Flooded Hard drive

Posted on 2006-12-01
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
My son was caught in a downpour and his laptop was completely water logged (dripping out the case).  He made the mistake of trying to start it before drying it out.  It will now boot to BIOS but the hard drive seems to be dead.  I tried putting it into another computer but the BIOS couldn't even see it.  I also tried to run Spinrite 6.0 on it and nothing.  The HD is a Hitachi Travelstar 40GB.  My question is: 1.  if the HD shorted out could there still be undamaged data on the platters? and 2.  is there any way this thing could be brought back to life long enough to retrieve several documents?
Question by:stevelucas
LVL 42

Accepted Solution

zephyr_hex (Megan) earned 250 total points
ID: 18057326
if the drive is not being recognized in BIOS, then it is dead.  your only option is perhaps a professional data recovery service, which is upwards of $1000.

i am assuming you have tried more than 1 cable and more than 1 computer to detect the drive.  if BIOS does not see it, it is dead.

Expert Comment

ID: 18057926
Physical platters should be ok.  Contact DTI or another data recovery company and they should be able to get the data off it for you...
Water probably didn't damage the platters themselves, and most recovery company won't charge if they can't get anything.

As always, a lesson for sound backup and restore strategy.  

LVL 92

Assisted Solution

nobus earned 250 total points
ID: 18059021
if you need data recovery, use gillware (much cheaper, and an excellent record for data recovery :
>>  1.  if the HD shorted out could there still be undamaged data on the platters?  <<  Yes, the data should be unchanged
>>  2.  is there any way this thing could be brought back to life long enough to retrieve several documents?  <<  difficult to tell without more info and tests. if the case  was not flooded, you may have only a bad logic board.  On older drives, they were replaceable, but no guarantee it will work in your case.
 Look here  :

Expert Comment

ID: 18059229
I guess u're HDD is hopeless (since it's not seen in bios).
LVL 16

Expert Comment

ID: 18059361
Do you hear some noise/ spindel rotation/ when you start up computer with damaged drive?
Do you hear so click /head parking/ when you shut down computer? If both yes it look like that servo motor and some elekronik not dead, you can try to test dik yourself. If you hear nothing and no vibration then you have no chance to do it yourself.  Profi can bye the same Harddrive model and change only plates or electronic. Don't start any recovery softwarw in repair mode yourself, please, if you not exactly understood what happend with your disk.
Do you you know that you can connect the "small" hard drive as second harddrive to the "big" computer? You need only adapter.

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