Can you stick a hard drive in the freezer?
Sticking a hard drive in the freezer can be a useful troubleshooting technique for a hard drive. And, this process, also known as “freezing” the hard drive, helps to restore the hard drive by making it spin up and reset its internal components.
It’s inevitable, for your hard drive to succumb to faults that magnify and cause your hard drive to stop working. And, it could blow a circuit or crash. Unfortunately, it’s rarely possible to be able to predict these occurrences. Besides, you have taken good care of the hard drive. For instance, is it safe to put a hard disk in the freezer? Below, we will discuss some unusual options in recovering lost files on a 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’s connected. Generally, we call these clicking noises “the click of death”. In this case, it means the hard drive’s been rendered useless. When a computer no longer recognizes a hard drive, it’s impossible to retrieve the data 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:
- Business Records
- Home Office Files
- Personal Collections
- Calendars, Diaries, and Reports
When the losses are disastrous and retrieval of data from the drive’s 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.
Does Sticking a Hard Drive in the Freezer Work?
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’s not guaranteed to work, it has saved many hard drives and, in some cases, even completely cured them.
When sticking your hard drive in the freezer, keep this in mind. In order to freeze a hard drive, the hard drive needs to be removed from the computer and placed in a sealed bag. It should then be placed in the freezer for a few hours. And, this will allow the internal components to cool and hard drive to reset. Once the disk drive is removed from the freezer, it can be re-installed in the computer and powered up. If the freezing process was successful, the hard drive should run normally.
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
When Sticking a Hard Drive in the Freezer, Avoid Cooling it Too Long.
In short, freezing temperatures may harm the drive’s inner components. It’s also important to ensure that the hard drive is properly sealed before freezing it, as any moisture can cause further damage.
To salvage any data from a failing hard drive, it’s imperative to start the extraction process as soon as possible. In short, avoid losing the opportunity to recover crucial information. Hence, we recommend prioritizing data recovery right after the hard drive freezing process. In the end, this ensures proper data recovery before the hard drive becomes unusable again.
The above steps can be repeated a number of times in order to extract all the data possible. However, the chances of the hard drive completely crashing increase with each cycle of data extraction. Like they say in the military, keep it simple stupid (KISS). Do it right the first time.
Why Does It Work, Putting Your Hard Drive in the Freezer, 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 the 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 foolproof, it has often resulted in successful data retrieval and is definitely worth a try in situations of dire need.
Still nervous about the process, call the professionals at eProvided data recovery!