Dealing with a Water-Damaged Hard Drive

During the cold South African winter months we are often reminded just how small we truly are when the heavens open up and the rain comes plummeting down. Due to the massive storms, we often experience the overflowing of river banks that then force the water to rush down towards the houses, destroying just about everything in its path. This brings about a great potential for data loss through hard drive damage of both personal computers and business servers.

Besides the natural disasters, smaller problems such as dodgy plumbing can also result in the drives that store your most valuable information becoming completely submerged in unforgiving water. Although your drives may be physically damaged, thanks to the experience and strategies of Data First, the data on these drives can usually still be recovered, given that the correct precautions are taken.

This leads us to one of the most asked questions when it comes to water damaged hard drives: to dry, or not to dry?

Your first and most logical reaction would be to whip out the hair dryer and make sure that not a single drop of water inside the drive survives, but this is most definitely not what you should do. As paradoxical as this may sound there are two main reasons why drying the drive makes the life of the data recovery professionals a whole lot more difficult.

Water contains contaminants such as minerals which will leave behind residue once the water has dried. Due to the incredibly delicate nature of a hard drive, this residue can easily damage the hard drive’s platters, making recovery next to impossible. The second reason why one shouldn’t attempt to dry the drive by using a hair dryer or by simply leaving it out in the sun, is due to the fact that heat can also potentially damage the delicate platters of the drive.

Another somewhat logical reaction to a water damaged drive would be to open it up yourself, in order to remove the water and assess the damage. Unless you have professional experience in the inner workings of a hard drive, this should not be attempted at any cost. All it takes is a tiny speck of dust to damage the extremely sensitive platters of the drive, damaging the data beyond recovery.

The correct steps to take when attempting to recover data from a water-damaged drive will be to simply wrap the drive in a paper towel, which will soak up the excess water from the outside of the case. Keeping the drive in the paper towel, place it in a sealable plastic bag, removing as much of the air as possible. This will ensure that the drive doesn’t become dry on the inside.

Time is of the essence, contact Data First as quickly as possible, and our professionals will assist you in the steps to come.

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