You are sitting at your computer working on an important project, unbeknownst to you, your air conditioner has been leaking water inside your ceiling. Bubbles are forming above your head, and splash! Gallons of water pour down, soaking you and your computer. Ok, I know, this scenario is highly unlikely. Instead, maybe you are sipping a cool beverage while working on an important document, and your toddler walks up to show you their favorite toy, tipping your drink over and into your computer. The point I am trying to make is, hard drives and liquids don’t make good company.
The question now remains, is it possible to fix a hard drive that has been damaged by liquids? The sad new is this, it is entirely likely for you to lose all of your valuable files, pictures and documents stored on your hard drive due to water damage. Accidental spills aren’t always the culprit. It can happen from a variety of water soaked situations, for example, floods, tornados, hurricanes and fires. Remember that these are often panic situations, and generally require emergency data recovery services.
The first step that needs to be understood in any of these situations is, time is of the essence. If your hard drive has been damaged by any liquid, you must get professional help as soon as possible in order to recover the important, if not priceless data stored on your hard drive. Once a hard drive has become wet, the damage can increase with time, exponentially. In essence, the longer you leave it wet, the worse it can become. See this article about recovering hard drives from water damage.
The first objective you should do with any electronic device that has been exposed to water is to shut the power off and disconnect it from its power source. Do not move the computer as the water can shift locations and cause irreparable harm to the hard drive. If possible, remove any water from the OUTSIDE of the machine.
Next, don’t dry your hard drive. I know that sounds counterproductive, naturally you should dry it off if it’s wet right? Wrong. Most people attempt to dry it using a technique that also heats the hard drive (i.e. a hair dryer, leaving it in the sun etc.) this can cause double trouble damage, making data recovery impossible. If you have a fan, that does not create or generate heat, you can use this to dry out your hard drive by setting it in front of the fan for an hour or so.
In addition, most water – regardless of its source – has particles and mineral contaminants that can stick to the hard drive, damaging it once it does dry. This can make data recovery difficult.
Do not attempt to open the hard drive to dry it off. This can expose extremely sensitive parts to airborne particles.
What you should do is, wrap the hard drive in a paper towel or cloth and insert it into an airtight bag, removing as much air from the bag as possible and take it to a professional post haste. If that option is not available to you, you can hook your hard drive up to another computer and copy any critical information and data to the fostering computer.
Water and liquids are a serious hazard to computers and hard drives. The good news is, in most cases liquid damaged hard drives can be recovered. However, this can come at a hefty sum depending on the damage and who you take it to. Regardless, the cost you pay to have it professionally repaired may well be worth it to recover your priceless files and information contained on your hard drive.