Ontrack Data Recovery unveiled its 2004 list of the 10 strangest and funniest computer mishaps.

1. Data Defrost

One man brought in a hard drive in a wet plastic bag. He said he had read on the Internet that if you place a broken drive in the freezer it would fix it. So he tried that method and asked the recovery engineers not to laugh.

2. Reckless Recycling

One man tidied up his computer folders and inadvertently deleted the ones he meant to keep. He then cleaned up his system, emptied the recycle bin and defragged the hard drive before realising his error. He now triple-checks files before deleting them for good.

3. Rowdy Relatives

A man suddenly found his laptop would only boot up to the ‘blue screen of death’, putting his data at risk. A week later, his nephew admitted that he used its screen as a punching bag to relieve his frustrations with the slow computer. The man sent his nephew back to live with his parents.

4. Digital Disaster at 19,000 Feet

The Polish explorer Krystof Wielicki dropped his digital camera when climbing the Himalayas on his latest expedition, smashing it to smithereens and damaging the memory card in the process.

5. Gone in a Flash

One medical company worker completed 1,200 customer billing entries — a process that took several days — when lightning struck the transformer outside the building. Everything was gone, including all the bills she had just prepared.

More here.