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Clean, Repair and Disinfect Electronic Media
By Jonathan Meyer
Heat and fire are extremely damaging to electronic media. Losing electronic media to fire is devastating. Whether its CDs, DVDs, backup tapes or your entire hard drive, the damage may be significant and may result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of files including music, photos, documents and more.
When business files are lost this can mean a long business down time and the loss of even millions in unearned revenues in addition to extremely expensive data restoration processes.
Fire Damaged Electronic Media
If your electronic media is completely burnt or melted, restoring your data is almost impossible. If the data is extremely important, consult a data restoration professional to see if there are any possible solutions. Be ready to pay for an extremely expensive recovery process.
Soot and Dust
Today, most removable media is housed in a semi-sealed assembly that is normally less vulnerable to soot and dust contamination. If your device is not damaged by the heat, but you cannot access the data, depending on the integrity of the housing, you may still retrieve the data.
Remove the drive and install it in another computer. Then attempt retrieval of the information. If this is still not successful the hard drive may need to be opened in a clean room by a specialist and the disk cleaned and replaced into a new computer.
Again, this procedure is likely to be expensive. Once the information is retrieved, copy it onto new storage media.
If your media is also damaged by the water, used to extinguish the fire, additional damage may occur to the device and the stored data. Be sure to read our guide about restoration of water damaged electronic media before you take action.
Hire a Professional
The first step in fire-damaged electronic media restoration is assessment. If it is determined that the damage is not severe, follow the instructions above. If in doubt, or if the damage is determined severe, no backups exist, and data is important, hire a data restoration professional to retrieve your data.
Data recovery professionals have the knowledge, experience, equipment, and facilities to do the job better and, although in many cases results cannot be guaranteed, more often than not data can be better recovered in a professional lab.
If your removable media is damaged by fire or soot, do not try to read or retrieve the information until it is cleaned with a special cleaning solvent to prevent a system crash and additional damage to your unit. Like with other media, once retrieved, the data must be backed up.
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