Yeah, an hour definitely wouldn't do the trick at all. You'll also want to use something to prevent condensation before it happens, such as putting it in a zip-lock bag or wrapping it in a paper towel (or a couple of paper towels). Also keep in mind that by sticking it in the freezer for under 24 hours and not keeping condensation out, you may already have eliminated any chance of the possibility of recovery. That's not absolute or certain--it's completely possible that you can try again with success, but freezing it is only to be used as a last resort for good reason: The HDD is being physically altered in a way that it shouldn't be altered.
There are numerous different theories as to why the "freezer trick" works, but scientifically speaking (from middle/high school physical science classes), freezing the hard drive would not only slow down the magnetic data's atoms, but it would also shrink the metal parts of the hard drive (i.e. almost all of it). This means that if, for example, the actuator arm is catching on something and can't move freely as it should, then freezing it would physically shrink the mechanical parts of the drive and it may unhinge itself from whatever it was catching on--even if only temporarily. Additionally, since freezing it packs the magnetic particles together more tightly, you're more likely to get a more consistent read of the actual data on the hard drive, especially if the head is hitting that dust particle (shrinking things may cause the head to "skip" over the dust particle, in practice)--again, only temporarily.
You can try to attach it to your computer while it's still in the freezer after 24 hours (still in the zip-lock bag or paper towels, etc.) via SATA-to-USB cable (or IDE-to-USB cable depending on your HDD connectors), which might actually be advisable before taking it out. Remember that condensation forming on the platter means H2O molecules forming on the platter, which might even be more damaging than dust getting on the platter. Just keep in mind how ineffective this method really is; you shouldn't rely on this method to any viable extent whatsoever. This is only to be done to bridge the gap between "I want the data" and "I don't want to send it in to a data recovery laboratory."
So I pretty much either need to burn that program onto a CD or a flash drive? Is there a way to download an exe file and run from my desktop?
As for installing UBCD, if you don't want to do it manually (which can be intimidating at first), then there are programs that you can run that will automatically install it to, say, a flash drive. One of these that I recommend to newcomers is YUMI, but know that installing YUMI to the flash drive will erase all data on that particular flash drive.
First, plug your flash drive into your computer. After downloading YUMI and plugging your flash drive in, run YUMI and select your drive's letter (which you can find by going to "Computer" or "My Computer"), then make sure the "Format X: Drive (Erase Content)?" box is checked. The X: part will change depending on which drive your flash drive is mapped to; for example, mine reads "Format F: Drive (Erase Content)?" since it's on the F: drive.
Once you've checked the checkbox, click on the "Select a Distribution" (AKA "Step 2") dropdown menu and select "Ultimate Boot CD (Diagnostics Tools)" near the bottom in the "System Tools" section. After you've select the Ultimate Boot CD entry in the dropdown menu, click on the "Download Link" checkbox next to the dropdown menu and answer "Yes" to launching the download link, and this will start to download UBCD.
After UBCD finishes downloading, click on Browse and navigate to where it saved ubcd533.iso, which is usually in the C:\Users\[username]\Downloads folder, where [username] is your actual Windows username. When you've selected the UBCD .iso file, click on Create. This will start formatting the USB flash drive and installing YUMI and UBCD onto the flash drive. Once the entire process completes, you can exit the YUMI program. You should now be able to restart the computer and use the USB drive to boot the computer via the boot menu, which you can usually accomplish by pressing one of the F-buttons during startup (for example, pressing F12 during boot brings up my boot menu). This varies from system to system. You can also change the boot order in the BIOS so that your flash drive loads before your HDD.
A big con to installing YUMI is that it's a little more complicated than just burning an .iso file to a disc--however, one of the biggest pros to YUMI is that if you ever want more tools or programs to boot from, you can just run the YUMI program again and select another tool to put on the USB (this time WITHOUT checking the "Format" box at the beginning) and continue as normally. This will not only keep UBCD as a bootable option, but you'll now also have whatever else you want to boot as an option.
And yes, you WILL be able to use the USB drive as normal (i.e. a storage device) after you install YUMI.
One more thought is I do have another Seagate 4TB hard drive. I wonder if I can use parts of the working one to recover from the one with issues? Only problem is I still have no clue what is wrong. I will still try using Ultimate Boot CD first and go from there. I might not get to that until Sunday or Monday...
As a notice beforehand: For this to work, both hard drives MUST be the same exact manufacturer and same exact model. Otherwise, swapping components will not work to any acceptable degree.
If your issue is with the actuator arm or the electrical components in the hard drive, then simply carefully swapping the PCBs (printed circuit boards) or carefully swapping the platters should work, depending on what's causing the issue. If you touch the platters with your hands/fingers or you drop the platters at this point, you can scrap any hope of data recovery.
Remember that opening your hard drive will cause irreversible damage to your drive. The little hole on the tops of hard drives that read "DO NOT COVER" are meant to do two things. The first is that it equalizes air pressure between the hard drive and the air around it which prevents pressure from building up inside or outside of the device, which could potentially push the actuator head closer to the platter and really mess up the data on the drive. The second is that it acts as an air filter, keeping out any dust, since dust particles are MUCH bigger than one bit of magnetic data.
Please keep us posted on how it goes or if you have any additional questions!
Edited by Taikoh, 20 February 2015 - 07:27 AM.