Author Topic: Warning to Seagate 7200.11 hard drive owners  (Read 7212 times)

Offline geebox07

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Warning to Seagate 7200.11 hard drive owners
« on: September 05, 2009, 10:56:32 PM »
Just thought I'd share this info as I've just been affected by it:

There is a known firmware issue affecting a range of Seagate 7200.11 hard drives.  The fault seems to manifest without warning during a power on/off cycle.  One day, you'll switch on you PC and the hard drive will no longer be recognised by your PC's BIOS.  The data on the affected drive will not be corrupted (generally & going off my own experience) and tthe drive will still power up and spin normally but there will be no way to access the drive through a PC, no early warning signs (abnormal noises, clicking, crunching etc) and no way for the customer to retrieve their data/fix the dirve.

This happened to me about four weeks ago (Seagate Barracuda 500GB 32MB 7200.11).  I turned on my PC and the affected drive (a secondary drive in my PC) simply 'wasn't there'.  Checked in BIOS - only saw my smaller primary HD! 

I checked on the web and was able to find loads of similar stories from people affected like me.  Also found loads of adverts from data recovery companies offering to fix the problem for a fee (ranging from £150 to £1200).  DON'T PAY TO FIX THE PROBLEM IF YOU'VE BEEN AFFECTED!  If you approach Seagate and let them know of the problem (and of the fact that you are aware it's due to a firmware issue) they will agree to retrieve your data free of charge (even if your drive was bought as an OEM drive - contrary to what some of the data recovery companies may tell you).  They'll even arrange for it to be picked up via TNT and sent to their data labs in the Nederlands, then send the same drive back to you  - WORKING AGAIN!

Anyone who has one of these drives but hasn't had it fail yet; look into it because you'll be able to do the firmware update yourself if it hasn't yet failed; thus preventing a furure failure due to this fault.

I'm quite happy that Seagate have fixed my problem (though I had four weeks of worry & inconvenience) but I think it's wrong that they are not performing a recall or even publicising the fault so that people can take preventetive measures.  They are simply quietly dealing with the fallout and hoping that most of the hundreds of thousands of people affected will not look into their drive failure and simply 'cut their losses' & get a new drive.

I've posted the link below for anyone affected as it contains more info and a list of drive models affected.  The link is to one of the data recovery firms offering a paid solution - I don't work for them and urge people NOT to use their services; it was just the first link I found detailing the issue! ;-)

http://www.abcdatarecovery.co.uk/7200-11/

Offline ShadowTek

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Re: Warning to Seagate 7200.11 hard drive owners
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2009, 06:43:25 AM »
I've got 2 250GB 7200.10s that haven't croaked yet.

I didn't see anything about models other than the *.11s, so hopefully I won't have to deal with this.

Offline dexbot.fallout3

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Re: Warning to Seagate 7200.11 hard drive owners
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2009, 10:01:20 AM »
This firmware issue has been around since late last year, with the fix released in January. They did publicize the issue somewhat, you just have to know where to look (read: tech enthusiast websites). The reason; end users shouldn't be meddling with firmware in the first place; those that do should/would have known the risks of doing so. Quite a lot of people bricked their working 7200.11 in a so-called attempt to "fix" the problem before it happens.

Anyway, here's a link related to plenty of news/discussions regarding the 7200.11 firmware issue.

http://www.google.com/search?sitesearch=techpowerup.com&q=seagate+firmware

@ShadowTek: The issue only affects the 7200.11 range. Older and newer ranges are not affected.

Just to add for everyone; just because you know how to assemble PCs doesn't mean you know how to fix them. That's what technicians are for.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2009, 10:07:32 AM by dexbot.fallout3 »
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freeman85

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Re: Warning to Seagate 7200.11 hard drive owners
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2009, 12:54:06 PM »
This firmware issue has been around since late last year, with the fix released in January. They did publicize the issue somewhat, you just have to know where to look (read: tech enthusiast websites). The reason; end users shouldn't be meddling with firmware in the first place; those that do should/would have known the risks of doing so. Quite a lot of people bricked their working 7200.11 in a so-called attempt to "fix" the problem before it happens.

Anyway, here's a link related to plenty of news/discussions regarding the 7200.11 firmware issue.

http://www.google.com/search?sitesearch=techpowerup.com&q=seagate+firmware

@ShadowTek: The issue only affects the 7200.11 range. Older and newer ranges are not affected.

Just to add for everyone; just because you know how to assemble PCs doesn't mean you know how to fix them. That's what technicians are for.

well said dex :D
most of time end user tend to brick the hardware when changing firmware rather than fixing it

eugenet

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Re: Warning to Seagate 7200.11 hard drive owners
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2009, 03:51:57 PM »
Thanks for the info. I have two almost full 7200.11 drives (1.5TB) so naturally this is very relevant to me.

Unfortunately, I am a little confused. Geebox07 seems to suggest that we do the firmware update.

However, dexbot and TechPowerup seems to be saying otherwise.
Quote from: http://www.techpowerup.com/82331/Seagate_Offers_Firmware_Fix_for_All_Problematic_Barracuda_7200.11_Hard_Drives.html
You might want to think again before flashing your Seagate hard drive with whatever firmware the company provides as a 'fix' to pending firmware issues with some of its Barracuda 7200.11 series hard drives. The latest firmware by the company, version SD1A turned many hard drives to paperweights.

Search on Seagate turns up this link which tells me I have a firmware for my drive model ST31500341AS (http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/search.jsp?DocId=207957&Hilite=). However, using the serial number check utility (https://apps1.seagate.com/rms_af_srl_chk/), Seagate tells me 'No action required'.

Would appreciate clarification - does this error occur only after you apply the new firmware? Or do I have to apply firmware to avoid the problem? Thanks.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2009, 04:18:59 PM by eugenet »

Offline geebox07

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Re: Warning to Seagate 7200.11 hard drive owners
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2009, 04:23:00 PM »
Hi Eugenet,

I'm no technical expert, and the guys above may be right about the dangers of a firmware update; I believe it can lead to you 'bricking' your drive if you don't follow the steps exactly. 

Apparently; Seagate release an initial 'patch' that actually stuffed up the hard drives even more (caused them to fail immediately, or 'bricked' them).  They subsequently released another patch which was 'safer' to perform.  However, certain drives (I believe the 500GB series in particular) are still susceptible to failure when the 'patch' is applied.

I'd DEFINITELY recommend that you contact Seagate (I think I entered this route via the support page on their website - direct email address - discsupport@seagate.com) and ask them to advise. They offered to 'guide me through' a firmware update (until I told them it had already bricked) but I believe that they are also willing to perform the update themselves if you send the drive off (DEFINITELY THE SAFEST OPTION).

However, if you did/do attempt a firmware update yourself and it goes wrong (bricks your drive), they'll perform a free data recovery for you at their labs.

Whatever you decide to do, I'd BACKUP your important data before you try anything whilst your drive still works ;-)

eugenet

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Re: Warning to Seagate 7200.11 hard drive owners
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2009, 05:35:04 PM »
Thanks buddy, that clarifies. But a bit expensive to backup 2 x 1.5TB...  ;D

FYI, Samsung has 1.5TB drives that is RM100 cheaper than Seagate. Also, prices for the 2TB drives are dropping fast. Soon it will be cheaper (RM per GB wise) to use them.

Offline dexbot.fallout3

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Re: Warning to Seagate 7200.11 hard drive owners
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2009, 08:30:32 PM »
eugenet, if you've checked the serial numbers with Seagate and they tell you "no action is required", then your drives are probably manufactured AFTER the whole debacle, in which case it already comes with the new firmware.

Off topic: I bought a Samsung 1.5TB recently and it is surprisingly fast, runs cool and silent too. The only thing that bugs me is that there aren't any quick online serial number checks for Samsung products; you have to email them.

The 2TB drives will not be value-for-money anytime soon, though. By the time it does, a 4TB drive will already be available, and minimum HDD capacities will probably be around 1TB. :)
"There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven and hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."
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Offline geebox07

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Re: Warning to Seagate 7200.11 hard drive owners
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2009, 10:38:47 PM »
Dexbot.fallout3 is right; i forgot to mention it but there is a serial number checking facility on the Seagate support pages which will determine if you need take any action.

If you are affected though, and if both drives aren't already full (if like mine then they probably are  ;) ), maybe back up the important bits of on onto the other and try updating them one at a time?

Best of luck  ;D

Offline dexbot.fallout3

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Re: Warning to Seagate 7200.11 hard drive owners
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2009, 11:05:39 PM »
If you are affected though, and if both drives aren't already full (if like mine then they probably are  ;) ), maybe back up the important bits of on onto the other and try updating them one at a time?
Amazing how we manage to fill up our multi-TB drives in no time isn't it? lalalalala  :D
"There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven and hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."
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Offline ┼65□™ [579]

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Re: Warning to Seagate 7200.11 hard drive owners
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2009, 11:55:56 AM »
Amazing how we manage to fill up our multi-TB drives in no time isn't it? lalalalala  :D

TB is short for TpB :P

ak101ss

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Re: Warning to Seagate 7200.11 hard drive owners
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2009, 08:12:38 PM »
Could you give me more detailed procedures to contact seagate for a replacement/fix ( via sending it to them )


Very Much Thanks

Offline geebox07

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Re: Warning to Seagate 7200.11 hard drive owners
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2009, 12:05:14 AM »
I pretty much took the following steps (after a day or so of finger-reddening googling!):

1: Check the serial of your hard drive here:

http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/search.jsp?DocId=207931

If you're not sure what the serial number is and the drive is already installed and you don't want to get it out to check the number, then click the above link and chose the first option underneath the text ("Click here for instructions on how to determine your model and serial number. ").  From here you can download a software utility that will help you ascertain the serial. If you already know the serial number, then click the link below it ("Click here to use the serial number check utility.")

2: Take relevant action!  ;)  The serial checker utility will tell you what to do next.  If your drive is not affected by the issues; it'll probably tell you after checking the serial.  I've slept since I went through this, so my memory is a bit patchy, but I think I got told that a firmware upgrade was available for my drive (ie; it was affected).  Since my drive had already bricked, and thus I couldn't update the FW; I was prompted to contact seagate via an enquiry form on their website (but here's the direct email address if you can't find your way to this on your own: 'discsupport@seagate.com'). When I emailed them; I was careful to say that I suspected my drive had failed due to known faults with the firmware affecting this range - don't let them think you aren't aware of their FW problems!

3: Seagate wrote back to me via email with 4 questions:

Does the drive spin?                                   
Does the drive make noise (clicking, grinding, etc.)?                   
Does the drive appear in the BIOS or report 0G capacity?               
Did you try flashing the firmware when the drive was still detectable?

I answered all of these and they wrote back again telling me to contact their data recovery company 'i365', with a link to them in the email.  I was also given, in the same message, a refernce number to quote when filling in all the i365 online forms - this code tells i365 that my case had already been approved and that I was not to be billed for anything.  Once I filled in the forms for i365 - they contacted me (phone or email - can't remember) to arrange for my drive to be picked up by TNT, shipped to their labs, processed, and sent back to me....WORKING AND WITH ALL DATA INTACT!

My case may differ to your as my drive was already dead; I don't know if this is the case with you or not.  If not, then I can't really tell you what they'll offer to do but I imagine that they will try to get you to update the FW (they'll retrieve data if it goes wrong).  I'm sure if this is the case, then you can convince them to retrieve your drive & update the FW if you're uncomfortable with doing it yourself.

Kind regards & good luck






eugenet

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Re: Warning to Seagate 7200.11 hard drive owners
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2009, 10:11:54 PM »
Sent my model and serial numbers to Seagate, and in a few hours they returned with good news:

Quote
The drives in question are fine and do not need a firmware update.  I double checked the serial numbers and they do not suffer from the issue that has been mentioned.
  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D

chlow6

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Re: Warning to Seagate 7200.11 hard drive owners
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2009, 04:24:22 PM »
I kena this stupid firmware thing last year. It just brick my hdd and Seagate is stupid that they would only offer free data retrieval services to US clients only. You still can ask them to retrieve the data for you for free but you need to send them the hdd from  here to US (Expensive)

So i just RMA (FOC) my drive and they ship me another one with the updated firmware.