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I'm a stack overflow user and I hope it's ok to ask this question here. I have the age old problem of having spilled beer on my laptop. Luckily there's not much that isn't backed up and i'm on a live linux cd right now so i know only my hdd got ruined.

I'm more of a googler than an asker but I'm fascinated that "copper oxidation", "blue fur" "blue fuzz" turns nothing up when searching.

Basically I gave the hdd 3 days to dry out. Then I took the silver coloured plate off and found the copper contacts had blue fuzz and black stains all over them. The laptop was left on after the spill and I know very well the fault is with me there.

All these stains came away with a bit of elbow grease and a lens cleaning cloth.

Ok. tl;dr here's the question. If the contacts were covered with blue fur and black stains, is all hope lost? I know there might be blown chips etc underneath but does this oxidation, in itself, mean there was short circuiting and an end to all info on the disk?

I'm getting nothing from the drive. There's no power going to it, in my bios under hdd it says "none"

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Ouch, that sucks... may the best of luck be with you. –  Mehrdad May 2 '11 at 2:02
    
yup, this is the right place to ask, even if my answer is chemistry more than computing ;p –  Journeyman Geek May 2 '11 at 2:02
    
When you say you took the silver cover off, I hope you do not mean you exposed the platters. If the drive was just in a thin metal tray as part of it's mount mechanism and you just removed this, then no futher damage done. –  music2myear Jul 28 '11 at 16:17
    
At an old job of mine, doing geeksquad-like it support, two guys brought in a laptop for warranty work. It had been wiped down pretty thoroughly, which raised my suspicions given it's problem: not working at all. Removing the keyboard in front of the customers, I found sticky residue that had a familiar odor. "Doctor Pepper?" I asked. Busted! The machine was a loss and they didn't have an accidental damage warranty that would cover such mistakes. –  music2myear Jul 28 '11 at 16:20

4 Answers 4

i guess the easiest thing is to get a harddisk of the same make and transfer the electronics from the good harddrive to bad harddrive. this takes quite a bit of technique and you need to check the revision & version and make sure it is the same.

if you are not comfortable then get professional data recoery people to work on it...

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lets see, from basic chemistry, your copper is oxidised to either copper chloride, or copper sulphate. If it was black, it would be copper oxide - which is a insulator. In general though you should wash it in distilled water and dry it out - not leave it as is - and hope for the best.

Considering that its not detected, and short of testing every chip and connection you probably can't find the issue, there could be damage beneath the chips and such, there's no real advantage to trying to repair it at this point.

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I used to work at a cell phone store as a repair technician, and occasionally if someone brought in a water-damaged phone, we were able to repair it.

We began by rubbing said "blue fuzz" off with a cotton swab of dipped in isopropyl alcohol. After letting it dry off completely, we would then coat it in a gold conducting pen such as this one. Finally, we would usually replace whatever ribbon cables we could and hope for the best.

The aforementioned only worked about 1/3 of the time, but a 33% chance is better than a 0% chance.

Also, it might not be worth your money for that pen considering the price of hard disk drives has fallen sharply recently.

I know a phone doesn't have platter-style storage, but I really hope this is of some help.

Best of luck.

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My understanding is that once that drive case is opened, you're done. Those platters have been exposed to particles you're not getting off, and it'd take a trip to a pricey data recovery lab to have a chance (tho I'm not sure they'll try once the drive has been opened). But collecting those discs is kinda fun.

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