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Water Damage
We recover your data professionally and are very experienced with data carriers damaged by water.

Water Damage

Our technical staff is regularly working on hard drives, SSDs, memory cards, USB sticks and hard drives from RAID and server systems, which were significantly damaged by water in our in-house clean room laboratories.

Causes for water damage

  • Flooding after water pipe breakage, high water, leaking roof
  • Dirt and mud after bad weather or high water
  • Extinguishing water or foam after a fire in the server room
  • Spilt drinks (e.g. lemonade, coffee, milk)
  • Retrieved hard drives from sunken ships
  • Memory card forgotten in the washing machine
  • Hard drives thrown into the water to destruct evidence
  • Condensation within the hard drive due to high humidity
  • Digital camera fell into a lake or river
  • Laptop has been "washed"

Negative effects of liquids on hard drives

Dependent on the type and viscosity of a liquid there are different error patterns. That doesn't require corrosive acids or bases. Even normal tap water can cause massive damage. The lime inside the water deposits over time and can lead to physical damage causing data loss.

The corrosion of the ferromagnetic hard drive surfaces within a wet hard drive is an important factor concerning the severity of the damage. The tiniest dirt particles on those sensitive surfaces are enough to damage the write/read heads, which float only between 10 and 40 nanometres above the rotating discs. If the magnetic layer is harmed it may cause serious reading damage. The result is logical damage, which implies more effort for the data rescuer.

The salts dissolved in the water reduce the electrical resistance and cause an increased conductivity of the liquids. This may lead to a short of the board and the pre-amplifier of the read/write heads and makes the data rescue more difficult.

Avoid panicky reactions

Arbitrary actions may lead to more fatal consequential damage. We discourage you from drying your hard drive with a hair dryer, heater or oven! We recommend wrapping the hard drive up in a moist cloth to prevent it from drying and resulting corrosion. .

Prompt action is the number one priority

The main problem with water damage is that a hard drive is filled with air (there is no vacuum inside it!). A so-called helical mount leads from the inside to the outer case and provides the hard drive continuously with fresh air, which is filitered several times to keep dust particles from getting inside. Liquids can also get inside this way and cause corrosion in case of water damage.

Clean room

After a water damage the defective hard drive has to be opened which should only be performed inside a clean room laboratory. Attingo has clean room laboratories of the ISO 5 category in Hamburg, Vienna and Amsterdam.


Hard drives affected by water damage have to be deep cleaned (inside and fine mechanical components) in the course of the data rescue.

Data rescue technology

With humidity damage it is important to have the right data rescue equipment to prevent even the smallest imbalance during the platter transfer. The data rescue engineers and technicians need to have fine motorical skills to be able to rescue data and files successfully.

What to keep in mind if a have a hard drives affected by water damage

  • Keep calm!
  • Don't apply power to the hard drive any more (short risk)
  • Don't try to dry the device with a hair dryer, heater or oven to prevent consequential damage (corrosion or heat damage).
  • Wrap the device up in a moist cloth.
  • Contact us a fast as possible for a quick diagnosis. A rapid processing is very important in case of water damage. We provide a high priority service for such occasions.
Attingo Team
DI (FH) Markus Häfele
General Manager
Peter Franck
Robbert Brans
Ing. Özgür Göksu
Maximilian Maurer
Spare Part Manager
Dipl. Ing. Nicolas Ehrschwendner
Partner and consultant
Sebastian Evers
Customer support
Boris Hakaso
Paul Carlson
success rate
25 years
of experience
rescue success