Whether it is a hurricane, thunderstorm, fire, or a pipe leak, hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses are affected by water and flood damage every year, causing billions of dollars’ worth of damage. Many different parts of computers are sensitive to water damage, including the hard drive or solid state drive, which often stores priceless and extremely valuable data and files on your computer.
Ideally, these files should be safely and regularly backed up. If they are not, it is still possible to retrieve the data stored from the damaged hard drives, even from an event as damaging as a flood.
You likely have much to look after following flood damage, but you need to move fast on your hard drive of your computer in order to have a better chance of recovering your data. You should be aware that the mechanical and electronic components in your hard drive will start to degrade within hours of exposure to moisture, so you do not want to wait a few days and especially not a few weeks to get the issue sorted out.
As you’re dealing with electricity and water, it is important to be careful when managing all electronics in the aftermath of a flood. Make sure that your computer and everything is unplugged from any outlets and completely turned off. If you know that your computer and your hard drive were damaged from a flood, you should not try to turn the computer on. Contact the computer’s manufacturer for specific instructions.
When removing the wet and flood damaged hard drive from the computer, double check to make sure that nothing is plugged in, and ground yourself before touching the drive. Have some paper towels and a air tight plastic bag ready for the next step.
Keep The Hard Drive Wet
It may sound counter intuitive, but you should not try and dry off or clean your hard drive on your own if it has gotten wet. No water, especially flood water, is going to be free of minerals and particles. If the hard drive dries, particles can become attached to the platters of the hard drive, making it more difficult to clean the hard drive and recover data. Using something like a hairdryer or a space heater is especially bad, and should be avoided.
You should also avoid trying to clean your hard drive of any dirt on the exterior. The platters of a hard drive require a special cleaning solution used in a cleanroom environment, and any household cleaning solutions will typically do more harm than good for your hard drive.
The Less You Do The Better
Unfortunately there is not much that you can do on your own to salvage the data stored on the hard drive, and you’ll need to enlist the help of a professional to safely and effectively retrieve the data stored on the damaged hard drive. Quite often as a result of a flood, the read write head of the hard drive or the platters of the hard drive become contaminated with particles. If the drives try to spin up, the particles can scratch the platters and destroy a large amount of data stored on them. While do it yourself methods may sound enticing, they should be avoided, as they almost always make it more difficult for a professional to recover data from the hard drive, and ultimately more expensive for the hard drive owner.
As soon as you can (if you haven’t already done so) take the hard drive and wrap it in paper towels and seal it in an air tight plastic bag. Data Recovery Group specializes in retrieving data from hard drives that were impacted by floods. Call or email us, explain what happened to your hard drive, and we can walk you through your options to determine if data recovery for your water damaged hard drive is a good solution for recovering your hard drive’s valuable data. If it is, it is best to ship the hard drive as quickly as possible to one of our locations in the United States.