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Thread: warning to those who backup on seagate HDD

  1. #1
    Davey's Avatar
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    warning to those who backup on seagate HDD

    Hmm I lost another HDD this week, not a first since I've lost a fair few in the past 14 years or so, especially in recent years with the bigger drive technology. The difference is the drive was only 6 weeks old and smartmon tools (in win and linux) reported HDD as fine (I check regular). Thankfully my backup plan is good and I haven't lost much but time and OS (both of them ) but I'm under warranty and replacement on monday so it's no real loss. Now comes the warning part and not so good bit....

    It seems there is a firmware issue on the seagate 7200.11 series drives (mine was a 500Gb st3500320AS) which results in the busy flag on the drive being altered and the drive is no longer detected in BIOS and no fix at present. Seagate are doing nothing to fix the issue, except deleting or severly censoring posts about it on the official forum hehehe. Some community members are working on home DIY job which involves disconnecting drive PCB and doing minor wiring job to connect drive to a seatool console and send commands to change BSY flag. It's getting there but far from fixed and even after BSY issue is fixed there is still work to make the drive read/write and function as normal. It's a risky process too.

    The thing that worries me though is there is no known trigger nor similarity between cases, many people just going about regular operation of comp and at reboot low and behold the drive has gone. It's not predictable but can happen to any drive at any time it seems. It happened in my prebuild (HP) so i have mailed them about either coming up with fix or asking seagate to address it instead of denying or replace my HDDs with something reliable like WDblacks (my choice in self builds) at cost difference due to timebomb nature that is unavoidable from end user pov.

    If anyone uses these drives for backup I strongly advise you take this into account in your backup strategy. Hardware wise they are good performance and design, that's the shame of it since a logical problem is much easier to fix than a hardware design flaw. I know all HDD, especially big ones like 0.5/1/1.5Tb HDD suffer from various issues like slow performance issues, poor MTBF or real world life and it's something you need to accept and choose HDD based on good design weighing in size/performance/reliability tradeoffs. However a firmware error is less forgivable since there is a simple solution to it, write fw that isn't bugged. I can forgive human error and happy enough if acknowledged and they say they are working on it, but I can't forgive and gloss over the ostrich syndrome or blame game "it wasn't me" childish attitude some corps have. I hope no-one here is affected and this info doesn't come too late like for me, oh well these things happen

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    Re: warning to those who backup on seagateHDD

    Interesting read (I did a bit of googling on the issue) - thanks for posting that. It sounds like someone should be organising a class action lawsuit against them (I've seen it before with well known global electronics manufacturer); Lots of people discover the issue - company continues to deny it exists - company then charges lots of money to recover data from the faulty products that they know have a faulty design.

    I was following one thread on the Seagate website - hundreds of posts - one chap appeared to be about 1 day away from a solution he developed - thread closed.

    Personally, I store my images on a mirrored pair of 400GB drives - backed up to a single esternal HDD - and written to 2 DVD that are stored in two seperate locations.

    Cheers

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    Re: warning to those who backup on seagateHDD

    All useful to know and luckily I have no Seagate HDDs nowadays. Appalling that they suppress the problem.... a bit difficult and naive these days with the power of the internet.

    I think the thing here is to ensure that you are well backed up in a variety of different locations/mediums on a very regular basis. Easy to say, but harder to do. Keep one copy off site, you never know what fire/flood/theft might happen.

    Equally the old adage about it is better to have a number of smaller capacity solutions than one large one. I have a couple of 400Gb HDD too, plus a 250Gb and a 750Gb all doing much the same thing at different times, plus very important files backup onto disc. Oh and don't push the disc to capacity, beyond about 3/4 full and I invest in additional capacity.

    I dont store anything these days on the computer I am working on, back it up straight away. It still won't stop the worst happening, but at least makes it less painful when it does.

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    Re: warning to those who backup on seagateHDD

    Got my replacements today so I'm happy. Well I wasn't really sad since I backup to multiply sources, mainly to pata drives regular, just plugin when need backup making and then unplug and I keep in safe cupboard which is dark dry constant temp etc. Off site is certainly good advice, I remember the Anna Amalia Library fire and being horrified how many priceless books lost forever in that, it seemed stupid to me to not isolate them and keep all under one roof considering their value why put all your eggs in one basket?

    In some cases I also backup onto flashcards/usb stick but it's not so reliable (well not reliable at all despite never had prob I know this is fact so don't rely on it, unless it's the new solid state harddrives that do slower writes and cost too much money, they are fine but I don't have one). Also backup on DVDR and CDR, for longevity I use the decent metallic based pigment ones (Jap made, few different brands) or cheap ones if it's just a transfer backup. An lastly I copy backups I can't afford to lose onto other comps (not just mine). Comes in handy having off site stuff since I have been known to get rid of stuff I think is done with only to find 2 months later I need a copy of software that's awkward to configure and compile from source again or print more publicity or something and I've deliberately lost original, then it's usually just matter of waiting a day to get the backup from other place (I've learned not to do this now and think for a while before I just bin stuff, especially since on xfs I can't recover data, hahaha my face was a picture when I first figured that out).

    People say it's overkill to have so many but I don't trust single medium backup, and it's easy to write to a pata drive/flash card and cdr/dvdr all at once or to just plug a drive in before power on every other week and actually doesn't work out at more than a handful of disks, a couple of flash cards I'd never use otherwise and a cupboard with a small stack of drives in there. Better safe than sorry.

    Yeah I think fatlip was the poster on seagate forum, I posted quite a bit but gave up as my posts deleted/censored. Discussion move to another forum and he succeeded in reseting bsy using rs232 module and serial cable and got pretty far, I think he'll get it soon. Sad thing is the data companies linked to seagate are charging silly price for recovery and people pay as don't know alternative. They will use same method and it's cheap since the console prog to reset drive is free, an rs232 module is cheapish in UK (around 15) but can build easy enough for less(just serial port, 4 jumper pins, few resistors and pcb/strip board) and 4 jumper cables (or normal wire would do) and a serial cable (no more than 2). The fact they are charging 10 times the price of the drives (or more) for recovery is maybe why they censoring official board. Not careful they will go the way of ibm deathstar. If anyone does have 7200.11 series (especially on SD15 fw but few others had issues too) and has problem I can give you links to new forums etc, just pm me if need 'em.

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    Re: warning to those who backup on seagate HDD

    1.5 TB drives aren't doing any better . . .

    http://www.readynas.com/forum/viewto...p?f=18&t=23262

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    Re: warning to those who backup on seagate HDD

    Best avoided then.

    My most recent drive, although only 1TB (a Maxtor) was 70 ish so its hardly worth the aggravation.

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    Re: warning to those who backup on seagate HDD

    Of course the over riding message here is "Do multiple backups because Murphy is alive and well and living in electronics".

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    Re: warning to those who backup on seagate HDD

    Maybe we should back up onto a silver halide coated emulsion medium, just in case?

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    Re: warning to those who backup on seagate HDD

    "My most recent drive, although only 1TB"

    Man we've come a long way. The first HDD I ever owned was in an IBM XT I owned during the 80s - and it was 10MB (it was touted at the time as "holding the equivalent of 30 floppies" (floppies were 360KB / 5.25" variety in those days) - just great for all those tiny WordStar 3.3 and Lotus 123 files!

    And yes, I'm feeling my age!

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern

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    Re: warning to those who backup on seagate HDD

    I bet that drive was slow too and probably cost more than at least 500Gb would these days. I remember spending my birthday money when I was 13 on half a meg of memory and thinking the result was great.And of how megaTT series with 20 times as much were demons hahahaha. Well at the time they were and that was only 17 years ago (which isn't that long back although technologically changed lots).

  11. #11
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    Re: warning to those who backup on seagate HDD

    My first computer had 1k of memory (Sinclair ZX81).

    Yet I expected great things of it at the time; the computer industry have just about caught up with my aspirations now.

    Mind you, certain multinational software companies are still learning big and expensive lessons that were obvious to the rest of us and a blind man in a coal cellar.

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    Re: warning to those who backup on seagate HDD

    not too bash on seagate since for me it's always been one of the good HD brand, but there are lot of issues ....and they don't seem to do much about it besides reduce warranty....

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/01...ailure_plague/


    http://www.channelregister.co.uk/200...rive_warranty/

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    Re: warning to those who backup on seagate HDD

    "not too bash on seagate since for me it's always been one of the good HD brand, but there are lot of issues ....and they don't seem to do much about it besides reduce warranty...."

    I have to say in all fairness to Seagate that I've used their drives for many years - and haven't had any out of the ordinary number of failures - if anything we seem to be changing drives less and less (and more of these because we sometimes do it as a precaution when we see something we don't like with the SMART data). Often it's just a dead sector or two so we simply ghost the installation across to a new drive and we're away laughing again.

    Keeping an eye on the 7200.11 issue though.

    I'm wondering if it's a bit like the notorious Canon 1D3 AF issue where it gets blown out of all proportion because we only get to hear of those affected by the problem - not the many others who aren't having any issues.

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern

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    Re: warning to those who backup on seagate HDD

    As far as the big names go seagate seem to have less issues than many. It seems to be confined to the .11 500Gb, 1Tb and 1.5Tb drives which is fair going considering the amount of drives they make.

    I think there will be a fw fix sooner or later (probably later) if it gets big enough but I'd steer clear if you can as the firmware certainly looks to be the cause but it could be hardware flaw related to the firmware which isn't unknown. To give them credit they are not failing to replace the failed drives at the drop of a hat, but the censoring of the issues is a little too much but it might be looking worse down to overzealous mod (alan in particular) more than company policy. Also the lack of acknowledgement and trying to fix the issue is not so forgivable. There is a 7200.12 planned now so that might actually be the fix for the .11 issue as maybe they have looked into it and found the fw is just a factor in haerdware flaw.

    I know all big companies have issues with some of their drives, and the seagate 7200.10 are good drives. I still prefer wd in home builds but some of their drives are not so great although the blacks (and a few others not too shabby either) are one of the best bets IMO. For those planning on buying seagate I'd keep away from the .11 and wait for .12 to be tested in the field for adequate period before you try but most the others are good drives, like I say hardware, reliability and speed wise the 7200.10 series have very little bad press.

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    Re: warning to those who backup on seagate HDD

    Just a quick follow up for anyone still reading this thread ...

    Seagate have indeed just released updated firmware for the 7200.11 series - happy to point anyone at it if needed.

    Cheers,

    Colin

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    Re: warning to those who backup on seagate HDD

    ah thank you, didn't realise there was update yet. Much appreciated, Dave.

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    Re: warning to those who backup on seagate HDD

    Seagate have indeed just released updated firmware for the 7200.11 series - happy to point anyone at it if needed.

    Here is that link:

    http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/cr...p?DocId=207931

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