I have lost count the number of times I have been asked if you can freeze a hard drive to recover data.
When I have been asked this I have often shook my head in disbelieve that people would ever believe that putting anything electrical in to a freezer would fix it but having carried out a little research on the internet there does seem to be a lot of people claiming that if your hard drive is faulty, broken or fails then the freezer might well be the answer.
I can only imagine that the technique of putting your broken hard drive in the freezer causes some of the components to expand, just like liquid does when it is frozen, and make contact or loosen up to move correctly.
I of course would not want to recommend that you go and freeze your hard drive unless I had tried the technique myself and knew for definite that it worked. For that reason yesterday I decided to try this theory out for myself.
I actually had an old computer which contained a failed Seagate hard drive so I figured that this would be ideal for my test. The last time the computer worked correctly the hard drive had begun making some really loud clicking noises consistently and did sound healthy at all. Then one day I went to switch the computer on and it would not boot. Having tried several time and been presented with either a black screen or a blue screen I placed the computer in the garage and it has not been used since. At best I received an onscreen message stating that the primary hard drive could not be found.
Removing the hard drive from a computer is a pretty easy task and requires nothing more than the untightening of a few screws.
Once you have the hard drive removed from your computer it is important that you place it in a sealed zip lock bag or a sealed freezer bag. The reason that you must do this is to avoid any moisture getting into the hard drive and damaging it further.
On my first attempt at this I put the hard drive in the freezer and left it there for a good two hours before removing it and trying it in my old PC Computer. I was actually amazed to see the computer boot up just like it was new. It still made a slight clicking noise but it had booted up all the same.
Unfortunately the freezing of the hard drive was only a temporary fix as the next day when I went to turn the computer on I was once again presented with a black screen and a notice saying that the computer was unable to access or find any bootable device.
I did wonder whether this was anything to do with the hard drive defrosting so I decided to try the hard drive in the freezer only for longer this time.
I removed the hard drive from the computer once again, placed it in the sealed freezer bag and then into the freezer. This time I left the hard disk in the freezer for just over 3 days. After the 3 days I once again tried the drive in the computer and once it again it sprang back into life.
This time I managed to use the computer for 8 days before it decided to give up once again.
I could not begin to tell you how or why putting a hard drive in the freezer works but it does to a certain degree.
While putting your broken or failed hard drive in the freezer is certainly not a permanent fix for hard drive problems that you may be having it does certainly appear, in my opinion, allow you short term access to your hard drive so that you can recover any files or data that you might have on it and need to save. Once you have done this you can then look at replacing your broken or failed hard drive.
While a new hard drive obviously costs money at least you can take satisfaction in knowing that you have saved a lot of money by not having to hire an expert to recover your lost data and files.
Who would have ever thought that a hard drive in a freezer would help you recover your lost files or data?
For more information on hard drive recovery and file recovery checkout our other article here.