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  • #2189785

    Disaster Recovery – Hurricane


    by al.parker ·

    Need hints to individuals who are trying to recovery their computers/pheripherials from water/dirt/pollution damage from hurricanes?

    The hardware was receovered what’s next?

All Comments

  • Author
    • #3057175

      Good luck

      by charliespencer ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      I’d start by dismantling the machine to the board / card / assembly level and spray everything thoroughly with a commercial electronic component cleaner. I have a buddy who suggested WD-40, but wait and see what someone else has to say before taking these suggestions. We could be completely out to lunch.

      It’s more trouble to clean mice and keyboards than it’s worth. Printers, scanners, and other devices with moving parts are probably unrepairable; you’ll never get all the debris out of the paper path, rollers, gears, etc.

      I wouldn’t try to power up a water-damaged monitor at all. That sounds like a fast ride to Electrocution City.

      • #3059394


        by bfitzmai ·

        In reply to Good luck

        This is from the WD40 web site:

        CLEANS: WD-40 gets under dirt, grime and grease to clean. It also dissolves adhesives, allowing easy removal of labels, tape, stickers, and excess bonding material.
        DISPLACES MOISTURE: Because WD-40 displaces moisture, it quickly dries out electrical systems to eliminate moisture-induced short circuits.
        PENETRATES: WD-40 loosens rust-to-metal bonds and frees stuck, frozen or rusted metal parts.
        LUBRICATES: WD-40’s lubricating ingredients are widely dispersed and hold firmly to all moving parts.
        PROTECTS: WD-40 protects metal surfaces with corrosion-resistant ingredients to shield against moisture and other corrosive elements.

        I would really be be skeptical about spraying this produce on anything electronic. Many electronic parts have bonded layers. Use a can of compressed air to remove any debris… If you have dirt, use a cu-tip and alcohol.

        • #3059373

          WD40?! go ahead and try it out…

          by unclerob ·

          In reply to WD40?

          WD40?! I wouldn’t normally use this stuff on any personal computer equipment but if the equipment is toast anyways, there’s no harm in trying, you might actually discover that it works better than expected.

        • #3059369

          *** NOT WD40 BIG MISTAKE ***

          by ricksterjs ·

          In reply to WD40?! go ahead and try it out…


        • #3059365


          by windsorfox ·

          In reply to *** NOT WD40 BIG MISTAKE ***

          No, WD-40 will not provide electrical conductivity, if it did you could not drop a running drill in a bucket filled with it. That is the original purpose, it displaces water in electrical / electronic devices. WD-40 is however, laden with oil and I wouldn’t use it on a computer. You should use LPS 2 greasless lube, hose it good and then LPS contact cleaner afterwards. Let it dry well first then it will either work or not. Been there, done it. Wanna see my t-shirt??

        • #3054459

          recovery after hurricane

          by archngel ·

          In reply to LPS

          Well , ,Ive heard a lot of thing in my life but so many people talking about wd40 for cleaning hardware and electronic components, look like I havent heard it all. My solution must be too simple. What I did a few years back because of sewer flood is ( if the pc wasnt powered ON when disaster arrived) simply take all components out of the pc,, clean then with water and compress air, then simply put then to dry in the oven at 125 for some 2-3 hrs,, I’ve done it with 5 pc and 2 notebook and a cellular phone and most of the machine are still in working order today. So keep the grease of WD40 away and most of your pc components will survive.

        • #3058737


          by dean ·

          In reply to recovery after hurricane

          Interesting topic. The best I have done for a soaked computer was like someone above said. Pull it to bits and clean it with water, then let it dry. Although I didn’t put mine in the oven. I dunno how warm 125F is. lol. But i put it in the cupboard with the hot water cylinder for a week to dry it out. Just hope you dont get small wires rusting badly, Hopefully it wasn’t wet for too long.

        • #3059361

          Electronic Parts Cleaner

          by homeport ·

          In reply to WD40?! go ahead and try it out…

          Go to autoparts palce and pickup can of Electronic Parts cleaner made by CRC. It made to clean and remove moisture from electronic parts. Won’t leave oily residue that attachs dirt.

        • #3059334
          Avatar photo

          While good it will not

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Electronic Parts Cleaner

          Stop corrosion either. As this stuff has not just been exposed to clean water but a chemical cocktail of substances anything goes.

          Col ]:)

        • #3054454

          To wash or not to wash this is the question

          by pokeman ·

          In reply to Electronic Parts Cleaner

          I have on several occasions washed my keyboards and other parts in the dishwasher with mixed results. I think that if the part in question is clean and DRIED completely then the part may or may not work. Any action taken is taken a chance. The old wives tell that electric parts and water don’t mix is more preferred to if the part is plugged in at the time it’s dowsed in water. The hard drive is another story If you have priceless photos or million dollar inventory then a chance is not going to cut it. Ontrack is offering free media shipment kits and free evaluations on your media in concern so that a more decisive decision can be made. To order your kit, call toll-free hotline: 1-800-872-2599. Or you can go to this url and have a look for yourself,,

        • #3054447

          Blue Shower Electronics Cleaner

          by kevinwfs413 ·

          In reply to Electronic Parts Cleaner

          When I was working doing disaster recovery for PC and electronic equipment we used Blue Shower which is a Non Conductive Cleaner for getting rid of smoke and water damage on the mother boards and peripherial cards.. plus the old fashioned pencil eraser and a lint free cloth to clean contact points in the ISA and PCI slots.

          If the system was sumberged with the power off and you clean and dry the equipment thoughly (all slots, CPU, power supply> you have a 40 -50 % chance of getting the system up even if its just for a very short time.

        • #3059340

          Water recovery. of elctrical goods

          by michael_orton9 ·

          In reply to WD40?

          Any electrical goods can be washed, even in a dishwasher. BUT you MUST dry them before switching on. Fred langa had an article about a year back.
          Floppy drives mother boards etc could be recovered as a last resort using a dishwasher!
          But they must be dissassebled and dried.
          And keep clear when first switched on!
          Nearly all white goods can be washed, dried and reused.
          Its an old wives tale that electricity and water don’t go together. Many times white goods and electronic are needlesly thrown away when a hoze would recover them!
          Wash, dry, plug in, stand well back.. switch on
          will work many times… if you are very careful.
          But don’t toutch them until they are working properly and the outer bits must be earthed.

        • #3054287

          Clean and DRY!!!!

          by jcrobso ·

          In reply to Water recovery. of elctrical goods

          Last year I left a flash drive in my pants pocket.
          My wife did the laundary and washed and dried it!!
          I let the flashdrive sit for a few days to make sure all the water was gone and it’s working great. John

        • #3059258

          Contact Cleaner Not WD40

          by james.schenck ·

          In reply to WD40?

          WD40 is great stuff but not for “all” computer parts. I do agree, all units should be broken down to its components. Contact cleaner is the way to go. Some say trichloralethylene was great but it is toxic if used the wrong way. There are other cleaners like Electro Cleaner and others that should be a better fit than WD40.

        • #3059235

          WD40 ARE YOU CRAZY

          by wlbowers ·

          In reply to WD40?

          WD-40 while it has cheerleaders all over the world
          should never get near electronic components. It does
          not evaporate. Anything that is not flushed away
          remains suspended in the oil residue. Great soup huh.

          WD-40 contains
          Aliphatic Petroleum Distillates
          PEL Petroleum Base Oil
          LVP Hydrocarbon Fluid
          Carbon Dioxide

          I have been in electronic and computer repair since ’69.
          I was trained by the USMC. Part of this training was
          equipment recovery.

          Open it up. Pull the hard drive and set it aside.

          Now take a garden hose and thoroughly wash the
          beast out. Don’t worry it’s been under water for how

          You want to get as much of the gumbo soup it’s been
          sitting in out.

          Now dry it out. First take compressed air. No not the
          cans, from the garage, and blow it out.

          Now some heat. We take a 500 watt halogen lamp and
          put it about 18″ from the open side of the computer. Put
          a thermometer inside the case and move the light back
          and forth until you get the temperature up to 100
          degrees. Put a blanket over the case to retain the heat.

          You have to get the moisture out of the coils and

          Yes it can take it. Most computers have a storage
          temperature of 120+ degrees.

          Leave it a minimum of 4 hours.

          Now take a contact cleaner like blue shower II. You will
          notice on their home page they show a can spraying a
          computer motherboard. Buy the big cans, several.

          Start at the top and flush down. Don’t be skimpy you
          are flushing the remains of all of the crap, literally.

          Clean the hard drive with blue shower. DO NOT OPEN
          IT UP! Spray a rag and wipe it down.

          Lee Bowers
          Micro Support Technologies

        • #3054487

          Been There and Survived

          by lorenzend ·

          In reply to WD40 ARE YOU CRAZY

          The only additional notes I would add that I used to make this successful was that while it was drying and after it dried, I used an electronics brush and compressed air to get out any residual. Key is making sure that all contacts are clean and all circuits are dry before you assemble and plug it in. I also turned it on before I put the hard drive in to make sure it would get to post. If they did, then I added the hard drive. If they didn’t, the hard drive was still available to use in another computer.

        • #3054503

          Water as a cleaner

          by tony.maine ·

          In reply to WD40?

          Dont use strong organic solvents like ketones, sulfoxides, nitriles and so on you’ll probably damage seals and components. Dont use any solvent which isn’t really pure – it might leave a residue.
          If you have to use a dishwasher, rinse everything in distilled deionised water afterwards and let it dry completely before switching on.
          As a final resort if the machine still won’t boot up you can probably take the drives out and install them in a known good machine and see if it recognises them. Then you can get the data off separately.

        • #3054385

          WD40?..not a good idea

          by michael.paparella ·

          In reply to WD40?

          There ia a product called Corrosion Block that was origionally designed for the commercial market and what is used for electronics exposed to salt water. In the ad that I saw several years ago there was a picture of a working television sitting in a container of this stuff. Having used the product I can’t say enough about it, but read for your self. Google will bring up plenty of links or you can go to this link Don’t let the price scare you, you’ll never use anything else once you try it.

      • #3059353

        Cleaning hardware

        by russ_it@millweb ·

        In reply to Good luck

        I agree Monitors Scanners and printers are probably not worth the time and aggravation. Rom Drives and any pc boards are more likely candidates for a successfull result but you must use pc board safe solvents – check carefully for compatability before using.

      • #3054555

        Using a dishwasher

        by aidplus ·

        In reply to Good luck

        While I wouldnt suggest this for all parts, a fast wash in a dishwasher, minus the harsh detergents (Clean out first by doing a couple of empty washes and removing anything in rinse dispenser and detergent dispenser) The motherboards wouldnt be out of specs on low heat nor would the power supplies if opened up. It will certainly give it the correct treatment, followed by a distilled water wash. And a dry out in warm area. I was going to suggest hanging it out on the clothes line but that may be a bit too far out…(grin!)
        Works for most bulk circuit boards…

      • #3056928

        WD-40 may not be such a good idea

        by macoco ·

        In reply to Good luck

        I’ve always heard that oil is a conductor, so you might as well leave it wet…you’ll get the same results…smoke.

      • #3056875

        Keyboards and mice

        by beads ·

        In reply to Good luck

        I haven’t had to do this in sometime but I used to put keyboards in the dishwasher with minimal to no drying time. Just leave em out to dry for a day or so depending on humidity. No, really. It does work – at least with those older heavy duty keyboards through the older Compaq keyboards.

        Now, WD-40 would probably pop every capacitor off the mobo. Remember thier is a difference between electrical and ELECTRONIC – lol. Yeah, its great for old carburators and lawn mowers too! Computers? Ummmm… no.

        – beads

      • #3068757


        by nisquallypauli ·

        In reply to Good luck

        WD-40 is great for a quick fix.
        But in the long run its a varnish.
        It be used in machine shops to protect
        from rust on stored equipment.
        bad idea.
        There are electrical cleaners for the
        cards and such.
        I survived a flood in 1996. A cleaning did
        the job on mother board, cards.
        Drives you could only hope water didn’t
        get inside. Sometimes, sometimes not
        I wouldn’t fire up any thing that seemed
        a bit wet.

        Nisq Paul

        • #2534158


          by cemetary_ragdoll ·

          In reply to WD-40

          this is tina.. looking for my father… if you were to put more info on yourself somewhere, i mgiht be able to find you.. if this is you.. seems like you

    • #3059858

      it is possible

      by antuck ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      Palmetto has some good suggestions as far as the keyboard, mouse and monitor go it may be better to just replace.

      My Dad was in FL last year in the hurricans and his computer got hit. I told him just make sure the inside is clean and dry and then good luck. He cleaned out the inside and let it sit a couple of days opened up. He was able to plug it in and it worked fine and still does. So it is possible to clean. I would take some canned air and blow into the vents on the power supply to make sure it is dry. There are a couple of big capacitors in them and if they are wet they will fry.

      I don’t have experience using WD-40 to clean out a computer but my initial concern would we any type of residue it leaves behind.

      Hope your able to get the computers back up and running.

      • #3059855


        by charliespencer ·

        In reply to it is possible

        Let me repeat I’m also not sure about the long term effects of WD-40. I do know the “WD” stands for “water displacing”, and remaining water would be the first thing I’d be concerned with.

        • #3056724

          Dont touch the machine interiors

          by ·

          In reply to WD-40

          My suggestion is ‘Dont touch the hardware’
          Ignore the cost of the hardware itself. In case there was some valuable data, send it to a data recovery company for data recovery.

        • #3056718

          Good idea, poorly expressed.

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to Dont touch the machine interiors

          Some might interpret your post as an “ambulance chasing” effort to solicit business at the expense of hurricane victims.

          You would have appeared less opportunistic had you included reasons for not attempting repairs. These could have included potential irretreivable loss of data by spinning up damaged drives. As a DR professional, I’m sure you can come up with more, better reasons you can share with us.

          There are non-business users who surf the web, read and discard their e-mail, and use their computer as an entertainment device. To them, the hardware costs are significant, and the data is not worth the cost of recovering it.

        • #3059503

          Proper procedures work for electronics

          by execom ·

          In reply to Good idea, poorly expressed.

          To restore submerged electronics, the best process is to be sure the surfaces of all circuit boards are clean. Then compressed air (dry – not oiled) will remove most of the moisture. Then bake them at about 125 degrees until completely dry. Re-assemble and test.

        • #3059426

          Give the Hardware a good cleanup!

          by caring ·

          In reply to Proper procedures work for electronics

          If submerged in clean water follow previous advice! If there are contaminants like mud etc, after dismanling a good wash in clean running water then a good blow with air or a hair dryer on low should do the trick. It has worked for us many times on many electronic pieces from TV’s Computers, VCR’s etc. etc…..
          Good Luck

        • #3059359

          Yeah, that too

          by windsorfox ·

          In reply to Give the Hardware a good cleanup!

          Yep, we’ve done that too. Hosed a few Dells with fresh water and let them bake in the sun for a few days. Two out of three worked on that one.

        • #3059501

          Clean Water

          by richards_unsubcribe ·

          In reply to Good idea, poorly expressed.

          If your stuff is soaked with dirty or salt water, immeadiatly rinse it off it with clean water… DO NOT allow them to dry first. You have nothing to lose …it’s wet now so the best is just rinse it off and get the dirt and salt residue off it. Then let dry for several days… a hair dryer might help speed the process. Yes… keyboards and mice are probably toast… not worth the bother anyway. Monitors? Maybe… lots of high voltage in the CRT monitors so after rinsing in clean and fresh water let it dry it out well or the HT will arc over… then the flyback.HT is toast. LCD? who knows… Water will probably migrate into the display substrate… Hard drives are sealed in an intert gas… at least the platters are… so if wet rinse off in fresh and dry well over several days… if it works I’d immeadiatly download any sensitive data onto another drive.

          PC boards are suprisingly resiliant to water… we used to wash freshly made PC boards in a dishwasher to get the water soluable flux off them then stacked em up like dishes to air dry…. so boards like mother boards, sound and video cards will probably survive if rinsed in fresh water and carefully dried.

          Again… if possible do not let them dry before dunking them in fresh!

          How do I know this? I used to work in the logging industry as a radio tech… many an ICOM portable radio… usually still turned on, popped out of an engineers pocket and straight into the river… embarassed he usually went “fishing” for his hand held radio .. and he usually he got wet. I used to put the radios on the heat register for the weekend and voila… change the speaker on Monday and as often as not, it worked.

          Good luck … my .02

        • #3056923

          reading is fundamental

          by macoco ·

          In reply to Good idea, poorly expressed.

          I think you read too much into this post…but if you’re right, they are taking applications wt Halliburton…where have I heard that name before?

        • #3059504

          I am just opportunisti as the next guy…….

          by mhambrecht ·

          In reply to Dont touch the machine interiors

          But come on even I am not low enough to start considering advertising to the victims of this disaster as a way of drumming up business. However, I think this could be opportuity for your company to get some free publicity by donating some of your time and wonderful resources to helping small business and individuals who need data receovery. I mean how many businesses might be saved by such gestures. We certainly don’t need another aftermath like that of 9/11. I mean there was nithing left to recover then, however, this time there is. New Orleans may not be New York but there could be significant economic backlash. We in the IT industry know more than most the value our service could have in making or breaking the recovery from this disaster.

        • #3054520

          Hardware not worth the time and effort

          by lazerous200 ·

          In reply to Dont touch the machine interiors

          I would just pull the hard drives and send them in for data recovery. Trying to rescue the machines will probably make the data unrecoverable. You can try to save the boards by cleaning them with FluxOff. We use Fluxoff quite extensivly and it does not hurt the electronics. If they are salvageable that is the only way to fly. I work in an Is Repair shop. Do Not Use WD40 because it is a conductor and you will burn the boards for sure as soon as you apply power.

      • #3059409

        some additional thoughts ….

        by michael ·

        In reply to it is possible

        Most data recovery compies suggest that you NOT dry out the drives and that you place thin in a sealed plastic container and get them to a recoveryt site as quickly as possible.

        Allowing the components to dry out may cause oxidation and affect the drive mechanism itself, hampering the recovery and addinf to the cost of restoration.

        AS far as hardware itself goes in regards to pc and cards, if not covered by some sort of insurance plan, you can try and dry tem out, I’d be carefui in using solvements, etc to assist wirth the drying process as they mayb affect the component(s) or the board.

        Best of luck …

        Michael Balenzano
        BEC Technology Solutions

      • #3059257

        WD40 works on electonics

        by p2techsup ·

        In reply to it is possible

        I know by expierience that WD40 will work on electonics and not cause damage. I personnaly don’t recomend using it on a $20k server. We used to use it to clean electronic volume controls way back when sliding volume adjustments were common. The slide used to get dirty and WD40 was cheaper than tuner cleaner. Even sprayed it on while turned on… Look Mom, no frizzy hair here 😉

    • #3059500
      Avatar photo

      Well first thing is to remember that you are not just dealing with water

      by hal 9000 ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      There is Mud and God only knows what else inside these things. It is something that you have to smell to believe and then you’ll know what I mean.

      Then you have to consider at what stage the equipment is at if it has been pulled out of the water and left for days I would be junking everything and only grabbing the HDD’s and sending them off for Data Recovery.

      However if they are still under water there are some steps that you can take to save the units.

      First remove them from the water and submerge them in clean water until you are ready to start working on them DO NOT ALLOW THEN TO DRY OUT!!!!!!

      When you are ready to start first remove the covers be it on a printer/Monitor/ computer or whatever and then remove the unit from the water and hose out all the muck that is inside it. You will find a lot of mud and other rubbish has found its way into these units. Remember to do the same to the Power Supplies with the computers as well and not just the cases as you’ll create a Short Circuit if you do not clean out the Power Supplies as well as the rest of the computer. HDD’s have air holes in them so I wouldn’t even consider attempting to recover them just send them away in Clean Water to get the data Recovered.

      After you have cleaned all of the built up rubbish out of the cases you can then leave the units in the Sun to Air Dry for several days remembering to not allow them to remain in the elements after nightfall. You should also liberally give them a good dose of WD 40 or something similar to prevent corrosion but only after the bulk of the water has dried off the M’Board and other parts. Remember that a M’Board that has been underwater for weeks will have absorbed a lot of water and may even delaminate if not handled properly so clean them out and then drown them in WD 40 RP 7 or whatever as this will displace most of the surface water and place a coating over the electrical connections.

      For Floppy Drives I would just be junking them as they are not worth the time and effort in cleaning out and the same applies to CD/DVD Drives all Readers Recorders & Rewritable types. Also do not forget the Power Supply when you do this.

      After the initial clean out and Water Displacement dismantle the units to component level and clean them again with Electrical Cleaner until things run clean nd then hit them again with WD 40 RP 7 or what ever else you have handy depending on Brand Names where you live.

      We did this in 1974 when there was a flood here to several Main Frames so things where a little different we used a Fire Hose to clean them out with initially and had bought several 5 Gallon drums of WD 40 and as the water went down we hit them all with the fire hose to clean out the much and then shoveled out the muck from the buildings.

      The ones that we got to as the water receded worked perfectly but after 3 days of no longer being submerged these units where written off as they could not be salvaged. The ones that we did save and got to immediately worked for the rest of their Taxable Life without increased breakdowns and where as reliable as new units that we fitted to places that we couldn’t immediately get into to clean out and waterproof the hardware. We didn’t bother to much about individual workstations as the real money was in the Main Frame Rooms but every workstation in the Main Frame Rooms was salvaged and worked perfectly when we did the same to it as we did to the Main Frames but of course we junked the Keyboards as they just where not worth the effort and waste of time as we could replace them cheaper than spending several hours labor recovering.

      I hope that is of some help to you.


      • #3059498

        Air holes in HDD’s?

        by richards_unsubcribe ·

        In reply to Well first thing is to remember that you are not just dealing with water

        Hal… thought HDD platters were sealed in an inert gas like nitrogen to prevent corrosion… often see a rubber gasket around the covers and a million screws… they quit doing that?

        • #3059491

          Re: Air holes in HDD’s?

          by rammukund-at-yahoo ·

          In reply to Air holes in HDD’s?

          Yes air holes. They are protected by foam or fibrous dust filters.

          The o-ring seals and zillion screws are to keep the enclosure dust-proof.

        • #3059247

          Re: Air holes in HDD’s?

          by rohmor ·

          In reply to Re: Air holes in HDD’s?

          I thought those “holes” were a pressure equalization mechanism, and not something that air
          can freely pass through.

          Can someone please confirm this.

        • #3059226

          They have always had holes

          by jbartlett ·

          In reply to Re: Air holes in HDD’s?

          The hole is for pressure equalization which by definition must allow air in/out of the disk enclosure. It does have a filter to block any dust from entering so the inside remains clean.

          Every disk drive I’ve ever seen has something to equalize pressure. Otherwise the seals would be under a constant positive or negative pressure depending on the difference in elevation and temperature between the manufacuring plant and the end user.

          Most 3.5″ drives have an internal filter to trap any particles that are circulating while he drive is running too. Air currents form a small cyclone inside the disk as the platters spin so this filter will trap flying debris.

          Depending on how deeply the disk was submerged water could infiltrate this hole and get inside the drive. I have to agree with the suggestion to keep any disk with valuable information wet and sealed in ziplock-type bag and send to a recovery firm. It may work OK if no water has leaked in but there is no way to tell until the disk crashes on power-up.

        • #3054497
          Avatar photo

          Just to go one step further

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to They have always had holes

          A new 200 GIG Seagate that I* have on the bench right now not only has a hole in the top that is for pressure release but it also has a sticker beside it that says “Void If {Hole} Blocked” They are very important in allowing a standard pressure to remain inside a HDD and not have a pressure build up when it heats up and a corresponding drop in pressure when it cools down.

          Also a lot of these units are flown to their finial destination in unpressurized aircraft holds so they prevent the decreased outside air pressure from causing the seals to blow out.

          Now if one or even several of these drives has been underwater for several days it is only reasonable to expect water penetration and as that is not clean water there will be a lot of rubbish that has infiltrated the inside of the drive as well. In a best case scenario it will get thrown off the platters as the drive spins up but more likely it will have got into the motor bearings and prevent the motor spinning up smoothly and be trapped between the read write heads and the platters. Destroying the magnetic material as the heads move across the platters.

          While the platters will spin up they will never reach their proper speed and the motor will be sucking far more power than it should be thus destroying the circuitry in the controller card of the HDD.

          I’ve seen Winchester Drives opened and full of MUD which after being hosed out and dried quite a bit the remains of the drive are them placed in a Lamina Flow Cabinet dismantled and the platters taken out and placed into another drive enclosure after again being washed down in a substance that will not harm the material on them. From Memory we used Mohawk Safety Solvent but it was a very long time ago now so I’m not overly sure but we certainly had drums of the Mohawk Safety Solvent on hand as it had no adverse affects of any Plastics electronics or anything else that we used it on.

          Of cause when we where working in areas without power we used WD 40, RP 7 or CRC in spray bottles to wash things down with after a quick wash out with clean water to remove the worst of the rubbish that had got inside them.


      • #3059471

        Reply To: Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

        by tawz ·

        In reply to Well first thing is to remember that you are not just dealing with water

        You really know what you are talking about. There are some elements not to be over looked. This water has got it all even chemicals too.Depending on how important the data is, its better to consider proffetional help coz they got all the angles covered. Consider that one mistake can blow out the whole effort

      • #3059457

        Great but…

        by beamer ·

        In reply to Well first thing is to remember that you are not just dealing with water

        A couple of things…
        I use air under pressure soas to blow the water off (the clean water you use to clean with) so that there are nodried mineral deposits or other “stuff”.
        I also use a silicone release spray as a water resist. I spray all my electronics both computer and audio gear as it keeps the water (or beer, or soda pop) from getting at the good parts in the first place.
        Once I blow off the water, I let it dry at least over night.
        Please, no hair driers, (heat, too slow) On tour I often use compressed CO2 as it is readily available
        As for disaster relief, I’d be happy to clean a few computers for just the cost of shipping. Anyone closer could do the same just for the Karma point 😉

      • #3059379

        “JUST TRASH IT”

        by sailor1 ·

        In reply to Well first thing is to remember that you are not just dealing with water

        Some of your ideas are right on. I’m in the same business as you for over 20 years now. When getting to the point of washing off mother boards, compressed air works great displacing even the smallest amounts of water, and I’m not talking canned air, I mean high preasure 80-100lbs which can be provided with portable pancake style compressors. Also, for removing chemical residues, use spray on brake cleaner, it cut the grease and other chemical residues and dries instantly; again hit with high air presure to remove any puddling. As far as the WD-40 goes, I thought that it conduct electricity and even if it does’nt anything oily like that is just a dust magnet. In the long run though, depending on what hourley rate is being paid, it’s cheaper to “JUST TRASH IT”; with the cost at wich these can be replaced, whether it’s Dell or what ever, your further ahead on recovery time and cost, not to mention future headaches.

        • #3059309
          Avatar photo

          Well if you would like to look up the Australia Day Floods

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to “JUST TRASH IT”

          In Brisbane of 1974 we had at least 30 foot of water through the place. Unfortunately the Main Frame rooms where below street level so they got hit worse.

          We had limited supplies and several feet of mud and crud through the rooms that had a lovely smell as well as being highly contaminated. While normally I would never recommend any oil based substance to be sprayed on M’Boards it did protect the ones that we had submerged and could get to as the water dropped. We didn’t have a single failure of those that we got to quickly but as I stated above if they had been unattended to after 3 days they had started to corrode and where destroyed so in that case we needed something that would leave a coverage over the components to prevent corrosion but and this was the big one nothing at all was plugged in and power applied until well after everything was allowed to sit for at least 1 week to allow the products that the boards had been hit with to dry off and as well didn’t have electricity at the time there was very little else that we could do.


        • #3054470

          Use air pressure is fine but not so high a pressure

          by robtec88 ·

          In reply to “JUST TRASH IT”

          Using air pressure to clear moisture from circuit boards such as motherboards is fine but don’t use 80-100 psi!!! I hope you have a regulator on your pancake style compressor so you can drop the air pressure down to a more reasonable 30 psi.

          The No.1 reason not to “hit” circuit boards with 80-100 psi is because that kind of pressure can dis-lodge Surface-Mount (SM) components and that would render the board completely useless once that occurs – Time well wasted!!!

    • #3059499

      Dirty water

      by tech supporter ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      Be careful as the water will be contaminated by excrament etc. Wear suitable gloves – you do NOT want to get any of the dirt into your bloodstream as that could prove life threatening.

      Junk all the equipment and retain the drives for data recovery. That was our line following a server room flood some few years back.

      Good luck.

      • #3059490

        Internal cleaning

        by cmurray8 ·

        In reply to Dirty water

        For those adventuresome folks cleaning the interior of your computer from water damage need not be a major undertaking. I used a fine mist, pure water spray and a hair dryer to clean mine. You have to do it at least twice, maybe three times. Delicate connections can be damaged if subjected to a hard flow of water. If you have access to a dielectric solution then this is the best to use. However under no circumstances allow it to touch your skin. I hope this is of some help. And wishing all good luck!

    • #3059496

      Marine Archaelogy 101

      by stevemedley ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      I have lived on and around water most of my life and have seen amazing preservations and more amazing disintegrations from cellular phones dropped overboard to shipwrecks-in-progress and here is the fast-track crash course outline. Salt water immersions need immediate reimmersion into fresh water followed by moisture-displacement treatments like yes, WD40. Beware of commercial electronics cleaners on fragile circuit boards. I have seen salt maintain an electrical circuit path and that same path disappear with the first application of an electronic contact cleaner. Also if the initial immersion/flooding was near live circuits then many anode/cathode points were short-circuited into cyber space. Battery terminals are only nubs. After the active electron attack comes a passive muck and sludge attack and what doesn’t calcify into a hard layer is eaten away by little bugs. If what was submerged found a fresh water respite then you can rescue quite a bit of electronic and electrical equipment but it will be like what you find any given day at a flea market – pleasant surprises, sobered pipe dreams and an occasional real score. Good luck, Steve, Journeyman Marine Electronics Technician/Electrician, formerly of Honolulu and Pearl Harbor Shipyards, I.B.E.W. 1186.

    • #3059489

      HDD recovery software

      by kenneth ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      Check out for a software app called SpinRite6. It can be used to recover a hard drive’s data.

      • #3059366

        BAD IDEA

        by w2ktechman ·

        In reply to HDD recovery software

        This is software which will need to spin the drive first. If the drive is damaged due to the water, then it would make things much worse.
        Hard drive platters are protected well from many things like dust, but submersion in water is a different story.
        Best bet is to send the drive out for data recovery and replace the drive altogether.

      • #3054453

        Spinrite Yess!!

        by rs1146 ·

        In reply to HDD recovery software

        Spinrite is one of the best recovery utils. But know that xp once started may never be salvageable, Unless you run repair just after the recovery. One of the best cleaners and water displacers is simple green. Just us sparingly, let dry do not soak. Do not heat to dry anything. You could email the harddrives manufacturers for questions about if the drive suck up water. Best of luck.

    • #3059488

      Data Recovery links

      by ahmedparvez ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      Search the internet better-set up and use the key words “data recovery”.Also get in touch with – I am sure the wonderful search co will come up with something-do get in touch with – ask slashdot column is there.
      Use stumble upon toolbar available for free from and build your community and post in relevant forums and contact some of the wonderful users and be sure to check the stumbles of all users.
      best of luck


    • #3059486

      Electrical Equipment Cleanup

      by chester.kmak ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      The Test equipment tech at Magnovox did this procedure on Tectronix scopes:

      1. After removing power open the chassis.
      2. Use a mild soapy water spray and rinse off the inside of the chassis, mother boards and other components.
      3. Rinse with clean watrer.
      4. Put in a 120 degree F oven for 30 minutes to dry off.
      5. Lay the chassis open for 24 hours.
      Note on a windows PC the power suppies will have to be open and cleaned in a similar manner.


    • #3059485

      Recovered? Really??

      by pamcse ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      No easy answers… In 1972 PA experienced extreme, wide-spread flooding. I was in electronics field at time, so I worked trying to recover many of the 2-way radios that had been submerged while installed in vehicles.

      We found that the contaminents in the water actually ‘ate’ the metalic exterior of the transistors, attacked anything metal, and was virtually impossible to eliminate. …and this was fresh water!

      Someone else mentioned ‘clean’ water. IMO, you have no chance for long-term recovery if you do not use distilled water. Give equipment a distilled water bath (to re-disolve contaminents), rinse thoroughly (distilled water, again!), and blow dry (we even used oven in some cases) to evaporate the remaining water.

      My focus would be (only?) the HDD. If you recover the HDD, you have *effectively* recovered the computer. Recover the HDD and place in new computer.

      Don’t expect a high success rate… good luck.

      • #3059310

        Distilled water–Really Important!!!

        by joels ·

        In reply to Recovered? Really??

        In my real world experiences as a computer technician, distilled water is probably the most important step to cleaning water damaged or submerged equipment.

        Ground and/or tap water has iron and minerals in it, distilled water does not (who knows what else would be present in flood waters). After the equipment has dried, regular water is no longer conducive, however, the metallic depsosits left behind still are(these deposits are usually what cause the electronics to fail by shorting components directly across the circuit board). Also, metallic deposits will start to corrode when they come into contact with oxygen. Corroding the electronic components, the traces on the board & the solder joints. This is the reason why data recovery specialists would like a water damaged hard drive removed imediately & placed into a Ziploc bag or sealed container.

        To repair the equipment, remove the electronic component. Then fill a pan with distilled water. Place the component into the pan of distilled water, submerging it completely. Use a soft tooth brush to clean the hard to reach areas. Then rinse thoroughly with distilled water. After rinsing, blow the excess water away with a can of low-pressure compressed air. To dry, I usually place it on a table next to a window in direct sulight for 24hrs..

        If the data on the computer must be saved, send submerged hard drives off to a data recovery center to have the data retrieved. All power supplies, floppy drives, CD-Rom drives, keyboards/mice & other peripherals should be replaced.

        Replace all moniors, especially CRT monitors (the high-voltage flyback inside of a CRT monitor is too dangerous to attempt any repair like the one described above).

        When everything is reassembled, plug in the computer, turn it on & cross your fingers.

    • #3059483

      Reply To: Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      by dicklaw ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      I have a great deal of experience with recovery of US Navy motors and (large) cables flooded with salt water. First, if the salt has dried, it is next to impossible to remove – residue will adsorb more dampness from the atmosphere. Flood, and drain, with clean water several times to remove all traces of the contamination – dont hurry this. Then bake at a reasonable temperature until throughly dry. Inspect and clean as much as possible before applying any power.
      Again, if the salt has dried, forget it.
      Richard Law, USN (Ret)

      • #3059390

        motors, generators, pc board cleanup.

        by kbcom1952 ·

        In reply to Reply To: Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

        I did recovery of electronics in the air force and your correct about saltwater damage but a combo of strategies can enhance your results.There is a foamy spray that smells like windex and contains ammonia,it adjitates scum off the equipment and evaporates fairly quick so there is minimal mineral film left on the pc boards. Its these minerals and other contaminates that can conduct electricty and cause leakage or shorts.After the eqipment is fairly clean and dry{dont bake it yet], then use an alcohol bath or preferably an ultra sonic freon bath.You can also use an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner if you have one. air blast it at a reasonable air pressure so as not to distort any of the components.It also helps to have a good dryer or dessicator connected to the air compressor.As far as capacitors spray a little not a lot of wd 40 around the connections.If you spray to much the wd 40 residue acts as a dust magnet which can cause problems at a later date. Now dry it with a hair dryer or in an oven at a low temperature or in some kind of zero humidity device. If really bad repeat the whole process again.As said previously start testing with power on with the power supply isolated first,you dont want any voltage spikes screwing up all your hard recovery work.If the power supply is not up to par then chuck it,they dont cost that much anyway.I also pulled my pci boards and cleaned them separatly, and then reinstalled them one at a time so as to isolate individual problems.
        good luck

        • #3059268

          remove CMOS and RAID batteries

          by warwizard ·

          In reply to motors, generators, pc board cleanup.

          As a first step of recovery, the CMOS batteries and any RAID batteries should be removed from the hardware and the connections they were using checked for corrosion, if the CMOS battery socket is too corroded, you may as well forget it.
          I used to manufacture PC boards, and yes we used water based washers for the boards. Some degreasers that had a hot solvent vapor were used as well, the cold board precipates the solvent from the vapor, and flushes the contaminments away, the contaminants stay in the pool and only pure solvent vapor contacts the boards. If you can locate a PC board maker, I’m sure you could get them to run your electronics thru their cleaners. Insurance if you have it, should be willing to pay the recovery costs assoiated with doing this.
          A lot of people have suguested using compressed air, however you need to have an ionizer on the nozzle or the airstream will produce electro static discharges (ESD) which may destroy or degrade the electronics.

          warwizard (Dell Server Support)

    • #3059473

      Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      by geektx ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      Here in West Texas we have our share of fires .. with fires come firemen and lots of water. I have been successful in the past with recovering customer equipment from smoke, water, and debris with some simple items available in most cities.
      First … rinse everything with purified water thouroughly.
      Second … rinse again with purified water and denatured alcohol (50/50 mix)
      Third … use a cleaner such as Blue Shower (name may vary depending on brand … get the generic) this can be purchased at most electronic supply stores.
      Let the unit sit open with a fan blowing into it for several days.
      Disconnect the power supply and test it first. Typically if it doesnt blow out when you give it power it might be ok. If it doesnt blow then reconnect it to the unit and try again without your hard drive attached. If that works then reconnect the hard drive.
      Throw away the keyboard, mouse, and anything like printers, scanners, etc.
      I wouldn’t do anything with the monitor as there is to great a potential to hurt yourself and anyone in close proximity.
      If nothing comes up you may be able to retrieve data from the hard drive and your only out ~$30 for supplies.
      Hope it helps.

      • #3061166

        Discounted Data Recovery Services for Hurricane Victims

        by richard.clark@datatexcorp ·

        In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

        DTEC International has authorized the Washington DC Metro Eastern Forensic Office to accept damaged HDD and CD Media from consumers and corporations who suffered loss in the wake of the passing Hurricanes. This program will be announced in our October publication of our Newsletter and on our company web site. To contact DTEC and learn more about qualifying for this Discounted service please contact

        Our discount service is designed to cover the cost of the materials we use to execute the recovery. In general we will analyze the media sent, provide a free assessment and probability of recovery, and provide a fee estimate. The normal estimate is between 80-90% off our standard service rates and are designed to assist the victims not take more from them but rather give something back. In most cases consumers will request personal data, pictures, etc…Corporate Customers and Government agencies will be looking for more extensive damage. We are here to help.

        Possible financial assistance to those that qualify to assist in the offset of recovery fees.

        DTEC has provided Data Recovery and Forensic digital recovery services for the past 11 years. With our network of Recovery professionals world wide and our local offices staffed in the USA we are committed to assisting those who have suffered from this tragic natural event.

        Learn more about DTEC at
        This message was posted under the authority of the DTEC Group by a member of DTEC International Upper Management Team.

    • #3059465

      My Real World Experience

      by wdeckert ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      Time is money! To get a commercial site up fast you must have a good plan. After a flood at one of our bank branch locations, we found that the workstation motherboards were fried because the machines were plugged in during the flood. Monitors, keyboards and mice were OK becuase they were above the water level. We replaced all workstations and a server, restored basic workstation configurations with Norton Ghost, then server data from Network Attached offsite storage. We partner with an excellent IBM, Novell, Symantec, Microsoft vendor and have a contract for Disaster Recovery. We had a plan, tested it, review it regularly, and it worked.
      Costs? + or – $20,000. Results – Priceless!
      Flood occured on a Thursday evening, cleanup took place Friday, equipment was replaced by late Monday, configured Tuesday, and the branch open on Wednesday of the following week.
      Lessons learned: Keep workstations and servers off of the floor, keep backups off site or on NAS, have a plan, review and practice for a disaster before it happens, follow your plan when it is needed.

    • #3059461

      Hurricane Disaster Recovery

      by alexit ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      After Isabel 2 years ago I ended up tossing out the key boards and mice, and one monitor. For the 2 machines. I opened them up used a can of air to remove and debris, then used a spay bottle with clean water on the inside and dryed with a fan in a room with A/C and closed the door for 3 days. One machine powered on Ok but the other had a drive failure. After putting the drive in the freezer for about an hour I was able to recover the data. I am actually still using it on a machine my kids use for games.

      • #3054531


        by wdewey ·

        In reply to Hurricane Disaster Recovery

        Why did you put the drive in the freezer?

        • #3054491
          Avatar photo

          It’s a fairly common

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Freezer

          Thing to do for drives that are not working quite right to begin with if you can cool them down you should be able to get the data off them before they heat up and stop working.

          Generally works quite well if you catch the drive soon enough but a total waste of time if the drive has been run until it fails but as you are not actually paying for the wasted time it’s always worth a try.

          Unless of course it has been submerged then all bets are off as the drive will have contaminated water in it.


        • #3062443

          Reply To: Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

          by alexit ·

          In reply to Freezer

          Because the machine had been powered on, creating friction in the platter. This causes expansion, cold in the freezer forces it to shrink, there for makes scratches abrasions smaller. The more time in the freezer the more time you have to then shut down and pull the drive and send it off for recovery.

    • #3059459

      I’ve restored a computer from a dumpster…

      by Anonymous ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      Well, I’ve restored people’s computers before and recently aquired one that someone found in the dumpster. It was a mess. They did get it to turn on, miraculously, though. Here’s some of my own computer clean up tips:

      1. Use a toothbrush to get into the right places. Use a dry one to erode off caked gunk like dust, mud, etc. Then a vacuum cleaner to carefully vacuum off the dust.

      2. Clean all circuit boards and motherboard with rubbing alcohol. This is what we used when I was doing electronic assembly, btw. This cleans and also dissapates quickly. I find this safer than plain water.

      3. When working on monitors, be very careful! The components inside a monitor can carry dangerously high voltage! If a monitor needs cleaning, make sure it has been off and UNPLUGGED for AT LEAST 24 – 48 hours. Even if power has been off in the area, there’s not telling if it was on briefly or not as utility companies try and restore power or test lines, etc. Unplug it anyway and wait a day or two before opening the case. Don’t touch anything in the monitor with your bare hands or with metal objects.

      4. Put everything together and attempt to power up. If anything does NOT power up, no fans, no power lights, then suspect the power supply. For PCs you can get them online most places that sell computer parts. For monitors, I’d toss it and get another monitor.

      5. If it powers up but doesn’t boot or boots but has other failures, be sure to double-check all cables and motherboard jumper settings.

      6. Also clean the keyboard and mouse. These can be also disassembled and cleaned. For keyboards, I have used window cleaner, or rubbing alcohol. NEVER use BOTH. Wash the plastic parts in warm soapy water and leave dry COMPLETELY before assembling.

      7. Any parts that just don’t want to work even after cleaning, just toss and replace if you can.

      Hope this helps…

      • #3059292

        RE: I’ve restored a computer from a dumpster…

        by samdy8 ·

        In reply to I’ve restored a computer from a dumpster…

        I would be very carefull using the vacuum cleaner as this could create static and there for fry the electronic device that you are trying to save in the first place.

    • #3059458

      From one who is there….

      by chaslbolt ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      I just went through the hurricane – and yes it was bad… worse I’ve seen in over 45 years. Regarding recovery – best advise is to back up! If a unit is water logged, let dry out for at least a week, and the unit should recover – provided it was unplugged during the time it got wet. However, almost all hurricane related flooding in the south will be a mixture of fresh/salt water. So don’t count on longetivity of the recovered unit. Get it up and get your data off…and replace the unit. I have a computer business and the worse thing in this area is oxidation. De-oxidizers help, but are only short term.

      • #3054532

        Detailed, excellent advice by others

        by dicklaw ·

        In reply to From one who is there….

        Dont let the salt water dry, you will never totally remove it and the residue will adsorb moisture from the air! Two replies to my brief statement (posted a little way above in the trail) provide excellent, proven detailed instructions. Strongly advise you follow that trail – these guys understand. DickLaw

    • #3059456

      recovery of motherboards from flooding

      by tbarefo2 ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      The motherboards can be recovered by removing from cases and washing in a solution of Ivory dishwashing soap and water. Scrub good with camel hair brush to remove dirt. Blow dry with compressed air. The trick then is to dip the boards in 192 proof moonshine or everclear alcohol. This step is necessary to remove the water that you can not blow out from under the chips. After dipping in alcohol blow dry again and the motherboards will be ready to plug up and operate. I used this method on computers that were flooded in Elba, Alabama and recovered all of them that I cleaned. If you have floppies that you need to clean remove them from their old case wash with alcohol and place in new cases. Hard disk can be opened up and water removed, washed in alcohol and blow dryed with compressed air. I had about 50% recovery using this method on hard disk. I even cleaned keyboards using this method; however, they are so cheap now; it is a waste of time cleaning them. If I can be of further assistance feel free to contact me.

    • #3059448

      hard drives

      by moondoggie53 ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      One trick I know – which may save you a LOT of money – of course make certain everything is dry: IF the hard drive has no response, take off the top and give the top disk a spin. Chances are this will not apply, but this has saved my posterior in the event of a hard disk failure from mechanical cause.

      • #3054559

        OMG – worst advice in this thread

        by gdoc ·

        In reply to hard drives

        You should never, never, never remove the casing from a HDD outside of a class 100 cleanroom environment!
        A single speck of dust can crash the heads and destroy the entire drive and all the data on it.
        Callahan, I hope you don’t work for anyone that values their data as you are advocating total destruction vs a possible collection with a 10% possibility of working! If it has worked for you, go to Vegas, you are a lucky, lucky man.

        • #3054529

          Oil from fingers

          by wdewey ·

          In reply to OMG – worst advice in this thread

          The oil from your fingers would be enough to ruin the drive if you touch the platter. I don’t think I have ever heard of anyone doing this much advising anyone else to do the same.


        • #3054511

          You would crinch at the HDD customizer site

          by Anonymous ·

          In reply to Oil from fingers

          I came across a site not long ago that gave instructions on how to remove the cover of a HDD, cut away a portion of the plate and replace it with smoked glass to give it a “cooler” look.
          The article never said the drive would work later. But it did warn not to touch the surface.
          I would think the most important aspect of recovery is the data. Smart businesses have that covered. The majority of home users may have a plan that includes “collect the floating CDs” for recovery onto your new system.
          Although I have heard of WD40 many times, I never thought of running the parts through a dishwasher. Which one should be done first? Recovering your PC? Or cleaning out the doghouse your wife will send you to later?

    • #3059447

      RE: Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      by didikai ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      The first step(s)

      Perform triage – What is most valuable?

      1. If the equipment is – it MAY be recoverable.

      If it was powered off – there is a good likelihood that much of it can be re-used. A good deal of cleaning is required, and keep in mind that the contamination may present biological hazards. You don’t want to be breathing or getting skin contact with the crud that found its way into your systems.

      2. If the data is more valuable – how much more valuable?

      You must decide which is the most viable, recovering or recreating. The costs associated with the manhours needed to recreate data are weighed against the costs of recovery.

      As you may have gathered, the first few steps are of planning nature. The organizations affected need a two-pronged attack: how to continue/resume business at some level and how to get fully operational. Two groups are needed, but both must communicate.

      If you have further questions, or need recommendations for data recovery, please contact me at:

      Best of Luck,
      Sam Norris
      National White Collar Crime Center

    • #3059444

      Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      by swampdoc ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      I have rinsed out computers with clean water, let sit for a couple of days with a hair dryer/fan blowing to dry everything out totally. As others have said, floppies and CD’s are junk and just replace them. Living here in North Carolina, I have had the opportunity to use this method (unfortunately) several times. You can expect a 75% – 80% success rate as long as the systems were not powered when they were hit with the water, mud and goo.

      • #3059435

        data recovery

        by bea94457 ·

        In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

        Well once you clean out the computer there is a good chance that the hard drive will be filled with water. here is a solution if the data is extremly important then remove the hard drive and send it to data recovery company they can open the drive in a clean room fix it with the correct hardware and write a program to exact the data off of it they normaly can 98 percent recovery of data but its not cheap and there a lot of companys that due this so look arpund and ask others that have used thier services,

    • #3059400

      Software licenses, interim data capture

      by fultonwilcox ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      A very important subset of data is software. Try to recover as much printed documentation, license registration numbers, purchase orders for software maintemance etc. – whatever will prove your ownership of licenses and maintenance agreement status, and also how to install& configure it, etc. so that you can get support from software sources. Also, if your “real” systems aren’t going to be available immediately, put up something of an interim nature – even a spreadsheet – to capture business transactions that occur between the time of business restart and the time of “real” systems restart.

    • #3059372

      lots of good info… recap

      by jeasterlingtech9 ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      Disassemble to the components (take off memory, CPU and all daughter cards and wash separately)
      Wash in clean water (I would rinse in distilled for the last rinse)
      (I would use 90% rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle to displace the water and clean off any gunk)
      Dry in a very warm room (100 degree plus) and let it be till completely dry a couple of damp rid packs wouldn?t be a bad idea
      Inspect, assemble, pray
      Don?t be afraid to toss any part that is cheaper or easier to replace then repair

    • #3059362

      FEMA individual said

      by powerion3 ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      A Fema individual who visited my place of Employment said that if it got wet get it out it will fail at some point. Since I work at a fairly important place to the community, we require 24/7 uptime, we are going with the suggestion. Replacing all hardware that got wet.

      • #3059357

        Hardware Recovery

        by thompson ·

        In reply to FEMA individual said

        I work in hardware support for a major computer corp. Just want to warn/remind all that damage from weather related conditions is not covered by normal warrenty/contracts. We will send out a tech to do an estimate (you will have to pay for that also) so that you can send it into the companies insurance. We are starting to get calls from the damage Katrina did and most people seem surprised that we will not cover the repairs under warrenty


      • #3054340

        Sorry, But what does a guy from FEMA know?

        by breadtrk ·

        In reply to FEMA individual said

        FEMA? Sorry guy but I have to laugh my arse off at that one. There are many full time pro’s posting here that equipment CAN be saved and you put all your baskets in a guy from FEMA.

        Since your position is at a fairly important place in the community, you probably have insurance to replace everything so the guy from FEMA has no relevance in this discussion.

        BTW, still laughing.

    • #3059360

      From a calibration wonk

      by overcharge ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      First, rinse the boards with distilled water to remove contamination. Follow with denatured alcohol for same. Dry thoroughly (heat lamps, hairdryers, paint drying booth). There are some commercial cleaners, but I wouldn’t recommend WD40, since the residue it leaves will attract and bond with the dust for some really nasty guck.

      If the equipment was energized when it was submerged, it is probably gone.

      Use contact cleaner to clean pins and sockets, Caig Laboratories puts out some good stuff.

      Be aware that anything showing a deposit on the Surface Mount pins will probably fail again. Once you have corrosion, it will probably continue. Laptops have been my worst problem, with all the stuff that people dump into them. I’ve had limited success using a follow-up coating because it also creates an insulation factor, thereby making it more prone to thermal failure. Only coat the pins on SM technology, not the entire chip.

      I did try q-tips and denatured alcohol to clean some corroded SM stuff’s pins. Worked for about a week, then the electrolosis effect of the contaminents shorted it out again. A costal area with high humidity would probably be worse.

      I ran an AF cal/repair lab a while ago, and we did board washing with great results on mil-spec stuff.

    • #3059352

      No way!

      by dseiffert ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      I tried to recover a few machines from rain flooding in Houston a few years ago. The machines were submerged for a few hours at most. During this short time the boards on the hard drives corroded to the point components fell off the board. I would expect the best you can hope for is sending the drives to a recovery service. I used drive savers as they have replacement HD controllers they can use. Don?t waste your time trying to clean these machines. Even if you can get them to work they won?t last. The saltwater alone was enough to do permanent damage.

    • #3059351

      Mild Detergent, Alcohol, and clean water.

      by pka ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      Disassemble the pc, everything should cvome out. Clean with soap and water using a soft brush, and rinse well. Blow off with compressed air and bath in alcohol or crc electronics cleaner. All the fans, keyboards, mice, cd and floppy drives are better off tossed. Be sure to be extra carefull cleaning the power supply and monitor. Better off taking them to the shop. Even better just replace the machine.

    • #3059342

      My last flood

      by stephenmoriarty ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      about 8 weeks ago I had a flood 8″ sprinkler main flooded plant and computer room. I suffered mainly from blown powersupplies in Pcs. Popping in new ones got me running but water was not as high as disk drives If things can get dried out with achaol and no surface rust appears on boards you might be ok.

    • #3059331

      The Data is the most important part.

      by mousejn ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      How important is the data on the computers? If you are running you business on them, I would just remove the hard drives and send them to a data recover specialist like On-Track.

      If the data isn?t important, I would throw them away. No matter how much you clean them some residue will remain and they will fail in the near future.

    • #3059306

      maximize effort and recovery

      by admin ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      I’ve been in IT for 23 yrs, and seen my share of IT messes. Any moisture exposure like salt or muck on an pcb will eat the component traces out in short order. Even with alcohol baths, air-blown and baked, you may get a pc up, but it’ll only last a short while- count on it. Also there’s no wisdom in spending hours cleaning out $9 keyboards and $11 mice. I’d just remove the HD, rinse it in alchohol, blow it dry, and then bring it up as a slave on new PC to recover it’s data. Then I’d bundle the rest of the Hurricane Katrina components onto eBay and let a teenager waste his hours trying to get a scum-covered PC to work – and take that money from the ebay flip and put it back towards the insurance recovery money.
      Don’t waste valuable time on cheap components.

    • #3059303

      Use isopropyl alcohol

      by suresh_ponnan ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      Use isopropyl alcohol, this is the standard cleaner used on printed circuit boards and is safe on plastics, electronic components, semiconductor devices, fibre optics and does not leave a residue. In fact most manufacturers wash circuit boards to get rid of residues of flux.

      If you can dismantle your computer, get a shallow tray filled with IP and dip and rinse the boards in it. Use a soft brush to get at debris and dry them thoroughly (usually half an hour is more than enough) and re-assemble.
      Do not dip your hard disk though. Just clean the outside. If debris has got into your drive, even powering it up will damage the platters. If the data is important, send it to a data recovery shop.

    • #3059288

      Recovery at cost for Katrina victins

      by datamaestro ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      Hope it’s okay to post this:
      Data Recovery Worldwide is doing recoveries for the uninsured
      victims of Katrina at cost (25% of normal rate) and no charge at
      all if unrecoverable.
      Small discount for insured
      866-902-3799 (DRWW)
      In any case, good luck!

      • #3058602

        Discounted Data Recovery

        by bmedlock ·

        In reply to Recovery at cost for Katrina victins

        Most major data recovery services, if not all of them, are giving discounts to victims of Katrina. Ontrack, DriveSavers, & DTI DATA I know for sure are. You may be able to recover what you need using the advice found here, there’s lots of good tips, but before you try anything please evaluate the risks. None of these tips are garaunteed, and trying to recover the data yourself may mean it can’t be recovered later. If you have irreplacable data that is not backed up, I’d check into a professional service. Most will evaluate and give you an estimate at no charge if you are a victim of Katrina, and if nothing can be recovered there is no charge.
        Not to mention your insurance will probably pay for it. And if you didn’t have insurance for this sort of thing the government might help. The point is there’s tons of help out there to cover the costs, and you can get it at a discount, so why risk it?

        • #3061167

          Discounted Data Recovery Services For Hurricane Victims

          by richard.clark@datatexcorp ·

          In reply to Discounted Data Recovery

          DTEC International has authorized the Washington DC Metro Eastern Forensic Office to accept damaged HDD and CD Media from consumers and corporations who suffered loss in the wake of the passing Hurricanes. This program will be announced in our October publication of our Newsletter and on our company web site. To contact DTEC and learn more about qualifying for this Discounted service please contact

          Our discount service is designed to cover the cost of the materials we use to execute the recovery. In general we will analyze the media sent, provide a free assessment and probability of recovery, and provide a fee estimate. The normal estimate is between 80-90% off our standard service rates and are designed to assist the victims not take more from them but rather give something back. In most cases consumers will request personal data, pictures, etc…Corporate Customers and Government agencies will be looking for more extensive damage. We are here to help.

          Possible financial assistance to those that qualify to assist in the offset of recovery fees.

          DTEC has provided Data Recovery and Forensic digital recovery services for the past 11 years. With our network of Recovery professionals world wide and our local offices staffed in the USA we are committed to assisting those who have suffered from this tragic natural event.

          Learn more about DTEC at
          This message was posted under the authority of the DTEC Group by a member of DTEC International Upper Management Team.

    • #3059286

      Get It Dry First . . Use Air

      by allyinfo ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane


      I am an owner of computer services company, and my 1st suggestion would be to make sure everything you are working on is completely dry. Do not use any solvents or WD 40 on it. Always remember to be unpluged, and if we are talking specifically about the CPU or harddrive area of the unit. You will probably be able to recover is the harddrive, ram, co-processor, motherboard, other cards. . . media, sound, etc
      possibly the fan. Not the Power. . .forget it, and don’t even try. . just get new power.

      Do not place any items in drying units to dry. Such as the oven or microwave. The best thing to do is to let dry naturally. Check each unit seperately. Your harddrive, if correctly designed, should have been sealed, and you will be able to tell by just tilting it to see if there is any liquid that escapes from it.

      The other items, ram and co-processor are small boards and the fan is usually partcially open and can be taken apart very easily, if you want to try and dry it manually.

      Remember if you are going to attemtp to dry any items, do not use materials with small threads that will cause damage, or electrical friction. You can use the air can, which will help dry any of the items.

      Good luck. . .

      Bests, Alison Bolton
      Westcoast Information Services

    • #3059276

      Do not use WD40!

      by mesaili ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      WD40 is conductive and it will shorten every thing! we have used “LPS No Flash” Electro contact Cleaner. As with all solvents , please test for compatibility on ABS or Acrylics. This product is less hazardous and contains no CFC or Chlorinated solvents.
      Good luck.

      • #3059234

        WD 40 not conductive.

        by davebishop399 ·

        In reply to Do not use WD40!

        WD 40 can be used on vehicle distributors in wet weather to get engine started. Must be a pretty good insulator.

        • #3054541

          WD -40…Best drier known

          by richard ·

          In reply to WD 40 not conductive.

          I agree that WD 40 is NOT conductive. I remember a demonstration where the rep. sprayed a 120v light bulb and socket dropped it into a bucket of water plugged it in and then put his hand in the water. Result, the light glowed and he did not get electrocuted!!!
          From past experience, personal los from a fire with heat/water damage to computer I sucessfully recovered the machine after washing with WD 40 and then rinsing well with running water at a temp similar to bath water, used caned air to blow out the connectors and PC board switches. Let dry for a week, reassembled and powered up. The machine ran for 3 years until a lightening strike across the street found a path into the machine via the phone line. Only main damage, loss of 1 pci slot.
          Final word, try to recover main board, if hard drive is dry try to recover data. Even if it does spin up but then suddenly dies, data can usually be recovered.
          Do not just replace unless you can really affor to. Get it running and replace as you can.

    • #3059273

      Give it a try BUT….

      by featherman ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      Having been involved with water damaged computer electronics before (fire, flood and hurricane), I would make two suggestions and a recomendation:

      Recomendation: Make sure everything is DRY DRY DRY prior to attemping any disassembly or recovery work. Do NOT trust any components which have been exposed to water for anything other than emergency recovery work – ie: do not reuse any components even though they may test out OK. I have seen water damaged parts work OK for a few weeks or months and then catastrophicly fail…

      Suggestion 1: Mission critical infrastructure should be sent to a data recovery specialist. They have the techniques and equipment in place to recover most or all of the data on a failed HDD or array, including water damageed equipment. It ain’t cheap, but they usually do a good drive. Make sure the data recovery company knows it’s water damaged equipment…

      Suggestion 2: For non mission critical systems, connecting a questionable HDD or storage system to a configured, bootable throw away system (ie: one where it doesn’t matter if a component failure takes out the PS or mother board or…) and attempting to recover data from a secondary drive(s) is probably OK. Don’t be too surprised if you can access data at first, but quickly see errors which soon make the media unreadable…

    • #3059256

      Wash day…

      by pogletree ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      Materials needed:
      5 to 10 gallons of distilled water
      Dishwasher detergent
      Hair dryer
      Paper towels or other lint free towels

      Disassemble – Remove drives, mother board, PCI cards, power supply, etc.
      Place items in dishwasher, drives and power supply in top rack.
      Fill bottom of dishwasher with distilled water, usually to just below heating coil. Put in a small amount of detergent, just enough to act as a wetting agent. Run items through a wash cycle and stop the cycle when the washer drains. Refill the bottom of the washer with distilled water as before but DO NOT use detergent this time. Start another wash cycle and stop after the drain cycle. Remove the items and remove as much water as possible with the towels. Use the hair dryer on its lowest setting to blow dry the components – DO NOT overheat. The power supply will need the most attention and it may be safer to just replace it. Allow the components to air dry for 24 hours before re-assembly.
      NOTE: Pure distilled water is not electrically conductive, but contaminates left behind can make the water conductive and the purity of the water can not be assumed. This process, using industrial washers and forced air drying, has been used for many years to reclaim and clean equipment.

    • #3059252

      Just Dry It Out

      by gnx ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      Just dry out the PC. If there is to much debris, remove the harddrive and install it in another PC. This has worked for me after a flood. If you have a laptop, your best bet is to dry it out and hope for the best. The air vent on the hard drive is so small I don’t think any water can get in. I have frozen some harddrives and gotten them to work enough to start up and remove the needed data. If the PC has been in water a while it’s most likely not going to be usable even if you are able to start up and remove your data. And most important check the power supply and make sure there is no water or debris inside it. Good luck.

    • #3059237

      Take Everything Apart…

      by ljburrowes ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      The best thing to do is to take it apart and let it dry fully…
      I had a couple of hard drives get wet in a storage shed one time. I had to void the warranty and take the hard drive case off the top and let it hang and air dry. Took like a week to dry but the HD powered up and I was able to pull the data off.

    • #3059233

      obsololete info corrections

      by blieffring9 ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      WD40 is not WD40. The formula changed when solvent controls came into effect. It is now a water based emulsion that does leave an oily film that gels, gets sticky, and holds dust.

      Circuit boards are cleaned in water after solder reflow in the factory. Water sensitive componants are hand soldered on after washing. Water sealed parts have the tapes removed or tabs broken off after cleaning. They are water sensitive after that. This is most componants that have enclosed batteries, socket mounts, or electrolytic capacitors.

      Aluminum will corrode in fresh or salt water.

      Alcohol is denatured with methanol and/or acetone. Both disolve many plastics and circuit protective coatings. Isopropal may have Epsom salts in it. Use electronics grade.

      Circuit boards that have coin batteries or were running with a UPS are toast. Give up. New technology traces are only thousandths of an inch wide and can disappear or have an invisable break. Traces go under surface mounted componants and between chip legs and are not inspectable or cleanable.

      Everyone is going to LCD for energy savings and screen stability. Truckloads of used 21″ CRT monitors are available for under $100 each. Consider getting LCD for energy and desk space savings.

      Disk drives have a HEPA filter on the side. Send off for data recover if the backups were also lost. Do not power up. Current drives have excellant crash protection coatings, but are still extemely contaminant sensitive and will fail almost immediatly if operated open outside of a “CLEAN ROOM”.

      If the computers are to be used in a business for business, buy new computers with no operating system or software. Find your licenses and put the software you own into new computers that will be better than the ones replaced. OS and software is worth more than the computer and lost down time. Reload your data from backups and get going. Time lost recovering is earnings lost. Unentered data is not being recorded and in danger, also. Spooky crashing systems will loose you man days of labor and effort which is real money. Look at each station and ask, “What would I loose if this machine disappeared?”

      Br prepared to load systems from scratch. In some (most, what kind of luck do you expect if you are recovering from a flood?) cases, driver or XP license configuration will be incompatible with the new box and image restored systems will not boot. If the data is only available from a system image, restore to another drive and extract data. Most software loads hardware dependant libraries and has too many registry entrys to copy. Load software to the new system and let it adapt itself. Good luck reenabeling and transfering licenses. Keep your NIC cards. Some expensive software licenses key from the MAC address.

    • #3054563

      IT Adage – KIS – Recover The HDs

      by minjrb ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      WD40, pressurized air, alcohol. Come on, lets be real. Keep it simple. Recover the hard drives and immediately contact a data recovery professional. I have used CBL Technologies in Armonk, NY with excellent success. Let the pros handle the data recovery. As for the rest of the computer, whether Mac or PC, consider it a loss. I cannot imgine what these individuals are going through. However, I would be more inclined to keep it simple and recover the most valuable part of the computer, the HD. This would allow the person to focus more on the tasks with a higher priority, like obtaining employment.

    • #3054561

      Dish detergent and warm water.

      by tcruise ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      Many computer components (circuit boards and keyboards) can be washed in a solution of warm water with a few drops of dish detergent, then dried using (clean) compressed air or spin dried.

      I used to work for a high-end audio manufacturer. We cleaned all of our circuit boards using a this solution to remove soldering flux. We washed the larger boards in a dishwasher (and small amount of dishwasher soap), and the small ones in a dish tub. We dried the large boards at low temp in an electric oven (regular kind used in your kitched), and the smaller boards in a salad spinner!

      This works because electronic components (individual and integrated chips) are sealed units that withstand a reasonable amount of dowsing without any penetration.

      • #3054518

        use your backups

        by techsupport2 ·

        In reply to Dish detergent and warm water.

        Hopefully some of the guys thought and made data backups. as far as water seeping into the hardware componets let us not forget how corrosive saltwater is. It can lay waste very quickly. Other solution is to send off foe data recovery.

    • #3054490

      USE Forensics tools

      by statseeker9 ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      If your information is that important to you, buy Forensics Suite by Digital Intelligence or EnCase forensics tools. Plug the hard drive into a clean box with Windows 98 on it. Use the tools to recover your information from the damaged hard drive. It is quite expensive, but if you want it that much, you will spend the money.

    • #3054485

      WD40 __NOT___conductive

      by another computer guy ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      Ok. I’ve read through the discussion thus far and noted that nobody seems to really know whether WD40 is conductive or not. Just thinking about it, I said not because one of it’s hundreds of uses is to dry out automotive ignition systems. I decided to test it out. I filled a shallow bowl with WD40 and tried to get a resistance measurement. Even with the probes of a VOM sitting only a few hundredths of an inch apart in the pool of WD40, I got absolutely NO reading with the VOM set on the 20 Megohm scale. With results like that, I would not fear spraying any electronics with it, i.e., IT IS NOT CONDUCTIVE.

    • #3054484

      WD40 __NOT___conductive; Clarification

      by another computer guy ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      My test showed that WD40 itself is not conductive. Reading the can, you may get the idea that that is not the case due to the electrical warnings found thereon. The warnings are there to inform that the CAN is conductive and should be kept away from live circuits.

    • #3054483

      Batteries and Power Issues

      by lorenzend ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      I’ve recoverd flood damaged PCs before and added a comment to an earlier post and looked through the rest to see if anyone really addressed the battery and power issue. For computers I could not recover, it was because of the CMOS battery corroded the board and caused damage. Some boards operated for a little while and others did not operate at all. The other side was if they were still plugged in when the flooding occured, the power on a couple shorted across and caused problems. I would look for corrosion before I started cleaning and if it looks like the board has been damaged too bad, you may want to pull drives, etc for possible salvage and toss the motherboard. System boards are getting better in cost and with the cost of current computers (299 – 599) your time may be worth more than the cost of the new computer. Then check the drive to make sure it’s clean and try it.

      • #3054315

        See my post titled CMOS and RAID

        by warwizard ·

        In reply to Batteries and Power Issues

        I addressed the corrosion on the CMOS battery sockets. If you’re talking about the system board for a 4 way or 8 way server, the cost may exceed $2,000 for the replacement board, and you might have 10 of these systems setting there. a 40% recovery rate saves $8,000, and gets 4 servers up till replacements can be procured. Just getting 1 server up provides a platform to restore your backups to prior to sending the data to the replacement systems, so there could be good reasons to recover some of the hardware.
        Recovering the primary domain controller and schema master could save you weeks of work.


    • #3054480

      If you have to ask how…

      by techman_ ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      Those who are seeking advice here probably are not qualified to perform the recovery of submerged PC’s. I work with CNC Machine equipment and we deal with PC boards and servo motor drives/controllers costing upwards of $10,000 per unit. Some machines have four or five of the servo motor drives/controllers. Many of the modern CNC machines are PC based.

      If a sensitive drive (Server) is involved, the most importiant thing is the data; send the hard drive to a facility for recovery and be done with it.

      If no remote back up of data was in place or for those who simply wish to salvage components, then removal of visable contaminates by first a ‘clean tap water’ rinse may work for boards. Some type of light detergent or solvent should be used if oily residue or salt water is found. Then a deionized water rinse & dry after all visable contaminates have been removed.

      The Hard Drive, Monitor, Power supply, floppy/CD/DVD drives, cooling fans, keyboards & mice should be carefully rinsed and dried as described above, replaced or sent to a professional. If the power was on when the unit was submerged/got wet then it may not work anyway.

      Read several entries in these threads, as many have good ideas on how to recover various parts. Just remember any contaminate, oil or salt water, will need to be removed rinsed clean and dried completely before connecting the power.


      • #3054372
        Avatar photo

        Just an additional note here

        by hal 9000 ·

        In reply to If you have to ask how…

        The water involved here was not clean fresh or sea water it contained contaminates initially and with the water inundation would have picked up more contaminates so you should treat these objects as Biological Hazards and act accordingly. Use Surgical Gloves when handling any just fished out of the water hardware and think about this there was a Hurricane so in most cases there would have been no power available when the water hit even if the unit was plugged in and turned on it would have stopped some time previously to the water intrusion.

        When we where cleaning up after the AU Day floods in 74 we discovered things ranging from bottles of medical O2 to aircraft wings and everything in between all of this was trashed and thrown away as no one wanted the recovered items and in the case of the aircraft wings they would have been condemned by the Civil Aviation Authority because of the possibility of Corrosion and resulting failure. About the only thing that I ever heard about that was used by the finders was some wax candles. In most of the areas affected there was not just water but fast flowing water involved so we had a real mess to deal with and quite a lot of the mainframe rooms didn’t get pumped out until we had someone there to start immediately on the hardware.

        It’s a really interesting experience using a fire hose to clean out a Main Frame room with several Million $ worth of hardware involved, unless you have experienced it you will never know the feeling that it generates. 😉

        But even after the clean out several years latter when we where ripping up cables we still found hardened muck in the cable trenches and we used enough water in the clean out to fill the rooms several times over but as we hosed it out the water was being pumped along with the dislodged sludge. We even hit the old HDD with the removable platters with the fire hose after we had removed any platter elements in the box and literally allowed it to fill up and overflow until the water was coming out clean. For the Tape Drive Banks we used the same method but with far less pressure and a big rubber type wedgie to push the muck to the pumping point so it could eventually be sucked out of the place. :p

        While it was fun at the time it is something that I hope I never see again. The units that where rescued and left to dry before we could get near them where the ones that where thrown out as they had been destroyed after only 3 days there was a massive amount of corrosion on the circuit boards to make any attempt at repair not worth while. The only good thing about this flood was it was only about 30 feet of water through the main business district so all the Backup Data could stay on-site in the higher rooms of the buildings and remain unaffected so after we replaced the hardware we could have the place up and running in very short order. :^O

        I still remember the smell and the Hep shots that we all had to have not something that I would recommend to the average tech. 😀

        But if you are going to be working on this stuff you will have to remember to treat is all as Biological Hazardous and act accordingly and have whatever shots are recommended by the Doctors, Booster shots for Tetanus and Hep are the bare minimum and extremely important even if they do hurt like hell for weeks after the event. The Hep shots consist of 3 shots at 2 week intervals and are not cheap so if you are working on this stuff you should be getting your shots now and have them paid for by the Boss so you are covered against the worst type of disease.

        Col ]:)

      • #3058826

        Experience with RC Systems-Not worth the effort

        by wayne.walker ·

        In reply to If you have to ask how…

        I’ve dunked several Radio Control recievers, servos & speed controllers in salt water.

        You can sometimes clean them as noted above, but eventually the small wires & other parts succumb to corrosion and fail. It is a lot of effort and generally not worth the effort.

        The only exception to the above is HDDs with valuable info on them, we send failed drives out to MDS Disk restore, 11750 Stirling Ave.
        Riverside, CA 92503, Gary (951) 352-2425

        They’re the best!

    • #3054321

      Bottom line… PLAN AHEAD!!

      by angry_white_male ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      Most hardware damaged by a hurricane from flooding (especially a storm surge or catastrophic flood) is going to be written off as a loss.

      By the time you can get to the equipment, most of the salt water that has receded back to the ocean had dried and everything inside the case is toast. The residual salt and corrosion from the heat/humidity down there alone is enough to kill it. Also be very wary of mold contamination – so when you go into retrieve your hardware, be sure to take the proper precautions (mold infestations can cause serious health complications.

      For those of you in New Orleans, the flood waters there are contaminated with god-knows-what – there will be considerable amounts of silt and other contaminants in the water that will get into anything and everything. Try to recover your tapes and drives, then write off the rest.

      This should be a lesson to all of us to remember to back up our data, store the tapes off-site somewhere, keep your data rooms above ground level (in a flood-prone area – the higher, the better)… be sure to take any critical data with you if you are ordered to evacuate (shut everything down, hopefully you have hot-swap drives you can pull and take with you – be sure to label them and keep them in order). If you’re not in a flood-zone, keep tarps and bungee cords handy to cover everything up with in case you lose part or all of your roof to keep the equipment from getting soaked. If your server racks have (or had ) doors – use them, protect your equipment from flying debris.

      Any large off-site data center that operates in a flood-prone area is asking for trouble. Think about relocating to higher ground in an area that’s less prone to natural disaster.

      Finally – have insurance that’ll cover your equipment losses! Have a disaster recovery / business continuity plan in place that covers these scenarios. The plan should include agreements with your vendors to replace hardware quickly, a place to set up a temporary server room, back-up power, some kind of internet access (DSL, T1, broadband, satellite, whatever), etc. In a Katrina scenario – you can be certain there will be a surge of orders to replace equipment, expect your stuff to be on back-order, so expect some delays. Data center trailers designed for disaster recovery efforts will be extremely scarce. Make sure your customer service people, account reps, PR, etc… are in the loop so they can keep customers in the loop with what’s going on. Plan plan plan!!

      The questions I’m seeing here shouldn’t be “how do I make my submerged server work again”. I sympathize with each and everyone one of you affected by Katrina, but if you had a plan in place – there would be less headaches to contend with in the recovery effort. The questions here should turn to “how do I prepare for a disaster of this magnitude and what can I do to minimize my losses”??

      Just my 2 cents.

    • #3054311

      how to find a IT job in post Katrina Recovery project

      by mt_abbas ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      What is the best way to hunt a job with companies engaged in recovery of IT Assets post Katrina. Any names of companies would be welcome

    • #3058702

      Use a blow dryer

      by ksmclean ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      It’s worth a try – a client of mine had their facilities swamped by floodwaters a few years back. We dismantled all the PCs, washed the boards with warm soapy water, dried them using a blowdryer then reassembled everything. 97% of the computers worked on first powerup. The rest just needed 1-2 boards replaced.

      Good luck!

    • #3058656

      Slow and Careful

      by jhkotak ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      My experience is based on the flooding due to heave rains in Mumbai.I had visited one of the enginnering colleges and they were doing the following things to recover from the water daamged computers.

      1. Do not try to switch on the computers and immediately disconnect from the power supply.

      2. Open the cabinet and dissamble the components as much as possible, ie power supply, mother board, cards – etc display, modem, lan

      3. Clean up wipe off with dry cloth as much water, dirt as possible.

      4. Dry the components using one of the following methods
      a. Expose to high watt, high heat radiating tungsten lamps for quite a long time – say 2 days.
      b. if above not possible/available then dry with say hair dryer( see if you can get industrial grade and styling hair dryers will have to switched off every 15 min )
      b. Clean up with alcohol based solution and wait to dry again.

      5. Switch on the SMPS and check with multimeter if the volatge is proper before connecting to motherboard, HDD etc.

      6. Re-asemble the computers. Keep your fingers crossed and then plug and pray.

      With the above method the engg. institute has been able to recover 80% of their computers.

    • #3058652

      Submerge whole PC’s

      by pritchards ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      I used to work in a Factory that made PC boards.
      We used to use a Ultra-sonic bath with a cemical called Fre-aunt (well that is how we said it, have no idea how to spell it). We used to submerge whole PC’s in it and switch them on a hour after they came out. This is how ever 100% Ozone unfrindly stuff and may not be legal in the US. GOOD LUCK!!!

    • #3061319

      good and the bad

      by lburner ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      I have been in computers from the git go, when they had vacuum tubes, and an ET longer than that and, yes, we did recover dunked equipment in the military.

      NO WD-40 or other harsh solvents!

      The person who said to remove the hard drive and hoser down is right. I would break the whole thing down to the major components.
      Then flush with IP, we have always washed the boards with alcohol as we assembled them. It removes resins and solvents you don’t want. Let it air dry or blow things out with low air pressure. I would stay away from applied heat unless you know what your doing and can control it.
      Do replace the keyboard and mouse. They are not cost effective to mess with if they are failing.

      You may have to rock all plugins including some chips, this is where good contact cleaner may be needed.
      Let it all set for a few days to thourouly dry out, reassemble and give it a go.
      At this point I would use a substitue HD if your hard drive has valuable business data stored on it.

      Two parting comments.
      You never realize the value of data back-up until you whished you had done it.

      Systems are so inexpensive today that it is easier and cheaper to just replace it and install the old hard drive with high hopes that it was well hermetically sealed.

      Best bet: distilled water followed with IP and air.

    • #3061171

      Discounted Data Recovery Services for Hurricane Victims

      by richard.clark@datatexcorp ·

      In reply to Disaster Recovery – Hurricane

      DTEC International has authorized the Washington DC Metro Eastern Forensic Office to accept damaged HDD and CD Media from consumers and corporations who suffered loss in the wake of the passing Hurricanes. This program will be announced in our October publication of our Newsletter and on our company web site. To contact DTEC and learn more about qualifying for this Discounted service please contact

      Our discount service is designed to cover the cost of the materials we use to execute the recovery. In general we will analyze the media sent, provide a free assessment and probability of recovery, and provide a fee estimate. The normal estimate is between 80-90% off our standard service rates and are designed to assist the victims not take more from them but rather give something back. In most cases consumers will request personal data, pictures, etc…Corporate Customers and Government agencies will be looking for more extensive damage. We are here to help.

      Possible financial assistance to those that qualify to assist in the offset of recovery fees.

      DTEC has provided Data Recovery and Forensic digital recovery services for the past 11 years. With our network of Recovery professionals world wide and our local offices staffed in the USA we are committed to assisting those who have suffered from this tragic natural event.

      Learn more about DTEC at
      This message was posted under the authority of the DTEC Group by a member of DTEC International Upper Management Team.

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