Freeze a HDD ? Will it work?

We have a HDD here that has some data that we consider relatively valuable, and I want to recover it.

The data was borked a fair while ago, when the last house we were at probably got hit by a surge, or lightning, or a bit of P2P perhaps.

Either way, the data is on it, it’s great. But we don’t want to lose our data, or all the cash in our wallets to get it done ($900 – $3000!!).

Anyway, I’ve spoken to my mate, maty, who does fantastic graphical designs, and discovered something.

He claims, you can freeze a hard drive in a zip lock bag, and you can run the drive for a good while to get data off it.
Google backs up his claim.
Maty also has some borked drives, and has removed the internals and got a drive working before.

So, what I plan to do is exactly that.
First, verify each drive is screwed. This will be done by booting, confirming clicking, and similar symptoms, followed by:

A test to confirm freezing works. Freeze for four hours, and copy around 300MB + of data from the drive.

A second test, to confirm internal swapping works, will be to swap the internals of the one drive, with the other, and continue a data recovery.

A third test, with the real media planned to be recovered, and this will be a frozen test only for a 4 hour test, as has been proven by many others.

Once testing has proven it valid, or otherwise, I’ll update here with exactly the process to do it, and how long it runs for, what the performance is like and so on.

Interestingly, the data recovery companies want to charge through the roof to surgically remove them in a 100 proof clean room or something like that.

Maty, claims to have done one in a standard room.

Whilst I want to approach this with caution, and will do (hence paying for broken HDDs), I don’t want to lose any of the data on that drive, so I’ll obviously treat this cautiously, and with a bail out the option, but on the plus side, if this works, then its of great benefit to those who have data, that isn’t financially valuable, but still carries equivilent values.

We simply can’t afford to spend money on recovering the data, it’s sat in my draw for a while now, and it came up in conversation, and fantastically enough, maty is very much useful. A fantastic person indeed, who time and time again is fantastic for information (just as is Google).

I always assumed clicking drive = borked, but with this information at hand, well, clicking drive = freezer / get the toolbox!

NOTICE: Recovering data using any methods exposed can cause severe data loss, just keep that in mind before you even attempt anything that is discovered, if in doubt, practice first. If in doubt, pay up or experiment with other drives experiencing the same symptoms.

If you cannot find a drive with same symptoms, make one. Generally a throw from the roof of a large apartment building should do it (and void the warranty at the same time, solving the other problem).

On that note, I love a good technical challenge, so I do hope this works, and more to it, I think it’ll be fun!

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