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Seagate Responds to Freezing HDDs

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 9 comments

Last week Tom’s Hardware had covered a bit about the freezing problems with Seagate’s Barracuda 1.5TB drives. We would like to update readers with the response that Tom’s Hardware has gotten directly from Seagate.

“Seagate is investigating an issue where a small number of Barracuda 7200.11 (1.5TB SATA) hard drives randomly pause or hang for up to several seconds during certain write operations. This does not result in data loss nor does it impact the reliability of the drive but is an inconvenience to the user that we are working to resolve with an upgradeable firmware.

We are therefore asking customers if they feel they are experiencing this issue to give our technical support department a call with any questions.”

Along with the above response from Seagate, we also received the part numbers for the affected models of Barracuda drives and their respective firmware revisions. They are as follows:

“Affected part number: 9JU138-300, 336 with firmware revisions SD15, SD17, or SD18.”

These responses come to light after last week’s allegations of 1.5TB Barracuda drives exhibiting random, unexplained freezing problems – the problems were usually most apparent with different types of data streaming, such as, streaming video, audio, or general network data streaming (downloads specifically) even at low speeds.

Linux users were complaining of ‘ata frozen’ hits in their kernel log files after drives would freeze and cause the system to become largely unresponsive from anywhere between a few seconds up to an entire minute. Mac and Windows users both complained of similar symptoms as well, some even reporting the Blue Screen of Death in Windows XP after long pauses.

Some users claimed a work-around by disabling ‘write caching’ features – a work around which stopped the freezing, but also manifest severely degraded disk performance, naturally.

If you feel you have been affected by this specific issue, please contact Seagate via their regular support channels listed below – and as mentioned above, Seagate is currently working on a firmware update for the affected models.

Support contact information:

Technical Support in the USA: 1.800.SEAGATE (1.800.732.4283)

Technical Support in Canada: 1.405.324.4700

Other regions please go to our support web page: http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/support/

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  • -1 Hide
    ckthecerealkiller , November 10, 2008 6:53 PM
    Quote:
    small number of Barracuda 7200.11 (1.5TB SATA) hard drives randomly pause or hang


    By my count it's about 10%-20% of drives. How is that small???

    Quote:
    does not result in data loss


    Yet I have read mulitple counts where this leads to catastrophic failure.

    OK Seagate if you say so. Let us know when you get on the ball.... If you still have one.
  • 0 Hide
    JonnyDough , November 11, 2008 2:55 AM
    I'm not sure if it's my drive or my Foxconn NV chipset mobo, but I was experiencing similar issues upon installation of my SeaGate perpendicular recording 250GB drives.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 14, 2008 8:06 PM
    Some Seagate drives made in Thailand also had a lot of problems.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 20, 2008 11:26 AM
    Contacted Seagate new drives out in roughly 3 weeks, a relaunch. Firmware fix is available to anyone contacting Seagate with existing drive.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 6, 2008 12:18 PM
    Seagate has such problems since years. That is why I have moved to WD.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 12, 2009 10:28 AM
    TBH, it's not the freezing problem that's the issue, it's the boot-of-death problem that affects the whole of the 7200.11 drive where your drive just locks itself into BUSY state, isn't recognised by any PC BIOS, and you can't get your data off the disc. You have to pay to send your few weeks old hard drive back to Seagate, and then a week later you get an old refurb that has the same problem and can catastrophically fail with no warning at all.

  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 14, 2009 9:50 AM
    Just had a 7200.11 500GB - SD15 Firmware fail 2 weeks after purchase. The problem is very widespread. Anyone facing this problem please go to

    http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=128092

    where they are tracking the problem and do register for the initiative to globally track the problem.
  • 0 Hide
    rekabis , January 15, 2009 5:40 AM
    I had two of my drives fail in September after only a week or two of usage. TWO DRIVES. Stripe array. You don't have two drives fail simultaneously at the same time (hidden from BIOS, locked drive, 0Gb volume) unless it is a statistically significant problem.
  • 0 Hide
    dlethe , January 25, 2009 10:12 PM
    Details on the nature of the bug has just been released to OEMs. It is grossly hyped up and while the "affected" disks is large, the odds that it will happen are incredibly small. Lots of things have to happen for your drive to brick. More details below:

    http://storagesecrets.org/2009/01/seagate-boot-death-analysis-overhyped-fud/