Water damaged Hitachi 2.5" HDD


My girlfriend has spilled water over her Acer Aspire S3 ultrabook and it seems the hard drive is now dead. The laptop powered off and she didn`t try to run it. I have opened it and soaked most of the liquid while disassembling it. The laptop is now working after a day and a half of drying (it still powers on by itself right now so I have left it to dry out a bit longer) but the hard drive seems dead.

When I opened the laptop I removed the hard drive and noticed there is water between the metal part and the PCB so I have carefully removed the PCB. Then I tried to remove most of the liquid and put the PCB into rice (as rice soaks water pretty good as far as I know). Unfortunately that didn`t help - the hard drive is not being recognised by the BIOS.

I have two questions:

1. Those data recovery services - how possible is that they could restore the data?
2. Since she would need a new hard drive anyways if I buy the same drive would I be able to swap the PCBs and try to read the date from the original drive?

As I have said it is my girlfriend`s laptop so ... a lot of pressure on me right now. Any help would be much appreciated :)
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More about water damaged hitachi
  1. try putting the hdd in a usb dock and if it works the problem is the motherboard also make sure that all the connections on the hdd are clean
  2. All connectors are clean. I am worried that the water spilled directly over the power connector of the HDD. I have tried the HDD in my desktop and it is not recognised by the BIOS. I can`t even hear it spin up or anything.
  3. have you dried the pcb on the hdd as it may still be wet and will be shorting out
  4. After the PCB was left in rice for a day and a half I assembled it and tried it but still no luck. I can`t even hear the hard drive to spin up.
  5. 1. It is possible for data recovery services to restore the data, but expensive.
    2. Not recommended. PCB from hard drives are unique to the drive itself having all bad sectors, and other information coded into the memory. Don't try it. Get a new hard drive and load windows. If she really needs the data and the drive won't work in an external enclosure you'll have to pay to get the data.
  6. If it any BIOS doesn`t recognise it what are the chances it would work in an enclosure?
  7. Just a small chance but worth it since enclosures are so cheap.
  8. Some older drives have the same basic information on two PCB boards of the same model, provided that both drives were made at about the same time, before more unique adaptives were programmed into the next line of drives. If one of the PCBs fails, there is some chance of making a recovery by simply swapping the boards of the two drives. However, hard drives have contained "customized" firmware on at least an occasional basis since they've become a consumer product, so the chances of a straight "board swap" working are low. So in most cases you also need to move the old PCB's BIOS to the replacement one. :wahoo:

  9. @gary, God only knows how your data recovery software is/was able to recover data from a drive that doesn't spin. Truly miraculous.

    @mart1nn, if you wish to try a board swap, then be aware that Hitachi's normally have an NVRAM IC that must be transferred from patient to donor. If you upload a detailed photo of the PCB, I will be able to identify the chip for you.

    BTW, some PCB suppliers (eg donordrives.com) offer a chip swap service for free.
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