If you’ve ever been the victim of a house fire, you understand what a mess it can create. But interestingly enough, a lot of the mess can be attributed to the actions used to extinguish the fire, versus the fire itself. In particular, the spraying of water and other firefighting liquids can create a wet soggy environment which is definitely not friendly for electronic devices such as your computer or the hard disk drive that resides inside.
Recovering data from hard drives which have been exposed to heat, fire, and water is not as exponentially difficult as some data recovery companies may lead you to believe. Even a hard drive as badly burnt as the one below was a fairly easy recovery for our skilled data recovery technicians located in Toronto. Notice the difference in color due to the soot and smoke, as well as the melted PCB and plastic connectors.
But what really determines if the data will be recoverable or not? We can replace melted PCBs. We can replace damaged head assemblies. We can rebuild missing NVRAM data. But it is the condition of the disks or platters that are most important when determining the chances of successfully recovering the data on any damaged hard drive. In most of the fire cases we see, the hard drive’s pressure equalization valve and lid seal are successful in protecting the disks from exposure to the fire or fire retardant liquids. In those where the seal was penetrated we may find some water residue which can usually be cleaned successfully.
And when we open this fire burned drive, we see a pristine gleaming disk with no apparent water, soot, or other residues being present. And as is typical with most house fires the heat was not severe enough to warp or bend the disk(s) in anyway. So once we replaced or rebuild the damaged components we were able to get the hard drive functioning long enough to create a sector by sector image of the hard disk drive. We then successfully recovered all the client’s files from this image.
Not all recoveries are as simple as this burn victim, but our extensive expertise allows us to successfully recover data from over 90% of the burned hard drives we receive for data recovery. If your hard drive is the victim of fire and you need your data recovered, we would recommend that you seal the disk drive in a zip lock baggie as soon after the fire as possible. This will prevent any water residues from evaporating and leaving mineral deposits on the disk surfaces which may hamper our recovery attempts. And remember, even if things look grim, we can often put a smile back on your face. www.memofixdatarecovery.com