How to fix a hard drive with detected imminent failure

Written by larry amon
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How to fix a hard drive with detected imminent failure
Hard drives can sometimes be saved temporarily. (hard drive interior image by Curtis Sorrentino from

Many hard drives last longer than the life of the computer they are being used in or even last through several computer moves. Hard drives are built to last, but sometimes they fail, either because of abuse or because they just weren’t built perfectly. If a hard drive is about to fail, you can try to extend its life temporarily, but probably can’t fix it permanently.

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Things you need

  • Screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Shut down the computer right away. Shutting down is more important than shutting down properly. Turn off the computer with the power switch.

  2. 2

    Open the computer case and locate the hard drive at the front of the computer. Unscrew the hard drive from the case. Remove both doors on the computer case to access the screws on both sides. Disconnect the power and data cables but pay attention to how they are connected.

  3. 3

    Put the hard drive in a sealed freezer bag. Close the bag and put your hard drive in the freezer for several hours. Be careful that the drive does not get wet in any way. Cooling off the drive will help the drive function a little bit longer; you may only get a few extra minutes or a few extra days.

  4. 4

    Take the hard drive out of the freezer and reconnect it to the computer. Don’t bother screwing it back into the case, just let it hang or sit it on something free of static-electricity concerns. Restart the computer and start to take back up everything important on your hard drive.

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