A Simple Trick to Try on a Failed Hard Drive to Get Your Data Off It

If you have a computer hard drive that failed, you should try putting it in the freezer inside a plastic bag for about 20 minutes.  After that, immediatley put it back into your computer. This may sound ridiculous, but sometimes that will cause it to work long enough for you to copy your data to another drive.  Repeat as necessary until you’ve got all your data off.


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  • I would not try this method personally. A hard drive head has a ‘wing’ on it that allows it to skim the surface of the disc. If you lower the air pressure (via cold temperature) then the head has a better chance of crashing into the disc. This can damage the head and the disc.

    • Daven Hiskey

      I actually am an expert in this field (master’s degree and a lot of experience) and I can say that you should try this method (it really does work sometimes). If the hard drive isn’t working anyway, there is very little to lose here. If the trick works, you get your data back. If not, you’ve lose nothing that you hadn’t already lost.

  • Chilling a bad disk drive drew two comments:
    one said reduced pressure leads to lower head flying height – don’t do it. The other said “give it a try”. The reason why the second comment is correct and the first incorrect is this:
    disk drives are not hermetically sealed. Chilling them increases the air density which flies the head a little HIGHER over the surface.

  • You lose the hope you had that this method would work. 😛

  • our hard drive at the office failed, and we read about the thing called “deep freeze” method in the internet.
    we were hesitant to try it, because it might moist and cause more damage.
    but we badly needed the files on that drive so we had no choice but to try a similar way. we taped the drive on the air-conditioning system, set it in the highest level, left it for an hour. then minutes later, the hard drive worked normally.