Last week a thread on Seagate’s public forum started getting some attention within tech circles. Apparently, a few customers began complaining that their Seagate 1tb (Terabyle) hard drives were dying. Like, a lot of drives. Like, people are estimating somewhere around 30%-40% of the drives are dying. Fortunately for me I don’t OH WAIT I BOUGHT FIVE OF THESE DRIVES LAST MONTH AAAAAAHHHHHHRRRRRRRRRRRRGHGHGHHGHGHGHHHH123!@#!@#!@#!%#&!&!
Once Seagate realized there was a problem, they said, “Don’t worry! Your drive’s not really dead! It’s just that it has a bad firmware and your computer won’t see it!” This is akin to telling the owner of a new sports car (or five), “Don’t worry! Your car’s not really dead! It just doesn’t drive anymore!”
Seagate then told customers, “If you have a problem drive, ship it to us. We will fix it and send it back to you, free of charge.” That’s nice. Unfortunately, some people had already mailed their drives off to data recovery services, who charged them (on average) $1,700 to recover their data. Oops. (As of this blog post, Seagate is refusing to reimburse people for that expense.) When people balked about having to mail in their drives, Seagate said, “No problem. E-mail us or call us, give us your model number and serial number, and we will e-mail you back the fix.” This process was slow-going and people were still publicly rebelling, so then Seagate said, “You know what? Here is the fix! We have put the fix on our website! You can download it, run it, and fix your drives!” Hooray! Hooray! There was much rejoicing …
…until, the fix started “bricking” hard drives. (In computer-land, when you “brick” something you make it not work anymore. You now essentially own a “brick.”) Apparently different fixes were needed for different drives or different BIOS revisions or something like that. Things went horribly wrong and people who before had no problem suddenly had new problems (bricked hard drives). Awesome! Seagate pulled the patches back off the site and promised something within 24 hours.
The final fix came out yesterday in the form of bootable ISO images. (LINK) To fix your drive, you’ll need to download and burn the corresponding (read: correct) ISO image, and then boot your machine with it. The included readme.txt file states that you should only have one affected drive connected at a time, but I got all ballsy (plus it was 4am and I was still a bit groggy on Nyquil PM) and decided to try it on my server which has four 1tb drives configured as a RAID 5. The patch worked as advertised. The RAID was a little slow to come back after rebooting (it took Windows 2003 about three minutes to find it — three minutes without a heartbeat is enough to turn a guy’s lips blue), but once everything settled in, all’s well. And remember that USB terabyte drive I bought last fall that was giving me fits? I’ve since cracked that case open with a coconut, pulled the drive out and stuck it in Pivo. It was the same model of drive (but with a different firmware) as the others, so I upgraded it too. 5 for 5 … that’s pretty good for me while all loopy on the codine.