Solid state drives (SSDs) don't have moving parts like hard disk drives (HDDs), which makes them less likely to fail mechanically. They are still susceptible to water damage, though. If you accidently drop your laptop in water and it has an SSD, your first instinct might be to immediately dry off your computer. You should, however, keep your SSD moist until you can take it to a data recovery service. Here's why it's better to keep your SSD damp after it's submerged in water, along with how to do so.
Remove Your SSD from Your Laptop
As soon as you remove your computer from the water, you should remove the SSD from the rest of the laptop. While every part of your computer may be valuable, your SSD is the only component that has irreplaceable files. You can order a new motherboard, battery or even a new computer, but you can't purchase family pictures or work documents.
Different computer manufacturers put laptops' hard drives in different locations, but they all make it relatively easy to remove an SSD. You'll likely need to remove a few screws and then pull out the drive.
Dry Off the Rest of Your Computer
While your SSD should be kept moist, you can dry off the rest of your computer. The easiest way to dry off a laptop is to set it upside-down on a hand towel, so it's propped up on the keyboard and top of the screen.
Hopefully, your laptop will work fine after it's dried out. To find out if it survived, simply try booting it up with a different hard drive in it or using CDs. If it seems to run fine, then you may be in the clear. If it doesn't, you'll probably need to take it to a laptop repair service. The data recovery company you're taking your SSD to might perform general laptop repairs, or the may be able to refer you to someone else.
Keep Your SSD Damp
Discussing hard drives in general, Simon Steggles on StorageSearch.com suggests keeping hard drives that have sustained water damage wet. Steggles explains that water usually has minerals in it that leave deposits on hard drives after they're dried. These deposits corrode HDDs. By keeping an HDD damp until a data recovery company can service it, you can prevent deposits from building up.
While there are a few waterproof SSDs on the market, as the article notes, most laptops don't come with a waterproof model. These advanced drives are reserved for military uses and aren't common in consumer electronics yet.
Therefore, the SSD in your laptop is probably just as likely to be damaged by water as an HDD is. Deposits that are left on the SSD could cause it to corrode, or they may short circuits in the drive. Either way, the deposits left behind after your SSD dries will likely render it inoperable.
To prevent this from happening, you can keep your SSD damp by:
- rinsing it with distilled water if it was submerged in saltwater to remove excess minerals
- wrapping it in a damp paper towel to protect the surface from scratches
- sealing the drive in an air-tight plastic bag
When preserved in this manner, the towel around the SSD will keep it moist enough to prevent deposits from forming without soaking the drive in water. You could, in theory, keep a drive like this for several days, as the plastic bag will seal in moisture.
Eventually, you'll need to take your SSD to a data recovery company that can try to get your files off of the drive. You might find that they charge more for water-damaged drives, but keeping your drive moist after it's already submerged shouldn't increase this fee. Instead, not drying out your SSD will increase the likelihood that a data recovery technician can salvage your precious pictures and documents. For more information, contact a company like We Recover Data.