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Seagate Ups Drive Warranties To 5 Years

simoniker posted more than 9 years ago | from the lifetime-of-neglect dept.

Upgrades 359

swordboy writes "Seagate have just announced that they are going to standardize on a five year warranty for all of their hard drives, including desktop and notebook units. While this seems like amazing news, I'm certainly hoping that the company will be around to honor these warranties." The press release notes: "The new warranty applies retroactively to applicable hard drives shipped since June 1, 2004."

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359 comments

Live From Boston (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9806345)

Here at the Democratic National convention in Boston, conservatives are deploying a series of covert signals to identify one another, much like gay men do. My allies are the ones wearing crosses or American flags. The people sporting shirts emblazoned with the "F-word" are my opponents. Also, as always, the pretty girls and cops are on my side, most of them barely able to conceal their eye-rolling. Democrats are constantly suing and slandering police as violent, fascist racists - with the exception of Boston's police, who'll be lauded as national heroes right up until the Democrats pack up and leave town on Friday, whereupon they'll revert to their natural state of being fascist, racist pigs. A speaker at the Democratic National Convention this year, Al Sharpton, accused white police officers of raping and defacing Tawana Brawley in 1987, lunatic charges that eventually led to a defamation lawsuit against Sharpton, and even more eventually to Sharpton paying a jury award to the defamed plaintiff Steve Pagones. So it's a real mystery why cops wouldn't like Democrats. As for the pretty girls, I can only guess that it's because liberal boys never try to make a move on you without the U.N. Security Council's approval. Plus, it's no fun riding around in those dinky little hybrid cars. My pretty-girl allies stick out like a sore thumb amongst the corn-fed, no make-up, natural fiber, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie-chick pie wagons they call "women" at the Democratic National Convention. Apparently, the nuts at the Democratic National Convention are going to be put in cages outside the convention hall. Sadly, they won't be fighting to the death as is done in W.W.F. caged matches. They're calling this the "protestor's area," although I suppose a better name would be the "truth-free zone." I thought this was a great idea until I realized the "nut" category did not include Sharpton, Al Gore, Bill Clinton and Teddy Kennedy - all featured speakers at the convention. I'd say the actual policy is only untelegenic nuts get the cages, but little Dennis Kucinich is speaking at the Convention, too. So it must be cages for "nuts who have not run for president as serious candidates for the Democratic Party." Looking at the line-up of speakers at the Convention, I have developed the 7-11 challenge: I will quit making fun of, for example, Dennis Kucinich, if he can prove he can run a 7-11 properly for 8 hours. We'll even let him have an hour or so of preparation before we open up. Within 8 hours, the money will be gone, the store will be empty, and he'll be explaining how three 11-year olds came in and asked for the money and he gave it to them. For 20 years, the Democrats wouldn't let Jimmy Carter within 100 miles of a Convention podium. The fact that Carter is now their most respectable speaker tells you where that party is today. Maybe they just want to remind Americans who got us into this Middle East mess in the first place. We've got millions of fanatical Muslims trying to slaughter Americans while shouting "Allah Akbar!" Yeah, let's turn the nation over to these guys. With any luck, Gore will uncork his speech comparing Republicans to Nazis. Just a few weeks ago, Gore gave a speech accusing the Bush administration of deploying "digital Brown Shirts" to intimidate journalists and pressure the media into writing good things about Bush - in case you were wondering where all those glowing articles about Bush were coming from. The last former government official to slake his thirst so deeply with the Kool-Aid and become a far-left peacenik was Ramsey Clarke and it took him a few years to really blossom. Clinton must have done some number on Gore. Then again, with his yen for earth tones in a man's wardrobe, maybe Gore's references to "Brown Shirts" was intended as a compliment. Only one major newspaper - the Boston Herald - reported Gore's "Brown Shirt" comment, though a Bush campaign spokesman's statement quoting the "Brown Shirt" line made it into the very last sentence of a Los Angeles Times article. The New York Times responded with an article criticizing "both" Republicans and Democrats for using Nazi imagery. Democrats call Republicans Nazis, the Republicans quote the Democrats calling Republicans Nazis and "both" are using Nazi imagery. (It's a cycle of violence!) The nuts in the cages are virtual Bertrand Russells compared to the official speakers at the Democratic Convention. On the basis of their placards, I gather the caged-nut position is that they love the troops so much, they don't want them to get hurt defending America from terrorist attack. "Support the troops," the signs say, "bring them home." That's my new position on all government workers, except the 5 percent who aren't useless, which is to say cops, prosecutors, firemen and U.S. servicemen. I love bureaucrats at the National Endowment of the Arts funding crucifixes submerged in urine so much - I think they should go home. I love public school teachers punishing any mention of God and banning Christmas songs so much - I think they should go home. Walking back from the convention site, I chatted with a normal Bostonian for several blocks - who must have identified me through our covert system of signals. He was mostly bemused by the Democrats' primetime speakers and told me he used to be an independent, but for the last 20 years found himself voting mostly Republican. Then he corrected himself and said he votes for the "American." I'd say I love all these Democrats in Boston so much I want them to go home, but I don't. I want Americans to get a good long look at the French Party and keep the 7-11 challenge in mind.

Re:Live From Boston (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9806625)

no yuo

So long, smartmontools . . . (2, Funny)

homeobocks (744469) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806348)

. . . hello, HDDBurn!

RE: Seagate Ups Drive Warranties To 5 Years (1, Insightful)

JPriest (547211) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806661)

Funny, I don't remember slashdot covering when Microsoft upped their product support to 10 years. I guess this means Seagate is on "the Good List"(tm)

Zone Two. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9806349)

GATECH boyz run dis shit bitch eat that cock hell yeah blow this cock mother fucker oh yeah one more thing

ZONE 2 BIA BIA

Old IBM (0, Redundant)

artlu (265391) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806350)

If only IBM had something similar to this back in the day. My stupid 75GXP's crapped out after the warranty expired and I suffered 200gigs of data loss. Damn, does anyone know the actual failure rate of those drives?

GroupShares Inc. [groupshares.com] - Free and Interactive Stock Trading Community

Re:Old IBM (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9806452)

The only stupidity you suffered from was not making backups, and I don't see how that is IBM's fault.

Re:Old IBM (2, Insightful)

DrShasta (690288) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806505)

This warranty wouldn't have helped you with your data loss.

But it may have helped me with the fact that every 75GXP that I got as a replacement eventually crapped out as well. If they had 5 year warranty on those, I would have ended up with at least 4 different replacements for my original drive.

I don't really understand why manufacturers haven't moved to 5 year warranties sooner. Usually if a hard drive craps out after a year it is because the drive sucks. If the drive lasts for 3 years, it will almost always last for 5. Seagate probably did a study on this and found that to be the case. I assume thats why they did this.

Re:Old IBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9806567)

I don't really understand why manufacturers haven't moved to 5 year warranties sooner.

5 years, ago, 8 gig drives were huge. In another 5 years, where is Seagate going to find tiny little 250 gig drives to offer as replacements?

Re:Old IBM (1)

TummyX (84871) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806611)

They'll either supply refurbished drives or ones with a larger capacity. Quantum used to have a 5 year warranty a wee while back.

Re:Old IBM (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806651)

1. Buy a new HD 2. Crash it after 3 years 3. Replace it under warranty 4. Profit! I distinctly remember I've still got a circuit burner somewhere....

second post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9806352)

bitchez w3rd

WTF? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9806358)

Did I get another fisting prost?

5 years!!! (1, Insightful)

mrokkam (783202) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806364)

WOW.

And to think I just bought a maxtor with a measly 1 year warranty :|

5 years. Wonder if I would use a hard disk that long. I mean... 5 years ago... I dont even know what was standard... 7 gigs? and now? 250 gigs seem to be the norm. U could so copy 7 gigs over to ur 250 gig machine:D

now... 3 years sounds more reasonable to me. Actually useful... I say

Re:5 years!!! (2, Interesting)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806396)

now... 3 years sounds more reasonable to me. Actually useful... I say

I don't know about that. I'd sure like it if the 500G SCSI raid array I just set up was warranteed for 5 years.

Re:5 years!!! (1)

kayen_telva (676872) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806429)

did you just suggest that a shorter warranty would be better? and got modded up. good grief.

Re:5 years!!! (2, Interesting)

AndyChrist (161262) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806460)

It's also about how long a heavily-used HD can be expected to live, from all I've read and experienced. Unless seagate has some sort of trick up their sleeves, this could kill them.

Re:5 years!!! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9806485)

> 5 years ago... I dont even know what was standard... 7 gigs?

FWIW, this weekend I decomissioned what had been my main machine years ago (I was still using it for some tasks but the MB or power supply is getting real flaky and causing some problems... not worth investigating I guess) The HD in it had a manufacturing date of april '99 and is 18G. If I remember right that was fairly large at the time but not the largest I could have bought.

It's one of the old IBM deskstars, before they had the run of really flaky ones. Still works great!

These days ALL of my servers use mirrored drives. Disk space is so cheap and full backups are so hard, there's really no excuse not to use RAID.

Re:5 years!!! (2, Interesting)

kzinti (9651) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806493)

3 years sounds more reasonable to me.

Seagate was already offering 3-year warranties on their disk drives. In fact, several different drive makers are offering 3-year warranties... don't recall which ones, but when I was shopping for a 200GB SATA drive just a week ago, they all had 3-year warranties.

I also verified my warranty by doing a serial-number -> warranty query at the Seagate web site after I had the drives in hand.

Five years? Great! (Especially since the Promise RAID-0 controller I'm using with Windoze doesn't spin down the disks when idle.) Looks like I picked the right disk drive at the right time.

Re:5 years!!! (2, Insightful)

wwest4 (183559) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806550)

Is it just me, or do Maxtor's IDE drives die at 18 months without fail?

With the oft-misused, favorable-looking MTBF ratings that are released along with many manufaturers' drives, they should be offering more than 3 yrs in some cases, if only to back up the (mostly) baseless implication of the MTBF ratings. It's only fair to get an exchange, since a consumer could get stuck with a crappy batch, i.e. an unfair burden of the failure statistic. I wonder if they will be keeping old lines running longer or exchanging broken drives with newer models... maybe I should just RTFA.

Re:5 years!!! (1)

leathered (780018) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806633)

We have a couple of hundred of Maxtors in our desktop machines, I can count the failures we've had on one hand. However the bearings go off after a year though and start making a horrible whine. Shouldn't be a problem with the fluid bearings you see in the latest drives.

The IDE Maxtors in our NAS boxes are a different matter. They take a beating and it shows, rarely do they last more than 18 months, sometimes less than a year. Perhaps it's worth looking at another brand for heavy duty stuff.

Re:5 years!!! (1)

Unnngh! (731758) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806565)

I guess that to a degree you're correct, for your average home user they probably won't care less about that HDD or its data five years from purchase. Some of us, however, are running even older HW than that. Especially if you set up a production box of some kind and expect it to keep running for years without a lot of intervention, with lots of reads and writes, I would really appreciate that warranty.

Why not a 20-30 year warranty, though? As hardware keeps advancing the need for the latest-and-greatest is becoming less and less a financial motivator for many people. I fully expect that if I bought a medium-end machine today for medium-end needs, it would still be meeting those needs for at least five years.

Re:5 years!!! (1)

ejaw5 (570071) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806614)

I actually wish new drives were still available in 5, 10, and 20GB sizes. Fortunately I still have a few around but it'd be such a waste to have to buy a 40GB+ to put in a small lite server such as a network gateway/webserv box.

More reliable drives? (4, Insightful)

chrispyman (710460) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806366)

Perhaps this is because their drives are more reliable? I seem to remember most companies lowering the warranty range on consumer level drives from 3 years to 1 year not so long ago, so this is a welcome change.

Re:More reliable drives? (4, Insightful)

Nakito (702386) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806540)

Or how about a more cynical view: what if this is driven by marketing, not quality? Consider automobiles. Which cars have the longest warranties? Cars like the Kia (ten years). Now which cars have the shortest warranties? Cars like the BMW (three years). Which is better engineered, better made? Which will last longer? Is a correlation between warranty length and quality? Is there a negative correlation? In light of the automotive evidence, I am not persuaded that length of warranty is any indication of product quality. It's only an indication that marketing believes the warranty will sell more units.

Re:More reliable drives? (4, Insightful)

hawkbug (94280) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806647)

You'd actually be surprised to find out then that Kia is tied with Toyota in the minivan market for lowest number of customer complaints regarding quality issues. I'm not saying you should buy one, but from what I can tell, Kia is just trying to market their vehicles well since nobody trusts the brand yet. If the company stands behind it for 10 years, I can only assume that puts out a positive message for the company.

Re:More reliable drives? (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806580)

Perhaps this is because their drives are more reliable?

Or perhaps they know that a 5 year old drive is not going to be useful enough to pay the postage to get it replaced. I just replaced one of my old 80gig drives. It was a 2 year old unit, postage UPS was about $10.00. It was worth it to me because it's a decent size, and I payed 80% less then new value.

I have some older drives still in service between 20-40gig. On the new front, I could get them replaced for $30 or so. While postage would save me 66% of new value, I could easily hit the used market and pick one up for about the cost of postage.

And, most importantly, how many systems are actually going to still be in service in 5 years? Most people typicaly replace rather then upgrade.

Re:More reliable drives? (1)

origin2k (302035) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806587)

This may because of poor quality.

I heard that Seagate has had some quality issues, which has hurt profits. This change could be to help resolve relations with large OEM companies like DELL, HP etc. which offer 3 year warrantees on the system when the drives only carried a 1 year warranty.

In effect the drive companies moved the liability to the computer companies when they moved to 1-year warrantee with their disk drives.

Re:More reliable drives? (1)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806649)

The reason warranties were lowered was because people would purposely destroy their hard drives toward the end of the warranty period to get a free bigger one. However with this plan if the hard drive fails at the end of the warranty period then the company can offer to subtract the cost of replacement old drive from the cost of a new bigger drive. However now that hard drives are often 200GB this is less of an issue.

This is just like trading in your old car for a new car and saving a thousand bucks, it locks you into buying the same brand again and again.

Yeah but what about ... (5, Insightful)

drsmack1 (698392) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806375)

Who cares about the warranty anyways? The data on that drive is a whole lot more important. Losing $100K of data through a hole in your backup strategy is a injury that will not be healed by the replacement of a $175 disk drive.

Re:Yeah but what about ... (3, Insightful)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806428)

But if you're using proper procedures it shouldn't be a problem. RAID array, backups if you can... etc.

Then when a drive in your RAID array fails, it can be replaced under warrenty for 5 years. Sounds like a good deal to me.

Nothing with as many moving parts as a hard-drive is going to last forever.

Re:Yeah but what about ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9806476)

Uh, why did you post this? To see your name in lights? Why don't you just find a book called "The most obvious observations in the world" and paste the entire thing in next time?

Re:Yeah but what about ... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9806488)

The word "warranty" appears all over this article and the responses, yet you still manage to mis-spell it.

Re:Yeah but what about ... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9806563)

Since when does misspell have hyphen in it; asshole?

http://tinyurl.com/4xdwv

Re:Yeah but what about ... (1, Insightful)

kzinti (9651) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806623)

RAID is not a backup strategy. It's a tactic to protect against single-disk failures, but it's not a backup strategy. RAID won't protect you from an rm -rf * in the wrong directory. RAID won't save your data if a fire burns down your house or office. RAID won't help you if someone breaks in an steals all you computer equipment. RAID may be part of your strategy, but shouldn't be the whole thing. If your data is truly valuable, have a backup and have an offsite backup.

Re:Yeah but what about ... (2, Insightful)

kayen_telva (676872) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806448)

I do. To replace the drive and restore from backups. DUH.

Re:Yeah but what about ... (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806455)

Well, if they offer 5 yrs, they must be pretty sure it won't fail...

Besides which- most people don't have much valuable data on their drives. Face it, your porn, mp3s, and videos can be redownloaded. Your resume can be retyped. Really a few hours of work will get them back in good condition.

Re:Yeah but what about ... (4, Insightful)

Vainglorious Coward (267452) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806510)

most people don't have much valuable data on their drives. Face it, your porn, mp3s, and videos can be redownloaded. Your resume can be retyped.

For many people these days, it is pictures taken with digital cameras that are irreplaceable.

Re:Yeah but what about ... (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806537)

For many people these days, there is no excuse for not spending $80 on a DVD+DL recorder and putting their images on DVD-R or similar. (I'd just buy the +DL for the future, the dual layer media is ungodly expensive. Besides, the drives are cheap.)

I for one... (0, Offtopic)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806461)

welcome our new reply button overlords.

Re:Yeah but what about ... (1, Insightful)

Plake (568139) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806468)

That's true it that loosing data does burn a whole lot more then a replacement drive but you should be doing regular tests on critical backups if for example they're worth 100k.

The drive replacement just smooths out the whole process. When I RMA a drive with Maxtor, WD, Hitachi or Seagate I'm doing it because we'd still be down a spare drive. 5 years is amazing, we just purchased 6 SATA 10k rpm Raptor drives from Seagate and they came with the 5 year warranty.

Re:Yeah but what about ... (1)

stretch0611 (603238) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806470)

Who cares about the warranty anyways? The data on that drive is a whole lot more important.

I care about the warranty. A warranty is a measure of how long a company thinks its drive will last. If a company thinks that their drive will last only 2 years with real world use it will put a one year warranty on it instead of five.

The warranty will not replace your lost data; but it will tell you if the company has confidence in the equiptment it sells.

Re:Yeah but what about ... (3, Insightful)

Wanker (17907) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806471)

At least you don't have to pay to replace the second drive in your mirrored set.

Oh, you don't have a mirrored set? I guess that $100k of data wasn't worth the $175 it cost for a second drive then... ;-)

Seriously, if your data is worth anything more than few hundred dollars (based on your own value of the time you'd spend re-creating it) it should be mirrored, and backed up to some sort of removable media. While few of us have data that's worth a whole lot, the cost of making a backup once a quarter (or once a year, even) is pretty negligible compared to the cost of re-creating everything.

Re:Yeah but what about ... (1)

justMichael (606509) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806520)

If your data is really worth $100k, I would hope you have the common sense to test your backups and know there are no holes...

Also at the very minimum RAID 1 in addition to your tapes. Maybe an hourly, non-delete rsync to another machine also RAID 1, to cover the occasional user oops.

If you trust $100k worth of data to a single $175 IDE drive, you probably don't deserve the data to begin with ;)

default /. reply (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9806543)

D00d! you have $100K of pr0n!?!??!111/

Re:Yeah but what about ... (1)

badasscat (563442) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806562)

Who cares about the warranty anyways? The data on that drive is a whole lot more important. Losing $100K of data through a hole in your backup strategy is a injury that will not be healed by the replacement of a $175 disk drive.

I think the point is a company doesn't provide a 5 year warranty if they're not confident in the quality of their drives. Over the years, IDE drive makers have gone from 5 years, to 3 years, to 1 year, and over that time I think it's pretty much conventional wisdom that the quality of the drives themselves has gone down as well. After all, why else change your warranty from 3 years to 1? You do that because you're getting more returns within the 2-3 year period than you would like, and you no longer want to pay for those as a manufacturer.

It was a cost-cutting measure, obviously, and it's one reason why we now have 120GB drives that cost under $100. If Seagate is now saying they can maintain that pricing with a 5 year warranty, that can only be a positive thing for consumers, because a) if you do need to replace the drive, saving $100 on a new drive is still saving $100, and b) it shows that Seagate believes their level of construction quality is so high that their costs under this five year warranty will not be significantly higher than under their one year warranty. This is a big statement to make, and it will definitely put pressure on WD, Hitachi and Maxtor at the very least.

Look at it this way: Seagate is telling you their drives should last for five years, Maxtor, Hitachi and WD are telling you their drives should last for one year. Which would you feel more confident buying?

(I'll add to this that all of the major drive makers have particular models and lines with longer warranties; I'm talking about the "basic" consumer models, since Seagate's new warranty applies to those as well.)

Re:Yeah but what about ... (1)

kzinti (9651) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806568)

Who cares about the warranty anyways?

Some people say that a longer warranty indicates that the drive is better made, and will last longer. That's the optimistic point of view.

On the other hand, maybe Seagate believes that most people outgrow their disk drives (or the computers they're in) in just three years anyway. Then it wouldn't cost them much to extend the warranty to five years, and it gives them a new marketing ploy. That's the pragmatic point of view.

Or, as the article suggests, maybe Seagate knows they won't be around in five years anyway. That's the cynical point of view.

I just bought a pair of 200GB SATA drives, so I'll stick with the optimistic point of view. You choose yours.

As for the worth of the data vs the worth of the drive: absolutely. You must have a good backup strategy. And no, a RAID-5 array is not a backup strategy. Not a very good one anyway.

Re:Yeah but what about ... (2, Insightful)

Tobias Luetke (707936) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806571)

Regardless, If the drive fails and you get your money back they didn't do any business. In fact with inflation they even lost money.

A warranty is basically a bet without you having to put in any ante. You can read it as "We bet your drive will work for the next 5 years or you get your money back!". They know their product best, so if they are that confident in it that is a good sign. If other manufacturers only bet on a year of lifetime you know whats up.

To me this would be a really strong point for a seagate HD. Not that I needed any more, all my recent drives have been Seagate barracuda drives because they are just plain the best drives around ( price, noise, speed ). I have seldomly seen such a superior product, especially if they slap a 5 year warranty on it.

Re:Yeah but what about ... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806612)

In fact with inflation they even lost money.

Isn't that backwards? $175 today is worth more than $175 in 3 years, plus they have had their profit for that time from which they could earn interest.

Data loss is YOUR fault (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806603)

Doesnt matter how good a drive is, it WILL fail eventually.. and if you lose real data then you arent doing your job.

The only data one should ever lose is the current open files.. If you cant bring back everything from yestereday, at the latest, then you need to re-think your backup plan, quickly.

Re:Yeah but what about ... (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806626)

Losing $100K of data through
a hole in your backup strategy is a injury that will not be healed by the replacement of a $175 disk drive.

No matter how much you might want them to... Seagate can't stop you from doing something stupid.

Nobody makes 100% reliable drives, so the only thing they can reasonably do is to provide a replacement if it does fail.

You can advocate data insurance all you want, but it has the same problems as all other forms of insurance... Those that are carful and don't ever need to collect on insurance, have to foot the bill for those that are careless.

And finally, unless the platters shatter, or the heads start scraping the coating off the platters, it only costs a few hundred dollars to have professionals recover the data from a broken hard drive. I imagine, like everyone else, Seagate has a few data recovery companies it partners with, and will allow you to send them your dead drive, and recieve a replacement drive with all your recovered data on it.

But it would probably be cheaper in many regards to just buy an extra hard drive, and keep your backups up-to-date.

Re:Yeah but what about ... (1)

JungleBoy (7578) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806642)

If you have $100K of data on a single $175 drive, you, sir, are a fucking idiot. That much data (value wise) demands multiple redundencies. Hardware RAID 5 with redundent UPSs at least. A tape backup system is also highly required. And to finish it off, you ought to setup an off-site mirror.

I have a large dataset with this type of configuration. I had one of the UPSs go down today, and it released a flaw in my strategy. My rack ventilation fan was connected only to the failed ups. So don't forget to provide redundent power to your cooling system.

Why does it matter? (4, Insightful)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806377)

They probably saw that their drive drive lives are averaging over 5 years, and competition is increasing. Thus, they make a big announcement of a longer warranty. Of course to get a replacement, you will have to submit the original receipt.


Expect several other drive makers to do the same shortly.


Manufacturers will always give a warranty that is shorter than the failure age of the unit.

Re:Why does it matter? (1)

mrokkam (783202) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806406)

that's not exactly true. I had a maxtor die on me after around a year of heavy duty usage. I just had to download a diagnosis tool, run it to show that my hard disk, was indeed, damaged and they sent me a replacement immediately. As for saying that they always give warranties less than the life of the product.... why would they first reduce the warranties to 1 year... and then now increase it to 5? methinks... they think... noone will think of asking for a replacement after 5 years. You know... like the whole Mail In Rebate scam. Half the people tend to forget to send them in!! And what with hard disks becoming sooo cheap...

small percentage (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806489)

Of course a small percentage will fail within the warranty period -- but the majority will not.

Of course, they will offer you an upgrade price to replace your drive with a new (larger) drive immediately instead of having to wait 2 weeks for a refurb drive.

Re:Why does it matter? (1)

aka-ed (459608) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806521)

In 1999, standard desktops came with 5-to-15 gigs drivespace. If 10 gig drive crapped out on you today, how much trouble would you go to to replace it?

Many drives will outlast 5 years. Many drives will be replaced and become idle, or be passed on to third parties, before 5 years are gone. Of the drives that quit in the 4th or 5th year of operation, I doubt that many will be shipped out for replacement.

Re:Why does it matter? (1)

prewashedironman (605517) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806431)

But the receipt problem shouldn't be too much of a problem, because i expect that with a techy item like a hard drive at least 80% of hard drive purchases are made online. So instead of keepiong a small piece of paper its just an email you need to find.

Re:Why does it matter? (1)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806453)

you will have to submit the original receipt.

I've never had a manufacturer ask for the receipt. Most (all?) of the drives nowadays are stamped with the manufacture date on them and often even have the warrenty expiration date.

Re:Why does it matter? (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806555)

Most (all?) of the drives nowadays are stamped with the manufacture date on them

However, a warranty takes effect upon the date of purchase. So, if the drive you buy was manufactured 6-months earlier (very common) then you need the reciept if you want to collect on the warranty in the last 6-months of the warranty period.

This might not be so significant with 5-year warranties, but it cuts a 1-year warranty in half if you don't keep the reciept.

Re:Why does it matter? (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806662)

You do realize that many of those companies who provide 1 year warrantees are providing said warrantee from the date of manufacture, and *not* the date of purchase, right?

Re:Why does it matter? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806610)

Amen. I have RMA'd tens of drives (I'm sure many people have done more than I have) from assorted manufacturers including seizegate, western digital, conner (back in the day), IBM, quantum, and maxtor, and none of them asked me for a receipt. This is a good thing, because some of them were donations from people too lazy to RMA them. They just want the serial number.

Re:Why does it matter? (2, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806482)

Expect several other drive makers to do the same shortly.

Very, VERY, unlikely.

Maxtor and Western Digital both very recently reduced their basic warrant to 1 year. Now, they seem to be quite happy with their basic drives with 2MB of cache, and a 1 year warranty, while charging more for 8MB cache and a 3year warranty.

I doubt they are going to be anxious to ruin that nice warranty tier model that's bringing in extra money for them. If anything, they MIGHT start extending warranties a few years, for an addition fee. They'll probably make their drives +5 year warranty cost just a bit less than Seagate's to stay competitive.

However, Seagate has a reputation for having quieter, better built, and lower power hard drives, so being slightly cheaper may not be enough.

You'd think that Maxtor and Western Digital would want to compete, but from their recent offerings, it seems like they're content to just be close in price and features, and not too worried about really competing. Maybe the margins are too low for price/feature/warranty wars to make sense?

Re:Why does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9806517)

Can't be bothered to log in, fixing a computer onsite and waiting for a reinstall to finish.

Hard drive companies lately have really easy to deal with on my end - most major manufacturers just do a DB lookup on your serial number, see when it was purchased, and base your warranty on the manufacture date.

If you buy really old stock, you have the option of providing your receipt to get the full warranty.

Quick, someone bash HDD manufacturers for not coming to your door and picking up the drives themselves! It *must* be a scam!

(Last part not directly aimed at the parent post, mostly the paranoid folk who also replied to the parent)

Re:Why does it matter? (1)

Wanker (17907) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806591)

(Note: For the sarcasm impaired, the following is humor. I hope.)

I think they finally realized that the best way to make money is by selling personal information to marketing agencies. This is all part of their plan to cull E-mail addresses, bank accounts, social security numbers, tin foil hat size, and pornography preferences directly from the platters of the RMAed drives.

Think about it! The drive is dead so you can't wipe it. Physical destruction voids you warranty. Ha! They've got you. :-)

Re:Why does it matter? (1)

nvrrobx (71970) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806602)

Funny, IBM, Hitatchi, Western Digital and Micropolis never made me submit a receipt.

Lifetime Warranties. (1, Offtopic)

Kenja (541830) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806380)

Lifetime Warranties. Mine, the hardwares or the companies?

Re:Lifetime Warranties. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9806464)

Lifetime Warranties. Mine, the hardwares or the companies?

I think you just found the ??? in the 3 step business plan: Lifetime of the hardware warrantees, when its life is over, so is the warrantee.

Re:Lifetime Warranties. (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806536)

Lifetime Warranties. Mine, the hardwares or the companies?

"Lifetime" refers to the individual who purchased the product. You would know this if you've ever read the terms: "...warrants to the original purchaser that this product will be free of defects in..."

However, it's also true that the company going under can nullify that lifetime warranty as well. If it's bought by another company, they must continue to honor the terms, even though you might have to find somebody high-up, and hassle them for a while...

If it refered to the lifetime of the hardware, it would be absolutely pointless, wouldn't it?

depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9806664)

Lifetime is defined by the terms in the warranty agreement. Lifetime for PNY geforce graphics cards is the lifetime of the product cycle or until supplies run out. So if they have an old Geforce 2 GTS in the warehouse they'll gladly replace your broken one. If there isn't, well, then they're not obligated to send you a new 5700 FX.

For Kingston memory "lifetime" means forever. Kingston is able to manufacture memory modules on demand and can rebuild memory for your 286 if you so desire. I recently sent in a discontinued Rambus stick and the service was superb. They don't really even ask for proof of purchase or ownership either. If you ship them a module made by them and it's broken they'll fix it and send it back to you for free.

It really depends on what company you're talking about and what it exactly says in the warranty information.

IN SOVIET RUSSIA (0)

firstposter161 (800323) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806383)

THE HArd drive has a warranty on you!

Re:IN SOVIET RUSSIA (0, Troll)

firstposter161 (800323) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806426)

CUNTy cunty cunt cunt cunt eat it shitbags fuck

Refresh my memory... (2, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806397)

Seagate was private, then it went public, then it went private again, and now it's once again public...

Does that about cover it, or am I mistaken?

Also, has anybody bought a Seagate hard drive recently? Have they come through, and started selling them with Lindows pre-installed on the drives? Experienced any hardware problems with it?

Re:Refresh my memory... (1)

Gr33nNight (679837) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806462)

I have had 5 Maxtor harddrives fail, a couple WD, a bunch of IBMs and 0 Seagates.

All my computers that I build for myself, and for customers I put in Seagates and so far I have yet to have one of their drives fail. They are relatively quiet, the setup is simple, and they are solid.

Now they are updating their warrenty, this is awesome.

Re:Refresh my memory... (1)

chatgris (735079) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806484)

I recently bought 2 120GB seagate drives about 6 months ago, and they are performing fine.

In addition, I bought a 30GB seagate drive back in 2000, and it's had no problems whatsoever either.

I'm definately a seagate fan as far as hard drive reliability is concerned.

Re:Refresh my memory... (1)

kayen_telva (676872) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806494)

buy them all the time. they are the best drive avail IMHO

Re:Refresh my memory... (1)

TeraBill (746791) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806572)

I would say that I have bought at least one of each of the biggies in the last six months, Hitachi, Maxtor, Seagate and WD. I dislike the WD drives since they seem to run hotter than the others. And their warranties are 1 year from date of manufacture, not purchase and that bites. Plus, I lost one late last year after less than 24 hours. It was totally dead. I have lost two Maxtors in the last five years, but they went slowly and there was no data lost. The Hitachi and Seagate drives are pretty recent, but they seem good. I like the Seagate 160GB and 200GB drives quite a lot.

Let me be the fourth or fifth to say... (1)

Erpo (237853) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806398)

Kudos Seagate!

Would this hurt SCSI sales? (3, Interesting)

Fiz Ocelot (642698) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806404)

If I can get a 5 year warrenty on an ide drive, I think that would make me less likely to purchase a scsi drive on the reliability factor alone. I'm only talking about reliability not speed.

This seems like it could hurt them financially in the long run, but maybe they're trying to increase short term sales?

Re:Would this hurt SCSI sales? (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806441)

Well, the warranty on the SCSI drives would go up to five years as well.

I've not noticed IDE drives to be that much less reliable than SCSI drives lately -- I've had both fail on me in pretty large numbers. In fact, I'd say I've had more SCSI drives fail than IDE drives lately.

I just wish they'd put SCSI interfaces on IDE drives and sell them at IDE prices -- even if the quality is a little lower.

Re:Would this hurt SCSI sales? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9806516)

I vote for iSCSI at IDE prices.

Suspicion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9806407)

Maybe I am just overly suspicious but most manufacturers don't just extend warranties, does Seagate have a problem they know about with their drives that we don't? Maybe I'm just a pessimist.

Re:Suspicion? (2, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806486)

Umm, if they knew they had a problem, they'd reduce the warranty to avoid paying. Not increase.

The tiny print... (4, Funny)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806410)

...This warranty is void when the tape covering the drive connectors is removed... ;o

good mine is toast (1)

nmeu (584846) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806413)

i got a 7200rpm 2mb cache 40gig seagate drive less than a year ago and it's toast already.... weak

Smart idea! (5, Insightful)

travail_jgd (80602) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806417)

Most drive failures happen fairly early after purchase (first month or so of use). How many people will endure the hassle of warranty repair on a 3-5 year old hard drive, when they can pick up something significantly bigger and faster? Getting a refurbed 80-250 GB drive won't seem worth the effort when retailers will have 1-2 TB drives (guesstimate) available for the price of the original.

And like Ars Technica said, it's something else that they can advertise on the box to set themselves apart from other vendors.

Re:Smart idea! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806561)

Most people who won't bother to RMA know someone that will. I currently have an 80GB drive in my system that was a donation from someone who didn't want to deal with RMA.

I would RMA even a 20GB drive that someone gave me, maybe it's just that I'm a hobbyist, but then almost everyone knows someone who is a hobbyist.

you are right on the money (1)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806660)



I think you are right on the money. I wouldn't try to get a replacement on a 4 gig HD from 1999. On the plus side for consumers, though, I doubt Seagate will continue to stock 5 year-old drives. They'll probably give out the current price-point match product as a replacement.

Could this mean... (1)

digitallystoned (770225) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806420)

Could this mean that they finalized the process or making a reliable drive yet again?? I remember back in the 90s I couldn't give away a WD drive if I could get a Seagate.. My customers still rely on the quality of the Seagate drives and dont mind paying the extra 20 bucks for them.. But I do agree with the previous posters, if you dont have a backup replacing the drive for free really isnt going to matter..

In related news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9806430)

Gateway is now offereing lifetime warranties on all their products.

Preparation for new drives? (2, Informative)

DocUK (794395) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806439)

This may mark Seagate's preparation to release their new array of drives, including the much anticipated 7200.8 series (400GB capacity with a 16MB cache and support for native SATA including NCQ).

Seagate is really striking while the iron is hot. And to think I was about to order the Maxtor DiamondMax 300GB a few days ago. Phew.

Yay! (1)

MacFury (659201) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806491)

I just picked up 2 seagate drives a few days ago. For once, I get good news!

I had to replace 2 western digital drives that failed at the same time...so much for my mirrored RAID setup :-)

Great News (1)

spacemky (236551) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806492)

This is music to my ears, as it seems that most of my drives die at 3 years, 1 month - one month past the warranty period. WD, IBM and others should follow suit, which will benefit everyone who buys hard drives.

Way to go Seagate!

Damn, I just bought a HD in late May (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9806548)

...of course, it was a Maxtor :)

Ups? (1)

duncan bayne (544299) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806551)

Verbing weirds language.

Try using a thesaurus, or perhaps a literate editor :-)

wd raptor (1)

name773 (696972) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806556)

i recently purchased a western digital raptor, and it came with a 5 year warranty (link [newegg.com] )
although mine was the 36gb model..

Seagate is thumbing its nose at competitors... (4, Funny)

stienman (51024) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806574)


Seagate is clearly saying to its competitiors:

We uped our standards - now up yours!

-Adam

More reliable (1)

dj245 (732906) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806606)

I have Five maxtor drives for personal use, and I havent experienced a failure since 1999. I suspect that improvements in drives such as the fluid bearings and fully sealed drives and higher shock tolerances have proven to make mean failure times much higher.

Of course none of it is any good if you have an accident.

I hope the others follow Seagate (1)

halo1982 (679554) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806608)

Western Digital cut their warranties on their drives down to 1 year from 3 (with the exception of enterprise drives). I believe Maxtor also did the same, and Hitachi too. One years isn't anything for a hard drives lifetime, and it would be nice if other manufacturers would follow Seagate's lead.

Good return policies make warranties a moot point. (5, Informative)

ezraekman (650090) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806628)

I buy my hard drives at Costco [costco.com] . (They don't sell them online; only at local stores.)

A little known fact about stores like this is that their return policy is "unlimited". They have a sign posted that says "it is helpful if you return the product with original receipt, in 30 days", etc. "Helpful", but not required. Of course, it's likely that the product will drop in price by the time you return it so you'd better keep the receipt... but the timeline is only a suggestion. It is generally thought that this policy is only 6 months... but that's for COMPLETE COMPUTER SYSTEMS [costco.com] . ("Desktop and notebook computers".) Everything else in the store (including peripherals) can be returned as long as you keep your membership.

Recently, I picked up a Maxtor external USB 2.0/Firewire external 160GB 8MB Cache drive with all necessary cables for $109. It's not the largest drive on the planet, but the price is decent, and the "warranty" is second to none. If I decide I don't like the color four years from now, I can just bring it back. It was also nice that it shipped with both firewire and USB cables so it was ready to go, out of the box.

Granted, there's nothing that can give the peace of mind of a decent backup. Also, their selection is somewhat minimal. But data aside, I have yet to find a better guarantee for hardware than Costco's.

I'm certainly not surprised!!! (2, Interesting)

Sidicas (691633) | more than 9 years ago | (#9806658)

I've had my ST36451A 6.4 gig hard drive for over 5 years. I had bought it back in the day when I was running a 133 Mhz Pentium on Windows 95. I had upgraded my computer many times, switching from that to a 300 Mhz AMD K6-2 (Quake 2 on Windows 98!) Baby-AT mobo then to a 600 Mhz Athlon (Quake 2&3 on Linux!!) in a new ATX case. I'm still getting much use out of the same hard drive. I carried the thing to a friends house once to prove the Compaq tech support wrong when they had misdiagnosed a boot-sector virus as a "bad motherboard/disk controller". It held up during the trip there and back in my backpack. Within the past 2-3 years, it has started to run excessively hot to the point where I believed it was causing Windows 98 to crash. I was able fix this with a bay cooler. Nowadays, I run it in my linux box.
I've never had a Seagate drive fail on me.. Ever...

I bought my first computer dirt cheap at a "computer show" and it had a 2 gig IBM drive which failed within 2 weeks of bringing the system home. Not sure if I should blame IBM, myself, or the dude who sold me the system.
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