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A friends hard drive has failed, no backups etc - it doesn't even power up when i take it out of it's caddy and plug it straight into my motherboard.

So I've tried all the usual stuff and now the only thing left is paying for data recovery... can anyone recommend somewhere in the UK - preferably London - who have a good reputation?

 

 

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Posted

A friends hard drive has failed, no backups etc - it doesn't even power up when i take it out of it's caddy and plug it straight into my motherboard.

So I've tried all the usual stuff and now the only thing left is paying for data recovery... can anyone recommend somewhere in the UK - preferably London - who have a good reputation?

 

One thing that you can try before you do this.  I have done it before and have gotten a dead HD to work long enough to get the important data off of it.  Put the HD in a static free bag (very important to prevent condensation build up) and put it in the freezer for at least an hour.  After that connect it to a different computer and see if that computer will see it as a removable drive.  It may spin up long enough to retrieve a few files.  You may have to repeat this process multiple times.

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Posted

Have a google :P.

When I sent a hard drive off about 10 years ago, the quote was

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If it doesn't power up at all it's possible the controller board died. You may be able to buy a used drive of the same model and swap the boards out.
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Posted

I know a company based in Tonbridge, Kent who might be able to help. Optimum ITS, speak to Rabah. 01732 368423 :)

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I have done it before and have gotten a dead HD to work long enough to get the important data off of it.  Put the HD in a static free bag (very important to prevent condensation build up) and put it in the freezer for at least an hour.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad1uVAB5bNA

Dispelling the Myth: Freezer Based Hard Drive Data Recovery

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad1uVAB5bNA

Dispelling the Myth: Freezer Based Hard Drive Data Recovery

He didnt bag the drive before he froze it, ;)

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Posted

<snip>

Dispelling the Myth: Freezer Based Hard Drive Data Recovery

:laugh: Well, that one is completely stupid because he didn't even use anything to try to protect against condensation forming (I think on purpose?). If you wanted to try this properly you'd use an anti-static bag (probably many), remove as much air as possible, and seal it off. It's not perfect because you'd have some water in the air even in the bag and condensation will still form as it is cooling down since there is water in the air when you remove it from the bag, but perhaps not enough to damage the platter? Too bad he didn't show results with something like that. I have no idea whether those precautions would really be enough to not damage it (I'm not a physicist), but he should try to at least show an analogous situation people would actually do.

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Put the drive in the airing cupboard so its warm, then seal wrap it in cling film, then freezer, then back in airing cupboard till warm again, then unseal cling film, then spin.... works...


but if you can get another controller board for the drive, I do agree that would be better to try.

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:laugh: Well, that one is completely stupid because he didn't even use anything to try to protect against condensation forming (I think on purpose?). If you wanted to try this properly you'd use an anti-static bag (probably many), remove as much air as possible, and seal it off. It's not perfect because you'd have some water in the air even in the bag and condensation will still form as it is cooling down since there is water in the air when you remove it from the bag, but perhaps not enough to damage the platter? Too bad he didn't show results with something like that. I have no idea whether those precautions would really be enough to not damage it (I'm not a physicist), but he should try to at least show an analogous situation people would actually do.

 

Honestly if you want to freeze it properly you do it in an environment with no humidity, then would be no risk of condensation.  It's a big risk without a zero humidity environment as anything on those platters could potentially cause irreversible damage.

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Honestly if you want to freeze it properly you do it in an environment with no humidity, then would be no risk of condensation.  It's a big risk without a zero humidity environment as anything on those platters could potentially cause irreversible damage.

Most people don't have zero-humidity environment in which to seal a HDD, so I'm not sure how the common person would achieve that. I won't say either way whether it is a substantial risk or not to actually attempt this -- I've no basis to make such a claim since I have no basis to know the likely hood of condensation forming on the platter in such a scenario. That's really the crux of the situation, unless we have evidence or someone who can comment on the likely hood, no-one can really say either way. I suppose you could say there is a large risk in doing something you aren't sure of and that's why I wouldn't try myself. It should be simple enough to show evidence, just repeating the procedure in the video above using a sealed HDD. 

 

EDIT: Also, I'm still not even sure "how" this helps recover data. Does this help the drive spin up again or something? (In googling, I see claims of this supposedly stopping the head from grinding against the platter in broken HDDs, grain of salt though).

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The freezing trick has worked for me more times then it has not.. 1: it only gives you a few minutes to get data usually before it stops and 2: this won't work for OP since it's not powering up at all...

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The freezing trick has worked for me more times then it has not.. 1: it only gives you a few minutes to get data usually before it stops and 2: this won't work for OP since it's not powering up at all...

 

It has worked for me many times.  

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The freezing trick has worked for me more times then it has not.. 1: it only gives you a few minutes to get data usually before it stops and 2: this won't work for OP since it's not powering up at all...

You know what I'm wondering, what if you ran it while it was in the freezing environment, would that keep it continuously working? Also, any idea as to what the mechanism is that makes this work? I see a-lot of anecdotal evidence for this, but I can't find anything definitive. In your case, are the heads crashing, is the controller malfunctioning, is it bad sectors, etc.?

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Be it the guy didn't put the drive in a bag is besides the point... Freezing a drive to recover data is pure and utter FUD plain and simple.. As to those that say it has worked for them.. Pics or it didn't happen!! How long did you freeze it.. You read the tips like this and you have to leave it in there for 12 hours...

How old were these drives?? And as already mentioned clearly not going to work for the OP, since he doesn't even turn on.. If you were having issue reading data - cooling the drive from a HIGH temp in theory could allow for reading of data.

Suggesting anyone put their HDD in a freezer is BAD Advice no matter how you look it.

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Be it the guy didn't put the drive in a bag is besides the point... Freezing a drive to recover data is pure and utter FUD plain and simple.. As to those that say it has worked for them.. Pics or it didn't happen!! How long did you freeze it.. You read the tips like this and you have to leave it in there for 12 hours...

After googling, I've come to the conclusion that the most likely apparatus is that the frozen heads can be made mobile again temporarily due to contraction from the cold: so it's possibly not FUD. Seems to be that this is less likely to work on new drives due to the smaller physical components (that seems plausible to me). I was unable to find data that showed anything either way. Professionals would never freeze a HDD because they can just take the platter, etc. out if components have seized.

 

EDIT: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curie%27s_law Also, there is that, which says that magnetic strength increases proportionally to the decrease in temperature. It's possible that that could increase readability due to inducing a stronger electrical response in the head as the magnetic platter spins. The point is, there are plausible physical mechanisms that could contribute. Whether they really do or not -- I have no idea.

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You know what also works - sacrifice a goat, black goat gets you about 20 minutes, virgin white goat about 30 ;)

Here is what should be discussed here - PROPER BACKUP!! This is the one for sure thing that will allow you to not loose data on a hdd failure..

Why don't you hit it in the corner with a hammer - that is also reported to work, slap it real hard on the top.. That works as well if you read the interwebs ;)

Here is this might help the OP with his actual question http://www.dataclinic.co.uk/

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You know what I'm wondering, what if you ran it while it was in the freezing environment, would that keep it continuously working? Also, any idea as to what the mechanism is that makes this work? I see a-lot of anecdotal evidence for this, but I can't find anything definitive. In your case, are the heads crashing, is the controller malfunctioning, is it bad sectors, etc.?

 

I've actually done this with an IDE drive, we had a customer who's drive was clicking a long time ago, probably 2004 ish. The drive had his Quickbooks data file on it and was around 5GB in size, fairly large for the time. We were able to freeze the drive 2 times, and it would successfully spin up, but while copying the data file 1-2 minutes into it it would stop and start clicking again. At that point we used extra long IDE cables and a motherboard mounted outside the case, stuck the drive into a couple of freezer bags with only the ribbon cable going into it and taped it really good.. the next morning we were able to retrieve the entire data file while it was in a mini-fridge with freezer.. 

Regardless of what some people might say on here, you are right on the money with what it does physically to the drive... And yes backups are always the best thing to have, but when a customer comes to you and has none, what options do you have, at least give it a try and you might be surprised... Simply because someone doesn't believe in something working doesn't mean it does not work.

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You know what also works - sacrifice a goat, black goat gets you about 20 minutes, virgin white goat about 30 ;)

Here is what should be discussed here - PROPER BACKUP!! This is the one for sure thing that will allow you to not loose data on a hdd failure..

Why don't you hit it in the corner with a hammer - that is also reported to work, slap it real hard on the top.. That works as well if you read the interwebs ;)

Here is this might help the OP with his actual question http://www.dataclinic.co.uk/

Except none of those things have any scientific reason why they could possibly work. You shouldn't automatically assume something is false just because there isn't verifiable data to prove it it is true. That's not logical. There's that stupid saying that I like to say (that I heard from the boondocks) -- the absence of evidence is the not evidence of absence. That's not to say that I believe it is true or that it isn't dangerous, I simply haven't found reputable evidence either way.

 

I do agree with what you are saying here though -- the OPs friend's HDD sounds like it is completely dead and no homebrewed solution is going to help that. He should not be attempting to freeze an HDD that isn't even powering on. His only chance is going to be professional recovery given the circumstances.

 

 

I've actually done this with an IDE drive, we had a customer who's drive was clicking a long time ago, probably 2004 ish. The drive had his Quickbooks data file on it and was around 5GB in size, fairly large for the time. We were able to freeze the drive 2 times, and it would successfully spin up, but while copying the data file 1-2 minutes into it it would stop and start clicking again. At that point we used extra long IDE cables and a motherboard mounted outside the case, stuck the drive into a couple of freezer bags with only the ribbon cable going into it and taped it really good.. the next morning we were able to retrieve the entire data file while it was in a mini-fridge with freezer.. 

Regardless of what some people might say on here, you are right on the money with what it does physically to the drive... And yes backups are always the best thing to have, but when a customer comes to you and has none, what options do you have, at least give it a try and you might be surprised... Simply because someone doesn't believe in something working doesn't mean it does not work.

Keeping it in the mini-fridge seems like the best bet to me to keep it from possible condensation related damage and to prolong it "living" if the condensing of materials is helping the head not crash. I wish I could find actual studies on this. Mythbusters episode anyone? The best I can find is just that it is not recommended because of condensation related damage, not actually saying that it really couldn't help in some scenarios.

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You shouldn't automatically assume something is false just because there isn't verifiable data to prove it it is true.

Really?? You just did that with my goat sacrifice.

Sorry but yes, if you can not prove its true and it sounds like BS, guess what the logical assumption is it is BS ;)

Sorry but there is air with moisture in it inside the hdd, be it you put a bag or not.. You FREEZE it, there will be condensation. Did you suck all the moisture out of it before you froze it. So even if reads data after freezing it by some stroke of luck, you are most likely going to cause more damage when you turn it on.. The condensation could cause other electrical issues -- electricity and water do not mix..

"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."
"The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd."

Here is the thing, my stance is that its BS.. Your stance is

That's not to say that I believe it is true or that it isn't dangerous, I simply haven't found reputable evidence either way.


Sorry but to suggest you put a modern drive into a freezer, be it bag or not and expect it to work is bad advice pure and simple -- you could let it cool down to room temp and try it again if you think temp is a problem. As to the drive not powering on - back in the day where the boards had lots of more solder joints, etc. The freezing "may" allow a bad joint to work again, hold off some thermal expansion that is causing it to fail. So if you read the advice even a drive that does not power on maybe be helped by this magic ;)

Drives use to get much hotter than they do today when they had ball bearings vs the current use of fluid bearing system. Back in the day with old servo's ok -- maybe chilling it popped int back, corrected some misalignment.. Modern drives are way better at self adjustment..

So while this back in the day might of had some basis in fact, and may even worked - its NOT good advice no matter how you look at it, especially with the changes in hdd that have happened over the years.

So it is FUD!!

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Really?? You just did that with my goat sacrifice.

Sorry but yes, if you can not prove its true and it sounds like BS, guess what the logical assumption is it is BS ;)

As I said before, goat sacrifice and hammer smashing has no scientific basis for why it could work or even be related. :rolleyes: I've given you possible scientific mechanisms for how freezing might do something: thermal expansion and Curie's law. Dismissing these things out of hand, without evidence, is not scientific. It isn't like these two things are absurd magic that you have to accept on faith: one is well based in thermodynamics and the other in electrodynamics. And you don't know whether these could have an effect or not. At the end of the day, it is just your opinion that they won't.

 

Sorry but there is air with moisture in it inside the hdd, be it you put a bag or not.. You FREEZE it, there will be condensation. Did you suck all the moisture out of it before you froze it. So even if reads data after freezing it by some stroke of luck, you are most likely going to cause more damage when you turn it on.. The condensation could cause other electrical issues -- electricity and water do not mix..

Yes there is moisture in the air and bag, this has already been discussed. However, there is an important difference in levels of moisture between a freezer and a home/workplace (one has a much higher relative humidity than the other). You have no basis to make a claim about whether the level of condensation is going to be an issue in the situation with a bag unless you've tried it or can provide evidence indicating it causes issues. You can't just make blank statements about how condensation is absolutely going form enough to cause shorting (it didn't even cause shorting in the video you linked without the bag) and pull the head down onto the platter.

 

So it is FUD!!

Stop saying things are FUD. You are using it inconsistently from the actual definition. What do you mean here? You mean you think it is misinformation. Problem is we have no evidence indicating whether or not condensation is an issues in a freezer bag, whether thermal expansion couldn't effect head movement, whether it couldn't effect platter movement, whether lower temperatures couldn't help a drive with reading issues due to magnetic field induction, etc. No amount of rhetoric is going to change that. No-one is deliberately trying to spread misinformation here. I'm just telling you to keep an open mind and to not dismiss things out of hands without verifiable evidence and I'm only doing that because I see scientific mechanisms that could plausibly contribute here. Again, it isn't like these are magic and this whole line of argument is absurd nonsense.

 

 

EDIT: Evidently this was tested in one of the earlier seasons of MythBusters and they said it helps (2008 or earlier). I can't find which episode it is. I just keep finding references to it around the web and originally their homepage had a quiz that said it based off of the episode. Can anyone find which episode this is? I want to watch the segment.

 

See: https://web.archive.org/web/20081005212756/http://dsc.discovery.com/fansites/mythbusters/quiz/computer/computer2.html?cp=10&cc=a

http://voices.yahoo.com/mythbusters-fairytale-comes-tragic-end-5165911.html?cat=43
 

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It is probably worth tinkering with a bit more before sending to a data recovery place.  Unless you just really don't have the time and technical expertise to try what has been suggested in this thread.  Data recovery places are pretty damn expensive.  Your friend probably has learned his lesson when it comes to data backup.  Some people never learn though.

 

My friend's old Apple Powerbook had a hard drive failure.  It was making a clicking noise and not booting.  When I first hooked the drive up to my Windows based computer (with Mac file system software installed) and using an adapter (the smaller laptop IDE to USB adapter), my computer would not read it at first.  I then started physically warping the case and plugging it in and surprisingly that worked.  Slightly warping the case in one direction with my hands was enough to stop the clicking sound and copy the data off of it.   The point of my story is that: sometimes it takes a bit of tinkering and experimenting to figure these things out.

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So it is FUD!!

 

When the republicans come out and spout that "ObamaCare will be the end of civilization as we know it!", that is FUD.  This may be misinformation, but not FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt).

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad1uVAB5bNA

Dispelling the Myth: Freezer Based Hard Drive Data Recovery

Yeah, about as believable as tobacco companies proving that smoking doesn't cause cancer.

When you have a conflict of interest, say, charging people $1,000+ instead of someone possibly recovering their data without you, you're obviously going to lie cheat and spread misinformation like in his video.

If your drives dead, you can't afford/don't want to pay to get it recovered, might as well give the freezer trick a try. It hasn't worked on two hard drives I had that broke (one was completely un-fixable by a specialist data company) but that doesn't mean it doesn't work at all.

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