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April 28, 2006

How To Recover Data From A Hard Drive

TechRepublic has updated a collection of 200 tips for repairing a faulty hard drive.

"One trick I have learned as a technician, when the problem is data-read errors off the platters themselves, is to freeze the hard drive overnight."

"I've run into this scenario numerous times. One time it involved the main Novell SYS volume on our HP File Server. I was really sweating as the server would not boot. I took the drive out and put it in a freezer for 30 minutes. I then reinstalled it into the file server and Presto! I was up and running. Needless to say, I quickly mirrored the drive onto another and got rid of the bad drive."

"If you are willing to destroy the disk and try to get some data off the drive, there is a quick hack available. Place the drive in a static-free bag, then place the drive and static-free bag into a ziplock bag to seal out moisture. Place this into a freezer turned to as low as possible for 24 hours. After 24 hours, pull the drive out and immediately put it into a computer (the faster the better) that boots to a floppy and has another hard drive to transfer data to. If the drive wasn't damaged too much previously, you should be able to pull some data off before the metal of the drive heats up and starts destroying the data storage platters. You can repeat the process only if you shut down almost immediately and go through the 24 hour freeze process again. Chances are that the first time attempt will be the only chance to recover data."

EBCD: System recovery boot CD
TestDisk: Recover lost partitions
Burn a Windows Live CD with system recovery software preinstalled


  1. How would you even practice turning your computer into a popsickle??? Sounds crazy but if there was no other choice,and if your mad enough to try it, this could be the coolest way (lol. I PUN!) to recover damaged DATA.

  2. I use iRecover to recover data that was lost from file system corruption and partition deletion.

  3. There are many data recovery software, i like this [url=]disk recovery[/url]

  4. I don't know when these ridiculously stupid suggestions were ever written, and I'm not going to look the comments up, but there is absolutely NO excuse for using such a hack job when there are so many reliable data recovery programs available.

    Freezing a circuit board can sometimes wipe data from a BIOS chip, hence the old method of freezing an old fashioned stolen car radio-cassette recorder to wipe the PIN number from the BIOS chip.

    Without instructions or data on a hard drive's BIOS chip, the computer's System BIOS will probably not be able to recognise it.

  5. You can't use data recovery software on a hard drive that is physically broken, my man. The whole point of this is to get the drive working temporarily, long enough for the computer to be able to recognize it and get the data off of there, before you throw it in the trash and breathe a sigh of relief

  6. heres what i think, people need to learn to READ the WHOLE article before treating everyone else is like a moron.
    these tricks/tips are for physical damage not data loss from a corrupt file system. DUH....

    READ before acting a fool. now most of you look like you never even read the dang article (which makes you look like the moron).

    thanks for the tips, as you can tell i READ the WHOLE article :D

  7. here is what i think, most of these "Know it alls" that are treating people like morons because it was suggested to freeze the drive, well they should really have left their mouth shut or read the dang article completely before spouting their knowledge as this article pertains to Physical damage not corruption due to a corrupt file system, DUH........

    learn to read FIRST people. then make assumptions afterwords.

  8. When I didn't get my data back even after freezing, I went for Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Software.

  9. I think if the hard drive is completely damaged I mean physically then no harm giving the freezer a shot, but we need to remember that the platers are made of some glassy material. and may be is would crack if left for long time in the freezer, I think the best way is just know exactly how long exactly a hard drive can stay in the freezer before it gets risky.
    I am a technician And I have seen many senarios where you do some simple think that could fix a buzzle problem.
    Thank you for sharing your experience.

  10. Can you not take the plates out and put them into an identical drive?

  11. This method is good for hard drives that overheat, or have the heads stuck to the platter of the hard drive. I have recovered data from drives that wont spin up, sit there and click, and drives that do nothing but throw read errors using this method. I have recovered data from over 30 dead drives using the freeze method, and so have several data recovery services.

  12. Seriously, read heaps of forums, and yes this is bad for the drive but it is a last resort to recover the data that, that has a fairly surprising success rate. But again, last resort. Good luck.

  13. This DOES work. I've done it numerous times on stuck 'clicking' hard drives. It gives you just enough time to get your precious data backed up and I've yet to see it fail. All the morons with a quick answer as to why it wont work or pointing to recovery software really make me chuckle. "Go back to posting on Youtube Cletus", He He!!!

  14. Furious hack :) if your data on hard drive is too cheap, then freeze your drive. But in serious cases, only professionals with special devices can help. I have read about data recovery here

    And in such way all the hard drives are recovered. Not by magic of fresh refrigerator

  15. I've managed to recover many times terasfrom faulty hard drives by putting them in an styrofoam box or bag full of ice, and throwing the HD in a ziplock bag inside the ice, I recovered many times a full image of the drive. So to all of you COMPLETE IDIOTS, first try things yourself and LEARN and them open your MOUTH otherwise just shut the hell up and move on.


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