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Seagate (3.5in) SATA HD Failures and Firmware Updates for affected models
Posted Jan. 2009
Owner Reports/Info last updated: Mar. 17th, 2009



This page has reader reports on Seagate drive failures and firmware updates Seagate says will fix this (for drives that have not already had a failure - data is still intact Seagate says just not accessible by the end user if the drive fails.) The page was posted in reply to a readers FYI/link to seagate forum threads on a high number of infant failures (within a few months) for some models in the Jan. 15th, 2009 news page. (Also noted in many dealer's website customer reviews/ratings.)
See below for reader replies, several updates to Seagate's kbase doc on the issue w/firmware updates, a Guide to installing the firmware update with a Mac Pro, experiences with getting replacement drives, etc. (NOTE: The Seagate Doc was revised to include a drive S/N check and Model number check, instead of just a list of models and links to pages with affected firmware versions and firmware updates.)
FYI: Although Seagate's main doc on Firmware Recommendations for Barracuda 7200.11, ES.2 SATA, and DiamondMax 22 Drives [207931] no longer links directly to them (after they updated it with model number/SN checks instead), here's some of the firmware update pages that were linked there previously:

There was a page also on Diamondmax 22 series drives but I don't have the link handy. (Searching their site by model can find firmware update pages)

Reader Replies: (later reports first)
Readers with affected drives can send feedback on their experience. (Please include Drive model, firmware revision, if the S/N check flagged your drive as affected, etc.)

Anyone else tried to update Seagate HD firmware in a 2009 Mac Pro? First mail from a 2009 Mac Pro owner on trying to update the firmware.

(from Mar. 17th, 2009 mail)
"Tried to apply the Seagate firmware update using a new Nehalem Mac Pro 8 core. The utility ran but could not find the drive to patch. I did remove all other hard drives and did put the drive in the first bay. The drive is still working but I am not looking forward to it failing unexpectedly, even with a Time Machine back up on a different brand drive. Drive info below (per S/N check is an "affected" drive):
    Capacity: 931.51 GB (1TB model)
    Model: ST31000340AS
    Revision: SD15 (firmware version)
    Serial Number: 9QJ0VZ1P
    Native Command Queuing: Yes
    Queue Depth: 32
    Bay Name: "Bay 1"
    Partition Map Type: GPT (GUID Partition Table)
    S.M.A.R.T. status: Verified

I believe the previous Mac Pros machines had PATA for optical drives but there's only SATA in the new Mac Pro. (2009's use SATA even for optical drives) I didn't look thoroughly to see if there was a PATA connection hiding anywhere, but other than not being able to salvage the burner from my dead G5, it's not a big deal.
-Tom A."

The 2009 Mac Pros have a new motherboard/chipset and wonder if that's a factor (i.e. does the boot CD have driver support for it). I'd be curious if Seagate support has any useful comments on this (I'd report it to them also) but I doubt they've tested with any new machines like this. If any other reader with a 2009 Mac Pro tries updating their Seagate HD firmware, let me know if you have better luck or not. (And let me know if you have a bootcamp/windows partition on the drive. Curious about support/drivers for the new model with various Windows versions (Vista vs XP, 64Bit versions, etc.).)


(Feb. 23rd, 2009)
"Greetings from England.
Bought 3 Seagate ST31000340AS 1TB drives for my Mac Pro and installed them on 17 January this year.
  • Drive in bay 2 went down 6 February.
  • Drive in bay 3 went down 12 February.
  • Both failed to mount after starting up from shut down.

    Really nervous about applying firmware updater on replacements and one original one, but am going to try to do them all in one hit. (The 2 drives that failed were replaced by the store that I bought them from.)
    (he later wrote)
    Just a quick update on email I sent yesterday. Applied firmware update this morning with all drives in Mac Pro. (see guide). Worked beautifully. Finds drives in sequence and updates them one at a time. Fast too. Around five minutes from start to finish! All drives now SD1A. Please let people know that this definitely works. Once again, excellent informative site.
    (For the record I asked if all the drives were flagged as "affected" by Seagate's Serial Number check.)
    Yes, all the drives were flagged as affected by the Seagate Serial Number check.
    -George M."

  • Personally if I had a drive that is one of the affected models/firmware versions I'd want the update even if the S/N check didn't flag it.


    (Feb 9, 2009 - updated earlier comments from Jim on replacement drive.)


    " Seagate 1.5TB (Retail box/recent bestbuy store purchase)
    "I bought two of these retail kits at best buy locally. They both had firmware "CC1H" from the factory (supposedly the "good" firmware). Well just after two days one of them started the click of death and locked up my windows home server. I reboot and just clicking. Now all the best buys in my area and online are out of them. If I return it I will be forced to pay full price when they get the stock in again but if I RMA seagate will send me a refurb. I will keep a lookout for a 1TB WD."


    (from Feb 7, 2009 mail)
    "Very conflicting info (from seagate)
    The Drive is less than a year old
    Model: ST3500320AS, (firmware) Revision: SD15, S/N: 9QM08P80
    (mail included screenshots of Seagate's S/N check page showing drive not affected/No Action required - and this chat with Seagate Support ("Thomas M."))

    Please wait while we find an agent to assist you... Hello. How may I help you?
    ME: Hi, I have a drive that failed in my RAID this morning and am unsure how to read your site correctly The model checker states that the drive is affected but the s/n checker states that it is not affected and no action is required
    (Seagate) Thomas M.: The Serial Checker is the final word.
    (Seagate) Thomas M.: If the serial checker says its good, go from that.

    ME: You have another Kbase article that stated I needed a Firmware update
    ME: Model: ST3500320AS, Firmware Revision: SD15, Serial Number: 9QM08P80
    ME: If I can fix it here all the better, but these 2 identical drive(s) cannot fail me because the checker is wrong
    (Seagate) Thomas M.: The Serial Checker is the final word. Alot of drives will have the same model number but each drive has a unique serial number, and based on that serial number, if the serial checker says its good, then it doesn't need the update.

    ME: What to do with the failed Drive. Could you please check the drive info supplied on your end to double check
    (Seagate) Thomas M.: It still comes up as the drive is not affected.
    ME: Ok, thanks
    (Seagate) Thomas M.: You can still warranty the drive though"

    There's always the chance of a random failure (of any drive) although I understand the comments on confusing info (after many revisions to the Seagate doc(s) on this issue). Hopefully your warranty replacement drive is fine. (I'd ask them to confirm that you get sent an updated/unaffected drive after a reader getting a replacement that was flagged by their Serial No./Model check as affected.)


    Update using an iMac (intel-CPU) Last month when I posted the Guide to applying Seagate Firmware updates from a Mac Pro owner I had a mail from a C2D iMac owner that was able to boot from a burned iso of the Seagate CD but said his keyboard wasn't recognized. Here's a mail from an iMac owner that had no problems updating:

    (from Feb. 5th, 2009 email)
    "I've successfully updated the firmware of my Maxtor DiamondMax hard disk (500GB, Model No. STM3500320AS) in my (intel-CPU) iMac. The firmware version of this hard disk was MX15 (before update) and is MX1A now. You can see screenshots at http://www.flickr.com/photos/gontera/sets/72157613323628183/
    Best regards,
    Gontera Y.
    From Taipei, Taiwan "


    (from Feb. 5th, 2009 email)
    "Put me down for a second failure of a Seagate ST31000340AS 1TB. This one came from Thailand, w/firmware SD15. I bought four drives in November, so the track record is not good. All four drives (including the replacement drive Seagate had sent me after my first drive failure) were on Seagate's list of drives with problems. I took all the drives to work and hooked them up to a computer there after disconnecting the existing drives. I then flashed them all to the SD1A firmware that I downloaded from Seagate's website. I was not able to get the failed hard drive to update, so it's definitely bricked.

    One thing I found this time is that how to get to the RMA page isn't immediately obvious, at least not to me. (they revised their page(s) so many times I lost track) I emailed customer support and received no reply. The online chat guy sent me a link later, and I'm waiting for the replacement drive to come.
    (he later wrote)
    I now find myself thinking maybe I should buy drives to replace these. I have no confidence in them. At least the Drobo survived the failures without losing data. But who has $500 lying around these days? (4 drives to replace)
    Best, Michael D."


    (from Feb. 4th, 2009 email - updated Feb. 9th)
    "How's this for stellar customer support:
    I've had FOUR Seagate 7200.11 Barracuda SATA 750GB drives (ST3750330AS) in sequence. The first was an OEM purchased Jan '08 from OWC for my then new Mac Pro dual 2.8 Quad Core. It failed after 3 months (failed to spin up after a restart, probably; I became aware of it when Time Machine reported backup failure).

    It was replaced by Seagate with a refurb, which did the same thing after another 3 months, and with yet another for exactly the same reason 3 months later. This third drive failed in exactly the same fashion early in January. Of course by this time Seagate was aware of the problem and was issuing its series of often conflicting bits of advice to customers.

    Imagine my stupidity; the RMA process doesn't provide data input fields for "please save my data." So, of course, they didn't; they sent me yet ANOTHER refurb, which arrived yesterday. Guess what? They shipped me a drive with firmware SD15 (pages of expletives deleted).

    I listened to the bad music on hold to ask Tech Support how this could happen (the serial/model checker says my new refurb is in the affected range and that I should contact them). She was apologetic. She claimed "all the units coming out of the warehouse are supposed to have flashed firmware; guess one slipped through."

    I told her I had a Mac Pro and would have SOME difficulty applying the firmware to reach SD1a but thought I probably could get it done. (FYI: see Guide below-Mike) She said she thought so, too. She DIDN'T tell me there's no direct link at Seagate's website to download the firmware without ADDITIONAL contact with tech support. (they revised the page to remove models/DL links when they added the "S/N" check. Instead of the earlier page model listings/links, there's a model number search). So I opened a new case on their website, obediently searching their knowledge base before clicking the "escalate to support" status on my email query. I received a prompt "thank you" email stating that they were so happy I'd managed to solve my problem rather than escalating to interactive support. And, of course, the "escalate to support" button on my case ID is now deactivated. If Kafka lived today he'd be writing this short story!
    (the next day he wrote)
    I did manage to "accelerate" my case to email tech support. I'm now aware that the ONLY way to get a download link for the firmware updater is to have a tech support person provide the link on an individual basis. Why the person I spoke with yesterday failed to tell me this or provide the link will remain a mystery. Thus far I've not received the support email with the link.

    (FYI: On Feb 9th he sent a follow-up mail)
    Another episode in my personal Seagate Saga.
    When I talked to a support rep Feb 4th and complained about being sent a replacement that their own serial number checker reports as needing a firmware update, she apologized, but didn't provide me a link to an updater. I discovered quickly that these links are provided on a case by case basis via email, so I emailed tech support again and heard... nothing.

    This morning (Feb 9th), I called Seagate, provided them my RMA, case number, and drive serial number. The tech did some investigation and came back stating that my replacement drive was shipped with firmware "HP24" (which he seemed to agree was probably HP OEM firmware. I told him neither the sticker on my drive nor "About this Mac" indicated this (it's SD15). He put me on hold, then came back about 5 minutes later stating that they don't HAVE a firmware version safe to use on this drive, and I'll either need to wait until they finish quality control checking on their internal builds or they'll need to send me yet ANOTHER drive! This is the most successful company in the disk drive business? Simply unbelievable!
    -Jim R."

    I'd hoped any drives they were shipping out as replacements were updated/checked for "affected" S/Ns. I'd like to think your experience wasn't typical for current replacements (or will serve as a wake-up call for them at least).


    Seagate ES.2 Drive Firmware Updates: (Feb. 3, 2009) FYI to owners of affected drives (Seagate added a S/N check a week or so ago to their main doc on affected drive model numbers (Doc 207931)) A couple ES.2 owners sent a note there's ES.2 firmware updates now available. One sent a copy of the Seagate Tech support mail/reply:

    "Dear Seagate Nearline Customer,
    This email is in response to a request that you placed with Seagate Support. We are informing you that a firmware update is available for affected Barracuda ES.2 SATA products. Please click here (http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/search.jsp?DocId=207963)
    (or paste this URL into your web browser) to go to Seagate's Knowledge Base site to determine if it is necessary to upgrade to the new firmware.
    Thank You.
    Seagate Customer Support"

    If you missed it previously, this page has a Guide to applying Seagate Firmware Updates with a Mac Pro.


    Seagate Updates Page on Affected Models w/Serial Number checker: (from Jan 26th news) Seagate has now updated their Firmware Recommendations for Barracuda 7200.11, ES.2 SATA, and DiamondMax 22 Drives (Doc 207931) to include a serial number check for determining if your drive model is one of the "small number" (their wording) affected. The page was also changed to no longer show a listing of 7200.11, ES.2 and DiamondMax 22 models w/links on the model numbers to separate pages with notes on firmware versions affected, etc. - it now has a 'model number' check instead. I'd be curious if anyone that had a failed/bricked drive finds the S/N check said their drive was not affected. (Some readers have had multiple failed drives over the last 6 months or more - all matching the original doc's posted model numbers/firmware. (Seagate says "Based on the low risk as determined by an analysis of actual field return data, Seagate believes that the affected drives can be used as is. However, as part of our commitment to customer satisfaction, Seagate is offering a free firmware upgrade." but that's little consolation for those that already had failures before they addressed this publicly. And for those with failed drives, make sure you ask them to verify any replacement drive sent is an 'updated' one.)


    Mac Pro owner update w/failed drive: The previously linked seagate forum threads have many previous reports on drive failures reportedly (per seagate), but here's a mail from a reader over the weeked:

    (added 1/26/2009)
    "Seagate drive failure
    My failed drive is a Seagate 750gig ST3750330AS Firmware SD15. Yesterday my machine (MacPro - 10.5.6 - Dual 3GHz Quad-Core - 13GB ram) would not start, got the grey screen waited then machine switched itself off. Eventually after about 6 attempts it did start. I downloaded the latest (firmware update ISO) file from Seagate and burned a CD. Removed all other drives put the Seagate in bay 1 - connected the Apple keyboard and mouse that came with the machine (I normally use wireless Logitech Wave) with the CD in the top drive bay I held down C and booted up. The keyboard was TOTALLY unresponsive no matter what key I pressed. I got these screens with big time gaps between each one:

    (he sent several photos like this - only showing one)

    Finally this screen which did allow me to press A:

    (camera shaken so image blurry)

    But after that the press any key seemed to do nothing - eventually machine turned itself off.

    Drive is now bricked, but I suspect the data is all still there. (Per Seagate it is, although some earlier reports on failed drives said swapping a controller board did not work, although a recent reader mail sent a link to this thread on recovery The Solution for Seagate 7200.11 HDDs (using adapters to recover data).-Mike) If I hold down option when booting then the drive shows up with its correct name,

    But if I try and boot from it (HD) I get the grey screen with a 'no entry' symbol

    Disc Utility, Disk Warrior, TechTool Pro, Drive Genius2 etc will all have nothing to do with it. It shows up on system profiler but not with its correct name.
    Thanks Seagate for wasting most of 1 day of my life!! Thankfully - 99.9% all safely backed up. BE WARNED!!!
    Best wishes, -Colin T."

    Always have a backup. (Not just TimeMachine, I also like to have a Clone to an external drive.) I had an earlier mail on an updated drive problem (incorrect capacity noted IIRC) that said he repeated the update IIRC (I need to find that mail and post it - really backlogged on mails on this subject the last week.)
    I've also had several Seagate Freeagent (ext.) drive owners write about failures they've had (after a short period of use) - I don't know if those are normal 'infant' failures or are related to the drive/firmware inside the case but owners should contact Seagate support for warranty service (as Seagate doesn't list Freeagent/ext. drives in their kbase doc w/updates.)

    I also had a reader sent a link to an article titled Seagate boot-of-death analysis - nothing but overhyped FUD. (If this was overblown blame Seagate for not fully detailing the impact originally - although they've now updated/revised the page (again) on this issue to include a S/N checker. And quite a few owners have had drives fail due to this problem (some readers here reported multiple drive failures) - reported in Seagate's own forums (very long threads) and many other retailer's customer forums/reviews on the web.)


    (added 1/26/2009)
    "Some collateral info. Those with Seagate OEM'd drives with nominally proprietary firmware (e.g., HP24 from Hewlett Packard) will have to await firmware release by that vendor and will not get the data recovery service offered by Seagate. That particular firmware has failed.
    There is a db of those with failed drives being compiled at:
    http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=128514
    For the technically adept, there is a hardware approach to restoring access to bricked drives (though these drives will still need a firmware update to prevent a repeat event):
    http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=128807
    Regards, Bill R."


    (added 1/26/2009)
    " Just wanted to tell you that I have YET to hear back (after a week) from emailing the Seagate discsupport with the requested information to get firmware for my ES.2 1TB drives (ST31000340NS model). I've two HDs with SN04 and SN03 firmware. I've also a client that I put a 1TB in for that has SN05 and I requested that one last Monday (again email to seagate).

    I just wonder when others that emailed Xlr8yourmac with their progress on the updating of the ES.2 drives, how long it took to get (if any) update from Seagate.
    -Ed S."

    About a week later Ed later wrote he did get a reply from Seagate and updated his ES.2 drives. (And there's now ES.2 firmware updates available.)


    (added 1/26/2009)
    " Just a note to say thanks for the guide to updating firmware w/Mac Pro. I followed the gist of that with complete success - whew!
    My Mac Pro has 3 hard drives in it - the original 320 GB, a Seagate 750GB and a Seagate 1000 GB. The 1000GB drive is in Bay 4. The 750 GB is not affected by this firmware problem apparently, but the 1000 GB had the SD15 firmware in it. Interestingly the Seagate page (Doc 207931 - updated again) now has a model number checker and a serial number checker on it. The Model no checker confirmed my 1000GB drive was in the affected, but when I tested the serial number it said it was OK - while clearly noting that it was SD15 firmware, so that was a bit odd.

    I made the CD, and restarted my Mac Pro - it started right up from the CD - with all 3 drives still installed, and let me choose the drive to update, and performed the update in a minute or 2. Restarted the Mac Pro, and all is well - firmware is now SD1A.
    The main thing from the above is THANKS and it seems you don't have to remove all but the one drive and put it in Bay 1. (I had an earlier Mac Pro owner mention that - added a FYI in the guide last week.-Mike) I updated 1 drive in my machine out of the 3 and it was in Bay 4.
    Cheers, Roger"


    (added 1/26/2009)
    " I just wanted to thank you for the detailed post on this (Guide below) - I had seen the Seagate issue discussed on one of my music forums, and given that my three drives were going on three months old, I jumped on this. Anyway, your walkthrough and links were impeccable. I erred on the side of caution, moving each of the three drives into bay 1 on the mac pro. I actually had to burn two different disks as one drive was the terabyte and the other two half terabyte.
    All went well, and my hundreds of gigs of sampled libraries for my work are churning right along. Thanks again for your help on this.
    -Greg"

    If you believe Seagate's latest revision to their doc of affected models (revised for the Nth time) - only some S/Ns are affected. (They now have a S/N check back online). But regardless I'd feel better about having updated firmware.


    (added 1/26/2009)
    " I bought my seagate free agent desk external drive 1TB about 3 weeks ago. Suddenly the drive started to fail with an errror message window -delayed write failed. After that clicking sound started.i tried every possible solution but in vain.
    -Norman"

    I'd contact Seagate support to request warranty service (replacement of the drive). Not sure if this was just an infant failure or if the 1TB drive was one of the "affected" models/SN/firmware.


    Guide to applying Seagate Firmware Updates on Mac Pro: Although some previous posts last year included notes on applying Seagate firmware updates with intel-based Macs (burning Seagate updater ISO image to CD, booting from CD to apply the update, etc.) here's a Guide from a reader that recently updated several Seagate 7200.11 drives with the (Jan 2009) firmware update (SD1A) in a Mac Pro. (I thought this would work for intel-based iMacs also but one reader said he could boot from the ISO CD with his iMac (2.16GHz C2D) but his keyboard was not recognized. I wrote to ask if he used the std USB keyboard plugged directly into the iMac - he said yes. But see a later mail from an iMac owner was able to update)
    Note this requires the Seagate drive to be on the onboard SATA bus (not in a FW case, etc.) - and as mentioned before - there's currently no Seagate updaters for PPC Macs (they've never released an updater that runs under Mac OS)

    "Updating Seagate SATA Drive firmware updates in Mac Pro
    (photos of screen are from cellphone camera)

    1. Download the matching firmware update file. (sometimes in the past Seagate support has sent links/codes to download updates)

    2. Burn a CD-ROM from that ISO image with Toast or the Finder. If you don't know how, look here (Seagate Kbase doc): How to burn an .iso image onto a CD [201431]

    4. Shut down the MacPro with the CD-ROM inside the tray.

    3. Remove all drives and move the drive you want to update in bay one (the nearest to the CD-ROM Drive) (FYI - the lone drive/bay 1 note is a common tip from the past - but 2 Mac Pro owners have said using the latest SD1 updater they updated several installed drives. But if in doubt, follow the older rules.)

    4. Press the on/off button and press C on the keyboard.

    5. After awhile your mac boots from the CD and the display looks like a DOS machine. (Command line/DOS text) First read the info shown on the display. It is the same as in the read me text file.

    6. After reading the info, you have to hit Escape or F10 and the updater moves to the next screen.

    (Example screen is from updater for ST3750330AS/630AS, ST31000340AS models)

    7. Now you have to select the update option. For the matching type of hard drive, you have to select a letter. (In my case "C" for updating the ST311000340AS.)

    8. After sending the binaries (updated firmware) to the drive, there should be a successful response. If not refer, to the troubleshooting section in the read me.

    9. After successful update is noted, Press any key and the MacPro shuts down.

    10. On the first powerup after the update, hold down the mouse button to eject the updater CD-ROM.

    11. After OS X boots, check Apple System Profiler to ensure that everything is ok and that the updated drive's "revision" shows the updated firmware revision.
    (In my case "SD1A")
    I've now flashed a total of four drives with this procedure.
    -Nico"

    If any other (Intel-based) iMac owner (w/internal Seagate drive) tries an update let me know if you see any problems with keyboard keys being recognized. (Using std USB keyboard directly connected to the Mac - and take note of the keys required to progress/continue at the start.)


    More details on revised/reposted Seagate 7200.11 Firmware updates (from Jan 22nd xlr8yourmac.com news page) Follow-up from a reader that had flashed his ST310003340AS 1TB drive on the 19th:

    (added 1/22/2009)
    "Seagate has posted yet another firmware updater revision. This time there are two different images for different drive models (rather than a single update for all models).

    For ST3750330AS, ST3750630AS and ST31000340AS:
    MooseDT-SD1A-3D4D-16-32MB.ISO

    For ST3500320AS, ST3500620AS and ST3500820AS:
    MooseDT-SD1A-2D-8-16-32MB.ISO

    Initial reports from Seagate's forums indicate that the updaters are working correctly and people are able to successfully flash their drives - with working drives and no data loss after. There are also some reports of the updated firmware flash image repairing the 500GB that were bricked by the previous updater. The reports also say that no data was lost.

    There are no indications whether the firmware has changed or only the updater. The firmware is still listed as SD1A so there's no indication as to whether drives that had previously been successfully updated should be re-flashed.

    I haven't had a chance to try the new version yet, but the previous ST310003340AS 1TB drive that I previously updated has been pretty thoroughly exercised and is still running fine.

    Link to Seagate's firmware (for some 7200.11 models) download page:
    http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/search.jsp?DocId=207951
    -Bruce"

    The page above is linked from the 7200.11 series model numbers at the primary "Firmware Recommendations for Barracuda 7200.11, ES.2 SATA, and DiamondMax 22 Drives" page. (I posted some notes on updates there below.)


    Seagate Page Updated w/Firmware Updates: At 1AM Thursday (Jan 22nd) I checked the seagate Firmware Recommendations for Barracuda 7200.11, ES.2 SATA, and DiamondMax 22 Drives page and it now has -some- firmware updates available again. The 7200.11 SD1 update was pulled at 8PM CST on the 19th after some problems but there's an update available again now for ST3500320AS, ST3500620AS, ST3500820AS, ST3750330AS, ST3750630AS and ST31000340AS drives with firmware SD15 to SD19. (ST3640330AS and ST3640530AS models have a note "Please contact support at disksupport@seagate.com for update".
    And 7200.11 models ST31500341AS, ST31000333AS, ST3640323AS, ST3640623AS, ST3320613AS, ST3320813AS, ST3160813AS are still shown as "in validation" with a note that if your drive has CC or LC firmware, no update is needed.) The linked page on Seagate Barracuda ES.2 series has a link to request a firmware update if your drive has firmware earlier than SN06. The DiamondMax 22 series update still shows "in validation" (w/option to be notified when available) as of Jan 21st.

    (Earlier info from Jan. 19th)
    Seagate updated/revised the page on "firmware update recommedations" with a (trimmed) list of affected models and firmware updates available for some models - see Firmware Recommendations for Barracuda 7200.11, ES.2 SATA, and DiamondMax 22 Drives [Doc #207931]. The drive model numbers in the listing there are now links. (Their updaters however have never run under Mac OS - although Intel-based Mac owners have applied them in the past (notes in Nov. 21st, 2008 news page here) - also see posts in Jan 19th xlr8yourmac.com news page with feedback on the recent updates.)
    FYI: After some problems with the first released SD1A 7200.11 updater (some users noted it didn't work - some models were "bricked" after the update), Seagate pulled the update, saying "Note: This file has been temporarily taken offline as of Jan 19, 2008 8PM CST for validation." Seagate Barracuda ES.2 and DiamondMax 22 models firmware still hasn't been released as of the 19th - pages show "In Validation" with options to be notified when it becomes available.
    Owners of already failed drives should contact seagate support as maybe now they can send replacements with (hopefully) fixed firmware. (Their serial number verification page still isn't working as of Monday (Jan 19th) AM - shows "This application is temporarily unavailable" leading some to think they still don't know all the affected S/Ns.)


    Seagate page on affected models: (Appears to be identical to the original kbase doc that was said to be 'pulled' (see earlier post) - in fact it's even the same doc number.)

    (from 1/16/2009 mail)
    "Hi Mike, I have one of the potentially affected Seagate drives ST3750630AS 750gb firmware HP24 (arrived as the boot drive in a HP Vista64 desktop), so have been reading info on this issue.
    One of your earlier reports (directly below) had this:
      "---------------- Quote ----------------------
      They pulled the webpage I quoted in my chat log pretty quickly, luckily I still have the page open in my browser. Here is the text:
      Welcome, Seagate hard drive owners. A number of Seagate hard drives from the following families may fail when the host system is powered on:.... (w/long list of models)..."

    FWIW there's a current Seagate page with substantially the same info (mentioning a firmware bug) as that which is quoted earlier here on their web site at:
    http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/search.jsp?DocId=207931
    Titled "Firmware Recommendations for Seagate Drives [207931]" (requires cookies enabled in browser)
    Transcriptions of conversations with Seagate Customer Service on the Seagate forums mention the prospect of a firmware fix next Tuesday for drives that have not yet failed.
    HTH.
    -Bill R."

    Thanks Bill.


    (from 1/16/2009 mail - before Seagate reposted kbase doc 207931 with a list of affected drives/firmware versions (and updates))
    " I have been using two drives (ST3750330AS, rev. SD15) in my mac pro, one failed 2 days ago, and the other failed today. But they are 750GB models, made in Singapore.

    A post in the Seagate user forum has texts of a (now deleted) knowledge base article by Seagate and the list of affected models mentioned in the article is quite long. I don't think it's limited to 1TB models.
    -Yon
    (I asked for more info on the kbase doc/listing of models)
    original posting can be found here.
    http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?s=&showtopic=128092&view=findpost&p=827300
    a screen shot of the article can be seen here.
    http://www.2shared.com/file/4655425/b395b9ba/Seagate_Knowledge_Base.html "


    (added 1/16/2009)
    " I purchased a brand new Seagate 500 GB FreeAgent external disk drive approximately 3 months ago. Three days ago, it quit powering up -- totally! There is no physical activity that I can detect (hear, feel by holding the drive, etc.). I had divided it into three logical drives and was using it mainly for file storage and access (the product's second target use), not for backup (the product's primary target use), but the manual says using the disk this way is certainly OK and is supported. I had used perhaps 2/3 of the disk's capacity, so I am quite distraught over having lost the use of this drive, as one might imagine. Because it won't even power up, I can't get any error-light indicators; thus I am clueless. Extensive searching through Seagate's site didn't yield even one word of text relating to power failures of this or any other disk product by Seagate.

    Seagate's site confirms that my disk is still in warranty and states that I can send it to them but will receive a completely different disk back, as mine will not be repaired and returned. Consequently, I will lose all the data on the disk.

    I would love to be able to open the disk housing and check for blown fuses, loose wires, etc., hoping that I might easily fix it (at least with respect to powering up), but I see no screws anywhere. (Perhaps one is under the silver product ID tag, but if I remove that baby to look for a screw, I feel certain Seagate will tell me I have just violated the warranty. But since I have no desire to have another of these things that could fail without warning after only 3 months or so, I am at this point highly tempted to just eat the loss, tear off the product ID tag, hope I find a screw under it, and then open the housing, praying all the time that I can spot something fairly obvious to a non-electrically inclined person that I can fix or rig.

    Sheesh! I was upset already, but having read all the bad reports on Seagate drives on your site, (more are at Seagate's forums, as well as some dealer's customer reports) I am now even more upset!
    -Doug"

    If it's the hard drive issue Seagate mentions above (data not accessible) then taking it apart won't help. (If it was a controller/bridge board/PS issue you could swap the drive into another case or onboard interface - but again if it's an actual drive failure that won't help) And taking the case apart voids the warranty as you mentioned (assuming it has some sort of 'evidence tape' seal which some retail ext. drive's I've seen have covering one of the case's screws.)


    (added 1/16/2009)
    " I have been using 2 of the SD15 firmware 1TB Seagate's made in Thailand since September 08 and have had no issues at all thus far. Both run around 34-38 celsius in my G4 Sawtooth with many upgrades. Hopefully I won't have any issues. Anyone know the actual failure rate of drives with the SD15 firmware?
    -Jeff H."

    Only Seagate likely notes the actual failure rates, but from the number of reports (and notes from some buyers with multiple infant failures) it clearly seems higher than normal. (A small % of anything will have infant failures.) My initial thought was the root cause may be a bad batch of a specific component or a problem with something in the production line/assembly process - but a later mail above includes a copy of a seagate kbase doc that has a long list of model numbers and mentions a firmware "bug".


    (added 1/16/2009)
    " I ordered two ST31000340AS drives from Newegg on Black Friday. They both had firmware revision SD35 and showed up to the system as model ST31000341AS. These were supposed to be the newer versions with the updated firmware, but after the first reboot of the Thecus both drives started reporting S.M.A.R.T errors. A call to Seagate support confirmed both drives were in the process of failing so I had to return them to Newegg for a refund. These 1.5Gb drives don't seem ready for prime time, even with the newer firmware revisions. Thanks for a great site!
    -Chris "


    (from 1/15/2009 mail)
    "Mike, I've literally lost all faith in Seagate drives. I have 6 of this model (ST31000340AS, w/SD15 firmware) sitting on my desk I'm getting ready to RMA again back to Seagate for the 2nd time. They were in a 4-drive raid array that lasted 2 months before all 4 drives failed simultaneously. The replacements were then put into 2 different machines and they all 4 failed again.
    Never again will I purchase Seagate drives, I've moved all purchases to Hitachi 1TB drives and I haven't had any issue since. I typically purchase 10-15 drives/month for raid arrays for clients and have never seen anything like these Seagate drives.
    The kicker for me, as a customer, was having to spend over an hour on hold when I called their support to RMA the drives. I finally gave up and went home.
    -Ryan G.
    HoosierMac Consulting"


    (from 1/15/2009 mail - updated 1/16)
    "I have 2 of these drives (ST31000340AS, revision SD15) in my Mac Pro. One of them is my boot drive. I installed these drives in mid-September and I have not had a single problem. Now I'm nervous, but not sure what I can do about the problem.
    (I asked Phil if he could check the label to see where/when they were made.)
    I had to shutdown my computer to check the labels. Both drives show the following information on the label:
      P/N 98X158-303
      Date Code 09026
      Site Code KRATSG
      Product of Thailand
      STX-ST31000340AS(B)

    I do backups of my boot drive to my 1TB Time Capsule. The data on the 2nd drive (video files, disk images) doesn't change much, so I backup infrequently to an external drive. I'll be paying more attention to that from now on.

    I use Temperature Monitor to check the heat inside my Mac Pro. Shortly after a reboot, it shows hard drive bay temps of 91.4°F, but SMART Disk temps of 100.4°F and 104.0°F. I will let you know if the temperatures change much after the machine has been running awhile.

    My older drives (both of them are also Seagates, model ST3750640AS, 750GB) have been running since April and July of 2007 without any problems at all.

    Not sure what "popular mail order vendor" you are referring to. (there are some previous comments on bubble wrapped drives 'bouncing around' in the shipping box from newegg customers, which I also saw in a notebook drive shipment a friend got.) I have purchased all of my drives (and memory, etc) from OWC. I have had a few minor complaints over the years, but all of those issues have been resolved to my satisfaction. Thanks for being on top of this issue. This is the reason I check your website every day.
    -Philip C."

    I wish I'd spotted this sooner (although I've avoided seagate SATA 3.5in drives for reasons I mentioned before - due to their history of firmware issues seen with initial/early shipments of 7200.9, .10 and .11 drives - including the 1.5TB last fall. However the most reliable drive I ever owned was a SCSI Seagate Cheetah, it was a web server HD for more than 7 years w/o a failure.)


    The following is not a failure report but notes higher temperatures reported: (although the boot drive typically has a somewhat higher temp than other drives due to heavier usage)

    (from 1/15/2009 mail)
    "I have four of the 1.0 and One 1.5 TB Seagate drives. One of the 1.0 drives showed that it was running 50° F hotter than the other drives. (150°F appx 65.5°C) It was nearly new and was functioning normally - as my boot drive. Needless to say, I removed it ASAP. I don't know if the sensor was faulty or if the drive was running hot. So make sure you check your SMART status.
    -John C."


    (from 1/15/2009 mail)
    "I've had one of the Seagate 1TB drives fail on me. The drive that failed was product of China. (not made in Thailand) I was using it in a Drobo, and I had bought it new with the Drobo two months ago. One evening, I turned the computer on and the drive was dead. It did not respond in an external enclosure that I tried, and neither Windows nor Mac utilities would read it. Although the Drobo did not lose any date, it was really unhappy about losing one of its four drives and very insistent on having the drive replaced, as it could no longer protect my data. This, of course, was 10PM on a Saturday, and I live in a small town sixty miles from the nearest major city. I returned the drive to Seagate, and today the refurbished replacement drive came. The new drive is 31000340AS, firmware SD15, made in Thailand.

    While I was waiting for the arrival of the replacement drive, I was very nervous about possible data loss, so I bought a new 1.5TB drive from Newegg. The price was only $10 more than a 1TB drive. When it arrived, it had the old, known to cause problems firmware on it. (i.e. SD17-SD19, updated firmware SD1A (and even later CC1H) reportedly fixed the periodic I/O stoppages issue - but now there's still doubts about a more severe problem.) Seagate gave me the download for the newer firmware. It strikes me as incredible that Seagate's system for updating firmware requires that the drive be the only SATA device connected and that it boot from DOS!
    It has survived its first week anyway, and now I'll have the replaced drive as a standby in case another drive fails.
    -Michael D."


    If you've had a Seagate drive fail prematurely or are using an affected model (per info below) for several months w/o a problem, let me know the details.


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