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  1. #1
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    Ever freeze a bad hard drive in your freezer? I have question.

    I have an IDE Seagate Momentus, 2005, from HP Pavilion laptop that suddenly had a bad sector. Things went from bad to worse and now Windows XP SP2 won't boot from it even in safe mode. I took it to my local computer repair place. They use Linux. They recovered some folders, some .docs and some of my .dbx files from Outlook Express but not all. I am missing some really really important work stuff - .doc files, .dbx files. I have limited knowledge.

    Aside from all that, a friend told me you can put a bad disk in the freezer and then it will boot. Can anyone give me detailed instructions? How long in the freezer, and anything else I need to know to try this?

    Thank you -
    Kelliann (PS if this is the wrong forum, please move this or let me know and I will re-do it elsewhere)

  2. #2
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    With your description of the problem, don't even consider freezing it, it won't help and it'll certainly hinder any later attempts at data recovery.

    There's a chance you could recover further data with other recovery tools/methods but you'll end up with raw data - not files you can do anything with.

  3. #3
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    As Satrow said it is a fallacy that freezing the drive will do anything at all. Only data recovery tools have a chance and if your computer repair shop can only recover some files but not all it likely not possible to do more as it is very likely some data has been overwritten during attempts to get it working.

    This is where backups come in. If you had backed up your important stuff in another drive or memory stick or CD's you would not have lost your data. if you also did image backups you could just have bought a new drive and restored everything to your new drive without loss of anything.
    If you do get yourself running again i suggest you backup your important stuff every day. and image your drive to another hard drive (can be external HDD) every time you install anything new or get updated with windows updates.
    If the drive then fails it is only 30 minutes to get back to where you were.
    Last edited by curiousclive; 2012-01-31 at 17:17.
    Clive

    All typing errors are my own work and subject to patents pending. Except errors by the spell checker. And that has its own patients.

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    There used to be a theory that if you lost the pin for your car stereo leaving it in the freezer overnight would freeze the chip storing the pin and stop it from asking.

    guess what?

    A lot of people found themselves buying new car radios.

    Freezers server only two useful purposes - keeping oven chips frozen and keeping pizzas frozen.

    .

  5. #5
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    No Clive, I didn't say it was a fallacy - the 'freezer trick' actually works very well but under very limited circumstances (which do NOT apply here).

    I've successfully recovered data from 2 drives (the only 2 I've ever chilled) with the freezer trick, the first was a drive with a startup/sleep problem (sticky spindle?), the second had a major component on the controller board smoking within seconds of power being applied. In each case there was a lot of research done before the decision was made.

    Kelliann1 - don't do it.

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    Hmmm... ok. Someone I know actually did do it and said it did work. Must have been a fluke. But she's the head of IT for a corporation.

  7. #7
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    So IOW it has to be a mechanical problem for the freezer trick to work?

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    I have a friend with a failing disk, computer wouldn't boot. She stuck in the freezer for a while, connected it as an additional dribe and it worked long enough to allow the recovery of all needed files.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelliann1 View Post
    So IOW it has to be a mechanical problem for the freezer trick to work?
    No, read my previous post.

    But there's no way the freezer trick will help if there are bad blocks, any data that you couldn't rescue before will be because the data was on a damaged area of the disk surface - much of that data may be recoverable still - but it could take a lifetime or two to put it back into a usable format.

    My experience suggests that the freezer trick is only useful for a tiny percentage of problem drives - and then it must be the very last thing to try because it greatly reduces any further recovery method's chances of success.

  10. #10
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    Satrow - this is very helpful.

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    I have frozen a locked-up harddrive and had it work long enough to transfer data to a good drive. The idea is to cause the metal to shrink enough to unstick a read-write arm or other part. Of course, you have to seal it in a plastic bag to prevent moisture from freezing inside the drive. Tech Republic once published an article a number of years ago of 200 ways to revive a harddrive - none of them guaranteed, but some work under specific conditions (if you'd like a copy I'll gladly send you one - it's about 500KB). Bad sectors cannot be changed by freezing. And a few bad sectors don't usually cause your problem. In any case, you need a bootable disk. Do you have a Win7 install disk? Then you need someone who knows how to use the commands in Windows Recovery environment. From there you should be able to recover all your data if you know where it's stored. The data you want may be corrupted which is why the repair place couldn't download it. In that case, a professional data restore company is your only choice if your data is worth that much. Good luck.

  12. #12
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    gwills --Thank you for letting me know about the 200 ways article. I went looking for that document at TechRepublic but had trouble finding it, although I found references to it in an article. I googled and found it is on numerous sites and downloaded it from this one http://www.hddrecovery.com.au/PDF/200ways.pdf This site has a number of articles that were of interest. In the 200 ways pdf I found a link to data recovery software - this is the link to the Windows section - http://www.hddrecovery.com.au/DR_Windows_RS.html Perhaps this will help others too.

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