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Problems with a hard disk? Freeze it.



Freeze your hard drive to recover data: Myth or reality?

About 2 weeks ago, I wrote an article about hard disk recovery that was quite popular (I received approximately 20000 hits for it). The article covered a couple of solutions to help you in the case where your hard drive would stop working. While I was doing some research for this article, I ended up on a few stories about people who were putting their HD in the freezer to help fix it long enough to be able to recover their data. I guess that by doing this, some metal parts in the HD could contract, putting back in place defective parts, and making everything work again for a few minutes.

What do you guys think? Myth or reality? It seems that a lot of people agree that this solution actually works, so I decided to test it myself with an old Maxtor hard drive that failed me a couple of weeks ago. There was no important data on there, so losing the disk didn't really bother me.

Before putting it in the freezer, the drive was making a weird clicking noise, and the computer was showing me this message: Primary hard drive 0 not found, strike F1 to retry boot, F2 to run the setup utility.

More here
Oct 16, 2007
Cheshire UK
It depends on the hard drive fault.

The heads ability to read the magnetic domains on the disk will change with temp, colder the better.

If the bearings are going, its possible the metal contracting in the cold could help.

If the electronics are shot it wont do thing.

I have used this method to recover data from a dead drive, but that was 5 years ago on a drive that was old then. It may be a myth with modern drives , or make it worse.

If you do try this, put the drive in a zip-loc bag and get out most of the air to stop frost forming on the drive.

When I want to recover data from a overheating drive I just point a couple of big case fans at it.


PS anyone remember old RLL drives that used to jam, a good smack on a hard surface would fix them !