Hard Drive Data Recovery for Desperate Times

Bad News Hard Drive

OK, so you slacked off on backing up your data. One day, your computer starts giving you critical errors and making a clicking/whirring sound.  Suddenly, you’re desperate to recover your data by any means necessary. Your first option should be to engage the services of your local data recovery center, but with fees of $600+, that’s not for everyone. If you’re short on cash, or your data’s just not worth that much, you could try a solution that’s a little weird and wacky. Try freezing your hard drive.

Yes, you heard us right. Freeze your hard drive.

Now, keep in mind that freezing your hard drive *may* give you access to your data, and it may only be for 2 minutes of time. Once you start to access the drive again, and it begins to warm up, you may not be able to retrieve your data any longer. So, you’ll want to be lightening quick when you remove it from the freezer.

Your first task should be to remove your hard drive from your computer and seal it tightly in a freezer bag. Then, place the enclosed hard drive in your freezer for 2+ hours. Alternately, if you’re worried about someone confusing it with a Klondike bar, you could cover it in ice packs and park it next to your workstation. Now, while the hard drive is being frozen, you’ll want to line up your recovery plan.

You have two options for retrieving your data. First, you could insert your frozen hard drive back into the computer and back your files up to a USB external thumb drive, or burn them onto a CD. We recommend the USB method, since it is faster.

Alternately, you can insert the frozen drive into an external hard drive enclosure, and connect that external drive via USB to a working computer. Upon accessing your data, browse through your files and select the ones you wish to recover. Once again, you should act quickly to transfer your files from the crippled drive to the working computer.

We have resorted to this process before, and we can attest that it works…about 50% of the time. It seems to depend on the severity of the hard drive’s corruption. Our experience is that you may have to try freezing your hard drive for as long as 24 hours, and data access may only last from 2-20 minutes.

If you’d like to learn more before trying it yourself, you can read about others’ experience at the Geeks Are Sexy blog. Or, give us a call and we’ll give you our insights on this slightly unconventional approach to data recovery.