Have you ever accidentally spilled water or even worse, coffee, on your laptop computer? Have you ever dropped your phone in the tub or the toilet? Or perhaps you were simply caught in a torrential downpour without an umbrella and with your phone exposed? Water and other liquids are one of the most common causes of electronic device failure, primarily because electronics and liquid do not go together. Even if you exercise extreme caution, accidents that result in water damage to your device can occur to anyone at any time.
Electronically damaged devices that have been exposed to water can often, but not always, be repaired depending on the type and degree of damage. However, even if your phone is beyond repair, if you take the necessary precautions to prevent further damage, your data may be recoverable through the use of a professional data recovery service like Hard Drive Recovery Associates.
One of the bonuses of Android phones is that much of the data will be backed up automatically to either Google Drive, or with photos, Google Photos. So if you drop your phone in the ocean, as an example, it’s always great to login to some of those Google properties simply to assess what you have, and what you may be missing.
Can Water Damage Hard Drives? Yes!
One of our recent clients, Terry from Wyoming, dropped his phone while fly fishing in his home state. He had unfortunately disabled all Google backups, and was faced with a choice – lose ten years of messages and important family photos, or talk to a professional. Terry tried putting his phone in rice, as many other users have done with water-damaged phones… only to discover that the rice trick happened in this case to be ineffective. (This technique is ALWAYS worth a try, however)
Once Terry tried and failed to have the phone restored at a local computer shop, he got on the phone with us at Hard Drive Recovery Associates. Although Terry was handy when it came to some mechanical devices, he resisted the urge to open his phone, and the data recovery process ended up being smooth, quick, and quite affordable.
This is the outcome we hope for with every client, but a lot depends on what you do with your device after it has been water logged or otherwise damaged. Following these four steps is the most effective way to get a positive outcome for your water-damaged device.
1. Always make a copy of your data.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of regularly backing up your data. What is also critical to mention is that it rarely is difficult to set up. Android phones alone take less than five minutes to ensure a complete backup is done, and done consistently. If Terry had just enabled the automatic backup features, he would have easily avoided the stress and anxiety that would have resulted from the possibility of losing his precious photos and videos.
Once you set up your computer or phone so that your data is backed up on a regular and automatic basis, you’ll want to keep a total of three copies of your data, two of which will be stored locally and one of which will be stored offsite. Keep one of the local copies on the originating device and the other on an external hard drive for each of the two local copies. For offsite, use something like Carbonite, or even cheaper, Google Drive.
The frequency with which you back up your data is determined by the amount and type of data you generate. Construct a routine, regardless of whether you need your backups to run automatically every day or whether you need to perform manual backups once per week. Backups can be restored quickly and seamlessly whenever you like.
2. Power Down Your Device Immediately!
If your device does become water damaged, shut it down as soon as possible to avoid further problems, including electrical shorting. You don’t want to take the chance that electricity will be flowing through the device when there is water in the mix. Remove any attached hardware, as well as any device batteries if at all possible. At this point, the only thing you can do for your device is try to minimize the damage and keep it from damaging itself.
A word of caution: if your device continues to function after being subjected to water damage, TURN IT OFF ANYWAY. Once again, leaving your device turned on can make things much worse.
3. Attempt To Remove Surface Moisture
Make every effort to remove all of the surface moisture, but avoid attempting to dry the inside of your device. Use a lint-free towel to wipe away any liquid that has accumulated on the outside of the device container. Place a clean, dry towel on a table or desk in a warm, well-ventilated room and wait for it to dry. For laptops, open the lid as far as possible and place the computer on top of the towel to protect it from damage. Consider standing the laptop upside down with both the top and bottom edges touching the ground, forming a triangle. Allow for any excess moisture to drain from the device over the course of the night.
The temptation to use a hairdryer or other heating device to accelerate the drying process should be avoided at all costs. High temperatures can cause irreversible damage to your device and prevent your data from being recovered. When it comes to drying out a water-damaged device, time is your best friend.
4. Professionals Know Data Recovery
If you have a backup of your data, consulting with a professional to determine whether or not the device can be repaired is acceptable. Repair shops, on the other hand, are not equipped to deal with the time-consuming and delicate work of data recovery. If you attempt to repair your device, you run the risk of causing further damage and losing some or all of your data.
This is why Hard Drive Recovery Associates exists. Our recoveries are carried out in an ISO Class 5 Cleanroom that is certified to be free of dust and static electricity. The fact that we have a data recovery operating room increases the likelihood of a successful data recovery.
Do you require assistance in recovering data from a water-damaged device? Contact us on the number above!