Seagate offers fix, free data recovery for bricked Barracudas

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 (discsupport@seagate.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.

Comments closed
    • laptokowiec
    • 10 years ago

    Is the 7200.12 series affected ?

    §[<http://daneodzyskaj.pl<]§

    • laptokowiec
    • 10 years ago

    Does it affect the 7200.12 series ?

    §[<http://daneodzyskaj.pl<]§

    • sirroger
    • 11 years ago

    A footnote to this problem. My 500Gb drive bricked on a restart. I was furious at first and then desperate. Went over to a WD to rebuild my life (you know how it is) swearing never to buy Seagate again.
    I rang the numbers they gave,and sent two emails to the special address. Nothing. The numbers I rang in Sydney, Australia eventually took me, after following the prompts, to “The number you have dialled does not exist.” #%@#*! The number for the local Sydney office for data salvage turned out to be an international call. Which didn’t answer! DOUBLE#%@#*!
    However, I did find that there was a Seagate sales/tech office in the mostly-commercial suburb of Parramatta where I work (you wouldn’t live there). So I fronted up to the 7th floor (8th floor for Americans) of 91 Phillip Street and asked to see someone – anyone – who could help me work out what I could do about my bricked HDD. Tghat’s when I met Sam. He was very understanding and said bring it in and I’m sure I can fix it. So the next day I did. He worked on it for 5 minutes and gave it back and said, see if it works now. It didn’t. I emailed him the next day saying at least it was now recognised by the BIOS but that was all. I mentioned that there was a new information that the 500s didn’t like the new Firmware SD1A and there was a new new update.
    Sam called me back almost before I sent the email asking me to bring it back and he knew what to do having spoken to Korea. I took it back, he did something for about one minute and handed it back.
    I now have my beautiful (better than WD) 7200.11 500Gb Seagate Barracuda back and working as a slave.
    What I want to say is that corporately Seagate REALLY SUCKS but they have some real gems of human beings that they are lucky to have working for them delivering exceptional customer service. And their drives are really nice when they work.
    This solution that I found won’t work for a lot of people, but if you can find an actual office in your area with real human beings in it, you might get the same result I have. Good luck!

    • rsmits
    • 11 years ago

    When I spoke to tech support, they claim they don’t know anything (800-732-4283) about FREE data support. They want between $30 and $3500 to do it!

    The company sure doesn’t seem to have it’s shit together!

    Bob

    • ice man
    • 11 years ago

    “Customers can expedite assistance by sending an email to Seagate (discsupport@seagate.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.”

    Thats a joke.

    It’s been 5 days now since I contacted them and I have not heard a word. Not even something acknowledging my email.

    I work in customer service and I would get fired if I treated my customers like this,

    • ddarko
    • 11 years ago

    While visions of idealistic technies battling evil lawyers in a life-and-death struggle may make for good TV, there’s a far more prosaic reason why the firmware download got pulled: it was bricking hard drives!

    Read the Seagate forums right now and see how many people are complaining that after applying the firmware, they lose access to the drives.

    WARNING: DO NOT APPLY THE FIRMWARE UPDATE!

    It seems to be hit-or-miss. Some people report successful updates. But many people aren’t, enough that Seagate obviously decided to pull the firmware. Obviously, a “fix” that screws up MORE drives isn’t exactly helping Seagate’s reputation for competence.

    • just brew it!
    • 11 years ago

    So… the firmware update which was there earlier in the day has since been removed “for validation”. Very similar to how the KnowledgeBase article about the affected drives went up last week, only to disappear a short time later (then reappear again the following day).

    All I can say is W… T… F?!??

    A co-worker of mine may have nailed it; he thinks there is an internal struggle going on at Seagate. On the one hand, you’ve got the people who want to get the information (and a fix) out quickly; on the other hand, you’ve got those (maybe the lawyers?) who want to take a much more cautious, CYA approach.

    • just brew it!
    • 11 years ago

    They’ve started posting firmware updates in the KnowledgeBase area of the site. Not all of the affected drives have updates posted yet, but the update for my drive is already up.

    I’ll give it a go tonight and report back.

    Oh, and it looks like they are posting bootable ISOs… so this may be relatively painless even for us Linux users!

    • kirbalo
    • 11 years ago

    I just checked my 1 TB drive that had a failure, and the “Serial Number” checker came back that my drive was not one of the affected drives, even though it was built in July 08, installed in Sept. 08, and “bricked” in December 08, had the faulty firmware (SD15) and was made in Thailand.

    Called Seagate, they said, “That was strange” and decided it was affected. I told them that it was in a DVR, though, and they wouldn’t agree to do the free data restore to another drive, claiming they were incapable due to the unknown formatting on the drive.

    They honored the warranty, and are sending me a brand -[

    • Fastidious
    • 11 years ago

    Are they fine with new firmware? I’ve been tempted to buy 1.5TB but held off due to all the negatives lately.

    • idgarad
    • 11 years ago

    Well 2 hours and 15 minutes later I can say calling them is worthless.

      • just brew it!
      • 11 years ago

      I imagine their call center is overwhelmed right now. Try the online support page linked from the KB article instead.

      I have not received a response to my request yet, but it has only been a few hours so I’m willing to wait and see. At this point, they are surely in damage control mode; I don’t really expect them to respond immediately since there are probably thousands of other people submitting support requests for the same issue.

    • just brew it!
    • 11 years ago

    Well, I’ve just submitted the support request for the drive I have that is on the list of affected models. I’ll keep y’all posted on how the firmware upgrade goes.

    • Zymergy
    • 11 years ago

    FYI: In case it has not been posted here already, HERE are the pages where you determine if your Seagate 7200.11 drive needs new firmware:
    §[<http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/support/downloads/other_downloads/cuda-fw<]§ and §[<http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/search.jsp?DocId=207931<]§

      • relmerator
      • 11 years ago

      r[

        • TTC
        • 11 years ago

        Caps or not, my drive is erroneously reported as unaffected. I will give Seagate a couple more days to get themselves in order.

          • relmerator
          • 11 years ago

          I wondered about that too. My ES.2 ST31000340NS (rev. SN05) was reported as affected, but my two ST31500341AS (rev SD17) surprisingly were not. All were ordered in September.

          Finally got through to their tech support (who, impressively, have Sunday hours) and was told that the ES.2 firmware wouldn’t be ready ’til next week. They’ll send email when it’s done.

        • Jon
        • 11 years ago

        Can you paste the link to the serial number popup checker? For some reason none of the links I click on take me to that page.

        Nevermind…I found it again….. §[<http://support.seagate.com/sncheck.html<]§

          • relmerator
          • 11 years ago

          Looks like they’ve pulled the serial checker for now… the page just displays “This application is temporarily unavailable.” now, and it’s no longer referenced from the instructions on §[<http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/search.jsp?DocId=207931.<]§

            • Voldenuit
            • 11 years ago

            Yeah, I’m wondering if the thumbs up the online checker gave me earlier is now a false negative…

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 11 years ago

    Cool. That’s really cool. Especially if it’s cheap for them.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 11 years ago

    Wow I dodged a bullet! I own the 250GB variant! 😀

    • tesla120
    • 11 years ago

    just talked to a seagate rep on chat asking about the free recovery along with the replacement TB they sent me that died.

    the rep said he wasn’t aware of any free data recovery and said he had to forward the issue on to his team lead… I should get an email form seagate….

    • Vaughn
    • 11 years ago

    I will still stick to WD drives, but this is a very stand up thing to do by seagate the free data recovery i’m referring too.

    So Kudos to them.

    This little incident should reforce the notion of backing up your data on a regular basis even if that Hard drive is only 3 months old!

    • just brew it!
    • 11 years ago

    I don’t see anything in the knowledgebase article about the free data recovery. Is this another case of something getting posted, then subsequently removed?

      • arsenhazzard
      • 11 years ago

      I think it’s “free data recovery” in the sense that you send them your bunk drive and they send you the same drive back, but with a fixed firmware. According to all the reports I’ve read, the drive gets stuck in a busy state on boot and the only way of getting it out of that state is using an expensive hardware kit to essentially reset it.

        • lavan
        • 11 years ago

        “an expensive hardware kit “?
        It is expensive if you bye it within software in a special place. Actually this expensive kit is RS232 adapter and it’s cost is 10$

          • just brew it!
          • 11 years ago

          Umm… linkage please?

          If the “expensive kit” comes with pre-made cables, instructions, and/or software, it may still be worth the money to people who don’t have the time or inclination to “roll their own”.

            • arsenhazzard
            • 11 years ago
            • just brew it!
            • 11 years ago

            I actually meant linkage to anything that would confirm that a $10 cable is all you actually need.

            The kit you linked looks like quite a bit more than just an RS-232 cable. Though not something I’d necessarily pay $500 for…

            • nonegatives
            • 11 years ago

            love the Chinenglish on that site. The /[

    • gsiisg
    • 11 years ago

    Did my post here work or what?

    §[<http://forums.seagate.com/stx/board/message?board.id=ata_drives&thread.id=4457&view=by_date_ascending&page=1<]§ :-) I'm sure it's not because of the thread, but cuz of the many ppl that complained, but like to claim some credit!

      • dmitriylm
      • 11 years ago

      Holy shit Batman, I’m seeing double!

    • TechNut
    • 11 years ago

    For those Linux users whose 7200.11 series drive is still spinning, you can use,

    hdparm -I /dev/sda|b|c

    to get the serial number without turning the machine off or using Windows to get to do it.

    • indeego
    • 11 years ago

    /[<"In some circumstances, the data on the hard drives may become inaccessible to the user when the host system is powered on*. "<]/ It would appear quite scary that whatever internal testing they do at the company can't catch this issue before it reaches manufacturing. I would understand many more read/writes, but for this to show up in only 3 months can easily be emulated in a lab environmentg{<.<}g

    • Krogoth
    • 11 years ago

    This is nothing, but damage control.

    It is going to take a while for Seagate to rebuild its reputation after these recent foul-ups.

      • moose17145
      • 11 years ago

      Partly true, but it is still a step in the right direction. Certainly better then what most people were expecting them to do… which is release the new firmware and nothing beyond that besides RMAing already bricked drives.

      • Spotpuff
      • 11 years ago

      Yeah I’m not about to buy a seagate drive anytime soon after these screw ups. I’d rather have a reliable drive than one that breaks with free data recovery.

      • Saber Cherry
      • 11 years ago

      You’re right on the nail – the same wrong nail you’re always on.

      Do you think customers would be happier if Seagate sent out thugs to break their remaining drives? I prefer WD and Samsung to Seagate, but this is an excellent example of customer service that would make me more likely to buy them in the future, and a stark contrast to IBM’s terminally bad handling.

        • Krogoth
        • 11 years ago

        Sorry, but anytime a company releases a “bad” batch of product. It always results in huge negative PR no matter how trivial the issue is.

        The proverb “it takes years to build creditably, but it only takes seconds to destroy it” holds ever more true.

    • adisor19
    • 11 years ago

    Seagate did the right thing. Now, where’s my 5 year warranty ?

    Adi

      • ludi
      • 11 years ago

      “Adisor is hereby warranted to be free from defects in material or workmanship for the next five years. In the event of a failure resulting from either of the above, Adisor may be returned to his maker and replaced with a newer model.”

      Done!

        • eitje
        • 11 years ago

        that’s a risky warranty to provide.

        • adisor19
        • 11 years ago

        I see what you did there…

        Adi

        • RagingDragon
        • 11 years ago

        Depends how you interpret “returned to his maker” – Somehow I don’t think Adisor will making claims on that particular warranty… 🙂

    • derFunkenstein
    • 11 years ago

    Wow, I’m glad I don’t have any 7200.11 Barracudas…it’s sounding like the whole line is affected.

      • loophole
      • 11 years ago

      I know the feeling – I guess I’m lucky to have a 320GB 7200.10 rather than the newer 7200.11. Even so, I must do backups more regularly 🙂

        • wiak
        • 11 years ago

        i recommend anyone to backup their “my Documents” or the most valuable things they have, atleast do it weekly i have started doing that now, blank dvds arnt to expensive these days

    • Grigory
    • 11 years ago

    That’s an awesome idea. They will have exabytes of free porn.

    • UberGerbil
    • 11 years ago

    I suspect the “free data recovery” will just involve them swapping the controller board and sending the now-working drive back to you, since it doesn’t appear that this problem results in any errors/corruption of the disk itself — the drive just stops talking to the rest of the system.

    Still, it’s good to see Seagate respond (however belatedly… though it takes time to work out the exact nature and scope of the problem and devise a plan to address it — certainly longer than people with bricked hard drives are going to be happy about).

      • adisor19
      • 11 years ago

      Doubtful. The boards are NOT interchangeable. They are probably overwriting a new firmware version through the JTAG/test points on the boards and then shipping the drives back.

      Adi

        • ew
        • 11 years ago

        They used to be interchangeable.

        §[<http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/08/09/157249<]§

          • tesla120
          • 11 years ago

          not any more, i had drive savers confirm it when I got a free quote form them about my dead TB… they cant beat free from seagate though even with their student discount

            • Heiwashin
            • 11 years ago

            Just because a company says something doesn’t make it true. I’ve had people tell me many a things said by tech repair services taking advantage of those lacking detailed knowledge of their problems. I’d say you would have to confirm it yourself with pics for me to believe that it is not swappable.

            • tesla120
            • 11 years ago

            they guy who has the website myharddrivedied.com has a lot of videos on lectures of do it yourself hard drive repairs and he even said that a lot of newer drives cant swap PCBs but teaches how to swap them when they are off and how to do it live he talks about how the pcb stores drive specific information on it too…

            so i dont think its a scare tactic.

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 11 years ago

        This is hands down the most intelligent, technical thing you’ve ever said.

          • adisor19
          • 11 years ago

          Part of me wonders if i should take that as a compliment ?!..

          Adi

            • ssidbroadcast
            • 11 years ago

            Compliment.

        • moose17145
        • 11 years ago

        If you are seagate they are swappable though. You don’t think seagate couldn’t take a “blank” PCB and replace the defective one with a new one and once more just set it up for that specific drive? Cause i assure you they can. They are not just grabbing two off the shelf drives and trying to flip the PCBs with the drive specific data already coded on them like you or i would try to do.

          • tesla120
          • 11 years ago

          so if they have a blank pcb and they need to put drive specific data on it before they can complete the swap, does getting that data require any specific knowledge about the drive
          or do they have to get it from the drive
          if its the latter can they still get it from the drive?

          its probably not that easy…..

            • moose17145
            • 11 years ago

            Well i thought most of that “specific” data they needed was simply the data table that has the bad sectors on it. In which case they can just scan the drive with or without the data on it and it will find the bad sectors.

            • RagingDragon
            • 11 years ago

            Or just copy the drive specific data off the old board and onto the new one. Irregardless of whether they’re overwriting the firmware, or replacing the boards on these drives, they almost certainly have the ability to replace failed drive boards and resell the drives as refurb units…

    • TTC
    • 11 years ago

    They did the right thing. Good for them, I will consider them fairly at my next upgrade.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 11 years ago

    Well well, that’s pretty awesome of them to offer data recovery. Funny that I’d thought of that as one thing they could offer to help ease people’s minds as an above and beyond move. It certainly gives them better PR than they’d been getting over the problem.

      • tesla120
      • 11 years ago

      wonder if it has anything to do with the new CEO

        • _Sigma
        • 11 years ago

        I’d imagine so. He’d be pretty annoyed if all of his customers lost their porn!

    • Madman
    • 11 years ago

    Great news, I can order a 1.5TB disk now 🙂

      • tesla120
      • 11 years ago

      ya, not from seagate.. just because they are paying the medical bills doesn’t mean things still wern’t damaged

      i wonder if i can get all my stuff back…

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