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  #21 (permalink)  
Old September 28, 2011, 06:36 PM
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I'm learning towards the video's PoV at the moment. By the time many drives die their desiccant would have long been saturated with water vapor. At that point freezing the drive and bring it back to room temperature would cause the silica gel (likely desiccant) to release moisture to both the inside and outside of the drive, thus causing condensation on the cold platters.

If you're ever going to do this, chuck a bag of silica gel into the ziploc bag containing the HDD to reduce the humidity of the local air. You won't have a problem with condensation after. (Damn you AkG)
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Old September 29, 2011, 07:08 AM
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I've had this successfully work a few times as well.

Though after freezing it in a bag, I take it out of the bag, wrap it in a towel and place an ice pack on top and under it. Then I plug it in and grab my data off it as quickly as I can.

Drive went back to it's dead state after it warmed up though, but I got all my data off safely. It was likely stuck heads I'd say as it was making a high-pitched squeel.

Then I proceeded to RMA it to Seagate and they accepted it, so no visible damage done I guess
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Old September 29, 2011, 11:26 AM
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I've used the freezer method once successfully in the past, did not work the other 3 or 4 times I tried it. I thought it was supposed to help if you had faulty IC chips in the controller board.
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Old September 29, 2011, 11:34 AM
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It can but that would be very rare (ie cracked chips and the like). It can also SOMETIMES help with a solder joint that broke but only expands when heated up. Mainly though its for unsticking stuck parts....for the simple reason a PCB swap works MUCH better for fixing those probs and doesnt have any real downside as its a perma fix not a temp "please last long enough to get the data off" fix. :)
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Old October 2, 2011, 12:34 AM
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My aunts 6 year old laptop died. She went ahead and did the freezer bag technique that she found on google, before I had even seen this original video. Surprisingly it worked.

For people like her who don't even want to spend the money to buy a new laptop, suggesting that their only course of action is to plunk down $1200 to a data recovery service to get their stuff back is a hard sell. Most of the time people already have accepted that their files are long gone by the time it comes to resorting to something like this.


On a slightly related note, perhaps it would be worthwhile to test the condensation issue with a pair of working drives? Use on of these to seal the drive in the freezer and then freeze it: http://www.foodsavercanada.com/Home/Default.aspx It would be interesting to see if doing that vs putting it in a ziploc bag the way you did in the video is a better way to go.
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Old October 3, 2011, 05:51 PM
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I had an old Dell laptop with a 20gb hard drive that was refusing to boot so I gave the freezer method a shot. It allowed me to boot up for about 30 minutes at a time until it got too hot and the computer would BSOD, but I was able to transfer all of my data off it after freezing it a couple times. So I would say the freezer method should definitely be tried.

In response to the video posted by gillware stating that this can ruin your hard drive I think that their opinion could be biased. They are a data recovery company and if people are able to recover their drives by freezing them then that could potentially mean less business for them.

Moreover, they did not place the hard drive in a zip lock bag while freezing it. This greatly exaggerates the condensation effect that occurs. When my hard drive was removed from the freezer there was absolutely NO visible condensation on the outside (I did not take it apart to check the platters so I can't speak for that). A few people have mentioned using silica gel and that should further help prevent condensation although it may be unnecessary.

The video also shows the platter being "damaged" after being turned on for only a couple seconds. Stating that there are "rings" in the platter itself. These "rings" are really just where the water has been wiped away from the platter, not grooves being formed into the platter. I highly doubt that water would be able to damage the platter even if it is rotating at 7200 rpm. If anything on the hard drive would be damaged by the small amount of water I think it is much more likely that the read/write head would be damaged (and I don't think that's all that likely either).

Overall, I see no reason to not give the freezer method a try if you are not willing to shell out large amounts of money to a professional data recovery service. The fact is that it WILL work in some situations and I see no reason not to recommend it as a last ditch effort.
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Old June 8, 2012, 05:32 PM
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Default HOW TO RECOVER DATA From DEAD HARD DRIVE

I have a black "SELECT IOMEGA" 1TB External Portable USB 2.0 Hard Drive. I tried plugging in directing (Front and Back of USB ports) into 3 different desktop computers and trying all 2.0 USB ports available. All 3 computers does NOT detecting the Iomega. And it does NOT show on the "my computer" screen. And it does NOT show in the "Drive Manager" as well. I also tried another USB ''Y" cable and it did NOT work. When I plugged it in, the power light on the drive is lit green, which means it getting power through. But, I can Not feel a buzzing/vibrating or spinning inside the Iomega drive. I'm using XP and Windows 7. I just want my data back. Is Iomega motor Dead? Should I try "Freezing It", Take it Apart, open it using Adapter Tools: "USB to SATA/IDE". ANY IDEAS? ADVISE? PLEASE HELP.
Thank you..

Last edited by steve123; June 8, 2012 at 06:18 PM. Reason: add
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old June 8, 2012, 07:06 PM
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Im going to assume this is out of warranty. IF its IN warranty...doing this will void it. YMMV...all depends on the data on the drive you need to get off it vs the cost of replacing it.
When you plug it in...do you hear the drive spin up (put your ear right next to, you'll hear a slight whine sound). IF so, its most likely the usb to sata controller (or other part in the chain) that is toast and its an easy fix...replace the enclosure.

In either case.... Yank the drive and plug it into another USB enclosure (preferably a 3.5" one that has ac power adapter to provide lots and lots of juice...but any will do in a pinch). Dont plug it in internally...could fry parts of the rig IF its the hdd. IF its recognized you are good to go. Stick it in a cheap USB enclousre and carry on. :)

If its not. Damn its not good. Most external HDDs die from sudden impact (eg dropping, bumping while running...and other bad things)...and the heads slam into the platters....and the drive becomes DEAD DEAD....not mostly dead. Couple things you could do is the freezer method or replace the PCB with another exact duplicate IF you have one. But they are long shots....worth a try...but loooong shots.
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Old June 8, 2012, 07:16 PM
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Tried it once, no go..........had high hopes too.......
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Old June 9, 2012, 12:04 PM
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at my work we have a chart that shows hard drives where we were able to get data from using the freezer method as a last resort.

over over 200 drives last I check about 22 we got data from. not a great number but none the less that is 22 people who don't have to pay thousands to drive saver to get their family photos back. so for about 10% of the time it works so in my mind it is always worth trying for even that small chance.

Cuz something doesn't work for you the first time doesn't mean it wont work at all.

Law of averages:P
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