Hmmmm. But why?
A few months ago I was visiting another computer-forensics specialist when I learned about the freezer trick. This fellow gets a few broken disk drives now and then, and, by putting the drives in a freezer overnight, he’s frequently able to recover data that would otherwise be “lost.” Well, when I got back to Harvard, where I work, I took a few of my “broken” drives down from the shelf and put them in the freezer overnight with a note: “These hard drives are being used for a research project; please don’t eat them.”
The next day I took two of the drives back to my desk and plugged them into my computer. How about that: two of the drives that had been “broken” were now giving me their data.
This is a big deal for me. For starters, it means that I can now get data off many of those “broken” drives I’ve been keeping on my shelf. But it also means that many of the drives being sold on eBay as broken can nevertheless be scavenged for data. This is particularly troublesome because it’s unlikely that the previous owners of the drives were able to properly clear them before they were sold.