KÜRT – Data Recovery and Information Security

Frozen information

8. March 2005., Budapest — Every season has its hit song, and the same goes for the area of data recovery. According to statistics of KÜRT Co.’s international data recovery team, when  winter comes, the frequency of data loss on portable computers increases perceptibly.

In the winter, there is at least 20 to 25 degrees of difference in outdoor and indoor temperature. People can circumvent this by clothing, but electronic devices suffer a lot. Components react to temperature changes by various degrees, and moisture condensation can cause a catastrophe. Due to various degrees of thermal expansion, parts of electronic devices react differently to changes in temperature — especially components of high precision components of computers. Reader heads of hard disks, for example — representing top-notch technology ever since they were invented in electro-mechanical devices — work by micron scale precision. It can be compared to a jet plane flying 6 feet or 2 metres above the ground, and reading the pattern of grass leaves in the field. Knowing this, it is easy to understand that a thermal expansion of one tenth of a millimetre can cause a catastrophe: the head may not be where it’s supposed to be, and may not read the data that the software expects. In more severe cases the mechanical components can ruin themselves: the head can plough a deep furrow into the magnetic surface of the disk or into the bearings in the centre. Vapour condensation is known by everyone who ever took a cold bottle out of the fridge, of entered a warm room from the cold wearing glasses. Warm air contains more droplets of moisture than cold air, so when air cools down, the vapour particles condense as drops of water of the surface of objects in the environment. This process also happens in the inside of computers, water condensation can build up into a thin film of moisture on the electronic panels, causing a short circuit. „You should pay extra attention to your portable devices in the winter. There is a rule of thumb that can greatly reduce risk. Allow at least one hour per 10 degrees for the equipment to warm up. For example, if the computer has cooled down to 0 degrees during transportation, and you want to use it at room temperature of 20 degrees, then you shall leave it alone for at least 2 hours before turning it on. It you encounter a problem, do not attempt data recovery yourself, using “household” tools, because chances are that you’re only making things worse.” — These are the words of Géza Molnár, head of KÜRT’s data recovery department.