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Seagate Releases Firmware to Fix HDD Bricks

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 25 comments

It’s been a rough past week for Seagate, and even more so for owners of new large-capacity Seagate hard disk drives.

Seagate today issued a much needed firmware fix that hopefully resolves one of the biggest bungles for in recent memory. Last week, Seagate released a preventative firmware update for Barracuda 7200.11 drives affected by a faulty firmware which caused the drive to lock up and fail to be detected by the BIOS. But instead of making the drives more hardy, the firmware turned the fancy drives into magnetic bricks.

Thankfully, the company expedited a fix that couldn’t have arrived too soon for those affected. Seagate today sent word that it “isolated a potential firmware issue in limited number of Barracuda 7200.11 hard drives and related SATA drives based on this product platform, manufactured through December 2008. In some unique circumstances, the data on the hard drives may become inaccessible to the user when the host system is powered on.”

Seagate said that the “new firmware upgrade corrects compatibility issues that occurred with the firmware download provided on our support website on Jan. 16. We regret any inconvenience that the firmware issues have caused our customers.”

While suddenly bricked drives would be enough to send even the most stoic computer into tears, there’s no need to cry as Seagate assures that “the data still resides on the drive and there is no data loss associated with this issue.”

If you have a Barracuda 7200.11, ES.2 SATA or DiamondMax 22 drive, hit this support page to identify if you have an affected drive (though you may already know all too well if that’s the case) and for links to the appropriate firmware update.

We hope it’ll be smooth sailing from here on out, but Seagate is does add to its message, “In the unlikely event your drive is affected and you cannot access your data, the data still resides on the drive and there is no data loss associated with this issue. Seagate is working with customers to expedite a remedy.”

For those of you who had problems, did the new update bring your drives back to life? Have you ever had a catestrophic drive failure? How did you recover data from a barely working drive?

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  • 2 Hide
    68vistacruiser , January 22, 2009 10:46 PM
    I bought a 500gig SATA drive from Seagate that went bad after a few weeks, and sent it to Seagate under warrenty. They sent me a PATA drive in return. I'll never buy Seagate again. Too bad they bought Maxtor, I liked Maxtor, but I won't buy them, either.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 22, 2009 11:42 PM
    SEAGATE IS NOT PROVIDING FREE DATA RECOVERY! read what drives owners
    were told, just read at seagate forums! all they saying is the date is safe but not accessible, problem is you can fix it with a firmware upadte since the driver is not seen in BIOS.. to be continued.......
  • 1 Hide
    Jake_Barnes , January 22, 2009 11:49 PM
    I posted this update in a previous thread:

    Seagate has released new firmware ISO's for effected HDD's. See this Seagate Knowledge Base article: Firmware Update for ... ST3500320AS, ST3500620AS, ST3500820AS, ST3640330AS, ST3640530AS, ST3750330AS, ST3750630AS, ST31000340AS [207951]

    Please note that these updates appear to be drive specific and are ISO files. You will need to create a bootable CD to update the appropriate firmware. Seagate has included instructions on How to burn an .iso image onto a CD [201431]

    Note that Alex Feinman’s ISO Recorder (Freeware) is the only free burning software they mention, but I believe you would be successful using the excellent (and free) ImgBurn version: 2.4.2.0. Just follow the instructions for creating a bootable disc from an ISO file.

    Hope this helps.

    RE: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/6867-55-seagate-firmware-update-bricking-functional-drives-update
  • Display all 25 comments.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , January 23, 2009 12:36 AM
    Does anyone remember "Sticktion"? I had a Dell server that ran non-stop for three+ years with 5x 36gb Seagate 7200 RPM drives. I powered the unit down to move it into a new cabinet - power up and four of the five drives would not spin up. As an Internet provider with 15 thousand email accounts on the system, I completely freaked out ! I was able to get the drives started again by hefting the server in my arms and giving it a firm twist while pushing the power button.

    Boy, did I have some nice words for Seagate support ! Up side - the drives ran another 5 years around the clock without a problem, you just had to juggle the server when the power was cycled. - Oh, and Seagate sent me brand new drives and did not ask for the old ones back for my trouble.

    There is a reason that Seagate rules the HD world.
  • 2 Hide
    g0rilla , January 23, 2009 1:05 AM
    They are a day too late. After I noticed Western Digital was offering 5 year warranties on thier drives, I purchased one from them hoping to have better luck.
  • 2 Hide
    zodiacfml , January 23, 2009 1:32 AM
    i have better luck with seagate drives but this issue is very inconvenient. good thing i won't be buying yet a TB drive, maybe in 6 months.
  • -6 Hide
    bf2gameplaya , January 23, 2009 3:30 AM
    g0rillaThey are a day too late. After I noticed Western Digital was offering 5 year warranties on thier drives, I purchased one from them hoping to have better luck.


    Did you get paid $0.65 to write that, pal?
  • 0 Hide
    Tiger King , January 23, 2009 3:54 AM
    hey guys i have a question,
    i have a pair of seagate barracuda 7200.11 500GB drives that i bought back in december, to replace a broken MaxLine Pro 500GB drive.. i bought them because of seeing tons and tons of positive reviews about them.. sadly, right after i bought them, bad posts about failing drives started showing up.. my model number is ST3500320AS. they are in a RAID0 configuration on intel's ICHR9. they have not failed yet, my great concern is should i opt for the firmware upgrade released today, to leave it alone until they do fail, or maybe they never fail at all??
  • 0 Hide
    Tiger King , January 23, 2009 3:56 AM
    Tiger Kinghey guys i have a question,i have a pair of seagate barracuda 7200.11 500GB drives that i bought back in december, to replace a broken MaxLine Pro 500GB drive.. i bought them because of seeing tons and tons of positive reviews about them.. sadly, right after i bought them, bad posts about failing drives started showing up.. my model number is ST3500320AS. they are in a RAID0 configuration on intel's ICHR9. they have not failed yet, my great concern is should i opt for the firmware upgrade released today, "or" to leave it alone until they do fail, or maybe they never fail at all??

  • 0 Hide
    ckthecerealkiller , January 23, 2009 3:56 AM
    Well, at least they got a fix out. Even though they took far longer than they should have if you ask me.

    I have always had good luck with WD, Seagate drives just don't perform as well in my experience.
  • 1 Hide
    ckthecerealkiller , January 23, 2009 3:57 AM
    Tiger Kinghey guys i have a question,i have a pair of seagate barracuda 7200.11 500GB drives that i bought back in december, to replace a broken MaxLine Pro 500GB drive.. i bought them because of seeing tons and tons of positive reviews about them.. sadly, right after i bought them, bad posts about failing drives started showing up.. my model number is ST3500320AS. they are in a RAID0 configuration on intel's ICHR9. they have not failed yet, my great concern is should i opt for the firmware upgrade released today, to leave it alone until they do fail, or maybe they never fail at all??


    Wait a few days and see what people have to say about the firmware update. The last one Seagate release actually provoked the problem.
  • 0 Hide
    Pei-chen , January 23, 2009 10:08 AM
    Seagate needs to be cheaper than other HDD maker after this as I am not buying Seagate at the same price.

    I bought two 7200.11 1.5TB drives at $199 each and they are retailing for $110 after four months while still remaining the biggest drive.
  • 0 Hide
    nekatreven , January 23, 2009 1:26 PM
    When you buy (or repackage) Maxtor, this is what you get.
  • 0 Hide
    alvine , January 23, 2009 1:51 PM
    oh god i have 2x 500gb segadrive hard drives.....they havent failed yet...I really don't want to loose my data....
  • 1 Hide
    Alan G Archer , January 24, 2009 5:47 AM
    I flashed my Thailand-built ST3500320AS yesterday evening with the new firmware. No issues so far. The drive as now seen 4,027 power-on hours of service.

    Nero 8 Essentials was used to create the boot CD.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 25, 2009 7:57 PM
    I never liked Maxtor.
    Maxtors costed perhaps $25 less than seagates, but when I bought maxtors between 2000 and 2005, all of them lasted no longer than 2,5 years (some dying after 1 year when warranty expired)!

    I bought a seagate baracuda 250GB about 4 years ago,and that one is still working fine today!

    This made me decide never to buy a maxtor again!
    I'm glad this article mentioned Seagate bought maxtor; Now I'll probably only go with Western Digital.
  • 0 Hide
    kaiitman , January 27, 2009 12:37 PM
    guy, how to flash firmware to USB external box, thanks.
    I use notebook computer.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 28, 2009 2:58 AM
    Time to offer 5 year warranty again...
    why did they go back to 3 years???
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 1, 2009 3:15 PM
    I've been running an external Seagate 1.5TB drive since December when it was purchased with no issues. I'm waiting for this to get all settled before I try flashing the drive.
  • 0 Hide
    Astara , February 3, 2009 8:09 PM
    Both 750GB drives I had fail this month were 7200.10, not 7200.11.

    They both refuse to be seen by the BIOS. I have noticed that my hard drives' longevity has dropped significantly since the purchase of MAXTOR. Did Seagate start dropping in MAXTOR quality disks into their Desktop disks? Supposedly, I thought MAXTOR was going to be released at a lower price point and with a shorter warranty (3 year instead of 5). But I haven't had any of these drives last more than a year yet.

    I'm going crazy, since I haven't had great luck with WD drives either -- admittedly, it was a small sample size, but I tried a 1TB green drive and it was DOA. Since I live about 40 miles from my nearest Fry's store.
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