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Resurrect a dead hard drive

Resurrect a dead hard drive

A couple of months ago, I was told you that you could potentially bring a defunct hard drive back to life by
taking it on a trip to the freezer - an idea that scared the life out of a couple of my friends. So, just to prove that
it isn't an old wives' tale (because old wives love putting hard drives in freezers, obviously), we decided to test
the theory.

Firstly, it's worth pointing out that this job isn't as simple as stuffing the drive in between the frozen peas and
carrots. You'll need a sachet of silica gel, which will be included with any new hardware you buy, and you can
often find them in shoeboxes too.

Place the sachet and the hard drive in an antistatic bag, and then place this package inside at least two food
bags, making sure to seal each one separately to prevent any moisture from entering the package. Then leave
the bundle in the freezer for a few hours, or overnight. After an hour or so, you might touch the disk and think
that it's sufficiently cold, but this isn't generally the case, as the insides of the drive need to be as cold as
possible, and they're well insulated from the outer skin of the drive.

When the drive is thoroughly chilled, remove it from its packaging and plug it into your PC. You'll also need a
fan blowing directly onto the circuit board on the drive's underbelly to prevent drops of condensation from
forming on the drive. Then power up your computer and cherry-pick your smaller, more important documents
before transferring your larger files. If the drive stops working, you can repeat the process and try again.
However, if your data is critical to you or to your business, you should take your drive to a forensics specialist,
where they will pull it apart and take the data directly from the platter.

We found during our test that while there was more condensation than we'd have liked, the fan prevented it
from doing any harm, and we managed to retrieve data from our dead drive.