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Put my dead hard drive in the freezer

  1. Dec 9, 2009 #1
    My wife's computer hard drive failed the other day. She backed up her data, but on a partition on the same drive. The failure was mechanical, the spindle motor froze up. So accessing the backup partition was also out of the question. I was afraid we were doomed, but I read about people who had this problem and put the drive in the freezer to contract and free up some of the moving metal parts.

    I put the drive in my freezer overnight. The next day I placed it in a USB external hard drive enclosure, connected that to my laptop, powered it on and the drive spun up and worked for about an hour and a half before slowing to a stop again, long enough to retrieve most of my wife's critical documents.

    Thought I'd share this with you all in case something similar ever happens to you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 9, 2009 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Cool tip! Thanks. (oops, no pun intended)
  4. Dec 11, 2009 #3
    Wooo...good job dude.

    And yes, was it a Seagate HDD?
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  5. Dec 13, 2009 #4


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    Science Advisor

    Would there be concerns about frost getting on the platters / heads or electronics? I guess you could just throw some dessicant packs in a big ZipLock back with the drive and not leave it for more than a day or two.
  6. Dec 13, 2009 #5
    Hard drives are air tight and very well sealed to prevent dust or other contaminants entering them so a build up of moisture due to cold temperatures isn't an issue.
  7. Dec 13, 2009 #6


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    I think most new hard drives now have little filtered vent or 'breather hole' to equalize pressures, along with an attendant "Do not cover this hole!" warning sticker on the outside:
  8. Dec 15, 2009 #7
    I did not mention it, but I did put the drive in a ziplock bag, but never thought about adding some desiccant packs. That is a good suggestion.

    I was concerned about condensation effecting the electronics or platters, but it seemed to stay pretty dry.

    dE_logics, no, it was not a Seagate. I'm not where I can get to the drive right now, but I think it was a Toshiba.
  9. Dec 17, 2009 #8
    Well, that's not a backup, techincally...

    Nope, but I admire you ingenuity, and hope you used that time to make another copy!
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