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How to Recover Hard Drives After Water Damage

Published by 911 Restoration Southern Oregon on April 1, 2022 in category: Uncategorized, Water Damage Restoration

Can I Recover Hard Drives After Water Damage? Electronics and water don’t mix well, and hard drives are no exception. Hard drives often sustain damage beyond repair due to accidental spillage, basement flood, and sprinklers going off after a fire. The good news is that instead of dreading what has occurred, there’s a chance you can reverse the damage if you act quickly and with the proper approach.

That’s right! If you’re pondering the question, “Can I recover hard drives after water damage?” the answer is “yes.” However, this depends on several factors, such as the extent of damage, drive type, and the recovery approach. For instance, you’d fare much better by outsourcing this task to trained professionals instead of taking the DIY approach.
One of the core functions of home restoration is to return properties to their pre-damage condition. Many people fail to realize that this also includes their assets, such as furniture, upholstery, and appliances.

So, whether you’re dealing with a soaked laptop or computer, we’ll share how to recover hard drives after water damage in this post.


How Water Damages Hard Drives

While it’s common knowledge that water harms electronics, not many people understand why. Interestingly enough, it’s not the water itself that causes the damage but rather the ions and impurities present in it. If your hard drive is on when it comes in contact with water, the electric current goes where it shouldn’t go. 

Impure water is a good conductor of electricity. Therefore, it can create a short on your hard drive, triggering malfunctions that lead to data loss. Even if it continues to work after the incident, water can cause corrosion and drastically reduce its performance and life.

How to Recover Hard Drives After Water Damage

Here’s what you should do in the event of a soaked hard drive:

  1. Act Fast

When it comes to recovering a hard drive, the faster you act, the greater the likelihood of success. Whether it’s submerged in clean or black water, the first step is to remove the drive from it to initiate the drying process. 

  2. Turn It Off/Avoid Turning It On

If your laptop or computer was powered on during the unfortunate event, you need to turn it off right away to avoid further damage. Secondly, if the hard drive was off, don’t plug it in to see if it still works right away. This could cause the disk’s head to rip off and destroy any information stored on the drive. 

  3. Don’t Force Dry It

Your hard drive is not a cherry tomato; you can’t dehydrate your hard drive in the sun to remove the water content. No matter what anyone tells you, never dry electronic equipment in direct sunlight, as it can cause its internal temperature to rise above its tolerable range and damage the circuit and wiring. 

You should also avoid heating the hard drive with a blow dryer or any heating device and let it dry out slowly and naturally in a well-ventilated area. Doing this will ensure you don’t leave any dirt and residue on the hard drive, which can cause it to malfunction. 

  4. Don’t Remove the Hard Drive’s Protective Covering

Although hard drives aren’t waterproof, their protective covering offers a solid layer of protection from water, dust, and other particles. So, if you’re tempted to take a peek inside to see if there’s water, stop! Instead, leave it as it is and let nature take its course. 

  5. Clean

If the hard drive had been submerged in gray or black water, you should rinse it gently using clean, cool water and then store it in a bag or sealed container. Yes, this would slow down the drying. However, in this case, you need to ensure it remains wet to prevent the formation of a film over the disk’s surface because of the contaminants. 

  6. Hire an Expert

A soaked hard drive can cause people to panic quickly, especially if it contains valuable information with no backup. Many would-be tempted to fix the damage themselves or look for a friend, coworker, or peer to save money. 

However, if your data is sensitive, you should hire a trained professional with the proper training and equipment to reverse the water damage. By taking matters into your hands, you could do more harm than good, such as rendering the data irretrievable. 


Renowned Fire Damage Restoration Services – 911 Restoration of Southern Oregon

At 911 Restoration of Southern Oregon, we aim to educate our readers and customers regarding the different ways they can prevent property damage. Hard drives are the most common storage device found in most homes on computers and laptops. Knowing what to do in the event of a flood or spillage can help save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in damage. 

Our team of IICRC-certified restoration experts has the tools, equipment, and solutions to return properties and salvageable items to their pre-damage condition. So, don’t hesitate to call us for more information regarding our water damage repair services. 

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