Land a-hoy! The tale of two hard drives on a seafaring adventure.

16 October 2012 by Pedro Vasconcelos

Picture the scene: you’ve been sailing around the world on the holiday of your life, taken lots of pictures and videos, and you’ve carefully stored it all on your on-board laptops.  Then, the day you’re due to make port back home, your boat capsizes, taking your laptops and your precious data down to Davy Jones’ locker.

It sounds far-fetched, but it did happen. Following a sailing trip around the world, this unfortunate customer brought in two slightly soggy drives for us to look at. This is not something you really expect to see when doing data recovery in London.

Aside from the obvious problem of the drives being wet, the salt water would make this a more time-critical recovery, as the longer you leave a drive in brine, the more chance there is that components will begin to corrode.

The hard drive in the attached picture (from another unrelated job) was submerged in salt-water for over a month! Despite all our efforts no data was recovered from this drive. But when you look at it, you’ll understand why!

Luckily, the customer with the two sunken laptops acted quickly, and brought us the drives as soon as they could. This enabled us to dry them out, check the electronics and replace/repair any internal components before the damage was too severe, and data recovery would no longer be possible.

Thankfully, this maritime tale of hard drive recovery has a happy ending: we managed to get 100% of the data back. We were happy, the customer was happy, and the drives won the 100m freestyle the following year! A great result all round.