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pctek
17-01-2009, 08:07 AM
Seagate Barracuda 1TB Drives Biting The Dust
12:40 PM - January 15, 2009 by Gavin Steacy
Source: Tom's Hardware US Category : Internal Storage
8 comments

ZoomIn the wake of freezing issues with Seagate's 1.5TB drives comes yet another problem with the Barracuda 7200.11 series. Failure rates of the 1TB drives in particular are abnormally high, but Seagate has not acknowledged the problem.

Now 11 pages long, the "official" problem discussion thread on the Seagate support forums is full of users reporting problems with the ST31000340AS, the 1TB Barracuda 7200.11 drive.

One user built a 6TB RAID array three months ago. In two months, one of the drives failed. A second drive failed about a month later, and a third eight days after that. Another user had four out of five of their drives fail within 12 days of purchase. Reports of failures can also be found on other forums as well. Some data recovery and RMA centers have reported failure rates of approximately 30 to 40 percent, but Seagate has not released any official information.

The issue lies with faulty microcode in firmware version SD15, found on drives manufactured in Thailand. Generally, the drive will operate normally until the time of failure and at some point will lock up and prevent detection by the BIOS, rendering it completely unusable.

While Seagate has not publicly acknowledged the problem as of yet, they have reportedly updated the firmware on all newly manufactured drives, however the firmware cannot be update on drives that have already failed because the BIOS does not even detect them. This means that owners of affected drives require data recovery services to save their critical data.

No recall on unsold drives with the affected firmware has been issued.

Sweep
17-01-2009, 08:11 AM
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/01/16/barracuda_failure_plague/

Nyuuji
17-01-2009, 08:13 AM
I have just replaced the Seagate 1TB (ST31000340AS) drive I brought in December as it just stopped working. It would still spin, but bios would not pick it up. Lost over 200Gb of data. Data recovery was quoted at about $1000 plus.

I now have a new replacement, but is the exact same model. I am left wondering how much time I got before this one bites the dust like so many around the world.

I am also annoyed that they are still selling these drives even though Seagate know there is a problem with the firmware.

When this drive fails, I will be probably going with a WD drive.

gary67
17-01-2009, 08:16 AM
Better invest in a whole heap of DVD disks and back it all up before it dies too. Honestly I feel for you as you say why are they still selling them with a known fault

CYaBro
17-01-2009, 08:53 AM
Thanks pctek!

I have two 1TB Seagates in my NAS device in RAID1.
Wonder when they will die!!!???? :eek::eek:

Now is it possible to do a firmware update on the drives if they are still working?
I don't recall ever doing a firmware update on a HDD.

PaulD
17-01-2009, 09:48 AM
I don't recall ever doing a firmware update on a HDD.

IBM issued a firmware update for their Deskstars. Do you feel lucky?

Chilling_Silence
17-01-2009, 10:26 AM
I dont remember any of the other brands ever having these kinds of issues, I remember only two years back a similar issue with some 80GB Seagate models .. ??

jwil1
17-01-2009, 11:05 AM
Does this affect all 7200.11 drives?

Blam
17-01-2009, 11:16 AM
Yeah, cause I have 2 500gb ones in RAID0:s

pctek
17-01-2009, 04:39 PM
Thanks pctek!

I have two 1TB Seagates in my NAS device in RAID1.
Wonder when they will die!!!???? :eek::eek:


Back it up onto a WD

Ninjabear
17-01-2009, 05:13 PM
I knew 1TB had problems thats why the max I will buy is a 750GB HD

jwil1
17-01-2009, 05:29 PM
I knew 1TB had problems thats why the max I will buy is a 750GB HD

I've got a 1.5TB 7200.11 drive and I've had no problems with it (yet!).

The 'worst' thing that happens with Seagate's 1.5TB drives (so I've read) is that they might occasionally freeze up for 30 seconds or so... but correct me if I'm wrong.

fatjoez
17-01-2009, 05:42 PM
LOL haha

reading this reminded me of the customer who came in once and wanting a hard drive
I said ok we have the size you're after in western digital
he said Nah WD is s* mate, seagate forever

l o l

razzarphenix
17-01-2009, 08:43 PM
I dont remember any of the other brands ever having these kinds of issues, I remember only two years back a similar issue with some 80GB Seagate models .. ??

Happens all the time!

certain WD 160GB drives required a firmware as they would randomly stop responding for 30+ seconds really bad in a raid array as the raid controller marks it failed and drops it out of the array.

I had two of them do that on a server raid about a year ago simultaneously :mad:

razzarphenix
17-01-2009, 08:44 PM
I dont remember any of the other brands ever having these kinds of issues, I remember only two years back a similar issue with some 80GB Seagate models .. ??

Happens all the time!

certain WD 160GB drives required a firmware update as they would randomly stop responding for 30+ seconds really bad in a raid array as the raid controller marks it failed and drops it out of the array.

I had two of them do that on a server raid about a year ago simultaneously :mad:

I've learnt now to google what people think of a particular model of drive before committing that drive to any sort of vital task regardless of manufacturer.

Nyuuji
17-01-2009, 09:36 PM
Seagate have issued a statement at last about fixing firmware.

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

linw
18-01-2009, 09:05 AM
Thanks for the headsup. Young guy I know has just bought a 1TB drive - must ask him what brand!

Paul.Cov
20-01-2009, 12:26 PM
Thanks heaps for this alert. I have one of the affected models with the troublesome firmware.
From trolling through the Seagate site, it seems they are still researching this issue to see how deep it goes with regard to their range.
An earlier firmware update has just been updated AGAIN, with instructions to re-apply the update even if you've already updated... so it seems best to me to simply disconnect the drive and leave it untouched... give Seagate a week or two to properly research and resolve the issue, then revisit their site and upgrade the firmware.

I have two other drives that might yet get included in these lists...
Odd though, their site states it is drives MANUFACTURED in Dec 2008, however, my affected model is probably closer to being made Dec 2007.

It just sits on a shelf (best protection from heat and power spikes I've found) and serves as a backup drive anyway, so currently I'm not too concerned about this.

Nermal
20-01-2009, 12:39 PM
Seagate have issued a statement at last about fixing firmware.

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

Thanks for that. Unfortunately my drive is one of the affected models. Does anyone know how to get the firmware version under OS X?

wratterus
20-01-2009, 12:41 PM
Hmm, I have a 1TB drive, better check the model number. Would suck royally to lose all the data on there...

Gobe1
20-01-2009, 01:46 PM
This sucks, i was warned about Seagate 320Gb drives about 1 year ago with a bad batch coming through, i used them as backupdrives, but never had any trouble with my lot.
I have had two Seagate 750Gb drives die in the last two months, from the same lot, same problem, bad sectors, they felt to run fairly hot also even tho there was plenty of cooling in the case
I have upgraded to Seagate 1Tb drives to replace the 320Gb ones as i was running out of room, so far so good (touch wood) had them for 3months so far.

Do the larger model drives run hotter? Has any one noticed this?

Chilling_Silence
20-01-2009, 03:38 PM
Mine run a little hotter, but not by much :)

hueybot3000
20-01-2009, 09:40 PM
gobe1 - didnt know there was problems with seagate 320 drives a year ago, ive had 5 die in the last 12-14months, yet wd 500gb and 640gb still goin strong

actually ive even got a 80gig from back in the "wow sata" days that i use as a backup operating system for when i cook my windows install

Agent_24
20-01-2009, 10:40 PM
I've got a 500GB drive with SD15 firmware... It's been running well for a long time.. but that means nothing.

They say 7200.11 series and mainly 1TB drives.. but does this affect smaller ones also?

mettaverse
20-01-2009, 11:00 PM
At this point in time, please don't update your firmware!! (or at least research it very carefully before you do) I've just read through pages of posts from people who updated their working drives, only to be left with bricks. (they've actually removed the link to the f/w now anyhow). Hopefully they will be able to issue a new fix so that those poor guys who updated hoping to prevent a failure can recover there data. I got a 500GB .11 drive last May, it's running the SD15 firmware so it's supposedly affected. Never had any problems with it, but have just finished backing up my data to DVD. I have an external drive that performs nightly backups, but not going to take any chances with my critical data. Will be following any further developments closely.

zqwerty
20-01-2009, 11:49 PM
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/01/18/barracuda_firmware_upgrade_and_recovery/

Gobe1
21-01-2009, 07:50 AM
gobe1 - didnt know there was problems with seagate 320 drives a year ago, ive had 5 die in the last 12-14months, yet wd 500gb and 640gb still goin strong

actually ive even got a 80gig from back in the "wow sata" days that i use as a backup operating system for when i cook my windows install

Yeah, the company i purchase a lot of stuff off asked me as he had a lot of 320s coming back, could of been the batch he had brought in. Friday models :)

Might be any other brand but seagate from now on
This is the last thing they would want in these tough times :o

SolMiester
21-01-2009, 08:30 AM
LOL haha

reading this reminded me of the customer who came in once and wanting a hard drive
I said ok we have the size you're after in western digital
he said Nah WD is s* mate, seagate forever

l o l


Yeah, a number of posters have been flying the flag for Seagate for some time here......

I am feeling decidedly smug in my WD purchase..!

PaulD
21-01-2009, 09:33 AM
Yeah, the company i purchase a lot of stuff off asked me as he had a lot of 320s coming back, could of been the batch he had brought in. Friday models :)


Could have been him if he was repacking bulk tray drives and sending them out without decent packing.

Nermal
21-01-2009, 12:32 PM
Thanks for that. Unfortunately my drive is one of the affected models. Does anyone know how to get the firmware version under OS X?

Problem solved; it's listed in System Profiler. Mine is SD15 :(

Agent_24
21-01-2009, 12:36 PM
Firmware update should be here, When it becomes ready: http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/news.jsp?DocId=207951

Apparently there was one on there, but it didn't work. (SD1A)

The file has since been taken down "for validation" (I guess that means they're working on a firmware that actually fixes the problem)

sarel
21-01-2009, 01:08 PM
D*mn, it makes me quite happy that I decided not to get the big hard drive over the Christmas break. Had the $, but I thought nah, not yet.:lol:

sarel

Gobe1
21-01-2009, 01:08 PM
Could have been him if he was repacking bulk tray drives and sending them out without decent packing.

Yeah probably a dodgey courier company throwing the boxes labelled "fragile" around the van:lol:

PaulD
21-01-2009, 01:27 PM
Yeah probably a dodgey courier company throwing the boxes labelled "fragile" around the van:lol:

All couriers do that. That's why Seagate says "Secure each unit in 2 inch-thick foam rubber in a corrugated box. Do not use popcorn, peanuts, bubble wrap or newspaper. If packaging more than one drive, use a separate container for each drive." How often do you get one packed that well?

Sweep
21-01-2009, 02:32 PM
Yeah, a number of posters have been flying the flag for Seagate for some time here......

I am feeling decidedly smug in my WD purchase..!

I use seagate drives.

Presumably your Western Digital will last all of your lifetime and therefore you will never need to backup or copy files.

Also you might want put me on your ignore list if you do not want to read my posts like your comment here.
http://pressf1.co.nz/showthread.php?t=96658

Agent_24
21-01-2009, 02:50 PM
I really can't see how this can make Seagate worse than anyone else. They have acknowledged the problem and are writing new firmware to fix it, and providing FREE data recovery for people who are affected.

3 years from now the latest 2.5TB Western Digitals will probably be plagued with head failures or something... and then you'll all be back to Seagate again!

The fact they're even fixing the problem makes them a lot better than some companies I might mention *cough* nvidia *cough*

SolMiester
21-01-2009, 03:36 PM
I use seagate drives.

Presumably your Western Digital will last all of your lifetime and therefore you will never need to backup or copy files.

Also you might want put me on your ignore list if you do not want to read my posts like your comment here.
http://pressf1.co.nz/showthread.php?t=96658

WTF is up with you sweep....you have been posting whinging threads quite a lot this week!

It appears to me, you dont even understand the meaning of the word backup as YOU fail to understand why a life time guarantee of hard drives, DOES NOT negate the need for backups.

But you are quite correct in that you are now alone in my ignore list. Goodbye!

Edit -Sweep, be sure to check that post regarding falling PM's, HC does a great job!

bk T
21-01-2009, 08:31 PM
Has anyone here successfully downloaded and installed the affected Firmwares?

I have 2 units of ST3500320AS and according the Seagate's website they are affected but could not find any firmwares to download. Emailed them but no response.

pctek
21-01-2009, 09:14 PM
I really can't see how this can make Seagate worse than anyone else. They have acknowledged the problem and are writing new firmware to fix it, .
*

Hey I have always approved of both brands. Seagate won out with their 5 year warranty.
Now there is no difference so the cheaper one wins, which is WD.
And things change, it won'yt necessarily stay that way.

razzarphenix
21-01-2009, 10:39 PM
Firmware update should be here, When it becomes ready: http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/news.jsp?DocId=207951

Apparently there was one on there, but it didn't work. (SD1A)

The file has since been taken down "for validation" (I guess that means they're working on a firmware that actually fixes the problem)

Considering it was bricking drives yes I think they should "validate" it :horrified

Agent_24
21-01-2009, 11:01 PM
Hey I have always approved of both brands. Seagate won out with their 5 year warranty.
Now there is no difference so the cheaper one wins, which is WD.
And things change, it won't necessarily stay that way.

Can't say much for WD. I bought a 250GB a while back which has been running nicely (and quiet compared to my 320GB Seagate) Also have a 40GB drive too (2nd hand)

They are the only WD drives I own. Most of my stuff is predominantly Seagate or Quantum

Only one I've never tried was Samsung

Next time I'm buying, It'll probably be a WD, for the same reason you would


Considering it was bricking drives yes I think they should "validate" it :horrified

I think that's why it's not available yet.

Mind you, it won't be downloadable directly. You need to contact Seagate yourself, I imagine they would email you the update with instructions

Currently, only the Seagate Barracuda ES.2 series have had their new firmware validated, apparently: http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/news.jsp?DocId=207963

Anyone keen to try it? :D

SolMiester
22-01-2009, 08:31 AM
Anandtech stated that the firmware bricked their working drives, by the time they went back to Seagate, the update was removed and no word, so I guess Seagate are still working on a fix.

pctek
22-01-2009, 09:14 AM
List of affected models:

http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/hardware/soa/Seagate-hard-disk-fix-breaks-some/0,130061702,339294523,00.htm


Seagate yesterday released a fix to a bug in its current generation of drives that caused them to become undetectable by a computer. Users have found, however, that the fix breaks 500GB drives the fix has since been retracted.

The bug affects a significant portion of not only Seagate's Barracuda 7200.11 drives, but Barracuda ES.2 SATA and Maxtor DiamondMax 22 drives. Forums across the internet have been filled with warnings not to buy drives that feature the SD15 revision of firmware; however, Seagate's own documentation shows that SD16, SD17, SD18 and SD19 are also affected within certain model numbers.

Agent_24
22-01-2009, 10:19 AM
Then hopefully the new, 'validated' firmware will be available soon

I've got a ST3500320AS with SD15...

Does anyone know what the "certain circumstances" are that cause the faulty firmware to fail?

bk T
22-01-2009, 04:42 PM
Then hopefully the new, 'validated' firmware will be available soon

I've got a ST3500320AS with SD15...

Does anyone know what the "certain circumstances" are that cause the faulty firmware to fail?

I've 2 of the above disk as well and am very concerned what may happen. Unfortunately, 1 disk is my main system disk and the other is my backups.

mettaverse
22-01-2009, 05:21 PM
Does anyone know what the "certain circumstances" are that cause the faulty firmware to fail?

One thing I gathered from the Seagate forums is that failures are happening after restarting a powered-down system. Not sure if this is the main cause or if there are other reasons, or if hibernation etc. has the same effect. I'm not too concerned about the situation now as my drive has been fine for 7-8 months, everything's backed up and it's under warranty.
It's suggested that it may just be drives manufactured in December that are affected but then there's others that contradict that. I'm planning to wait for a couple of weeks until a new firmware is released and it's confirmed that it fixes any problems (or doesn't create new ones!)

Agent_24
22-01-2009, 11:09 PM
New firmware updates are now available! Hopefully these ones will actually solve the problem, be flashable, and not brick the drives

http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/news.jsp?DocId=207951

Anyone keen to try??

bk T
23-01-2009, 10:25 AM
New firmware updates are now available! Hopefully these ones will actually solve the problem, be flashable, and not brick the drives

http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/news.jsp?DocId=207951

Anyone keen to try??

Has anyone tried it?

Nermal
23-01-2009, 10:47 AM
I'm too scared to try it. I'm waiting for a week or so in case this one breaks something too!

Agent_24
23-01-2009, 11:57 AM
People have upgraded with success, even from drives bricked by the failed original SD1A upgrade:

http://stx.lithium.com/stx/board/message?board.id=ata_drives&thread.id=5625 (you'll need to go to the later pages of that thread)

There are some people saying that after update, they are getting issues with SMART reporting the drives as failing

However, I saw no reports of any drives actually unusable after the latest SD1A upgrade

Gobe1
23-01-2009, 01:04 PM
Take the red pill and i will show you how deep the rabbit hole goes

Agent_24
24-01-2009, 07:08 PM
I took the plunge a few minutes ago and installed the SD1A firmware update to my drive.

Everything still works. Data all still there, SMART is operating normally, everything seems OK! :D Hopefully I am now protected against this 'random' issue...

I don't like their upgrade program all too much though, considering you have to select which drive you have by pressing A, B or C which instantly starts the upgrade, there is no confirmation!

But as long as you take your time, write your exact drive model down, UNPLUG ALL OTHER DRIVES and read the instructions carefully you should be alright.

At the end it will ask you to cycle power. do NOT use CTRL-ALT-DEL or reset switch! just press enter after the upgrade and their program will turn your PC off for you. Then when you switch back on again, your drive should be upgraded and (still) working

jwil1
24-01-2009, 08:24 PM
Wish me luck! (http://www.imagef1.net.nz/files/P1241331.JPG)

Just backing up my files now - will report back on how it goes... hopefully with my data!

jwil1
24-01-2009, 10:07 PM
The flash worked - can access all data still.

One thing that confuses me - according to Seagate DD, the 1500GB drive is runnning on the SD1B firmware - is that normal??

Either way, it still works and that's great!!

Agent_24
25-01-2009, 01:06 AM
No idea.. I only have a 500GB drive and it was updated to SD1A.

Maybe they updated it even further for the 1.5TB drives...

Paul.Cov
27-01-2009, 08:23 PM
Yeah probably a dodgey courier company throwing the boxes labelled "fragile" around the van:lol:

Oh, Man! Don't get me started.
I've had some of my flatter packages arrive with tyre prints across them!

The couriers are typically too busy to pay any extra attention to caring for those packages with 'fragile' on them. They all just get thrown into the van.

It's just luck if it gets to you intact and working properly.

Nyuuji
27-01-2009, 08:49 PM
Flashed my ST31000340AS 1TB drive yesterday with Seagates recommended new firmware.

Its running fine with no noticeable hiccups so far. Hopefully it will beat the 2 month mark of the last drive (identical model).

bk T
29-01-2009, 11:14 PM
Updated the Firmware of my 500GB to SD1A. All my data are still there.

How do I update the 2nd HDD - it is connected externally through E-Sata.

The readme file says that ONLY connect the drive you wish to flash. Do I have to disconnect my boot disk drive leave only the external drive?

Paul.Cov
30-01-2009, 06:40 AM
Updated the Firmware of my 500GB to SD1A. All my data are still there.

How do I update the 2nd HDD - it is connected externally through E-Sata.

The readme file says that ONLY connect the drive you wish to flash. Do I have to disconnect my boot disk drive leave only the external drive?

Yes, disconnect your internal HDD and do it all through DOS. I haven't used their update yet, so don't know if it's a boot disc it creates. If not, use a floppy or the Windows CD to boot, then do your flash.

bk T
30-01-2009, 08:24 AM
Yes, disconnect your internal HDD and do it all through DOS. I haven't used their update yet, so don't know if it's a boot disc it creates. If not, use a floppy or the Windows CD to boot, then do your flash.

Yes. It creates a boot CD.

Do you think that it should be OK to connect the HDD via E-Sata?

Agent_24
30-01-2009, 12:44 PM
E-Sata should be fine.

Just disconnect everything else and start the update CD. at the menu, run the autodetect utility.

If it doesn't detect your drive then you'll have to connect it internally normally.

If you're worried then connect it internally to start with

ISPCSR
30-01-2009, 11:45 PM
Has anyone got a failed Seagate drive. Apparently 30% - 40% of the ones that require the update have been failing!

bk T
31-01-2009, 08:25 AM
I successfully updated my 2 x 500GBs. :)

Agent_24
31-01-2009, 09:27 AM
Has anyone got a failed Seagate drive. Apparently 30% - 40% of the ones that require the update have been failing!

Yes, that's why there is an update. To stop them failing (well, from the firmware issue anyway. can't stop them from failing due to anything else)


I successfully updated my 2 x 500GBs. :)

Did you do it through E-Sata?

bk T
31-01-2009, 10:03 AM
Yes, that's why there is an update. To stop them failing (well, from the firmware issue anyway. can't stop them from failing due to anything else)



Did you do it through E-Sata?

Yup, and I found that the hdd is noticeably quieter after the firmware update.

ISPCSR
31-01-2009, 10:39 AM
Yes, that's why there is an update. To stop them failing (well, from the firmware issue anyway. can't stop them from failing due to anything else)

What I mean to say is does anyone have a failed one right now because they cannot be updated once they have failed.

Data recovery company's are charging people anywhere from $500 - $1500 to recover the Data and I am just trying to gauge whether there are many people in this boat as I know how to recover the Data without charging those ridiculous fees.

I know the forum rules, so I'm not offering, just trying to get an idea of demand.

Agent_24
31-01-2009, 10:58 AM
I imagine someone with the right tools (read: Seagate) can recover the failed ones.

I updated mine as soon as I knew about the problem (luckily I was too late for the first two updates that would have probably stuffed my drive)

If you live in the US you can get free data recovery from Seagate themselves.

Greven
31-01-2009, 04:00 PM
What I mean to say is does anyone have a failed one right now because they cannot be updated once they have failed.

Data recovery company's are charging people anywhere from $500 - $1500 to recover the Data and I am just trying to gauge whether there are many people in this boat as I know how to recover the Data without charging those ridiculous fees.

I know the forum rules, so I'm not offering, just trying to get an idea of demand.

Isn't Seagate offering free data recovery for affected users?
Out of curiosity, what method would you use to recover data in this situation?

ISPCSR
01-02-2009, 01:33 AM
Isn't Seagate offering free data recovery for affected users?
Out of curiosity, what method would you use to recover data in this situation?

It has been widely reported that they are but I'm yet to see any evidence of this.

I create a serial connection to the hard drive and with the right commands can unlock the hard drive. OS and Bios are kept out of the equation.

ISPCSR
01-02-2009, 01:35 AM
Out of curiosity, has anyone had there Data recovered from one of the affected drives??

Agent_24
01-02-2009, 01:56 AM
The free data recovery by Seagate is only offered to residents of the USA.