back to article Seagate promises second fault fix in 24 hours

Seagate has promised to issue a fix for the latest Barracuda bricking fault within 24 hours. This will be firmware to fix the firmware (SD1A) that was issued to fix the firmware (SD15) that caused some 1TB Barracuda 7200.11 drives and others to stop working. The SD1A firmware caused 500GB Barracuda 7200.11s to stop working. …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Andy Worth

    Drive data

    Well, the firmware fault might not render the drive unreadable, but I'm pretty sure the lump hammer smashing against the casing in anger when the brand-new drive stopped working probably did.

  2. toby mills
    Thumb Up


    Something tells me customers would rather a fix that worked than one that was rushed, sorry, expediently published. Lets hope they get it right this time, i would hate to be in the Seagate techies shoes right now.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "it takes a particular kind of genius... rush out patches that actually compound the problem".

    I disagree, the opposite is true, it's actually hard to rush out an emergency fix without screwing up.

    You usually have Someone Important And Angry leaning over your shoulder saying helpful things like "we need it yesterday" and "we can't afford for this to go wrong", and of course that's when people make mistakes. Familiar processes and checks get bypassed in the interests of speed so when someone drops a bollock, no-one notices until it's too late.

    The nearest brush I ever had with being fired was in one of these scenarios, luckily for me it was someone in a different group who had screwed the pooch.

  4. Jay
    Thumb Down

    One fix to fix them all

    So that's a fix for the disks bricked with the dodgy SD1A? Will the same firmware be the kosher permanent one that's meant to be the fix for the SD15 (et al) firmware?

    Seagate really need to be clear about this sort of thing, they've caused enough trouble already by changing knowledgebase articles back and forth which are meant to tell the users which drives are potentially faulty, how to figure out if you've got a dodgy drive and then waht to do about it.

    Maybe they might be able to post something official on their own support website about all this?

  5. Sarah Davis

    putting the TERROR in Terrabyte

    go samsung, go samsung,...

    (mines the one with 20 Epsom in the pocket)

  6. E
    Thumb Down

    24 hours?

    I contacted Seagate via the address the Reg posted also through the mechanism Seagate offered. This was 3 days ago.

    I haven't heard a word from Seagate yet.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    It'll be right

    I'd still rather have a Seagate, while they acknowledge the problem and work on it rather than as with the old IBM drives where they swore blind there was nothing wrong with them.

    Seagate will continue to get my business, I've never bought another IBM drive after the 75GXPs.

    In other news, The lyrics of Heart's song seem quite appropriate:

    You'd have me down, down, down, down on my knees

    Now wouldn't you, barracuda?

  8. DT


    Feel sorry for customers; other than the chump who goes to the trouble of building a RAID5 setup before flash bricking every drive simultaneously.

    Still, a return to base fix isn't the end of the world, preferable to trying franticly to recover data from something ridden with the clicks of death, corrupted, or barely spinning up.

    Damage to their rep?

    It's not as if no other major H/W player hast had their own problems with exploding batteries, cases which tarnish or suchlike; and I can think of several large corporations would tell customers that firmware flashing is done at one's own risk... and to go fish (if their lawyers thought they could get away with it). Ideal it ain't, but compared to other companies?

    Those whose drivers don't work with machines on a 64 bit O/S with > 2Gb of RAM, or memory stick manufacturers whose return policy appears to exclude any fault caused by software or indeed hardware, (leaving what, emotionally damaged products?) They also offer a 30 day satisfaction guarantee, provided you don't actually open the packaging! Mobile phone manufacturers who warn you that they'll have to flash the firmware on your 'phone if you send it in for repair; then refuse to repair the fecking thing because you'd already flashed it - using their firmware! Headphone manufacturers who generously expect you to pay for overseas insured return postage, only recognising items purchased for "official outlets" and as for obtaining an RMA for anything purchased through ebay or Amazon...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PR Disaster

    Not sure if Seagate will survive this mess. Probably not helped by their fan-boy volunteer moderators on the official forum, who loyally suppressed discussion of this emerging problem. If they'd acted a few weeks sooner they might've turned this into a success story, but now it looks like they've been forced to offer help.

  10. Dave

    Hope it doesn't affect the 750GB HDDs

    I just ordered 2 to go in a brand new NetGear NV+ NAS. No idea what brand HDDs the NetGear comes with (hopefully something else), but I am pretty sure that the Seagate 750s are of the same family as the affected 1TB and 500GB models :S

    Oh well, just goes to show you that these days the overall quality of PC components is dropping. I remember a chat with my dad when I set up his new PC and his comments were "well if it lasts as long as the last one I'll be happy"; my reply: "ha, you'll be lucky if it lasts 2 years". His previous machine was a HP Brio; he ran it for well over 6 years with only a new hard disk at some point during that time.

  11. John Bishop

    24 hours from??

    My only issue is - 24 hours from when? Hopefully it will turn on Thursday...


  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They can recover

    I have two of these drives, possibly three as the external 500 GB I bought a few weeks back may have one in it too. One of the internal ones has done the disappearing trick, but after an overnight rest it decided to come back. It seems from what I have read that this can happen. The drive had been powered up and down several times in the initial fault finding phase, to no effect. Of course I don't know how many tries it might take for this to happen, but it could be worthwhile for the ordinary home user wanting to get at the data on the drive. That would then let you copy it to another drive and let someone else have the worry of upgrading the firmware.

    The joke is on me of course, since the fairly loose backup policy is to copy all the important stuff across the network to the other machine every so often. Only a home machine, so losing a week or twos stuff would not be a big deal normally. However, in this case the backups were on the identical type of drive on the other machine. So if I had done the firmware upgrade I would have lost access to both copies. The other funny is that after the drive disappeared and then reappeared I decided this policy was a little too loose and bought the external drive and set up some automatic backups of the stuff I care about. Hmm, turns out that is quite likely the same type of drive again....

    From my reading, it seems that the drive will disappear if the internal log file gets to having 320 entries and then the machine is powered down. So if you have one, a possible workaround while waiting for Seagate to get some decent firmware out would be to leave the machine going all the time.

    One reason for all the Seagates is that I have had a very good run with them in the past, going back as far as the ST225 (20 meg) OK as a home user I have not bought a lot of drives, but in the early 90's was messing around with used drives recovered from junk machines for reuse with a home made 16 bit interface and driver for the Amiga, which I designed and built. A few others got into this too, and from what I saw then the Seagates were the best bet as a used drive. Of course, that was then, companies do change.

  13. Magilla
    Dead Vulture

    English: do you speak it?

    "This will be firmware to fix the firmware (SD1A) that was issued to fix the firmware (SD15) that caused some 1TB Barracuda 7200.11 drives and others to stop working. The SD1A firmware caused 500GB Barracuda 7200.11s to stop working."

    I think you the whole paragraph.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    English as she is spuck

    Yes Magilla, that is English, although it is (I think) deliberately complex, but then so is the situation.

    Actually there are two faults involved, if the stuff I have been looking at is correct. One occurred on the bigger drives, and caused problems when streaming video. The SD1A firmware seems to have been advised to fix that, and was also advised for the 500 GB drives although they may not have had the problem, or not as badly. But it seems the "upgrade" stops them working.

    The other problem is to do with the internal log file. Apparently if the machine is shut down when there are 320 exactly entries in the internal log file then the drive will error out when next powered up and the machine will not be able to recognise it. This will be what happened to my drive, and this is the one that may fix itself if you keep trying. However, hopefully eventually Seagate will get their act together and provide a patch that fixes this properly. So the problem will only manifest itself when that particular circumstance occurs, which means that it would be a good idea to update the drive once the patch is available even if you have had no trouble. That is of course once you are satisfied that the patch is OK, and have backed up everything on the drive, prefererably to another brand of drive!

  15. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    Challenging Microsoft, Segate?

    Updates that break things? Woah.

    Uh, that is all I have.

    Paris, woah.

  16. verdilith

    oh no they haven't

    "I'd still rather have a Seagate, while they acknowledge the problem and work on it"

    Except customers have been begging them to do something about this problem for six months or more. My first ST3500320AS died in July 08, it was replaced and I didn't think anything of it because these things happen - sometimes you get a DOA. It's replacement died last week, and I'm thanking the gods of procrastination that I hadn't done anything with my old HD.

    What annoys me most about this whole thing is that before El Reg and other online techie journals got wind of it, Seagate didn't want to know about the f/w problem. This could have been dealt with months ago.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    @ Andy Worth

    That's really funny or is it because it's 10 minutes to 5 AM and I'm at work.

  18. Chris Mellor

    Tools don't work under VIsta 64-bit

    Sent to me: "Unfortunately, the tools that Seagate provides to obtain the firmware rev level do not run under Windows Vista 64 bit. Not being able to speak to a person at Seagate, nor wanting to tear apart one of my other systems to test a 1 week old drive, I returned it to the vendor (Best Buy). They agreed that it was best just to let Seagate resolve the issue, and happily exchanged the drive for a WD Caviar."


  19. Chris Mellor

    A Seagate worker says

    A poster sent tis to me anonymously:

    "Re: Seagate Firmware issues.

    This will interest you greatly I suspect. Think of it as me helping out in whatever little way I can.

    My email is invalid, by the way. Sorry, but it's necessary."

    It's an interesting post from a Seagate employee (or facsimile of) about the firmware process inside Seagate.


  20. Christopher Woods
    Thumb Up

    Reminds me of the Heart song...

    "And if the real thing don't do the trick

    You'd better make up something quick

    You gonna burn burn burn burn it to the wick

    Oooo, barracuda?"

    In the meantime, I'll still buy Seagate drives (again) for my next rig. They're the only drives I've used to date that don't either get hot enough to fry bacon and eggs on (Western Digital), or fail spectacularly all at once when there's the slightest hint of a power fluctuation (Maxtor).

    That said, the 2.5" 250Gb WD SATA drive I have in my laptop (from ebuyer) was an absolute steal when I bought it - about half the price of any other comparatively sized drive - and it's not gone wrong yet. (touch wood)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    "Seagate assures its customers"

    Where exactly, I have not seen any statement that assures anyone?

    All I've seen is Seagate totally ignoring their customers who're begging them for help, hardly reasuring.

    Anyone who uses Seagates forum over the last month must seriously be wondring if it's worth bothing with Seagate at all in the future. It's one thing ignoring posts, it's another to delete them in the hope the problem will go away.

  22. Nigel

    Don't panic! Five data points ...

    The SD15 bug is not anything like guaranteed death on power-down, not even if the juice is pulled on a live system. As we've just found out.

    An "electrician" flipped the wrong breaker in our computer room. And then decided that because the UPS started making loud bleeping noises, he should press its off button until the noise stopped. The RAID array of five of these SD15 1Tb drives, survived. So did the filesystem (ext3) thereon. (I do have a backup, elsewhere, and I do not recommend repeating this "experiment"! )

    Any printable suggestions for words to replace "electrician"? ("Replace electrician" is what I would like my employer to do, but I very much doubt that they will).

    Moral? (Maybe) disable UPS beepers and rely on geek-level alerting. The beeps just excite the chimps.

  23. Maryland, USA

    rushing can be a recipe for disaster

    Anonymous Coward (Wednesday 21st January 2009 13:53 GMT) hit the nail on the head when writing:

    "it's actually hard to rush out an emergency fix without screwing up....You usually have Someone Important And Angry leaning over your shoulder saying helpful things like "we need it yesterday" and "we can't afford for this to go wrong", and of course that's when people make mistakes. Familiar processes and checks get bypassed in the interests of speed so when someone drops a bollock, no-one notices until it's too late."

    Ever wonder why the world has seen only a handful of photos showing the Allies' invasion of Normandy on D-Day? Photojournalist Robert Capa had shot hundreds of frames, rushing the film to New York. But some idiot boss breathed down the neck of the film technician. The technician emerged from the darkroom, sick with grief, to confess that--pressured to deliver yesterday--he had screwed up the development of all but a few frames.

  24. John Bishop

    The fix is out!

    Well, who cares how many hours it was, the important things is, will it work?


  25. LMC

    Have I just fubared my drive?

    Is this SD1A update the same one that's been "In Validation" on Seagate's site for the last 3 days? Because as of last night it's been released to the public, still is in fact...

    So is this the original fubar fix? Or a new fix for the fix?


  26. Rob

    Its a new firmware

    Just flashed my (so far problem free) ST3500320AS SD15 to SD1A using the latest firmware. It worked fine. I waited till I saw other people had done it first though! There are plenty of posts in the seagate forums saying it works.

    If you bricked your drive using the old SD1A firmware that was taken offline, this new one will bring it back to life, just as long as your BIOS can still see your drive. If your BIOS can't see your drive, you're out of luck.

  27. John Bishop

    And the answer is...

    Yes, it worked! Completely fixed the problem and booted straight into Windows 7 (cue sarky jokes)

  28. Bob Smits

    Seagate not handling problem well.

    Seagate has not handled this well. Some stories even say Seagate has promised to resurrect our data - for free - and their tech supports wants between $350 and $3500 to do this when you call their tech support line. My warranty is in effect until July 2012 and my hd is nothing but a useless brick! They certainly don't answer their e-mail!

  29. Nigel
    Thumb Down

    They really aren't covering themselves with glory ...

    The fix download (bootable CD) is not at all well thought out for a system with five such drives in a RAID array, given that the fault being addressed is that powering off the drive can brick it.

    I'm supposed to boot off a CD with all drives disconnected except for the one I want to flash. OK, maybe - SATA is supposedly hot-pluggable so I can yank the data cables from the other four. But then I get to the requirement to power off the flashed drive to continue. Yank its power cable? Don't like it. And the final straw, hitting CR at that prompt powers down the whole system! At which point maybe one or more of the other four drives turns into a brick.

    Yes, I know from a number of prior power-downs that probably won't happen. But even so, they should have put more thought into this solution and its documentation. Surely at least half such drives are in RAID arrays?

  30. Eddie Johnson
    Thumb Down


    Are you seriously saying they reissued it as 1A again? No version change?

    I just downloaded the MooseDT-SD1A-3D4D-16-32MB.ISO file and haven't burned it yet but viewing it in WinRAR it doesn't seem to contain anything but DriveDetect.exe and a ReadMe.txt.

    Seagate went out of their way to make their site as crappy as possible, I had to allow cookies, javascript, IFRAME's, and popups, yes all 4 of those 7 seven deadly web design sins, just to download a firmware update I'm afraid to apply. And to top it off DriveDetect shows just 1 of the 2 affected drives I have in a RAID. Oh well, I was already thinking about applying the update to just one of them.

  31. Mike Gravgaard

    My drives aren't on the list :)

    Just checked the model numbers of 8 drives in my home server (from 250Gb to 750Gb). Luckly none of them are on Seagate's list or in their model number checker...

    I'm not put off from Seagate (I don't normally update firmware on drives unless I have a very good reason to do so).


  32. jim
    Thumb Down

    Free upgrade

    How dare Seagate call it a FREE upgrade.

    They produced a flawed product to begin with and now offer a way of mending it.

    Shame on you Seagate. It is NOT free but essential to save your face.

  33. Anonymous Coward




    BY USING A...




This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like