Ever had that moment when you are right in the middle of working on something super important, and all of a sudden you hear a nasty power down and reload of your drive, heard the spooky “tick wurr” on a drive, or has is stopped completely(Sony Vaio VGN-FZ battery)?

Dont throw it away just yet!

Follow up:

First, before we continue, I want to assure you that what I'm about to speak about is not as risky as it sounds, however, please be sure to follow these instructions; I have done this three times and had success on each one(Sony VGP-BPS8 battery).

Second, This is is a last resort, and only do this if your drive is having head crashes (the tick wurr) and or is completely stopping and starting again(Sony VGP-BPL9 battery).

A little history on thermodynamics; and how heat and cold affect things:

I'm sure you have seen before when working delicate garments how it says specific instructions for wash, such as hot water only, or similar. Maybe you've seen how bridges tend to expand and contract throughout the seasons(Sony VGP-BPL11 battery). This is all part of physics. Heat causes things to expand, such as a delicate shirt, but since its fiber has already been stretched, it can only shrink, thus why it says do not wash in cold water. Same thing happens to bridges(Sony VGP-BPL15 battery), however bridges are given gaps in crucial points to allow bending and moving without causing the bridge to fall

This same pattern applies within a hard drive. Though a hard drive does not have many moving parts (2 to be exact), these parts must continue to move(Sony VGN-FZ460E battery), or be able to move throughout the life of the device. If a device begins to get too hot, the metal will expand, putting stress on the motor's internals. Notedly, heat, itself puts a lot of stress on an electrical motor, and it generates enough in itself(SONY VAIO VGN-FZ4000 Battery). By applying the extreme inverse of this, and applying cold to a harddrive, the metal will contract, giving the moving parts enough 'wiggle' room to move. However, these things also rely on a lubricant to keep parts moving, too much cold will cause the lubricant to freeze up worse than having heat on the drive(Sony VGP-BPS13 battery).

Congrats, you know why your ring falls off your finger when its getting cold out, or why your finger swells when its too hot(Sony Vaio VGN-FZ21M battery ).

The real trick. (And the tools you'll need)

So.. you've got this dead drive right? and its (obviously) got something important on it that you need back. First, you need to get yourself a new drive, at least the same size, or larger(Sony VGN-FZ150E battery). You'll also need a system which you can plug both devices into (a running system and an external usb hard drive enclosure will also work), so that you can copy data. Also, you will need 2 Zip lock bags (small freezer bags are the best), 1 Drink straw and, a consumer type freezer (one you'd commonly find in a house or apartment, maybe a small office) (Sony VGN-FZ15 battery).

Wait.. dont close this yet... yes, you read that right, a freezer. Applying the knowledge above, you can get your drive working long enough to recover your data, providing this is followed(Sony VGN-FZ15L battery).

Take your dead drive, and put it in one ziplock bag. place the straw inside the seam of the bag, and seal the bag to edge of the straw. pinching the remainder of the opening with your fingers, pick up the drive, and suck all of the air out of the bag(Sony Vaio VGN-FZ18M battery). you may need to plug the straw with your tongue to get as much air out of it as you can. The less air you have in the bag, the less likely it is that moisture is to form as we know, moisture is not electricities friend(Sony VGN-FZ15T battery).  Once you've gotten as much air out as you can, pinch the seam of the bag tightly as you continue to suck the air out, pulling the straw out at the same time, to seal the bag completely(Sony VGN-FZ480E battery).

Place this bag inside the other ziplock back, and do the same. Place the bags and drive in the freezer for at minimum 25-35 minutes, and no more than 1 hour at a time. As soon as you have removed the drive from the frezer, and the bags, attach the drive to the system and boot it up(Sony VGN-FZ61B battery). When you start this system up, ensure that it has booted by both physically feeling the drive and checking bios or similar.

With luck, you should have a drive working long enough to copy data. Note however, that I have done this on a 120GB Western Digital that would spindown completely and lock(Sony VGN-FZ31E battery). Placing it in the freezer for 30-45 minutes at a time. Taking it out, putting it in the system, copying the data via linux cp or dd (rsync will work too if you must), until the drive would lock again, and repeating the process(Sony VGN-FZ340E battery).

Total time for this process is around 4 hours. Keep in mind that this is not always going to work, but is most certainly worth the try if your other options have not turned out as you expected(Sony VGN-FZ180E battery).




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