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Hard Drive Vacuum damaged

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Could someone assist me with this problem. My brother damaged his external hard drive by letting it fall and he found he could no longer get it working so he brought it to a repair shop where he was told that the vacuum seal was broken and that the only way to get the data from it now was to send it back to the manufacturer where it could cost €1000 to obtain the data. Hes gutted because all his kids photos were on it. I'd appreciate any help

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yeah, not much you can do. there's a small possibility that if you place it in a freezer for a few hours that it may work for a short period of time after, but that is a very small chance.

 

this is why backups are so important.

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Could someone assist me with this problem. My brother damaged his external hard drive... he was told that the vacuum seal was broken

That is a steaming pile of nonsense. The head and platter assembly is not even hermetically sealed; all hard disks include a submicron breather or "barometric" filter that passes air and water vapor. In a hard disk, the heads float very near the platter surfaces due to "ground effect", an aerodynamic phenomenon. No air, no ground effect, no float — and no functioning disk.

 

Because the platter assembly has a humidity level close to that of the outside air, it's a pretty bad idea to freeze the hard disk. Water vapor condenses and freezes, forming ice droplets on all the surfaces — including the platters, guaranteeing unreadable data and head crashes to really finish off the drive.

 

(After the hard disk is removed from the freezer, it can take up to 30 hours for the ice to melt and evaporate. Even a drive brought just to the freezing point needs about 15 hours to reacclimate.)

 

——————————————————————————————

If the hard disk was not running when it fell, the heads and platters are likely undamaged, although a really hard fall might have cracked or broken a platter (meaning the unit is unsalvageable). If the pictures and other data are very important, your should not attempt any data recovery yourselves, or even power up the drive. Contact a professional service such as www.datenretter.de/default.htm?language=1.

Edited by TomGL2

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Hate to frost your gonads on this one Tom, but I have frozen hard drives on more than one occasion and was able to retrieve data from them. This freezer trick works on drives that over heat and get very hot to the point of failure, if it's from bad bearings within the motor assy. I'm not sure but I have read that has something to do with it. The best method I have has success with was to leave the drive in a small freezer, with the power and usb cables hanging to the outside, Running the drive in a low temp works very well and you won't get the condensation if it stays in the freezer. You just need enough time to get the data you need, the drive is toast so taking a chance isn't that drastic.

It is true that the drives are open to the atmosphere but they do put little tiny heppa filters at the vent openings that hold back some of the excess moisture, I have even heard of removing the top of the drive and running it that way in order to get data, has something to do with the air flow provided like you mentioned. I have not tried that one as of yet.

I have ever gotten lucky one other time by giving the drive a good hard "tap" on a work bench to free up the read arm, do not count on ever using this method on a drive you plan to keep, if it works at all, the drive will be damaged and might only run the one time, but you can get the data. (last ditch effort)

Edited by Joe C

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you won't get the condensation if it stays in the freezer.

The ambient air that during normal operation enters the platter assembly contains moisture, which condenses and then turns to ice droplets when the drive is frozen. To say "you won't get the condensation if it stays in the freezer" isn't sensible — putting it in the freezer generates condensation outside and inside the drive. Running the drive in the freezer only avoids more external condensation later.

 

Albert Chang of WDC says the "freezer trick" is a myth. John Christopher of DriveSavers says "my clean room guys have never gotten it to work", and that it was coincidence when anyone thought they had.

 

A fellow at ExtremeTech says that it worked for him once, but never again when tried during the next ten years. That makes some sense. The rationale for freezing relies on fabrication methods and materials used for much older (and smaller, <10GB) drives. Those technologies are obsolete and no long used; modern actuators, platters, bearings, etc., are quite different.

 

IF I were desperate enough to try this, I'd first flush the platter/head compartment with dry nitrogen or argon, although it would admittedly take some time through the barely porous air filters, then seal the drive in a similarly flushed bag, leaving the cables accessible.

 

[ EDIT: One more thing —

 

filters at the vent openings that hold back some of the excess moisture

Not in the slightest degree. The filter openings are on the order of 300 nm, while water vapor is around 0.3 nm in diameter. The water molecules pass through as if the filter wasn't there. ]

Edited by TomGL2

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Cold air is much drier than warm air, it's the reason things get freezer burned. You don't get the condensation until you take it out and expose it to the warmer moist air

No point in any more discussion, I know from experience and not somebody's opinion on the interwebs what works and what doesn't.

 

That's all I'm going to say in this matter

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I Must say that I have used the freezer method twice and both times have worked. I always seal the hard drive in a freezer bag first though.

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Cold air is much drier than warm air

Yes.

 

You don't get the condensation until you take it out and expose it to the warmer moist air

No. The drive mechanism initially contains humid, room-temperature air. When it is placed in a freezer, the air trapped in the drive cools and the moisture condenses, then turns to ice droplets. Moist air doesn't magically become drier as it cools — the lost water must go somewhere.

 

——————————————————————————————

 

It's fairly easy to find success stories like Nigsy's and Joe's, where some method that logically has little chance apparently did work once or twice. But it's even easier to find failure stories, because there appear to be a lot more of them.

 

The quotes I provided aren't "somebody's opinion on the interwebs". One is the senior data recovery engineer for DriveSavers, the other is a senior manager of a major hard disk manufacturer. I haven't seen any authoritative support for freezing except as concerns very old hard disks.

 

In addition, since it does an present obvious risk of making any subsequent data recovery impossible, and Spokes has suggested that the files are important, I don't think this method should be recommended at all in this case.

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The quotes I provided aren't "somebody's opinion on the interwebs". One is the senior data recovery engineer for DriveSavers, the other is a senior manager of a major hard disk manufacturer. I haven't seen any authoritative support for freezing except as concerns very old hard disks.

 

 

 

Actually they are just "opinions" on the interwebs. They are just guys in suits stating their "opinions" Nothing more nothing less. In fact the senior management probably wouldn't know a hard drive from a deck of cards if it was put in front of them. They didn't learn that in their business management/marketing courses in college :lol:

 

Don't try anything give us 1000 dollars and we will recover your data.......................don't try anything just buy a new drive from us.....................It's a myth don't believe the millions of people who have tried these methods and had success.............................it's a myth don't believe the numerous people standing in front of you telling you they have done this and had success.

 

Just believe the suits with their business degrees telling you to purchase their services :rofl3:

 

In the real world I have worked with so many book taught engineers over the years I can't even count anymore. In the real world over the years I have seen so many of those people with engineering degrees made to look like fools by people with nothing more then 8th grade book/school educations who had years of "practical field experience to know that I always listen to the guy in the trenches before a book or some bozo in senior management.

Edited by Bruce

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Bruce, much of what you've said seems biased and slanted. For one, Albert Chang isn't just a guy in a suit (let alone a "bozo in senior management"; he's out in the field a lot), which is made obvious by the quality of interviews with him. Even off-the-cuff he speaks very knowledgeably at both the product and the technological level.

 

"Millions of people who have tried these methods and had success"? I'm very skeptical that millions have frozen their hard disks — let alone recovered significant data after having done so. I know of at least one large data-recovery firm that makes decent recovery software available at no charge.

 

It's not hard to imagine scenarios in which you would likely encounter borderline-competent engineers. I've known companies that practised false economy by hiring two barely passable engineers for the cost of a well-versed individual, with consequences that are fairly obvious.

 

As for listening " to the guy in the trenches before a book", what about books written by guys in the trenches? Scott Mueller comes to mind ... but he's also certainly senior management :glare:

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i see that i've started a controversy. :banana3:

 

here's the thing about the freezer trick: while hard drives can be repaired, the amount it costs is extremely prohibitive. your drive isn't working as is, so who gives a rats :filtered: if some condensation forms on the platters? it's a last ditch effort that will occassionally work...if it doesn't work then you still have a non-working hard drive.

 

i have no idea why it's even being argued. it's like arguing that we shouldn't use defibrillators on humans. yeah, if they're healthy it's not good, but they're :filtered: dying, man.

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Like Granny's chicken soup, it can't hurt.

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Like Granny's chicken soup, it can't hurt.

Of course it can hurt. Even the few who claim success nearly all say the drive failed completely after several minutes. It is essential to avoid actions that would make later recovery efforts impossible — and there are certainly other methods, but they all require intact drive platters and heads.

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Of course it can hurt. Even the few who claim success nearly all say the drive failed completely after several minutes. It is essential to avoid actions that would make later recovery efforts impossible — and there are certainly other methods, but they all require intact drive platters and heads.

 

you've totally missed the boat here tom.

 

hard drive fails. not recognized by system, etc. etc.

 

freeze hard drive

 

bam, works for 20 minutes!

 

stops working

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