As Hurricane Irene approaches our shores we thought it a good idea to revisit the topic of how to package your hard drive for shipment after it has been submerged in water. This is a very important topic and we covered it in depth during an interview on Digital Gumbo on WWLTV in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. However, we feel it is a good idea to provide these instructions again as it can have a direct effect on the outcome of the data recovery efforts we or any other data recovery company provide. Hard drives are not completely sealed; they do have very small holes that allow air to flow out of the drive for various reasons. If a hard drive is submerged long enough pressure from the surrounding water can flow through these small air vents and fill the internal housing and contaminate the platters and read/write heads. The most important information this article can get across to our readers is do not dry the hard drive. The platters hold the data and drying efforts can cause the corrosive contaminants to begin eating into the platters and making data recovery more difficult if not impossible. The following are step by step packaging instructions for recovery of a water damaged hard drive.
1.) Place the drive on a paper towel and wrap drive in the same moist paper towel or towels.
2.) Insert drive wrapped in paper towel in a zip lock bag and dispense as much air from the zip lock bag as possible.
3.) Place hard drive in zip lock bag in a box with ample packing material so the hard drive cannot move in the box.