Seagate/Maxtor SATA Hard Drive Firmware Bug

 

Seagate 500 Gig with sd15 Firmware

Feb 2009:  Owners of recent Seagate and Maxtor hard drives have been experiencing a high rate of disk drive failure.  This can be traced to certain hard drives with certain revisions of firmware.   Firmware is the low level programming instructions which manages how the hard drive operates on a day to day basis.  Technical explanation at dataclinic.co.uk.   The bug occurs at random, when the hard drive is powered off.  Upon powering back on, the hard drive's contents (as well as the device itself) are inaccessible.  The most common drives affected are the SATA versions of the Seagate and Maxtor 500 gig, 750 Gig, and 1 and 1.5 Terabyte hard drives.  If you have a large capacity Seagate or Maxtor Hard Drive you should check out the Seagate Technical Support page to determine if your hard drive is on the list.  Remember Maxtor was acquired by Seagate so you should visit the Seagate website for Maxtor support.

Seagate Knowledgebase Article

HP Customer Advisory

In this HP Customer Advisory, HP states that these drives have been utilized in some of their Computing products (desktop and server products).

HP Link

Dell Firmware Download

Dell has released a firmware upgrade utility for users who have Dell PC's with the affected Seagate Hard Drives.

Dell Link

Apple/Mac Owners

Since these hard drives are cross platform, if your Mac came with these drives, or you've augmented your Apple Mac with one of the affected Seagate hard drives, you are not immune.

Apple Users

Owners of External USB Hard who has the affected Seagate or Maxtor Hard Drives should check with their manufacturer, to determine if they are at risk.  Both Seagate and Maxtor make their own branded External USB Hard drive, and some third party manufacturers like Buffalo, AcomData, and SimpleTech, may utilize Seagate hard drives are affected.  Buffalo Tech has firmware available for the HD-CEU2 series hard drive. Buffalo Firmware for HD-CEU2

What PCNS Sells

PCNS normally sells Western Digital and Samsung desktop hard drives, and Western Digital and Fujitsu Laptop hard drives.  These are competitors to Seagate, and do not have this firmware bug.  PCNS has sold a limited number of Buffalo USB External Hard Drives and they OEM Samsung and Seagate.   In any event, PCNS will be contacting you.

For Desktop PC's where PCNS has assembled custom specifications and recommendations, most PCNS customers want PC's for their business or home business.  The normal capacities - 80, 160, and 250 gig hard drives (even if they come with Seagate Hard Drives), are not affected.   However if you've purchased your own equipment and you specified an extra large capacity hard drive (and you received a Seagate) you should check with your PC Manufacturer.

How to Tell

It is possible to see what make and model Hard drive is installed in your Windows XP or Vista PC, by going to Device Manager, and expanding the Disk Drive section.  In this print screen, my test rig has two Samsung, one Western Digital, and a Seagate 500 Gig (which is affected) and is installed in a USB 2.0 enclosure.

For Windows XP, click Start, right click My Computer, select Properties, then click the Hardware Tab, and click Device Manager.  For Windows Vista Users, click the Start Button, right click Computer, select Properties, then on the left of the System Window click Advanced System Settings.  If you are prompted for User Account Control, click Continue.  Then click the Hardware Tab, and click Device Manager.

With both XP and Vista, click the Plus Sign next to Disk Drives.  In the screen print below, the Seagate hard drive is highlighted in the red box.  In most cases, Seagate Hard Drives will begin with the letters ST:

Windows XP Device Manager