Water Damage and Data Recovery

There is no such thing as a waterproof hard drive, which means if your hard drive does come into contact with water, data recovery can prove to be very tricky indeed.

As you’re probably aware, water and electronics don’t mix well. But water coming into contact with any other electrical device, like a lamp for example, will usually only require a quick fix to get back up and running. But a hard drive contains intricate parts that are incredibly easily damaged by water. If you also consider that very often, data is priceless, the last thing you want is your hard drive getting wet. Water damage can occur due a variety of reasons, from spilt drinks to leaky rooves and floods. But regardless of the situation, if you want a good chance of seeing your data again, there are a number of things you need to do.

The most important thing to remember when your hard drive is water-damaged is that time is not on your side, and you need to address the issue as soon as possible. The longer you leave it, the less chance of a successful data recovery. Don’t assuming that simply leaving the hard drive and hoping it will power up fine in a few days will work – it won’t!

It might sound counterintuitive, but don’t try to immediately drive your water-damaged hard drive. Using a direct source of heat like a hairdryer or the sun is could potentially damage the hard drive’s magnetic platters, making data recovery difficult or next to impossible. You should also not attempt to rinse your hard drive, even though that might seem like something that needs to be done. All water contains particles, whether it’s minerals in tap water or sediment in flood water. Drying the hard drive out will cause these particles to stick to the platter, meaning when you go to power it up, the drive could suffer a head crash. Because a hard drive’s read/write heads are situated mere nanometres above the magnetic platters, even the tiniest particle left over can cause a head crash. Attempting to rinse your hard drive without the proper tools or expertise will almost always jeopardise the chance of a successful data recovery. Instead, you should wrap the hard drive in a paper towel and place it in an airtight bag – leave the rest to the data recovery professionals.

Hard drives are assembled in controlled conditions, so you shouldn’t attempt to open the hard drive. Doing this will expose the sensitive magnetic platters – where your precious data is stored – again jeopardising the chance of a successful data recovery. Our data recovery technicians disassemble all hard drives in a Class 100 clean room, which replicates the contaminant-free environment the hard drive would have been assembled in.

Data Recovery