- Be sure computer is unplugged.
- If computer is wet, pour out residual water.
- Do not attempt to dry — this may further damage a hard drive.
- Open computer case. Unplug, unscrew and remove hard drive(s), being careful not to touch the circuit board.
- Seal drive in ziplock bag or wrap
in plastic and tape shut.
- Do not freeze;
store as close
- Take or send the drive to a hard drive
recovery specialist for data recovery.
- Be sure computer is unplugged and battery is removed.
- Remove and bag the hard drive as above or bag
the entire notebook computer.
Flash Drives + Memory Cards
- If drive or card has been in salt water or other contaminants, rinse thoroughly in clean water.
- Place in a plastic bag with silica gel or, if that is unavailable, dry (uncooked) instant rice for several days until dry.
- If drive works, download files to another device immediately in case the drive later fails. If drive does
not work, try further drying.
- Be careful not to scratch disk, especially the shiny non-label side or data may be lost.
- Rinse dirty disk in clean water. Do not scrub. If dirt will not come off with rinsing, soak in mild detergent solution, then rinse.
- Air dry label-edge up in racks or label-side down on a sheet of clean wax paper.
- Dust and smudges can be cleaned with a soft lint-free cloth using light strokes from the outside edge toward center only.
Floppy Disks, Zip Disks + Back-up Tape
- If the data is valuable, seal in plastic and send to a data recovery specialist.
- If you want to attempt recovery yourself, take disk out of enclosure. Rinse in fresh clean water. Dry on lint-free or microfiber cloth. Place in new enclosure.
- Analog or Digital — except old paper-backed tape — put in ziplock bag.
- If wet and dirty, do not let tapes dry out.
- Rinse as soon as possible in clean water to remove contaminants; if necessary, tapes can stay wet for several days.
Avoid use of extreme heat or cold — both can damage tapes.
Open Reel Tapes
- If covered with mud, or other contaminants, rinse in clean water.
- If needed, add a small amount of mild dishwashing detergent to the cleaning water.
- Rinse in clean water.
- Air dry vertically in racks.
Tape in Cassettes
- If only case is wet or dirty, wipe clean.
- If inside is contaminated, open cassette, remove tape reel and clean and dry as with Open Reel Tapes (above).