Wet Hard Drive? Solutions For Water Damage

WaterIn case you didn’t know, water and electronics don’t tend to go well together. The same is certainly true for hard drives, which poses a problem when your hard drive gets wet and you have all your valuable pictures, documents and other files stored on the hard drive. Water damage can occur from a variety of situations, including flooding, hurricanes, fires and accidental spills. Regardless of the situation, if you believe your hard drive could be damaged due to water, there are a few necessary steps to take to ensure you get your valuable data back safely and securely.

Time Is Important

If your hard drive was damaged by water, it’s important to know that time is not on your side and that you should take care of the issue as quickly as possible to have the best chance of recovering the data from the hard drive. Don’t assume that leaving the hard drive alone for a few days won’t hurt your chances at getting your data back.

Be Careful

Hard drives are delicate, and can be easily damaged from mild bumps or drops. If you’re removing the hard drive from your computer, make sure everything is unplugged from electrical outlets and take care when removing the hard drive.

Don’t Dry It

It sounds counter intuitive to not immediately dry the hard drive, but there are two big reasons why you shouldn’t do that yourself.

  1. Using a hair dryer, leaving it out in the sun, or using any other drying techniques that involve heat can potentially damage the platters of the hard drive, making data recovery nearly impossible.
  2. Nearly all water, whether it’s water from a flood or storm, or water you drinking, has particles and minerals in it that will stick to the platters of your hard drive if the hard drive dries out. That makes data recovery even more difficult than if the platters were already wet.

Don’t attempt to rinse or clean the hard drive if it is dirty, as doing so without the proper tools or solutions almost always makes recovering stored data from the hard drive more challenging. Instead, wrap the hard drive in paper towel and put it in an air tight bag while removing as much air from the bag as possible.

Don’t Open Up the Hard Drive!

Whatever you do, don’t attempt to remove the cover from the hard drive. Doing so exposes the extremely sensitive platters of the hard drive to airborne particles, which makes recovering data from the hard drive nearly impossible. Trained data recovery specialists only remove the cover of a hard drive in an enclosed environment known as a Class 100 Cleanroom, which filters out all airborne particles that may be harmful to the platters of a hard drive.

Check for Backups

If you have your data stored on other external hard drives, USB drives, or through a data backup service, try accessing any backed up versions of your files to see what you have stored and if you can transfer those files to an unaffected computer or new hard drive. Depending on the severity of the damage, it might take some time to get your data recovered, so it’s best to look for any and all time sensitive files in the meantime.

What You Should Do

If you need to recover data from the hard drive, wrap it in a paper towel as mentioned earlier and put it in a sealed non-static plastic bag. Data Recovery Group has trained specialists who can help you identify what is wrong with your hard drive, and walk you through the necessary steps including proper shipping of a hard drive to ensure you have the best chances of recovering your valuable data. Contact us today, and we would be happy to help you get your data back as soon as possible.

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This article was written by Mike Hall.