What to Do With a Water Damaged Hard Drive: Our Guide

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One of the perks of working from home is that you can eat and drink anytime you want while you accomplish your professional tasks. However, the problem is that this freedom has also resulted in more common cases of hard drive water damage. This is something that happens even in office settings, but even more so for those who work remotely. No matter where it occurs, the important step here is to address the problem as soon as possible!

If you are here because you need to recover files from a hard drive that may be damaged by water, then you are in the right place. Our experts will share some easy to follow steps in recovering data from a hard drive that’s gotten wet:

Act Fast and Take It Out of the Water

It’s imperative that you act fast if you want to improve your chances of saving both your data and the hard drive itself. Because of this, you must take the hard drive from the water if it’s submerged to prevent the water from reaching the parts that are still dry. Make sure that you also turn it off if it’s still on.

Don’t Plug It Back In

Your natural instinct might tell you to plug it back in to see whether or not the hard drive is still working. Please don’t do it because plugging your hard drive will only make the situation worse! Not only will this potentially damage your hard drive even further, but it can also affect your computer. 

On top of that, when you try to turn on your hard drive while it’s still wet, even pros might not be able to retrieve your data.

Don’t Let it Dry Under the Sun or With a Hair Dryer

You probably have a friend or two who would say you should immediately get your blow dryer or put your hard drive out to dry under direct sunlight. It sounds like it makes sense, but in reality, it can further damage your hard drive. 

You see, drying out the hard drive could leave residue in some parts that are sensitive. Heat-drying your hard drive is even more damaging and might make external hard drive data recovery harder, if not impossible. 

Do Not Remove the Protective Covering on the Hard Drive

Keep that covering intact to prevent dust and other debris from getting on the platters. Also, resist the urge to check if there’s water inside by removing the protective shell. You don’t want to expose the insides of the hard drive further to harmful elements. 

Rinse the Hard Drive and Seal It in a Bag

Yes, you read that right. You need to rinse the hard drive with clean water, especially if it has been submerged in other types of liquid, like coffee or tea, that can have particles stick to the drive when it dries. 

After washing, keep the hard drive in a sealed container so it won’t easily dry. You might be surprised, but leaving it wet to avoid a film from forming when it dries is better and prevents corrosion as well. 

Take It to a Pro

Someone in your family or group of friends might volunteer to “check” it for you. Unless that person is an actual specialist, you should politely refuse. This is especially important if you have important files on that hard drive. It’s best if you take it to a data recovery expert who knows exactly what to do in this situation!


A wet hard drive is indeed an emergency. In this situation, you must hurry and contact a pro if you wish to recover files from a hard drive that has been submerged in liquid. Keep in mind that the more you wait, the worse the situation could get, so you really want to retrieve your data!

Finchum’s Computer Services can help you with your problem. Our team of experts offers IT consulting, computer repair, and data recovery services, among others. Contact us today if you have any questions or want to learn more about our services!


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