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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?

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Marine Archaelogy 101

by stevemedley In reply to Disaster Recovery - Hurri ...

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.

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HDD recovery software

by kenneth In reply to Disaster Recovery - Hurri ...

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

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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.

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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.

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Data Recovery links

by ahmedparvez In reply to Disaster Recovery - Hurri ...

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


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Electrical Equipment Cleanup

by chester.kmak In reply to Disaster Recovery - Hurri ...

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.


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Recovered? Really??

by pamcse In reply to Disaster Recovery - Hurri ...

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 **** 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.

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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, **** 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.

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by dicklaw In reply to Disaster Recovery - Hurri ...

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)

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motors, generators, pc board cleanup.

by kbcom1952 In reply to

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

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