Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

While working on a late-night deadline assignment several years ago, I spilled a glass of water on my office laptop. The liquid flowed through the keyboard into the circuitry. Suddenly, the screen went black. Then an ugly image appeared -- a computer floppy disk with a frowning face and a big question mark. The unhappy hard drive was fried.

In my PC’s case, it was sudden death. Sometimes, though, computers die slowly. Recent stories from KOMO TV and PC World provide advice on how to recognize the Grim Reaper's approach and save your data before a crash.

One interesting suggestion is called the “freezer trick." It's a last-ditch effort to save a drive that is "clicking" but not spinning:

Remove the drive, wrap it in a paper towel, seal it in a plastic freezer bag and put it in the freezer for an hour or so. Let the drive thaw at room temperature. If a short freeze doesn't work, try again.You can work your way up to 24 hours. But if you see any condensation, remove it right away.

-- Media Relations Manager Kristin Alexander

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