Back in 2002 I lost a hard drive that contained some pictures of an Earl Scruggs concert that I attended in Eminence, Missouri, a Ralph Stanley concert in Madison, Wisconsin, and The Osborne Brothers in Woodstock, Illinois in addition to a bunch of family pictures as well. Needless to say, stupid move not having it backed up. The drive failed in such a way as to lead me to believe it was a mechanical failure. I tried some recovery utilities at the time to no avail so I placed in in a desk drawer figuring that some day I would have the money to send it to a data recovery service.
Last week in a conversation with a friend about banjo playing I lamented my long lost pictures on this drive and he mentioned that someone had recently told him that some drive failure problems can be overcome by freezing the drive. He did a little research and found that this was a fairly common recommendation so he tried it and worked for his failed drive. As soon as I got home I dug out my long failed drive from it’s hom in my desk drawer placed in it a ziploc bag and popped it into the freezer. I left the drive in the freezer for almost two days until I had time to test it to see if the freezing had any affect.
I pulled it out of the freezer early Saturday morning, installed it in my PC, and wonder of wonders the drive worked! The view with File Explorer was useless but at least the OS recognized the drive. With the use of a recovery tool, R-Studio, I was able to recover many, but not all of the files from the drive. It took the better part of a day for the tool to locate the files in the mess that was the drive but in the end it worked.
Here are a couple of the pictures that were recovered:
Unfortunately I was unable to recover the lost Earl Scruggs and Ralph Stanley pictures. Ever since the loss of this drive I back-up everything in multiple locations.
So if you have a hard drive failure it might be worth freezing your drive. I’m not entirely certain exactly why it worked but am very thankful that it did.