Hard Drive Recovery Trick

So, there you are, listening to hard drive grind away, when all the sudden you are presented with the Blue Screen of Death and your OS will not come back up. You have a bad hard drive. It happens, and usually you are left with only one option. Scrap the Hard Drive!

Take note that I said “grind away” above. This usually isn’t a good thing, and it means that something with the drive head is going wrong. Usually, from my experience, the standard measures used to extract data from a drive with this problem don’t work. You’re welcome to try though.

The standard measures I’m talking about involve utilities, like ones that can be found on Recovery Console. Fixboot, Fixmbr and chkdsk. Other utilities that are great for drives not experiencing physical failure are included on The Ultimate Boot CD. You will see me referencing this awesome set of utilities in many of my posts.

Ok, the standard measures didn’t work for this problem. So what happens when you have something on the failed drive that you need. What? Didn’t backup? Ooops! Well, there are services that can sometimes extract information from drives that experience failure. There is one small catch though, they cost money!
Want a possible solution that is more cost effective? Here’s what to do!

First of all, I want to mention that if your computer is covered under a warranty this will probably void it. So, if you want to maintain your warranty, then I don’t suggest you try this.

The first step in this process is to remove your failed hard drive from the computer. Place the hard drive in a zip lock bag and place it in your freezer over night! Sometimes this procedure can buy you a couple hours to extract your valuable data off of the drive. This is not a 100% guaranteed fix, but I have been successful with about half of the drives I have done this with.

I always hook the failed drive up as a slave, this is in case the OS is damaged. You don’t want to spend your limited time on trying to do a repair install of Windows. Hook the drive up, get your data and get out. I’ve managed to keep a drive going for over an hour using this method. One thing you could do is use a Drive to Drive Copy Utility, sometimes you won’t have enough time though.

One other trick I’ve done, when I didn’t have time to wait for the freezer, was to use canned air. I don’t recommend that you try this, but I made sure that I was in a well ventilated area, held the can upside down and continuously sprayed down the hard drive.
Canned Air describes the cooling effect I am talking about, in case you want to know more.

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