Freezing hard drive [literally]

  spikeychris 14:49 15 Nov 2004

I've shoved this here rather than next door as it gets more footfall. Theres a discussion going on in speakers corner click here regarding the BBC and "One user put his hard drive in a freezer, after reading on the Internet that this can fix malfunctioning hardware"

Now a number of years ago I became aware of this option and posted it here when someone (cant remember who) asked how to get info from a dead drive to a backup drive. I explained that its a final option but have a bash and see what happens. He/she did and it worked, the drive functioned and the data was transfered. Now I have countless links to sites that claim they have used the same approach and it has worked for them.

I am convinced this isn't an urban myth, obviously the drive manufactures wont offer this as an option but my question: Has anyone actually used this method to recover files and its worked?

  Belatucadrus 15:37 15 Nov 2004

click here seems to indicate that it is one way of getting a nearly dead drive to work just long enough to image or create a back up. No apparent explanation as to why this should work or who tried it first. If it is an urban myth then quite a few people seem to believe it. If true it may have something to so with the contraction of metal drive components. Or more esoteric affects on the disk itself, but I suspect we would need a semiconducter expert to answer that.

  josie mayhem 16:15 15 Nov 2004

Ah, but was it the fact that the bloke put his whole laptop into the freezer?

Correct me if I'm wrong spikeychris, but when you offer this advice don't you tell them to just put the hard-drive in a plastic bag and then into the freezer and not the whole computer?

  wawadave 16:24 15 Nov 2004

if the problem is heat related than this will help.
i heard of some one that used dry ice right inside the computer. said the fumes from the dry ice melting made it look like the computer was burning!

  spikeychris 16:41 15 Nov 2004

"An executive who froze his broken hard disk thinking it would be fixed has topped a list of the weirdest computer mishaps."

"The list of the top 10 global data disasters was compiled by recovery company Ontrack." Now either Ontrack has got it wrong or it is an urban myth. Personally I think the former.

josie mayhem, do you think I tell them to get their box and mouse and keyboard and speakers and monitor and printer/scanner and shove them all in a black bag and bang 'em in the freezer?

  Gongoozler 16:43 15 Nov 2004

Many hardware faults are temperature dependent, and so either heating or cooling may help. There's no way of knowing in advance which will do the trick, so the only way to find out is to try both. We often get reports on this forum of hard drives that won't boot initially, but will on restarting because the drive bearings are sticky when cold. We also get reports of drives that fail after being on for a time but work when the computer is left off for an hour or so.

  spikeychris 16:53 15 Nov 2004

click here

"One more-or-less unconventional last resort to get a hard drive working again is to gently tap the drive on the edge of a table a couple times. It may help in dislodging possible materials sticking to the platters, but slamming it too hard will damage it, and you will be left with a mechanically inoperable hard drive, and can be a very iffy situation to be covered under a warranty."

  spuds 17:50 15 Nov 2004

Food for thought click here click here

  Confab 19:31 15 Nov 2004

Not quite the same but I had a CDRW that became unreadable. I tried cleaning the surface but it just wouldn't work. As a last resort I put it in the dishwasher. (Don't ask me why but it seemed a really good idea at the time).

Anyway, after a full wash all the data on it became readable!


  Dorsai 20:07 15 Nov 2004

The theory/method behind putting the disk in the freezer...

1st, it should be in a bag, then hoover the bag out, to remove as much air, and with the air, mousture, in the form of humidity, as possible.

Then put it in the freezer, with the bag well sealed. Leave it, How long, I have no idea!

As the drive cools, the varius bearings/moving part cool, and shrink, The idea is that a bearing/moving part will shrink, and free off, which at room temp is binding/sticking, and not letting the part move as it should.

Then take it out. stick it back in the pc, boot up, copy all data off. Be very very fast. It wont work long after being frozen.

But as to how well it works, if at all, i cant say. But that is how you are 'supposed to do it' and 'why it works'.

  spikeychris 20:33 15 Nov 2004

Thank you Dorsai for the info. Theres also the issue of expansion as the plates part and allow movement. What we need is someone to say it has worked for them. Confab I remember dropping my phone in a pint of Stella, I took the bat out and shoved it in the microwave to dry it. DON'T do it...its fun to watch but.......

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