The hard disk that survived six months in the sea

A data recovery firm claims to have recovered gigabytes of data from a hard disk that spent six months on the seabed.

The hard disk was fitted in the navigation system of a ship that was involved in an accident at sea. “An investigation ensued and the ship’s drive, which spent six months on the seabed 200 feet underwater, was recovered,” according to a spokesperson for Kroll Ontrack, the firm that helped recover data from the drive.

Real World Computing

What does it take to kill a hard drive?

Ontrack’s data recovery specialists advised the investigators to send them the hard disk in a large, sealed bag that contained seawater from the scene of the accident. “By keeping the drive in the same environment as it had been in under water, the drive was prevented from developing salt deposits or further degrading,” the spokesman told PC Pro.

“Our engineers were able to safely take the drive apart without damaging the drive further, and after several hours of work in the cleanroom, engineers were able to image 99% of the data area as part of the recovery process.”

Preserving the data

In total, the engineers managed to recover 5.3GB of data from the disc and 450MB of partial data.

Data disasters

The undersea rescue was just one of Kroll Ontrack’s top 10 data disasters of 2009. Topping this year’s chart was the criminal suspect who decided to throw a laptop containing incriminating evidence out of a 12th floor window. Ontrack claims to have recovered photos, videos and emails from the smashed drive.

Other recoveries were distinctly unpleasant, such as the pet that tucked into a piece of defrosting meat before promptly vomiting it back up over the family computer.

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