Well, how about that. Seagate has acknowledged the bricking issue surrounding Barracuda 7200.11 hard drives, and it's trying to make things right by offering a firmware fix and data recovery services. Here's the full statement we received from company spokesman Mike Hall:
Seagate has isolated a potential firmware issue in certain products, including some Barracuda 7200.11 hard drives and related drive families based on this product platform, manufactured through December 2008. In some circumstances, the data on the hard drives may become inaccessible to the user when the host system is powered on*.
As part of our commitment to customer satisfaction, we are offering a free firmware upgrade to those with affected products. To determine whether your product is affected, please visit the Seagate Support web site at http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/search.jsp?DocId=207931.
Support is also available through Seagate's call center: 1-800-SEAGATE (1 800 732-4283)
Customers can expedite assistance by sending an email to Seagate (email@example.com). Please include the following disk drive information: model number, serial number and current firmware revision. We will respond, promptly, to your email request with appropriate instructions. There is no data loss associated with this issue, and the data still resides on the drive. But if you are unable to access your data due to this issue, Seagate will provide free data recovery services. Seagate will work with you to expedite a remedy to minimize any disruption to you or your business.
For a list of international telephone numbers to Seagate Support and alternative methods of contact, please access http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/about/contact_us/
*There is no safety issue with these products.
The free data recovery for already-bricked hard drives seems like a nice touch, especially considering the cost of third-party services. According to the knowledge base entry, though, the issue may affect a fairly large number of drive models—not just the 1TB four-platter drive we talked about earlier this week. Seagate recommends that users with 1.5TB, 750GB, 640GB, 500GB, 320GB, and 160GB Barracuda 7200.11 drives, along with some Maxtor and ES.2 models, all install the firmware update.
Update: Seagate has amended its statement to remove the following sentence: "Retail products potentially affected include the Seagate FreeAgent® Desk and Maxtor OneTouch® 4 storage solutions." We've put up the new statement above.