Freeze a clicking hard drive to recover data

Freeze your hard drive to recover data: Recovering data from a clicking hard drive can be a touch and go task. In most cases, a clicking hard drive signifies that the drive is stuck in seek mode and is a sign that your drive is failing. In most cases, if the clicking hard drive contains the operating system you boot from, you will lose the ability to boot from this device (it will just sit there clicking away) and the drive will appear to be dead. In which case, many people assume the drive is shot and data cannot be retrieved.

However, what most people don't know is that properly freezing a clicking (failing) drive can enable you to quickly backup the important data. Here is how the process works:

How to backup data from a clicking hard drive:

  1. First, remove the clicking hard drive from your computer and place it in a ziplock bag (to prevent condensation)
  2. Insert clicking drive into a Ziplock Bag

  3. Place the zip-locked hard drive in the freezer for an hour
  4. Freeze the Harddrive

  5. Have a backup storage device handy such as an external USB hard drive or large flashdrive
  6. Remove the hard drive from the freezer and immediately reconnect it to your computer. Important: The drive does not need to be mounted in the carriage, however, make sure the hard drive is resting on a flat surface. The picture below does not portray this.
  7. Connect the frozen drive to your computer

  8. Attempt to boot your computer again. In most cases, the drive will boot right up. In other cases it may take a few attempts.
  9. Once booted, connect your backup device and attempt to "copy" the information you wish to retrieve over to the USB backup storage device

Note: You will only have a 15-20 minute window within which to completely backup your data. This is the typical thaw time, which may vary depending on environmental heat factors.