Seagate offers drive firmware fix for Macs

Seagate offers drive firmware fix for Macs

Summary: Discovered in the late fall, a firmware problem in Seagate's Barracuda 7200.11 platform can result in your drive "becoming inaccessible after a power-off/on operation," or in other words, becoming an expensive brick. The company offered a fix but it required a Windows machine. Now, there's a process for Mac users.

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TOPICS: Apple, Hardware, Software
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Discovered in the late fall, a firmware problem in Seagate's Barracuda 7200.11 platform can result in your drive "becoming inaccessible after a power-off/on operation," or in other words, becoming an expensive brick. The company offered a fix but it required a Windows machine. Now, there's a process for Mac users. I pointed out this issue with Barracuda 7200.11, Barracuda ES.2 SATA, and DiamondMax 22 drives back in November.  And since then, I have been pinging their tech support about a Mac-related fix — their support tools and firmware update required a Windows machine. MacTech on Wednesday offered a pointer to Seagate's solution. Still, it will take some digging and the final solution is far from Mac-elegant. The Seagate Knowledge Base document is titled Firmware-Empfehlungen für die Festplatten Barracuda 7200.11, ES.2 SATA und DiamondMax 22 [207931]. Owners can see the full model number and serial number of connected ATA drives by clicking on Serial-ATA in the Hardware menu of the System Profile utility. However, it won't give you the firmware version (unlike SCSI drives, for those readers old enough to have used them). Seagate says to check the drive in its online model number tool and serial number tool, which will tell you if your drive needs a firmware update.

There's a list of drives and links to download pages, however, I'm unsure if these updates are the correct ones for the power-off/on issue. According to the MacTech report and the response that I received from Seagate previously, users should request the firmware update. The firmware update comes as a ISO image file. You burn a CD with the image using Disk Copy and then boot the disc by holding down the Option key. The disc boots into FreeDOS and launches the updater. There's a good rundown of the experience by Armando Accardo in an Apple Support discussion thread on the subject.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Software

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  • This can't be as widespread as all the seagate haters claim...

    The problem stems from drives manufactured in thailand.

    I do 3d and video processing for a living, and that means lots of archiving. I have half a petabyte worth of 7200.11s running in raid 10, and not one of the drives I've bought were from thailand.

    I find it extremely difficult to believe that this problem is as pervasive as most claim it to be. I find it more likely that it's just trumped up by western digital fanboys reposting the same article.
    Spiritusindomit@...
  • 2 millions Seagate's HDDs affected

    2 out 4 7200.11 HDDs I had failed on same day (using just 3 months), that is 50%. The worst HDD is those with SD15 firmware, no matter where it was manufactured. Seagate tried to cover the true by censoring, deleting messages and even BANNING users on forum! The service support was just the worst, they never answered ANY e-mail I dedicated with so much care and details.

    The problem was there for 7 months (since early June), and solved on 1/11/2009, they make around 10 millions 3.5" HDDs per month, so we're talking about 70 millions HDDs, in which at least 2 millions of them ARE affected. Now how you can deny those numbers and facts by saying "can't be as widespread" ? If you don't believe it, just go after the facts, before posting nonsense.

    For almost 20 years, I was a BIG Seagate FAN until this happened, goodbye Seagate!
    Gradius2
  • RE: Seagate offers drive firmware fix for Macs

    All the drives that I buy are Seagate but it affected me with a project that took 5 years of my life to make. I've been so busy that I didn't bother to contact Seagate about the drive, but once I heard about this controversy I realized how many 7200.11 drives that I have and use for backup. Just because you were not affected, you cannot discount that a lot of people might have lost extremely precious data. The fact that Seagate knew about the problem, tried to cover it up, and still haven't released a real firmware upgrade for Mac users is inexcusable in my eye. I used to buy Hitachi but switch to Seagate because of the 5 year warranty. Now that Seagate has recently cut their warranties down to 3 years, I see little reason to stick to this brand. At the very least, I might continue to use Seagate but back up to a Hitachi as a precaution.
    hanguolaohu
  • All our drives are Seagate and we've never had any problems with them

    Sounds like a storm in a teacup to me.
    labarker
    • It's the later ES2 drives.

      if you have a ES (first generation) you will not have this issue. That goes for the other drives as well but I have the ES series and no problems ie(STxxxxxxNS) but the newer *NS (ES2) have the problem.
      dunn@...
  • Exact same issue w/ Western Digital drives....

    I had the exact same problem with Western Digital AAKS drives a few months ago. They replaced them under warranty, but it was pure hell figuring out which part of my RAID10 had died before I finally got everything recovered.
    brent.herridge@...
  • RE: Seagate offers drive firmware fix for Macs

    I wrote two letters to the support
    which claims 24 hour answers to
    requests..two weeks ago. I will NEVER
    buy a Seagate Drive again..They do
    not answer by phone, their chat gave
    me an answer to three questions with
    and I quote..go for it! What??? They
    stink as a company for this lack of
    help. I have a half dozen drives that I
    now need to replace..with Western
    Digital Drives..They answer their
    support questions at least.
    nfiertel
  • RE: Seagate offers drive firmware fix for Macs

    In 1990 a 200MB hard drive cost $2000. Now a 1TB drive sells for $100 and people expect a high level of tech support which is not realistic. The hard drive is now a disposable item and like most hardware, software, and obviously firmware it pays to wait and see what bugs surface rather than being the first on your block to have the latest and greatest.
    stenman@...