We humans don’t feel well unless we take precautions to protect ourselves from cold weather. How about our electronic devices…specifically hard drives? Can they survive in such extreme cold temperatures?

Cold Temps and your Hard Drive

Any fluid substance will freeze if it gets cold enough, and so do the lubricants inside a hard drive. When the hard drive goes to spin, the platters will not turn because the fluid inside isn’t tacky enough to allow for the platters to spin at their proper speed. As a result the drive won’t boot up and if it is spinning at the wrong speeds it could potentially corrupt the data on the hard drive. This is why hard drives have an operating temperature range listed.

Condensation and your Hard Drive

Another thing we need to take care of is condensation. Water and electronic components don’t mix. If you are bringing your hard drive indoors after being in the cold weather, avoid plugging it in right away and wait for your hard drive to come back to room temperature (for instance if it’s been in your car trunk, it will likely be very cold and needs time to come back up to room temp). Otherwise you run a big risk of having a major a data recovery problem on your hands.

It can result in a disastrous head crash, which is a major hard drive recovery job that requires a professional hard drive recovery service. There is a very low tolerance for a hard drive that is coming in from the cold that the components can withstand.  Any tiny contraction of materials can cause damage. If a cold drive contracts and the head contacts the platter major damage can be done.

Options After Hard Drive Damage Has Occurred

Hard drives under warranty can simply be replaced, however the contents on the drive cannot.  Your next best option is to find a reputable professional hard drive recovery service to recover your data.  They will have a sterile, dust free room called a Cleanroom to safely open the drive and get it back to a working state in order to get the data off the damaged drive.

How to Protect Your Hard Drives

Prevention is always better than finding a cure. The Data Rescue Center offers the best pricing and most reputable data recovery service in the industry.  However, preventing data loss in the first place is your best option.  Taking the preventative measures mentioned above and making sure you have a robust backup plan in place is your best plan of action.

Depending on if you are in a home or office environment, you have to improvise. If you have just received a new hard drive or computer and have no idea what the shipping conditions were, it would be a good idea to wait before spinning up the drive. In fact, built-in hard drives are harder to guess, since the machine offers some insulation for the drive, so the drive might take longer to get very cold and it will also take longer to return to room temperature. At last you have to use caution. Even if your laptop is cold, wait for it to warm up before you start it.

Additional Preventive Measures

You should keep your laptop running at all times to protect it from the extreme cold weather. You can change settings on your laptop so the hard drive will spin instead of shutting down, which will help keep the laptop warm and hard drive running.

Modern hard drives have a low operating temperature of 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) i.e.the freezing point of water. The majority are safe for storage in even colder temperatures. A Solid State Drive (SSD) with no moving parts has a much greater operating temperature range, as low as -55 degrees Celsius (-67 degrees Fahrenheit).

Emergency Plan

It is always a good idea to have a data recovery service in place especially if you are a business.  Keep one of our Red Box kits handy so that you can ship a damaged drive to us immediately. With a two-day guaranteed delivery included in the package, we quickly let you know if recovery is possible, and we provide you with a free diagnostic report and quote. For a list of data recovery services designed around your needs, contact The Data Rescue Center today.