An electronic old wives tale proves true

Couperin47

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SoSH Member
I haven't experienced an actual hard drive failure in decades. I have 5 Windows boxes here, all self built except the last, a Lenovo Mini-tower ThinkCentre bought when the last i7's that could still run Win 8 were disappearing. At least 3 of the boxes still run regularly with a ton of WD and Toshiba HD going back well over 25 years. I think the smallest drives I still have active are WD 640 gig drives. They all just keep chugging along without any issues. Every box has their drives chkdsked and SMART tested roughly every 1-2 months.

So yesterday, I'm just browsing SoSH, as it happens, when Windows announces I have a drive dying. Of course it's the absolutely newest drive, in the Lenovo...and the only drive I have that is bigger than 2 Tb: a 2014 Toshiba 3 Tb 7200rpm. There are no noises whatever or vibration. It can't be chkdsked and is jamming up the OS completely forcing me to shut down. I pull the drive out of the box because I own a USB 3.0 SATA dock so I can work in the drive externally. There is nothing else wrong with the box, no infections, it's fine. Fortunately it's the only rust spinner in the box and is not crucial: mainly it holds my backups and my archive of software.

Connected externally it gets scanned and then reports it cannot identify a drive and fails. It is clearly running but remains dead silent and zero vibration. Having now changed all the connects and changed ports, it's clearly the drive. Real data recovery costs more than anything on the drive. I am finally reminded of the old wives tale, usually used on drives with obvious mechanical issues and noise...but wtf nothing to lose before I toss it. Insert the drive in one of the heavy mylar lined bags sugar substitutes are sold in (tighter and less permeable than normal zip baggies) and insert drive in my freezer. 6 hours later I put it back in the external dock (laid on it's side so condensation doesn't drip down to the SATA connectors) and power it on. 3 minutes later on 5th attempt the drive reappears and acts absolutely normal for 25 mins while I copy off files. All dead silent. Then it dies again. Back in the freezer for 3 hours. This time on 3rd attempt it's back and I get most of what's left on the drive copied before it dies again.

Whatever made this drive crap out was not mechanical, obviously. The drive has had very low usage, while 'on' it generally only had something written or read from it no more than once a week. If you run out of ideas or options with a dead drive...it's actually worth a shot to freeze it...carefully.
 

Harry Hooper

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Jan 4, 2002
26,969
What type of freezer?
There's a Sub-Zero punchline in there somewhere, but I couldn't compile it.


I have an OCZ SSD that went haywire. Should I try putting it in the freezer? [/kidding]


In my experience the freezer resuscitation has worked about 35-40% of the time.
 

Couperin47

Member
SoSH Member
What type of freezer?
If you're an Apple/Mac person you will need to give it to a Genius as only specially certified MacFreon powered refrigeration equipment can produce the exact temperature force field necessary for resurrection.

If you're a Windows or Linx person, you just fuckin need to get it cold.
There's a Sub-Zero punchline in there somewhere, but I couldn't compile it.


I have an OCZ SSD that went haywire. Should I try putting it in the freezer? [/kidding]


In my experience the freezer resuscitation has worked about 35-40% of the time.
The Old OCZ decided for profit margins to keep it alive they would eschew any quality control, with predictable results. Toshiba was stupid enough to buy the wreckage and the products they shipped using the name were fine, but they finally figured out they had bought a brand name with negative brand equity....
 

The_Powa_of_Seiji_Ozawa

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SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2006
6,003
SS Botany Bay
If you're an Apple/Mac person you will need to give it to a Genius as only specially certified MacFreon powered refrigeration equipment can produce the exact temperature force field necessary for resurrection.
It worked better back when Steve Jobs was alive, when it was called iFreon and was included with the AppleCare box.
 

LoweTek

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May 30, 2005
1,674
Central Florida
There's a Sub-Zero punchline in there somewhere, but I couldn't compile it.


I have an OCZ SSD that went haywire. Should I try putting it in the freezer? [/kidding]


In my experience the freezer resuscitation has worked about 35-40% of the time.
I put a dead motherboard from an old laptop in the oven a few weeks ago. I think it was 10 minutes at 350 and then cool it with a fan. It came back to life but only lasted about two weeks.
 

JerBear

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Nov 11, 2006
1,365
Turner, ME
I put a dead motherboard from an old laptop in the oven a few weeks ago. I think it was 10 minutes at 350 and then cool it with a fan. It came back to life but only lasted about two weeks.
That was also a short-term fix for dead PS3s. Would do a good enough job reflowing solder to revive long enough to backup