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Seagate Hard Drive Fiasco Grows

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the drowning-barracuda dept.

452

AnInkle writes "Two months after acknowledging that their flagship 1.5TB Barracuda 7200.11s could hang while streaming video or during low-speed file transfers, Seagate again faces a swell of complaints about more drives failing just months after purchase. Again, The Tech Report pursued the matter until they received a response acknowledging the bricking issue. Seagate says they've isolated a 'potential firmware issue.' They say there's 'no data loss associated with this issue, and the data still resides on the drive;' however, 'the data on the hard drives may become inaccessible to the user when the host system is powered on.' If users don't like the idea of an expensive data-laden paperweight, Seagate is offering a firmware upgrade to address the matter, as well as data recovery services if needed. By offering free data recovery, Seagate seems to be trying to head off what could become a PR nightmare that may affect several models under both the Seagate and Maxtor brands."

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Coming to a disaster near you. (3, Insightful)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#26492837)

You better believe PR nightmare. After this how many will ever trust either the company or their products again?

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26492885)

Everybody.

Over the past 20 years--its never been a question of the "perfect storage media vendor"--its been a question of "who has screwed me--lately?".

--JSS, fromer Amiga HW Engineer, Rework tech of 400,000 defective Seagate HDD's, Class of '94.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26492907)

We should meet up for casual sex.

--Rob Malda, founder of popular News for Nerds web-sight Slashdot

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493175)

So you're the one who keeps sending me internets all the time.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493623)

It's 2009. It's spelled SITE you dickwad. Maybe in 1995 a few inbreds still wrote "sight" but JEEZ come ON.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (5, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26492975)

Sadly, the AC is mostly correct. Everyone has brands they love and hate according to how often they've died.

I abhor Maxtor and love WD. I've met other techs that love Maxtor and abhor WD.

It actually just so happens that I'm using a Seagate 320GB in this machine and it's started to act funny lately. I've never had an issue with their drives before, but then... I haven't used them much.

With this report, I may just buy another WD and replace it rather than wait for something to happen.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (1, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493113)

I think it's a matter of when. Seagate USED TO be the gold standard in quality HDs. They cost more too. Then maxtor bought them out and now I can honestly say as a computer repairman, that I have replaced easily 5x as many seagate laptop drives as any other brand, for click/chirp of death. (and now seagate is cheaper, and who wants a 5 yr warranty now when you're going to get four or more opportunities to use it?)

The last seagate I bought sounded like a circular saw was running in the basement when I got home two weeks after buying it. That was enough for me.

Back then WD was trash, and so was toshiba. Now, toshiba seems to have an even rep, and WD is looking good.

Another buy-and-die brand was quantum. Fireballs were good drives until they got bought out by IBM, who then almost immediately gave us the DeathStar series.

I used to make a habit of buying quality drives. Now there's just no knowing. Backups, backups, backups.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (5, Informative)

Smooth and Shiny (1097089) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493203)

I think you have that backwards, no? Seagate bought Maxtor, not the other way around.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (2, Informative)

ZosX (517789) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493227)

I gotta agree. The HD manufacturers have all had their ups and downs. I gotta admit thought that I've been real partial to WD so far and have had only one failure before EOL (still managed to recover 95%), but I'm not running a data server or anything but after many many drives the WDs have utterly failed so rarely. I have a Maxtor drive running on this box here that should have died months ago and it still keeps chugging along in defiance of the limits of ECC. Of course a low level format did wonders......

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (5, Informative)

FromellaSlob (813394) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493273)

You're suffering from some data retrieval issues:

Maxtor bought Quantum in 2000.
Seagate bought Maxtor in 2006.
Hitachi bought IBM HDD division in 2002.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493289)

Another buy-and-die brand was quantum. Fireballs were good drives until they got bought out by IBM, who then almost immediately gave us the DeathStar series.

And IBM learned from the mistakes of the failures of the 75gxp and had very solid drives after that. I've got Deskstar 120gxp drives still running today.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (1)

daoine_sidhe (619572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493309)

How, as a "computer repairman," can you be so woefully incorrect [wikipedia.org] regarding HDD manufacturers? Quantum was purchased by Maxtor, not IBM. Maxtor, in turn, was purchased by Seagate. In a related not, as of Jan 3, 2009, many of the Seagate HDDs (all of the internal OEM drives AFAICT) are moving to a three year warranty [seagate.com] .

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493373)

Whoah... things got a bit switched around there. Seagate, the largest provider of hard disks in the world, bought Maxtor. Prior to that, Maxtor had taken over Quantum's hard drive division, leaving Quantum as a provider of DLT drives and other enterprise backup products. And after the Deathstar saga, IBM sold their disk storage division to Hitatchi, leading to the formation of Hitatchi Global Storage Technologies.

But you did get the backups part right.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493507)

Why anyone would trust hard drives with names like Fireball and DeathStar is beyond me.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (1)

edwardsdl (1012377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493627)

It was really interesting reading these post to find out that Seagate bought Maxtor (I think maybe you got mixed up - no biggie). It just so happens that I've had MANY problems with both of these drives throughout the years. I found a Seagate not long ago for a very good price and decided to buy it despite something in the back of my head telling me to go for the more expensive WD beside it. Of course, once I get it home it failed almost immediately. That pretty much sealed the deal for me - I'm with WD from here on out. I understand that they're both supposedly good manufacturers, but I can't help but recognize that all of my WD drives have been stable, long lasting, and generally smooth sailing all the way. Unfortunately, this has been far from the case with Seagate/Maxtor.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (2, Insightful)

ender- (42944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493187)

This is exactly right. As a matter of fact, over the years it's really been a cyclical thing. For a few years, Seagate drives will be great and say WD drives will suck horribly. Then for a few years, Seagate drives will suck and IBM has great drives. Then a few years later, IBM drives suck and Seagate is good again. Though as far as I can remember, Maxtor has always sucked and getting bought by Seagate didn't help.

Anyway, I haven't purchased any drives lately, but due to the 5yr warranty and my past experiences, I've always leaned towards Seagate. I will probably avoid the new 1.5TB Seagate in light of recent events, but most likely in a few years Seagate will have great drives again.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (1)

ixidor (996844) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493255)

i think it was quantum with bigfoot, then the "deathstars", then maxto then wd now seagates. last several years i leaned heavily towards seagate. with heavy anecdotal evidence, like 100 users, 400 computers with various drives. i WILL AVOID seagate in the next buying round. looks like wd just made some money.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (5, Informative)

daoine_sidhe (619572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493323)

Sadly, many of the Seagate HDDs are losing the 5 year warranty and moving to three. Here [seagate.com] .

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493455)

every seagate i've owned hasn't lasted more than 3 years, which i consider unacceptable. even when they were supposed to be the best i didn't like them, same with WD.

maxtor have always been reliable and well priced, hence why they are the market leader. i'd say as a whole HD quatity has been on the way down for the last 8 years. i still have a 1.8gig that works but nothing past 100gig has lasted 3 years. i suspect it's as a result of moving 100% of production to china.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (1)

Korey Kaczor (1345661) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493593)

I was in the same boat: I loved Western Digital and I hated Maxtor, as all my Maxtor drives committed suicide while the WD drives were still chugging away.

One thing, however, is that I also have a Seagate drive, and it's been acting weird, as well... sometimes my computer won't read the HDD upon bootup and reboots (and sometimes had some cable error or something), and I have to shut it the computer off until it decides to boot like a good little hard drive. I don't think it's dying, at least mechanically, since it works compeletly fine once it boots and doesn't make a clicking noise. I don't think it's the motherboard, unless my motherboard has issues with SATA and not IDE.

My brother's seagate also died on him recently after six months of use. So I guess that's another anecdote of seagate quickly becoming a rather terrible HD manufacturer.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26492891)

Linux is illegal! You are breaking the law, and hurting yourself and your family with your ILLEGAL SOFTWARE. Your ip has been noted and is being forwarded to the SPA with a reccomendation that they investigate your CRIMINAL ACTIVITY. Please destroy all your unpatriotic linux software before the government finally cracks down on you people and you all end up as lampshades or soap.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26492937)

The same people that trusted them after they acquired Maxtor's facilities.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (5, Insightful)

Kent Recal (714863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493027)

I will.
Shit like this happens from time to time, read up on IBM's legendary "deathstar" fiasco to see how to really turn such a thing into a PR disaster.

Seagate on the other hand is acknowledging the issue and seems to be communicating about it as open as possible. Plus they offer RMA and recovery services. What more can they do, really?

We have bought almost exclusively seagate for our S-ATA disks over the past 5 years because their failure rate has consistently been lower than that of the competition. They have a reputation to lose and it seems like they're trying their best to keep it.

I see no reason why one screwed up model should remove my trust in a company that has served us well for so long. Cut them some slack and compare your historic failure rates of seagate drives versus others.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (5, Insightful)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493095)

I will. All companies will have a problem from time to time if they've been in the game long enough. At least Seagate is showing they will stand behind their product and offer assistance to help the user get their data back.

Mistakes will always happen, it's their response that counts.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493385)

Such as when Micro$oft tells users to wait it out when their Zunes stop working.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (1)

jewps (800552) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493595)

There probably wasn't a better solution to solve this issue. Unless you can magically change the date, you're not going to be flashing it with the fix if there was one. Short of ripping it apart, the best fix seems to be... don't use your zune for a day heh. I like MS's fix, as well as Seagate's promptness after TR reported it yesterday or the day before.

I'll probably trust them again later (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493117)

I will. And I've actually been down on Seagate ever since they took AAM off their drives with the 7200.x series.

But hey, just because I'm a W-D fan right now and not a Seagate fan doesn't mean I'll never trust Seagate again. This kind of stuff just goes around in circles. At one time, W-D couldn't make a drive that worked and Seagate was the top of the industry.

Every company that is on top at one time has problems at another. Not every company that sucks makes it to the top though (I'm looking at you Maxtor).

It'll go around again I think, even though Seagate bought Maxtor, they'll likely remember how to make good drives again at some point.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493145)

At about the time of Linux's birth, Seagate was the dross of the HDD world because of their well known problems with drive stiction. [wikipedia.org]

I've avoided Seagate drives ever since then. Ironically, the first Seagate drive I've bought since that time was a recent purchase of a Seagate 1 TB . . . fool me twice -- shame on me.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (5, Interesting)

Sopor42 (1134277) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493221)

I will always trust Seagate...

...if not to produce 100% failure-proof designs, then to do everything they can to fix the problem and make it right by the costumer.

Years ago I had a Barracuda die and need replacement under warranty. It was real clear when I sent it in that there was NO guarantee of any sort for my data. What I received back was a different drive (different serial) complete with ALL of my data. That's as good as I can ask for.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493265)

I haven't trusted seagate since 2006 when every single 5400.2 installed in the apple macbooks started failing.
mechanical failures too, resulting in thousand upon thousands of dollars in data recovery.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493383)

I have been selling computers to SOHO clients since 1989, MFM IF, and on the whole Seagate has the best track record for not only reliability but warranty service. You should all know that when you step out to the cutting edge you risk getting cut, don't judge Seagate's entire line by a glitch in a cutting edge product and if you are risk adverse retreat from the edge.

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (1)

Gnaget (1043408) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493477)

I would say this is pretty reasonable. If they'll do the data loss for free, that seems a fair cop. Problems happen, Seagate isn't quite down to maxtor quality just yet

Re:Coming to a disaster near you. (1)

uncoveror (570620) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493563)

You have two choices in hard drives: "Western Digital" and "Other". You are playing Russian Roulette with your data if you choose "other".

WTF? (-1, Offtopic)

coolgeek (140561) | more than 5 years ago | (#26492865)

Who put the "on mm/dd/yy-----" bullshit back into the headline portion of an article display? This is totally stupid, redundant, and I was pretty glad when I noticed that someone backed it out about a week ago.

Re:WTF? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493065)

Hi nigger! Welcome to America. The cotton fields are to your left. Have a nice day!

Seagate's new Strategic Direction? (1)

CranberryKing (776846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26492871)

Seagate has always been my favourite hd manufacturer. But I have to confess, when they bought Maxtor, I got nervous. They were never a commodity hd company. Always a bit pricier but worth it.

Re:Seagate's new Strategic Direction? (2, Interesting)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26492939)

I agree... the bad things began after Seagate took over Maxtor.

Maxtor's were good for a period, but towads the end of the Maxtor years, their drives had a very bad reputation for failure.

My first 1gig drive was a Seagate from many years ago and it served me a long long time and it only broke because i pulled a pin off the power plug and did not bother to try and fix it.

Seagate makes good products, and this is not good to see. Personally i think some of Seagates products now are really "Maxtor" products :)... and those are the ones that tend to crap out. I'm not a fan of their external drives etc. No fans, they heat up like mad and die fairly easily.

Re:When did Microsoft get control of Seagate? (2, Interesting)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26492957)

"Oh if it crashes and takes your primary business machine offline just email use the serial number and we'll email you a keygen^H^H^H^H^H^Hdetection tool then email us the output of the tool and well email you some other shit that only runs on X86 windows... oh you're running PPC Linux on an embedded appliance... too bad, so sad."

Re:When did Microsoft get control of Seagate? (5, Informative)

markdavis (642305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493173)

Oh, it gets better. We purchased two expensive 15,000 RPM SCA drives recently to work as backups for our RAID arrays on our Linux servers. Called Seagate *FIRST* to verify compatibility, as well as with Adaptec. Then a few months later when we needed to use one to replace a failed drive, it would NOT negotiate properly, making it useless.

Hours on the phone with Seagate we FINALLY get confirmation that there is a "firmware problem" with the drives we have and we should "upgrade the firmware". We go through the crap of getting a "key" and being sent the firmware only to find that their self-booting program would not run on our servers. Their suggestion? Find some other SCSI SCA machine just lying around and try it there. WE DON'T HAVE any such machines. We asked if we could mail the expensive, useless drives to them so THEY could upgrade the firmware. The response was "you can send in the drives for exchange, but we can't guarantee the drives sent back will have the firmware you need". This is support?????

Say what? (5, Funny)

nametaken (610866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26492881)

" They say there's 'no data loss associated with this issue, and the data still resides on the drive;' however, 'the data on the hard drives may become inaccessible to the user when the host system is powered on.'" ...so, my data is there, I just can't see it? That's reassuring.

Re:Say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26492911)

You step into the river, but the water has moved on
Your data is no more

Re:Say what? (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26492921)

It's a bit like saying "Yeah, your stuff is still in the safe, but there ain't nobody who knows the combination and unfortunately the only way to open it is to call in a team of our experts and blow it open it in their presence".

So the data is still there. That's good. To access it, though, I'll probably have to send it to Seagate. That's bad. For two reasons. First, I don't want Seagate to be able to read the contents of my hard drive. A lot of the stuff on it is not for public viewing (and I'm not talking about my pr0n collection). And second, I will not be able to access my data for the time being until I get the HD back from Seagate.

Yes, talk about PR desaster. Seagate ain't really the cheap "to hell if it breaks, buy a new one" manufacturer. Usually they're the ones you turn to when you want good, not cheap, hardware. They can't really compete in the price war, but so far, I had fairly good experience with Seagate HDs and used them for important data.

Guess I have to go elsewhere now. And I guess I won't be the only one.

Re:Say what? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493083)

You could always try the platter swap yourself, if you don't feel like letting Seagate do it for you.

Re:Say what? (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493107)

Going elsewhere isn't liable to do anything for you. The fact is, sometimes engineers mess up. But the fact that they mess up once doesn't mean that they're about to mess up again (heck, it's probably not even the same team working on the next drive). Likewise, the fact that a company has never messed up before doesn't mean that they aren't about to.

Intel had a well known erratum with their Pentiums back in the nineties, but if you were to have sworn off all Intel products over that, you would have missed out on a lot of great processors.

Basically, you can't judge a whole company by a single event. By all means, you ought to avoid the product that's known to be faulty, but "going elsewhere", is a waste of your time and money.

Re:Say what? (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493413)

But the fact that they mess up once doesn't mean that they're about to mess up again

Except that the current firmware fiasco is a case of "messing up again". The SD15 firmware that's causing the current problems was itself a fix for performance issues on these drives. So, where the drive was previously a bit slower than it should have been, now it bricks itself.

Re:Say what? (1)

Paul Jakma (2677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493603)

It doesn't brick itself, it just becomes unresponsive for a while when sent a "FLUSH
CACHE EXT" command. Not sure how long, but long enough to cause problems obviously (e.g. get kicked out of RAID arrays).

I have an SD17 firmware 1.5TB which I'm trying to return to the retailer for this reason..

Re:Say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493197)

Although I have owned Seagate hard drives myself, I decided to never do it again when they bought Maxtor.

Re:Say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493163)

I had this situation. I had a power supply go, and it fried the logic boards on my hard drives. They were identical drives, and Western Digital allows you to receive a replacement drive under warranty before returning one. I simply replaced the bad controller board with the new one, copied the data, put everything back in order, then included a note explaining the problem for their techs.

Re:Say what? (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493305)

.so, my data is there, I just can't see it? That's reassuring.

Yes, and it's fully accessible as long as the system is powered off.

Re:Say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493311)

Don't be an idiot. That's actually *quite reassuring*, since the alternative could very well be: all your data is GONE, since the motor failed, the heads destroyed the surface, etc. etc.

This problem is purely software (firmware), and a mechanical one; nor even a software problem with a mechanical consequence.

This is definitely bad, but at least it's not a total nightmare (i.e. lost terabytes of data).

Re:Say what? (1)

nategoose (1004564) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493483)

The data is secured.

On linux... (2, Informative)

leighklotz (192300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26492899)

For your first drive:
  sdparm -I /dev/sda
For your second:
sdparm -I /dev/sdb
or whatever your drive is.

It appears to affect 1GB drives as well, such as the ST31000333AS.

I will ask if they have a firmware updater for Linux.

Re:On linux... (4, Informative)

leighklotz (192300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493039)

Oops, hdparm not sdparm. And note the option is uppercase "i".
    hdparm -I /dev/sda
For your second:
    hdparm -I /dev/sdb

Re:On linux... (4, Informative)

windsurfer619 (958212) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493137)

Better yet:
sudo hdparm -I /dev/sda | grep Model

Re:On linux... (1)

leighklotz (192300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493405)

You need Model, Serial Number, and Firmware.

Re:On linux... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493553)

Thanks - I was wondering how to get the serial number in Linux! Worked great.

Re:On linux... (1)

hacker (14635) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493613)

Double-oops, you meant:

hdparm -i /dev/sdX

not

hdparm -l /dev/sdX

-l is an unsupported option in hdparm

Re:On linux... (1)

mambodog (1399313) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493247)

1GB? you mean 1TB right? my mind hurts trying to think back to when I had a 1GB hdd...

Re:On linux... (2, Informative)

Paul Jakma (2677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493607)

Turning off write-caching ("hdparm -W0" on linux) appears to work around this firmware bug, till you can get the drive flashed/replaced.

Re:On linux... (1)

mcbridematt (544099) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493631)

I had a 750GB drive with the same characteristics (i.e SD15 firmware) start to die, with the same AWOL on reboot symptoms. Drive was only in use for two months.

I'd wager that all Seagate 7200rpm 3.5" SATA drives bought within the past six months are affected.

MS-Windows Only? No (5, Informative)

markdavis (642305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26492915)

And, of course, the Seagate referenced page says: "This can be done in Windows - it's easy! Download and run, or simply run as is, the Seagate Drive Detect software program." No mention of Linux, MacOS, Solaris, or BSD. So I guess there is an implied "If you are not using Windows - it's hard!".

Then later in the page, "you can download SeaTools for Windows" with a convenient link. Again, no mention of Linux, MacOS, Solaris, or BSD.

What they don't tell you is that you can create a self-booting (MS)-DOS floppy/CD so you can test your drive, regardless of your OS (as long as the system is X86). Get it here: http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/support/downloads/seatools/seatooldreg [seagate.com] but if you DO need to flash it, you have to contact Seagate via Email and wait for a response and code so you can use yet another program to flash the drive.

Seagate + Maxtor (1)

hpa (7948) | more than 5 years ago | (#26492953)

I guess we now know what generation disk integrated the Maxtor people/facilities. This presumably means Seagate joins Maxtor on the never-again list.

Re:Seagate + Maxtor (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 5 years ago | (#26492971)

That's for sure.

Never buy a hard drive from a manufacturer whose name begins with an M. Apparently Seagate starts with an M now.

Re:Seagate + Maxtor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493183)

How about facts:

Seagate bought Maxtor so they wouldn't compete for SAS drives. They didn't use any of the IP, and they got rid of most of the talent.

Seagate's problems are of their own making.

Re:Seagate + Maxtor (1)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493335)

What about upside-down M's?

ob: Fortune file (0, Troll)

QuietEarth (1356449) | more than 5 years ago | (#26492961)

Friends don't let friends buy Seagate.

WTF (1)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26492987)

It would have been nice for them to do this for my 1Tb drive that died last month....
Those damn things had known issues to, the drive itself was likely intact as I heard no damage noises. It simply wouldn't power up one day.

They shipped me a refurbished model as I didn't have 2 grand to pay for data recovery...Kinda pisses me right the fuck off.

Re:WTF (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493463)

It likely was the same issue that affected your drive. Seagate has been aware of the problem for at least several weeks, and has steadfastly denied that any problem existed until now.

Lots of people in this thread have been talking about how forthright Seagate has been on the matter, but the fact is that they covered it up as long as they could, and now that the number of failures has reached a critical mass, they're been forced to deal with it. Sure doesn't help the thousands of people that lost their data and had to deal with the inconvenience of a warranty return, only to get a refurb drive with the same frigging firmware issue. It also doesn't help the people that have shelled out quite a bit of money to have data recovery performed on a drive that doesn't have a damned thing wrong with it physically.

Seagate's handling of this matter has been shameful.

What to do now (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493007)

Two of my drives are on the list of potentially affected drives. This is actually reassuring because one of the drives for a few weeks now has had mysterious issues similar the description in the article. I just wonder where I can download the firmware update... it appears that I have to contact seagate support, which I cannot do without registering on their website!

Re:What to do now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493155)

FTA: Support is also available through Seagate's call center: 1-800-SEAGATE (1 800 732-4283)

Bye Bye Seagate (4, Interesting)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493013)

Given Seagates increasingly poor product quality, this has guaranteed I will never buy another Seagate drive. They used to be my favourite manufacturer, but this kind of sloppiness is unacceptable. Obviously all they care about is turning out high density cheap drives, with no thought to real quality assurance.

With the economy as it is this could spell the death of Seagate.

Re:Bye Bye Seagate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493251)

Not to diminish that any slippage could be fatal in this economy, but...

This will certainly hurt Seagate in their "sales to serious professionals who know and care about this sort of thing." However, in their OEM sales to desktop/laptop manufacturers, it's doubtful there will be much impact. Cheaper parts tends to rule the roost in the consumer market--given a choice between "more reliable HD" and "320 GB for the price of 250GB", the latter pretty much always wins.

go4t (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493033)

Seagate has sucked for years (2, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493043)

Now I can finally say I told you so to all the Seagate fanboys who wouldn't stop circle-jerking when I kept saying that after a decade of frontline support I know that Seagates have a higher rate of failure than even their higher marketshare can compensate for. I kept getting fed the same old lines about how long their warranties were and how that made everything ok. Nevermind that this offer of data recovery is a last-ditch desperate measure that's an exception to all precedent. In most cases when I've been ring-side to a Seagate failure all I could do was point and laugh and say 'How good is your warranty at getting data back, bitch?'

I always buy WD, and in the dozens I've bought only one failed, infant mortality, and it was replaced less than two weeks with virtually no hassle.

Re:Seagate has sucked for years (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493293)

And I've had 2 WD Caviar 160GB drives that crapped out on me in the 9 months before I switched manufacturers. Thank god for backups.

That's the problem with anecdotal recommendations. They're always true, but rarely useful in the "statistically relevant" sense.

Re:Seagate has sucked for years (4, Insightful)

radish (98371) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493361)

Well I only buy Seagate, and of the dozens I've bought...well they're all still working thanks. Anecdote's are pointless, Seagate are doing the decent thing here - saying we screwed up (it happens) - here's a new firmware and if you lost data we'll pay to try and get it back. That's a lot more than they're required to do and more than most companies would do. I don't see any reason to give them a hard time, or stop buying their products.

Re:Seagate has sucked for years (4, Insightful)

daoine_sidhe (619572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493411)

I can tell you from my decade of experience as a technician and running a small shop that Seagate HDDs have the lowest failure rate in the business.

See how that works? This is why anecdotes are useless.

Re:Seagate has sucked for years (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493541)

Now I can finally say I told you so to all the Seagate fanboys who wouldn't stop circle-jerking when I kept saying that after a decade of frontline support I know that Seagates have a higher rate of failure than even their higher marketshare can compensate for.

IMO, from a technical standpoint, I wouldn't consider a firmware error (even one that bricks hardware) to be comparable with hardware problems that lead to mechanical failure. From a end users POV, it doesn't matter, their data is gone.

But realistically, the two issues are not even remotely similar.
Firmware can be fixed, bad hardware (IBM deathstars) can only be replaced or recalled.

I always buy WD, and in the dozens I've bought only one failed, infant mortality, and it was replaced less than two weeks with virtually no hassle.

What a wonderful (for you) and useless (for the purposes of this discussion) anecdote.

No kudos for responsibility? (1, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493049)

So we're going to lynch them for being open and honest that their drives have a problem and they're doing everything possible to minimize the harm to their customers? My, my, how progressive of us all. We're going to rail on them because they only made a firmware patcher for Windows. Well -- color me silly here but this is an emergency patch. It's an issue that's been discovered fairly recently and so they haven't yet made a firmware loader for other operating systems that makeup Help your community instead of bemoaning your minority status. I've never understood why a community of technical people can be so smart except when it comes to their choice of operating system, where they promptly start screaming "help, help, I'm being repressed!" This behavior is tolerated inside the linux/free software community and I'm at a loss for why... At least in the GLBT community, we tend to give these people a loving, but firm kick in the ass, not indulge them. You all could learn from the example.

Re:No kudos for responsibility? (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493193)

Wait - emergency patch? Not tested? It can fail?

This is plain bullshit. They could have released the information so that the OSS people can write a patcher for the hard drives. But no. Any timelines "expect an OSX/linux patcher in 3 weeks"? No, no news at all.

If they have competent developers, they could write it in a portable manner, but, I doubt it'll happen.

And, I didn't realize the free software community was equivalent of being a gay, lesbian, bisexul or transexual. I thought we were just communists.

Re:No kudos for responsibility? (2, Informative)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493509)

So we're going to lynch them for being open and honest that their drives have a problem and they're doing everything possible to minimize the harm to their customers?

No, we're going to lynch them because they've been aware of the issue since at least the beginning of December and have continually denied the existence of any problems until now, when the failure rate reached a point where they couldn't keep a lid on it any more. We're also going to lynch them because the SD15 firmware that's causing the problems was itself a bug fix, and obviously not tested very thoroughly.

Re:No kudos for responsibility? (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493555)

No.

This has been going on for weeks, and Seagate has been deleting threads from their boards.

Besides, when I lose data, I get cranky.

The patch is just so they don't have to pay out warranty claims by replacing drives, in essence it's not for us, it's for them.

Free data recovery?? (1)

HouseOfMisterE (659953) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493097)

I can't find any reference to the free data recovery services mentioned in the article summary. Can someone help? My 500GB Seagate 7200.11 drive was hit with this problem about a month ago and I would like to get it fixed (for free).

Screw you, all non-windows lusers! (0, Flamebait)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493127)

Isn't that the message coming from Seagate?

The firmware is on bittorrent (5, Informative)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493171)

Save yourself the time and effort, the required firmware updates are on bittorrent http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4627627/Seagate_1.5TB_ST31500341AS_Firmware_Update [thepiratebay.org]

Re:The firmware is on bittorrent (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493355)

Right. Because if I need to make an update to the drives in my critical hardware, I am DEFINITELY going to download something from The Pirate Bay instead of getting it from the official support channel. I mean, come on--some guy on Slashdot told me it was just as good.

Do smaller size models have this problem? (-1, Troll)

antdude (79039) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493181)

I just bought a 500 GB SATA HDD (ST3500320AS). Does my model have this problem too? :( Is there a way to check?

Re:Do smaller size models have this problem? (3, Insightful)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493215)

If you can't make the fucking effort to go read the article and follow the links, why should we do it for you?

But what is the replacement policy? (5, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493223)

The last time I had to replace a Seagate drive (about 3 years ago) I discovered that they had changed the way they replace drives. Years prior when I was a fan of their products, their replacement policy was to send the replacement drive to you first, so you could get your data off the failing drive and then send it back and have only a very minimal amount of downtime.

However, this replacement for me was the opposite process, only worse. They also had a list of other things I had to comply with in order to get a replacement for a drive that failed when only 2 months old:
  • It had to be packed in their anti-static clamshell case
  • The case had to be in at least 2 inches of foam (no packing peanuts or bubble wrap allowed)
  • The box had to meet a prescribed standard
  • I had to pay for insured shipping both ways

Needless to say, I wasn't happy with that. I spent some time on the phone with them, after spending two days running around town trying to find shipping materials that would comply with their asinine requirements (they stated they would void the warranty on my drive if I failed to comply with the packing requirements). Eventually I convinced the person on the phone - we'll call him Raj - to talk to his manager about the situation. Raj then was able to to get his manager to eventually approve of sending the drive first, so I would have the proper packing materials to send my drive back in.

And then when the replacement arrived, there was a copy of a note that Raj had written while on the phone with me where he described me as "extremely irate". If I ever have to deal with them again, they'll see what irate really is when it comes from me...

Re:But what is the replacement policy? (5, Informative)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493597)

I'm wondering if you got stuck with clueless support personnel, or it was a special case, or what.

I've replaced several drives in that timeframe. The standard procedure is always to send the replacement first, and send the old one back in the same box, pre-paid. (IE, it doesn't cost you anything)

They take your credit card details as insurance (otherwise an unscrupulous person would use this method to steal a hard drive by pretending theirs is bad) but that's acceptable.

All the drive manufacturers I've dealt with (seagate, WD, Maxtor) work this way...

seagate (1)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493389)

Nice to see that my xmas present might suddenly die...

And it looks like Seagate is not being very helpful towards Linux users...

Re:seagate (1)

Paul Jakma (2677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493645)

Not die, become unresponsive for short periods of time after it receives a "FLUSH CACHE EXT" command (used by journalling filesystems and RAID layers).

At least, if you're talking about the firmware bug this article is about...

Seagate isn't as bad as you're making it out to be (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493437)

I work at a PC repair shop where I RMA hard drives weekly. I RMA just as many Seagates as I do Western Digitals. Truth be told, Seagate has always been very friendly to us. Sure they say that you have to have the crazy packaging. I always wrapped the drive in bubble wrap, threw in some packing peanuts for good measure and taped the box up and never had a single problem. I've only sold 4 or 5 1TB+ Seagate drives so far however I've had no complaints on them. The only series of drives that I've ever had complaints on actually were a series of WD800s all made in early 2008. We had 5 come back to us dead from brand new machines within a week of the customer buying them. WD was very generous however and sent us WD1600s in return so this was no big deal. I honestly don't see why Seagate offering free data recovery and a firmware upgrade to fix the drives is so crazy. Most companies would try to ignore it, Seagate however is taking the right path here and doing what they can to fix the issue.

End-of-Times for magnetic storage? (2, Interesting)

yorkshiredale (1148021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493469)

Western Digital went to crap a while back (personal opinion, based on professional experience)

Now Seagate appears to be going down the same path

Both are/were leading-edge drive manufacturers

So has magnetic hard-drive technology simply reached an end-stage of current magnetic and mechanical capability, and does this hasten the introduction of technologies like SSD?

iSCSI TOTALLY_UNRELATED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493471)

Tried migrating an existing iscsi san drive from a solaris8 box to a RHEL5. Original ufs san partition was formated back in solaris8 box days. But now, after successfully installing the iscsi-initiator-utils, the damned linux box cannot correctly mount the ufs san drive. The kernel is supposed to support it. WTF? Ideas?

Seagate just keeps on being Seagate. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493519)

I just finished replacing a Seagate drive in my laptop that died on me about a month after I bought it. Glad to know my decision to never buy another Seagate hard drive came at such a good time. Probably saved myself a lot of headache by paying the extra money for a more reliable product

If only wisdom could come without experience. Then I'd still have all my data. Thanks, Seagate.

Hardware screwups (1)

Korey Kaczor (1345661) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493625)

It really seems like these businesses don't know how to make reliable hardware anymore: with this recent Seagate fiasco, Microsoft's laughable Zune Day of Death as well as their XBox red ring of death problem, Apple's (or I think Samsung's...) battery recall problem, and the capacitor theft of a few years back, and who knows what else I'm forgetting. It really seems like hardware is much more unreliable than years ago.

Of the list of common problems I've mentioned, I know of at least 1 person who has suffered them. And the fact that such things are so common makes me wonder if quality is really going down the toilet.

Don't know if I'm MAD, exactly... (1)

Thunderbuck_YT (911075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493635)

...but I'm definitely frustrated to have not one but TWO Barracuda 7200.11 drives fail. The first was DOA, and the RMA'd replacement just failed after only a few weeks. I've heard rumors that Seagate is returning different drives to customers. Like, larger ones. I'll wait and see.

Firmware programs all written for DOS/Win (3, Informative)

minion (162631) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493647)

I don't understand why manufacturer's keep insisting on writing the apps for Windows or DOS, with the growing trend to use these drives in other systems.

I use Supermicro systems in my datacenter, and the coolest thing is, all of their flash utils, and CDROM discs boot FreeDOS. This alleviates the problem that you just might not be running Windows on your server. I wish all manufacturers would get the hint.

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