Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bad Data Recovery Ideas: Freezing Your Drive

This perennial piece of bad advice seems to be rearing its ugly head again as we’ve had a few customers recently tell us about this DIY fix…that didn’t work.

We decided to do a little digging on the issue to try to figure out where this information was coming from and why it remains so popular today.

First, a quick look on any search engine will reveal that this bit of wisdom is deeply ingrained in hard drive mythology. You should notice a few things right off the bat. One, all of the experts including us say this is a bad idea. Two, many of the posts espousing this solution are from 4-6 years ago.

The Problem: The rationales mentioned in most posts are not founded in hard drive fact. If and when this works it generally has nothing to do with the fact that it was frozen. Drives which have errors reinitialize, when they are restarted. What this means is that bad sectors which may have been causing a problem for the drive may be temporarily “overlooked” by the drive when it is restarted regardless of whether is was on the counter overnight or in the freezer. Freezing the drive has no effect on this process and can lead to other problems from the freezing itself. Some of these are, condensation from the freezer causing damage to platters or reading heads, increased thermal stress from starting in a cold environment and rapidly gaining heat.

Even the most generous estimates on drive life were about 20 minutes. Let’s say you have 320GB of information on a hard drive with all of your data, and you start backing up your precious files. Using a standard USB 2.0, a good estimation of how much you might be able to transfer is 8GB of information or approximately 2.5% of your drive’s capacity.

Truth be told, there are dozens of reasons why a drive may not recognize/boot properly or click. Freezing the drive could cause other more simple problems to become worse and you will have only succeeded in raising the cost of recovery or permanently losing your data.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer Data Safety Tip

With increased electrical usage and storms power outages are more common. Make sure that you have a surge protector (not just a power strip) where your devices are plugged in. Surge protectors which have built in battery backups are expensive, but a worthwhile investment.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pro Tip of The Day

Make sure that you have enough space around your computer equipment to allow for proper circulation and cooling. This is especially true during the hot summer months, overheating is a common cause of drive failure when the weather heats up.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Angie's List

Data Recovery New England is proud to announce that we have joined Angie's List.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Digital Voice Recorder

We had a successful recovery for a digital voice recorder. The first one we had ever worked on. It was quite an interesting challenge, but well worth the effort when we saw the mp3. files being recovered.

Friday, July 15, 2011

What kind of drive should I buy?

In our experience most drives on the market have been mediocre. If anything, the quality of the drives seems to be declining slightly this year. We have seen quite a few $300 drives fail within their first week of life, a couple the day after purchase.

As a result of this we always recommend that our customers purchase the drive which is least expensive based on the size they need. There does not seem to be an appreciable cost-benefit advantage for buying the more expensive models at this time. Of course, always backup your data regardless of the drive you buy, in the long run this will save you more money than any investment you initially make on a drive purchase.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tip of the Day

Backup, Backup, Backup...

Every hard drive ever made will die, even the one in the computer you're using to read this blog right now. It's an unfortunate fact of life, some will die of old age, others may suffer an accidental demise like dropping your laptop or if your house gets flooded.

So many of our customers thought it couldn't happen to them... until it did. Easy preventative measures can save you hundreds of dollars or even thousands in the worst cases.

It's best to have two extra copies of your data. There is your main data, i.e. the one in your computer, this is the original not a copy. A secondary physical copy, i.e. a flash drive or external hard drive that is close at hand can insure that if something happens you have quick and easy access to the spare, but is not helpful if something happens to the physical location you are in. A third copy which is stored at a different secure location will fill in this gap. This last, often overlooked piece is finally gaining popularity as more and more companies are offering online or offsite data backup and storage.