I received this from a buddy of mine last night and I thought I would share it with you:

Hi Ron,

I have a problem and maybe you can help me. I have an older computer and the hard disk isn’t working. I tried it in two different computers and I couldn’t get either system to boot. I read an article on the Internet about putting the drive in the freezer. Does this really work?

First I would like to explain the procedure just in case you may wish to try this:

  • You place your hard disk inside of a freezer bag; some people recommend two freezer bags.
  • Place the wrapped hard disk in the freezer for 12 hours. There are some who state that it has to be 24 hours.
  • Remove the drive from the freezer, place it back into your computer, and hopefully it will boot up.
  • You must work quickly in order to grab your data and transfer the data onto another media.

So does the procedure work or is it just a myth?

I have tried this procedure about 10 times during my computing career. Unfortunately I only was able to save the data from one hard disk. I have tried variations of freezing using many of the tips and tricks I have read over the years, and have had little success in trying any of these gimmicks.

My personal opinion is this: you have nothing to lose giving this a try. You can reuse the freezer bags so the cost is nothing more than a little of your time. Now here comes the I told you so: nothing can take the place of a good backup strategy.

On March 2, 2011 I wrote an article about being paranoid since I use four backup regimes; I would highly recommend you do the same.

Comments welcome.

Original backup article.