Stick my Hard Drive in the Freezer?

Frozen Hard Drive

It’s inevitable, given time, for your hard drive to succumb to minute faults that can magnify and cause your hard drive to stop working, or crash. Unfortunately, it’s rarely possible to be able to predict these occurrences, especially when you have taken good care of the hard drive.

You can say that your hard drive has crashed when it fails to boot, even when connected with the computer. You might sometimes hear clicking noises when the hard drive is connected. Generally, these clicking noises are called “the click of death,” because it means the hard drive has been rendered useless. When the computer no longer recognizes the hard drive, it is almost impossible to retrieve the data stored on the hard drive.

The loss of stored data is a serious issue that can have disastrous effects. It can result in the loss of:

  • Businesses records
  • Home office files
  • Personal collections
  • Calendars, diaries, and reports

When the losses are disastrous and retrieval of data from the drive is considered absolutely necessary, you can try a few simple measures to retrieve the lost data. Although not completely fail proof, these measures can’t cause further harm to the hard drive. One such measure is to place your hard drive in the freezer.

What Is It and How To Do It?

Desperate times call for desperate measures. When your hard drive gives out on you in the worst possible moment, it calls for some desperate attempts. Although this method is not guaranteed to work, it has saved many hard drives and, in some cases, even completely cured them.

You can implement this method by following these directions:

  • Unplug the hard drive from your computer/laptop
  • Seal the hard drive in a plastic bag
  • Wrap the wrapped hard drive again, for extra safety
  • Place the hard drive in the coldest part of your freezer for at least 12 hours
  • Remove the hard drive and immediately reconnect it to the computer

It’s crucial to begin extracting the data from the hard drive immediately, before the hard drive returns to its failed condition and stops working within a few minutes. Therefore, we advise you to extract the most important of the required data first.

The above steps can be repeated a number of times in order to extract all of the data possible. However, the chances of the hard drive completely crashing increase with each cycle of data extraction.

Why Does It Work and Is It Safe?

In order to understand why sticking your hard drive in the freezer helps recover data, it is necessary to understand the basic workings of data extraction from a typical hard drive.

Extraction of data from a hard drive is similar to extraction of music from an old record on a gramophone. The gramophone music comes from a constantly rotating disk (platter), from which “data” is obtained by a static needle (head) that rubs against the surface of the disk. Similarly, a computer hard drive consists primarily of the following components:

  • Platters to store the data
  • Reading/Writing head
  • External casing or cabinet

A hard drive has a number of platters that store the required information. These platters constantly rotate at great speeds. While rotating, they rub against the writing/reading head, which helps extract or insert data.

Over time and with usage, the platters and the head may become distorted or rub too hard against each other. This is the primary source of the clicking noises you hear when you connect the hard drive to your computer.

Placing the hard drive in the freezer causes the platter and head to contract or shrink, which reduces the contact between them. This results in less rubbing and increases the chance of extracting your data. However, a few minutes after removal from the freezer, the hard drive components may expand and return to their distorted form.

The freezer is not a completely safe environment for your hard drive because of high amount of moisture in such temperatures. Therefore, we advise you to double-wrap the hard drive before placing it in the freezer. Also, if the freezer temperature is extremely low, you might end up freezing movable objects to the point of immobility.

Although the above method is not completely fool proof, it has often resulted in successful data retrieval and is definitely worth a try in situations of dire need.

If you are still nervous about the process, call eProvided for professional Data recovery!