How To Get Data Off A Water Damaged Hard Drive: 6 Easy Steps

Water and a hard drive are never a good combination. Let’s go through the process of how to get data off a water damaged hard drive in just seven steps.

It is not beyond our knowledge that water is dangerous for electronic and digital devices. Hence, we take the necessary precautions by keeping our devices like laptops, mobile phones, and cameras away from water as much as possible.

how to get data off a water damaged hard drive

In case water gets the best out of your gadgets, you can read this guide on how to clean water damaged electronics.

However, mishaps sometimes occur, and we accidentally spill water or our favorite drinks onto our devices. In such situations, we are at risk of losing our data, but we can still recover it by following the step-by-step process explained in the preceding section.


7 Steps to Recover Your Data from a Water Damaged Hard Drive


Step #1. Stay calm

The first and most essential thing you should do in case of water damage is to stop panicking. Stay calm as there is still a way to recover your data from the hard drive.


Step #2. Time is crucial

If your hard drive has water damage, you should know that time is not on your side, and you have to take action immediately so that you will have a better chance of data recovery. Never get ahead of yourself and leave the device unattended for days, as it will hurt your chance of saving your data.


Step #3. Be extra careful

Hard drives are very delicate and are easily damaged even with mild drops or bumps. When removing it from your computer, ensure that you unplug everything from electrical outlets and be careful taking it out.


Step #3. Cut the power

It is strongly recommended that you unplug your electronic devices from power outlets in case of water damage. For a laptop, remove the battery.

You should also note that you should never connect any water-damaged storage media to your PC or laptop. 


Step #4. Do not open the device

If opening your water-damaged hard drive ever crossed your mind, shut the thought immediately. Doing it will expose your device to airborne contaminants and make you lose your chance of data recovery.

The best thing you can do is stay away from it and let the professionals handle the problem.


Step #5. Do not dry your hard drive

When your hard drive gets wet, it is very likely that the first thing you think of doing is drying it by keeping it under the sun or using a blow dryer. What you need to know is that it can worsen the situation rather than make a solution.

Drying a water-damaged hard drive can lead to the deposition of the contaminated platter residue. It will most likely damage your data residing on the platters.

As odd as it may comprehend, it is best to leave your hard drive wet and will prevent corrosion. Data recovery experts know exactly what to do with those platters, so leave it to them.


Step #6. Only trust qualified professionals

If you really need to recover your data from the water-damaged hard drive, wrap it in a sheet of paper towel and place it in a plastic bag. Then, please bring it to a qualified data recovery expert.

Make sure not to go to unqualified professionals, as you may end up losing your data permanently. Also, don’t try to fix it yourself unless you know exactly what you are doing.


How to save data from a wet hard drive?

The safest way to save your data from a wet hard drive is to take it to a specialist as soon as possible. An expert knows exactly how to analyze the drive and make sure that it was not shorted, which will protect your equipment and data that survived from the water damage.

Suppose you cannot go to a specialist; what you can do is hook the hard drive to an old computer that never had any potential shorts. Damage to other equipment in the device can also destroy your hard drive when you power it up.

If your drive passed the power-on-startup-test (POST), chances are it has not suffered any harm, and it is also possible that you can copy your data to another storage media. The best-case scenario is you can continue using the hard drive as if nothing happened.

Just like hard drives, other storage media are also vulnerable to water. You can check out this article on how to recover water damaged SD card in case you come across the same situation.



Water is a very serious hazard to electronic and digital devices, especially computers and hard drives. However, unexpected circumstances may happen, and you might end up with the worst scenarios.

It is good to have a helpful guide on how to get data off a water damaged hard drive like this one. Learning this will give you better chances of recovering your data and even using your hard drive once again.

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