There are plenty of claims out on the internet which suggest that putting a failing hard drive in a freezer is going to bring new life to the hard drive long enough to recover the data. Unfortunately, there is greater risk of causing more damage to a hard drive than any net benefits.
Let’s explore common causes for data loss and whether or not a freezer might even have a chance to assist with the recovery process:
- Deleted or corrupt file system – NO
- Fire or water damage – NO
- Corrupt firmware – NO
- Burned out PCB – NO
- Damaged heads – NO
- Bad sectors – NO
- Seized spindle – slim chance to none
- Heads stuck to the platter – maybe, but not without risk of ripping the sliders off and destroying the heads and surface during the process
- Overheating PCB – maybe, might buy you an extra 30 seconds before the chip overheats again, causing the drive to fail and the heads to crash down on the platter. The logical step here would be to simply replace the PCB (requires tools / knowledge)
Over the years, we have received drives from clients whose technicians have been unsuccessful at recovering their data by using the freezer. Some recent cases that come to mind had the following reasons for the drive failure:
- Damaged firmware
- Blown PCB
- Failed read/write heads
Although there might be the very rare exception to the rule, no professional data recovery lab risks further damage to their client’s drive by using the freezer to attempt data recovery. If your computer technician even suggests that they plan to use the freezer, it is a good warning sign that they don’t follow safe data recovery practices and it might be a good time to stop them before they destroy any chances of getting your data recovered.
At the end of the day, it comes down to proper diagnosis of the symptoms and then following safe data recovery procedures to ensure the best chance to get the data recovered. This is not an attempt to slam technicians who do their best to recover their client’s data the best way they know how. It is to help better educate both those technicians and their clients to avoid making unnecessary mistakes which could lead to the cost of the data recovery being much more expensive or completely unrecoverable all together.
If you are concerned about what your computer technician might be doing to your drive, feel free to contact Recovery Force to discuss the safest course of action to get your precious data back as safely and cost effectively as possible.