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Dead hard drive is only mostly dead
Dead hard drive is only mostly dead

How to Salvage a Clicking Hard Drive

Today my wife's laptop started acting up. It kept saying that there was some sort of problem, rebooting, fixing things and then coming back to life. Definitely not a good sign.

When I got home today she told me that it was making a clicking noise occasionally but was working.

I knew that hard drives and clicking are a very bad combination so I was going to confirm that everything was backed up when the computer rebooted again and went to a screen asking if I wanted to fix problems. I knew that it wasn't a software issue so I tried to reboot to get back in to Windows to see if there was anything the backup had missed.

Unfortunately, the hard drive started clicking again and the screen just went black. At this point I went searching the Internet for possible fixes and everything pointed to a circuit board swap out that would require me sending in the hard drive or trying to replace the innards with another hard drive. Everything I read said that I would need clean room conditions to avoid destroying everything.

Then I remembered that a coworker told me that he had once saved a hard drive in the same condition by freezing it. I figured I didn't have anything to lose so I popped out the hard drive, stuck it in the freezer for half an hour and then put it back in the laptop.

Guess what? The laptop booted right up. I stuck an ice pack under the hard drive for good measure while I created a rescue disk and got the last of my wife's files off the computer.

Now I just need to reinstall Windows, restore everything from Sugarsync and we'll be back in business. Thanks to a coworker and an improbable save by the freezer and an ice pack.

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