The Norman Transcript

June 2, 2013

What to do when the hard drives hit the fan

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — What do you do when your house has been smashed into a pile of rubble by a massive killer tornado? If you are like most folks, you try to gather what’s left of your “stuff” and move on.

What do you do, however, if your computer has been crushed by debris, thrown half a county away, or drowned in a mass of mud, and you have no backups of your family photos or personal files? What if your cell phone has been destroyed, losing all of your contacts, and you don’t have anyone’s phone number memorized? Do you just throw your ruined electronics in the trash and start from scratch?

Many victims of the May 2013 tornados that thrashed central Oklahoma have been overjoyed to learn that, even though their computers appeared to be beyond hope, it was possible to take the hard drives and memory cards inside them and rescue their irreplaceable files.

A few days after the tornados hit, I and a handful of like-minded computer professionals started doing just that, and the results have been very rewarding. Even though I founded the group, I can’t take credit for the idea; it was Aggie, my fiancé, who thought of the idea after news reports indicated rescue and aid organizations were being overwhelmed with volunteers.

Offering hope for storm-damaged computers and other digital devices, The Computer Rescue Team is a group comprised of local computer experts, the City of Moore Public Library and one of the world’s premier data recovery labs and hard drive manufacturers.

Our goal is to help people recover digital data, such as family photos and other personal files, from devices damaged in the recent tornados that struck Oklahoma. Devices include items such as desktop, laptop and tablet computers, cell phones, digital cameras, etc. The service is free of charge to tornado victims.

Please visit the website at for an up-to-date look at what’s happening.

Having bona fide, high-end data recovery labs on tap takes our data rescue efforts to the next level, making possible file recoveries that would otherwise be either impossible or frightfully expensive.

It is important for cleanup and rescue personnel to know that, if they come across computer-type digital devices, they should handle them carefully and set them aside for further examination. Also, when people discover devices that have gotten wet, especially desktop and laptop computer hard drives, they should not attempt to dry them out. They should be left wet and sealed in a plastic bag. This is to prevent oxidation and keep them from rusting, which can hamper the data recovery process.

Computers and other damaged devices may be dropped off at the Moore Public Library, 225 S Howard Ave, Moore, OK 73160, for processing.