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Why Fire, Water and Platter Damaged Cases Require More Work

Contamination on a device requires extra cleaning and makes it difficult to even start up the device.


There are countless ways that data loss can happen, and data recovery specialists work hard each day to retrieve and rescue that data. But what happens when media undergoes a catastrophic event, suffering terrible harm such as fire, water, or platter damage?

Water Damage

One of the most common types of damage that can happen to our media is water damage. Many are probably familiar with the situation, especially in the case of mobile phones. People accidentally drop their phones into pools, or a beautiful lake that they were trying to capture on camera. Even with all the advancements in phone design and claims of smartphones being water-resistant, electronics suffer when they come into contact with water and other liquids. Here are some ways fluids can seep into our electronics and cause harm:

  • Open ports, such as headphone jacks and charging ports
  • Speakers and microphone ports
  • Switches and seams: any moving part on a phone is capable of potentially allowing water in because it’s not airtight.

You’ll know that your device is water-damaged because it may not start correctly, may not produce sound, or simply won’t turn on. This is because fluids can cause both short-circuiting as well as corrosion to vital components within your devices and data storage.

Thermal Damage

Damage to electronic equipment can happen due to excessive heat. This is why devices have labels or manuals with warnings about not leaving your device exposed to certain temperatures. While leaving something in the sun can be harmful, usually thermal damage results from computers with malfunctioning fans and dust-clogged insides, a bad battery inside a smartphone, or fire incidents.

Naturally, the worst of these scenarios is fire. The intense temperatures from a fire cause internal damage on a device. The media is then exposed to fire extinguishers, which can cause not only but water damage but chemical corrosion.

Platter Damage

Contrary to the name of hard disk drive, the insides of your HDD data storage are anything but tough. In fact, your precious data rests on delicate, clean disks called platters. These platters are usually made of either aluminum or glass. As hard disk drives age, or if they experience a physical malfunction, those platters might bump into each other.

That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when these platters are mere nanometers apart and spinning as fast as 7,200 RPM, those platters are bumping into each other at intense speeds! Within moments, a bump of the platters can lead to rotational scoring, which can then damage the data that’s being stored on those platters. Much like scratches on a CD, the platters will have repeated scoring, leading to data loss.

Extensive Damage Means A Harder Recovery

Each of these damage scenarios makes for a more difficult, and therefore more expensive data recovery. Whether it’s trying to repair a hard disk drive or salvaging a fire-burned server, these recoveries require data recovery specialists to utilize special tools to avoid further damage.

Our data recovery engineer explained that more work goes into cleaning the platter surfaces and prepping the drive for imaging. The process of imaging is making a copy of the data to work from, thus keeping the media in its original condition. In some cases, engineers need to transfer platters into new clean housing because the previous casing or storage means is contaminated from water or other debris.

The extensive work that goes into these cases is time consuming, which is why a recovery for these cases may be more costly than a device with logical damage. In some cases, the surfaces of a device are degraded and it is even difficult to start up the drive. These recoveries require experienced senior engineers with the proper tools. Our engineers are trained to attempt every possible recovery method and are willing to put in hours of work to save your critical files.

Secure Data Recovery has a 96% success rate in recovering data from devices that have experienced fire, water, and platter damage. We also stand by our “no data, no recovery fee” guarantee in which you don’t pay the recovery service fee if we don’t retrieve your desired files. Call us at 1-800-388-1266 and find out more about how we can help recover files from your damaged device.

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