Local News

Recover Hard Drive Data From Your Drowning Computer

Posted September 22, 1999

— Flood waters damaged or destroyed a lot of computers. Most computers, monitors and printers will have to be replaced. But what about the data, all those important files stored on the hard drive?

It is always best, when a disaster threatens, to remove the equipment to a safe place, and copy important files to be stored away from the storm area.

But once the storm strikes, nothing could be worse for electronic equipment than being submerged in muddy water.

Computers submerged in the grime are probably a total loss. But information stored on the hard drive may be so valuable that a recovery effort might be undertaken, particularly for businesses.

One local company was faced with the task of retrieving data for the city of Greenville from about 1,000 different computers.

For an individual trying to recover information, the first thing to do is make sure the computer is unplugged. Do not turn on the computer if you want to save the data. Water and mud can cause circuits to blow out, destroying data permanently.

Hard drives must be removed from inside the computer as quickly as possible. Important parts are sealed, but even those seals could leak. And if water gets in the hard drive, it damages the platters which store your data.

Do not try to open the hard drive or dry it out. Put it into a plastic bag with a wet rag on top.

The hard drive can then be sent to a recovery company which might be able to retrieve the information, a $1,000+ undertaking. But time is critical.

Data recovery companies advertise online, and some offer diagnostic programs.


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