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Data Recovery In The Woodshed

Jul 16, 2023Jul 16, 2023

A 1TB drive fails. How do you recover the data? If you are like us, you imagine a high-tech lab with serious-looking technicians and engineers. [John Graham-Cumming] managed it in his woodworking shop. Granted, it was a solid-state drive, so a clean room wasn’t necessary, but we still found it an unexpected story.

[John’s] gaming rig had two Seagate Firecuda 530 SSDs and decided not to boot. A quick analysis found one of the drives failed — it happens. However, the drive showed some signs of life after cooling off. A 30-minute trip to the freezer made the drive work again until it got warm again.

Suspecting a bad solder joint, [John] applied pressure to the board and got it working. The problem is you don’t want to have a death grip on your SSD while you copy a terabyte of data from it. The answer? A woodworking clamp applies pressure in just the right place. Are you worried about excess heat build-up? A carpenter’s square makes a good heat sink, apparently.

Like all the best stories, this one had a happy ending with complete data recovery. Even better, a bit of hot air reflow restored the drive to fully working status again.

Our usual data recovery efforts take more wire than woodworking. Depending on your media, if freezing doesn’t work, maybe try an oven.