gb IBM hard drive died. He had over a 100 Mb of irreplaceable data and no back up. He had already contacted a data recovery firm who quoted £300-£600 which was beyond his means.
On investigation the drive was indeed dead, It was connected to another PC but that was unable to detect it. Various other methods were tried with no luck. With nothing to loose I decided to try something I had done several times before.
To do this you need a PC with a drive fitted as "master" and enough free space to accommodate the data you hope to recover. Set the jumpers on the faulty drive as "slave". Then wrap it in a plastic bag, one with a closure seal is preferable, just make sure it is watertight. Then put the drive in the freezer and leave it for at least 12 hours. Take the drive from the freezer and connect it to the PC and boot. A WORD OF CAUTION, The drive will begin to collect condensation this and electricity are not a good mix be very careful. Go into BIOS and detect the hard drive. You may have to try a couple of times. Once the drive is detected allow the system to boot and as quick as you can copy over the data to the master drive. Usually you will have 10 to 15 minutes before the drive dies. A second trip to the freezer for another 12 hours may get you another few minutes but a 3rd go rarely works. If on the initial tries the drive is not detected, hold the drive about 1 to 2 inches above a hard flat surface, circuit board uppermost, and drop it onto the surface. try to ensure it drops flat, reconnect and try to detect again. Remember to have the PC turned OFF when connecting or disconnecting. Obviously there are no guarantees that this will work and I have no idea why it works but it does most of the time. my friend now has ALL his data, on a new drive and its backed up to a CD.

  Diodorus Siculus 22:52 26 Aug 05

I've heard that one a few times; Fred Langa click here suggested it on more than one occasion. Seems to work!

The Slink Spot: Hard Drive in the Freezer
click here

  Diodorus Siculus 22:53 26 Aug 05

click here for how not to do it!

  DieSse 22:55 26 Aug 05

Yes - a well known last-ditch try at recovering data from a "dead" drive.

Mentioned on here several times, but always worth repeating. The two important things are - try as far as possible to monimise condensation - and do it quickly as the effects don't last that long normally.

I usually recommend slapping with the flat of the hand (not on the circuit board!), rather than dropping - but the effect is the same. Try this before the "freezing". The reason this "shock" sometimes works, is that the heads cab "stick" to the platters on older drives, and the motor is not strong enough to overcome the "stiction". The shock breaks the bond.

  DieSse 22:56 26 Aug 05

Yes - a well known last-ditch try at recovering data from a "dead" drive.

Mentioned on here several times, but always worth repeating. The two important things are - try as far as possible to monimise condensation - and do it quickly as the effects don't last that long normally.

I usually recommend slapping with the flat of the hand (not on the circuit board!), rather than dropping - but the effect is the same. Try this before the "freezing". The reason this "shock" sometimes works, is that the heads can "stick" to the platters on older drives, and the motor is not strong enough to overcome the "stiction". The shock breaks the bond.

  GaT7 23:05 26 Aug 05

Wrinkles, never tried it myself, but posted this some time ago to help someone repair their hard drive: 200 ways to revive a hard drive - in which your freezer trick is mentioned click here (PDF file).

It can be found all over now - click here. Some time ago this [free] info was being sold on Ebay - wonder if it still is?! G

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