I was just doing my normal routines when I first get on my computer. When I decided it was about time to watch an episode from a new series I have gotten into. Clicked on the little hard drive icon located on my docky, and my entire Ubuntu OS just froze... well except for the fact my CPU was now churning at 100% system usage and nothing was happening. I then turned off my computer not thinking about why that could have happened.
When I turned on my computer I heard the sound.... CLICK... CLICK.... CLICK... I first thought of my raid 0 array that I have gotten really lazy in backing up. I unplugged them, then attempted to boot the computer with just my storage drives. "CLICK... CLICK...". At least it wasn't my expensive raptors... but my backup disks! Turns out it was my 8 year old 80GB Western Digital ribbon cable hard drive. To take from a StarCraft quote... "Hell... It's about time." That thing is ancient. It was about time for it to go.
But it has data on it!
It wouldn't be the end of the world if this particular drive was never resurrected. It would also be sad to lose the 65GB of data that it stored. I had two options.
- Open the drive up, attempt to see if there is any way to fix the read head.
- Freeze it.
Journey to the snow tipped mountain
I wasn't about to open up a hard drive. I took the drive, stuck it into a zip-lock baggie and placed it carefully in the freezer door. Left it there overnight too.
A new hope
The next day I took the drive out and let it warm up inside a paper towel. Since it was cold, and its humid in Texas, the condensation quickly started to form on the drive. I wanted to wait until all of the water had evaporated before placing it back into the computer.
A few hours later...
Plugged it into the computer.
Crossed my fingers.
I almost couldn't believe my eyes! Freezing the hard drive actually FIXED it! I was able to copy all of my data off of the hard drive, and it has been running fine all day. No clicking at all!
I'm not going to trust the hard drive to store my data any longer, however I am now a believer that freezing your hard drive fixes it long enough to get your data back!
A miracle, or just fancy science
The theory is that when metal gets cold it contracts. This contraction causes the metal in the hard drive to contract back to its original position. Giving you just long enough to get the data before the metal heats back up and deforms itself again.
The hard drive bit the dust 7 hours later. Good run considering most reports they only last about 20 minutes. Western Digital makes some damn good hard drives.