| By Fred Langa |
Having hard-drive trouble? Don’t panic! Odds are, there’s a fix.
If the CPU is your PC’s brain, then the hard drive is its heart, pumping necessary data throughout your system. Hard drive troubles are the PC equivalent of a heart attack, but the tips below will ensure that your data has a long life!
When to put your drive in the freezer
Unbelievable! It’s been a month, and the reader e-mails are still coming in about heat and cold, and their effects on various storage media. We first discussed “How to predict CDR and DVD-R longevity” in the Feb. 8 issue. We continued with “CD-Rs don’t survive freezing temperatures” in the Feb. 22 issue, and “Cold weather can damage hard drives” in the Mar. 1 issue. We then ran “Worldwide responses to CD longevity” in the Mar. 15 issue, which covered data tapes and flash drives.
But, there’s more — as this reader note from Ken Stewart suggests — beginning with a way that extreme cold can actually benefit an ailing hard drive:
- “Your article on hard drives having issues with cold temps brought to mind an old wives’ tale about freezing a bad hard drive, then trying to get it to work for one last time. This was a last-ditch effort to get a bad drive to come back to life one last time. I guess that was not a good idea after all. Do you know of any last-ditch method for getting a drive to come back from the dead?”
Clearly, these fixes run the risk of further damaging a drive. They truly are last-ditch efforts to be called upon only when you’ve already tried the normal drive fixes without success and have nothing left to lose. (We’ll come back to this in a moment.)
The freezing trick sometimes works because the mechanical contraction/expansion may help free up binding parts. Other times, the cold can help an aging, failingelectrical component to remain within specs for at least a few minutes — perhaps enough time for you to recover your essential data from the drive.