The Hard Drive Data Recovery Freezer Trick

Ahhh, the old “Freezer Trick”. When you Google The Hard Drive Data Recovery Freezer Trick the top result is some sort of ‘lifehack’ on how to save your hard drive. This particular page had 8 thorough steps on how to place hard drive in zip-loc baggy etc. Ay, ay, ay….With very little chance of success with this ‘hack’.  I’m really quite surprised that this myth is still perpetuated in 2016.

This may have been much more effective ‘back in the day’ so to speak; however, hard drives have made leaps and bounds in efficiency, capacity, speed and manufacturing. One of the basic ideas behind the hard drive data recovery freezer trick. A hard drive that may have been running excessively hot or getting hot very quickly is that by cooling down the drive. You could possibly keep the drive cool just long enough to grab some important files off of the drive. Another lesser circulated theory is that the cold hard drive could make the metal components contract just enough to provide a work around for a bad solder joint or possibly ‘unfreeze’ a stuck component (No pun intended). Hard drives are manufactured very different than ‘back in the day’, with tighter tolerances, different materials and of course built with every cost cutting measure possible.


Lifehack Article

Upon further Googling you will see much more reliable information on how and why this is *not* a good idea if your hard drive contains valuable information.The responses on the Lifehack article were overwhelmingly negative. This is just not a viable technique for recovering data from current hard drives. To the contrary, it could actually make matters much worse due to condensation forming on the platters of the hard drive. If the hard drive is powered up, and the heads run across the platter in which moisture is present, you’re almost guaranteed to suffer a catastrophic head crash. (This is where the media has been damaged beyond recovery). If you have a hard drive that for whatever reason is dead, *and* there is not critical data on the drive you could always try this hack.

As a professional data recovery company representative, in good faith I would *never* suggest anyone try this if there is data with any value whatsoever on the hard drive. If your hard drive contains critical data, err on the side of caution and send it to a professional data recovery company. You could very well cause irreparable damage to the hard drive making it unrecoverable even by the professionals. We do understand that in some cases, the costs and prices for data recovery exceed the value of your data. Only you can determine the value of your data and what risks you are willing to take. The hard drive freezer trick is one risk I wouldn’t take.

Tap With a Hammer?

For that matter, there is also a another downright unbelievable myth/misconception that you can lightly tap the hard drive with hammer…  I can’t stress enough that that is just a really, really bad idea. This too could ruin any chances of recovering your data and it simply amounts to hard drive abuse. If you’re wondering at all why that is an extremely bad idea, I’ll explain that in another post.