Common data recovery myths and misconceptions

The sudden discovery of a hard drive that isn’t working can lead people to try DIY solutions to fix it based on things they’ve heard from friends or the internet. Many misconceptions regarding data recovery have spread over the years, and the danger is that they can ruin the often slim chance that a professional might have to recover the data on the drive.

A common myth is that hitting a hard drive will magically fix it. This myth is no different than thinking a quick drop on the floor can fix it. You wouldn’t consider dropping a hard drive to get it to miraculously come back to life, so hitting the drive with a blunt object will not fix it. Doing this may make the situation much worse and in the worst cases actually make it impossible for a data recovery company to perform a recovery.

The ‘freeze your hard drive’ myth is equally as old. The idea associated with this myth is that freezing the drive causes the components to shrink, and when they are warmed to room temperature, they will expand again releasing parts like the spindle from being stuck in a certain position.

While it’s true that freezing your drive may release a stuck spindle, extremely low temperatures can cause irreversible platter damage leading to irreversible data loss. In addition to this, freezing a drive in somewhere like a home freezer can cause moisture to enter the drive, increasing chances of data loss even further.

Clean rooms are areas where hard drive manufacturers and data recovery companies use to work. Clean rooms remove all the damaging particles in the air protecting the platters from being exposed to dust particles. Clean rooms cost a lot of money to install and maintain, so the idea that they can be set up in your home doesn’t make sense.

The apparent logic is that you can use steam to remove particles from the air, by closing the bathroom door and running a tap/ The steam that accumulates in the air picks up particles and causes them to stick to surfaces like the walls and mirrors. While this is true to an extent, smaller particles won’t be picked up. Professional clean rooms can get rid of most small particles in the air, as well as moisture. Setting up your own ‘clean room’ can lead to your hard drive getting wet, which can further damage it.