Hard Drive Recovery: the Freezer Trick

I had some recent hard drive recovery luck after a bad crash.  I put the drive in the freezer and was able to get most of my data off of it.

What Happened

I had a short trip to Las Vegas to do a demo yesterday.  The car temp gauge said 114.  After the demo, we were in the parking lot talking (in the crazy heat) while my machine powered down and I threw it into my bag.  This morning my data drive was singing a horrible song… it had failed.  My laptop never really shut down and it cooked the drive.

What I did

Somehow, I remember hearing a trick to get data off by freezing the drive.  The drive would respond for about a minute, then it stopped, so heat made sense to me.  I dropped it in the freezer for about 4 hours.  I couldn’t wait any longer, so I just pulled it out and dropped it into my external drive caddy.

Viola!  it shows up and I am copying data off of it!  I am very happy.  I just got back some key files.  There are some very large VM Ware images (over 100 GB) that I am going to try and pull, but I don’t know if that will work or not.


Is it a drive I can keep using?  Probably not.  Am I happy I got 1 key file?  YES!  That is a successful hard drive recovery for me.

I do backup all of my data, but it has been about a week since I’ve done it.  My bad.  Was it a complete loss?  No.  Getting that file and a few others is very worth it.  67 minutes to go for the VMs.  Wish me luck.