MacInTouch Reader Reports

Hard Drives: Seagate

Jan. 16, 2009
Jan. 17, 2009
Jan. 19, 2009
Jan. 21, 2009
Jan. 22, 2009
Jan. 23, 2009
Jan. 24, 2009

Newer entries...
Jan. 16, 2009


Ric Ford [MacInTouch]

Barracuda 7200.11 firmware - What we know...

As the forum threads are filling up with angry posts and threats that aren't helpful in a technical nature, I'd like to create this thread with beneficial informatioin we've been able to gather from amongst ourselves. Some threads have been heavily modified or taken off so I'd like to work within the Forum guidlines in getting the information out to everyone. Please post only helpful/beneficial information.I do sympathize with the emotional trauma of losing your data and the need to vent; I had 800GB of my own data lost but please use another forum thread for that if you really feel the need.

So far this issue has been reported with 7200.11 line of drives of varying sizes but with high concentrations in the 500GB, 750GB and 1TB models with SD15 firmware. There is a possible affected modeld list on message 7 of this thread. Many of these were made in Thailand and China (Sitecodes KRATSG and WUXISG respectively). Other users have also confirmed that some Maxtor branded drives affected as well. These drives seem to be rebranded

Seagate up to this point has not acknowledged this issue yet. This issue is starting to be reported in mainstream news channels so hopefully there may be an official response coming soon. They also are not providing any data recovery. They are honoring warranty and RMA claims on these drives though. Some users have gotten similiar drives back while others report that they were able to request a Maxtor drive instead.

If you are running one of these drives and it still works, keep the drive powered and running.This issue seems to take affect on your next power cycle. Attach a Uninterruptible Power Supply unit if you can. As there is no official acknowledgement of this issue yet, there is no confirmed list of firmware/model/country of unaffected drives. If your drive is still working, use this oppurtunity implement a backup solution if you haven't already.

Jan. 17, 2009



New breakdowns of a Seagate series of disks?

According to Tom's Hardware FR, Seagate is infected by an epidemic of breakdowns concerning its 7200.11 series of disks.
The breakdown are characterized by a sudden disappearance of the system disk, as if their electronics had burned. It is, in fact, a bug of their firmware which would lead the disk to be put into a mode of protection from which it cannot leave.
If the solution appears simple (i.e. an update the firmware) it cannot be applied once the disk has entered this mode, and Seagate still does not propose an update.
This brings back to mind the breakdowns with the series of 2.5" disks marked with famous firmware 7.0.1 which almost always ended up giving up the ghost after one year of use. There too, Seagate never communicated officially on this defect, preferring to play it deaf, a ploy in which Apple followed them.


Lowell Scott

Does anyone know if these Seagate problems apply to external drives such as their FreeAgent series? I'm sure that they have the same drives inside.


David Bradbury

I have two of the problematic Seagate drives. Model ST31000340AS. After a couple months of use, both drives died within a few weeks of each other. Thankfully these were Time Machine backups so I didn't lose any data.

For replacements, Seagate sends refurbished drives (which sucks since I paid for a new drive, oh well). Get this, though--one of the drive replacements was DOA. Great quality control Seagate!


Arthur Kent

I have a Mac Pro Dual-Core Intel Xeon 2.66GHz machine, 3 Gig of RAM, and a 250 Gigabyte Internal Hard Drive. Even though System Profiler identifies the drive manufacturer as Intel, the model number is ST3250824AS, which is a Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 series drive, with 8 MB of cache.

For the drive, it is partitioned, but the primary partition (containing everything that I use) is 230 Gigabytes. I have used less than 35 Gig on that partition. For the other 20 Gig partition, I have used not even 1 gig.

I am using the latest version of Leopard, along with the latest versions of all my software. I also use the latest version of TechTool for "maintaining" the drive, and last week, I did optimize the primary (largest) partition (I also use Retrospect to backup the primary partition (along with using it for my laptop)). I also have "turned off" Spotlight, so that it does not index ANY of my partitions (I also have a 160 Gig External drive, with 3 partitions (I use 2 of them for backups), and it is connected to the MacPro via a FireWire 400 cable). TechTool Pro also indicates that the drive is fine. Additionally, I do not "deliberately" (that is, by choice) have any application launched at Start Up. Finally, I rarely run more than one application at a time.

What I have been noticing for the couple of months or so is the annoying slow start up for the machine. To me, it is just taking too long for starting up, even though I have plenty of hard disk space, plenty of RAM, and am not launching anything at start up. When I check the Activity Monitor, I am not seeing anything connected with my applications that would be a resource hog. I do see quite a few OS-related tasks, but I can't do anything about those (I believe.) I also understand that the Mac OS does use various cache "space", along with a fair amount of Virtual Memory.

My inkling at this point is that the hard drive should be replaced with one that has a larger cache size (not sure how "safe" it is to put in either a 10,000 rpm or 15,000 rpm drive, but they are expensive). I tend to lean towards Seagate drives, as I have had success with them in the past. (My current drive is actually working fine, but again, it only has 8 MB of cache). I am also very aware of the current issues with the 7200.11 series of Barracuda drives.

Seagate also manufactures a series of Barracuda ES.2 SATA drives, all with 32 MB of cache. Looking at, I see the following models (OEM) for sale:

Model Size Price
----- ---- -----
ST3250310NS 250 Gig 79.99

ST3500320NS 5000 Gig 89.99

ST3750330NS 750 Gig 129.99

ST31000340NS 1 TB 169.99

Again, these are not 7200.11 series of drives, and they all have 32 MB of cache.

So, I would like assistance on the following:

1. Will the 32 MB of cache make a significant difference?

2. Anyone have any experience with any of the drives that I listed above?



Bubba Mike

So there is no way other than pulling the drive to confirm if you have this drive under OSX. All the Seagate tools mentioned are Windows only. Nice. I've got a 750GB and 2 1TB Seagate drives. Guess I'll be buying elsewhere from now on.


MacInTouch Reader

Disk utility shows that first of my 2 Seagate 1 TB drives as "931.5 GB ST31000340AS".

My other is shown as "931.5 GB ST31000333AS".

Am I safe not to worry about the second drive?
What should I do about the first drive? I am going to start surfing the web for that answer, but find the Macintouch readers usually have the best answer.


Chris Eschweiler

This is a timely thread as a client has an external drive that has a 500GB Seagate 7200.10 series Barracuda in it. It's spontaneously evaporated and the only response I can get from it is when I plug it into a PC where it comes up with some PXE firmware screen and won't do anything after that. Neither DiskWarrior or Drive Genius 2 can see it, and SpinRite on the PC can't either.

This is very problematic for my client, obviously, as this *was* her backup drive.

I hope Seagate steps up and can support all the folks who are having problems with their hardware.


Bob Martin

If your drives are connected to Apple-provided SATA ports, then all the drive info will show up under the system profiler -- model, serial number, and revision. If you've got a SATA drive connected to a third party PCI card, the system profiler doesn't display the same amount of information.

The Seagate website also shows using system profiler to display drive details.

Jan. 19, 2009


Randy Cooper

I went through the awkward process of opening a support request as well. I just realized I left out one of my drives in my support request. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for Seagate to respond and what hoops I have to jump through to get support for the third drive I originally missed.

I'm wondering if as Seagate responds, we will see posts detailing what needs to be done for those drives that are still functional (as mine are). If I need a Windows box to do a firmware upgrade (which I'm sure I will) I'll have to go begging for one.

Two of my three drives that are affected by this are in external enclosures and contain backups.


John Baltutis

Andrew A wrote, among other things:

so maybe they will provide an OS X firmware updater

Don't count on it. Everything I've seen about their tools is windoze or linux only. However, you might be able to use the latter once you go through sign-up process at


Tom McGee

Please note that you can burn an ISO image of the Seagate firmware updater and it will boot your Mac with FreeDOS under Bootcamp. The Flash.BAT utility will also run and appear to complete successfully. The only problem with the whole process is that it will brick your drive AND your Mac. The bricked drive prevents you from starting your Mac with the OS X installer disk. Cool, huh? Don't ask me how I know!


Rich Cruse

I just purchased and installed the 1.5 TB Seagate drive purchased from Other World Computing. I had heard of some early failures of the earlier versions and I figured that if OWC was selling these drives, the problems were fixed. The internal drive that came with me Mac is from Seagate, so I figured it would be fine.

So far, the drive is terrific and extremely fast! The drive info from System Profiler is:

Capacity: 1.36 TB
Model: ST31500341AS
Revision: CC1H

Can anyone tell me if I am "safe"?



Arthur Kent

Well, Andrew provided a useful link, regarding the drives I was considering from Seagate. According to that link, Seagate specifically states the following:

"Welcome, Seagate hard drive owners. A number of Seagate hard drives from the following families may fail when the host system is powered on:

Barracuda 7200.11
DiamondMax 22
Barracuda ES.2 SATA

So, the Barracuda ES.2 SATA family of drives is on that list. Thanks, Andrew!

Is there another manufacturer that anyone can recommend for a reasonably priced 250 Gig to 500 Gig SATA drive with 32 MB of cache? Also, is there a real significant difference in a drive that has 32 MB of cache versus one that has 16 MB of cache?


Jerry Rodriguez

An easy way to check if you have an affected drive is to select "About this Mac" from your Apple menu, select "more info", select "serial ATA" under the hardware section. In the right window, you will see the model, serial and Firmware revision of the drive. This is the info Seagate will need to determine if you need a firmware upgrade.

Here is the link from Seagate.


MacInTouch Reader

All the info is here:

My drives fortunately have the SD15 firmware; the SD14 and SD04 firmware is the problem.


Marty Safir

I had no problem reaching Seagate by telephone this morning, a Sunday, 1-800-732-4283. The tech support guy, Robert, confirmed that the drive will never spin back up again once it goes 'down,' even though the data on the drive is presumably intact. Firmware update will be available late Tuesday or early Wednesday for Mac OS via email. I have two potentially affected drives, installed a mere week ago. Fortunately I had not shut down since installing them and now I have a full bootable backup on a separate external thanks to SuperDuper. Seagate's handling of this has been subpar to put it mildly. No broad announcement, Windows-centric only support, broken tech support links on their site, requiring registration before contacting them, etc.


Drew McCarthy

I noted with dismay the information about the Seagate firmware issues.

I noted Andrew A's response (filed under the Recovery topic, BTW) about his attempt to contact Seagate about this issue.

Using the links he provided, I was able to confirm that my recently purchased drive was in the affected series, but I could not find information about how to proceed further.

I decided to attempt to contact Seagate via chat support today.

After about a twenty minute wait, I was able to chat (briefly) with a support representative, who basically said that Seagate is aware of the firmware issue, but has not released a fix, yet.

The rep did not seem to be aware that the Seagate website already has a serial number checker up and functioning. He seemed to think that was not going to be available until Monday.

The chat ended before I could get more detailed information about the firmware upgrade process, and whether a downloadable updater would be available, and whether it would run on a Mac.


Nick Batzdorf

Seagate has new firmware available, I'm happy to say as I hold the second of two warranty replacement drives in my hand. You can check your drive's firmware in System Profiler (which of course you can access by selecting About This Mac and clicking More).


Rob Packett

Spoke with Seagate today (18 Jan). They readily acknowledged their 7200.11 series firmware issues (aka, inaccessible drive "bricks" at startup) and seem to be really scrambling to fix the problem. KB article 207931 addresses the issue:

Seagate advised me to flash my drives (two 1 TB and two 1.5 TB) with updated firmware. A 1.5 TB firmware U/D is available now (Sun evening). They expect to have the 1.0 TB firmware U/D available sometime Tue (tomorrow's a holiday). Apparently Seagate will provide a bootable disc (image, I would expect), which will require an Intel-based computer (Mac or PC). Of course, the drives require internal SATA (i.e., cannot flash through a Drobo, RAID controller, or external enclosure that makes drive access indirect).

Seagate apparently has more than one problem. The now available 1.5 TB U/D fixes "stuttering" (their term), which can make the drive unrecognizable for ~30 seconds at a time --- perhaps explaining the abnormally long startup times, various time outs, and RAID drop-outs some have experienced.

N.B. the paradigm shift here: Judging by its KB articles, I think it's the first time Seagate (or any major drive manufacturer?) has had Users flash drive firmware.

Jan. 21, 2009


Greg Chesney

As of 11:30 am (MST) Seagate has removed the link:

Sounds like they're scrambling. I'm not going to be the first to try their re-flash procedure.


MacInTouch Reader

I contacted Seagate about the 7200.11 Disk Problem. Here's their response:

"Thank you for contacting Seagate Technical Support. At this time there is a firmware that is pending for approval. Please be patient with us so we can verified the firmware update information. It will be send out at to you at the end of next week. We have added you to the list to get this firmware update. So,if you do not hear from us in approximately in one week time frame, please e-mail us back. This firmware update will need to be perform on a Window Operatering System. The only way it will work on a MAC computer if the MAC computer is a dual boot to Window OS."

Since I'm still on a PowerPC it would appear there is no solution other than to wait for the disk to die, then return it. :-( I don' think I'll buy a Seagate drive again.


Mike Stone

It sounds like this is a good case for a class action lawsuit. They advertised their product for Macs, their product has a flaw, and now they aren't willing to release a fix for a large portion of their customers. Normally I'm anti-lawyer, but this just screams for Seagate to be taught a lesson.


Todd Reid

I have a Seagate Barracuda ST3750330AS 750 GB drive that has firmware SD15 that refuses to mount, spin, etc. It appears to be one of the affected drives according to

I called Seagate Support (you'll wait *at least* a half hour I suspect) and Eve confirmed that the upcoming firmware update will only run on Intel Macs (I have a PowerPC Dual 2.0GhZ G5). She then stated that they would do a data recovery for free on my drive, after a supervisor calls me within 48 hours.

I probably should believe this as far as I can throw Eve, though she was very pleasant and helpful.

We'll see what happens...


David Saraceno

I can't think of a poorer customer service response than this one by Seagate.

We have four 7200.11 500 GB drives, all of which "may" be affected.

I say "may," because the information Seagate provides is so sparse and inconsistent. At least two of the links in this thread no longer work.

Finally, no Mac firmware updater is provided.

How bad can Seagate be at servicing its customers.


MacInTouch Reader

I have 2 seagate drives powered up in a Seritek 1SE2 enlosure. From disk utility I can see that 1 of the drives has the problem "ST31000340AS" designation.

I can't get the serial number from either ASP or disc utility.

I guess I have a catch 22 as I would need to power down to take them out to get the serial number?

Anyone have any ideas as to how else I could check the serial number/ firmware version?


Andrew A

Thanks to a slashdot article last night, I was able to find a Seagate knowledge base article regarding the drive failure that is suddenly in the news. It is article 207931, available here:

Based on that, I was able to determine that one of my three Seagate drives is at risk. (They give Windows-oriented instructions, but I was able to find all the corresponding info via System Profiler, in the Serial-ATA section.)

The article says affected customers should email them for assistance getting a firmware update (and that the exact update varies based on drive, revision, and serial number, so it's important to include all that info). Their "email" link actually leads to a "contact us" page with a bunch of possibilities. I chose the "Technical Support" option, then "email", which then required me to creat an account ("Register and create a support case", which requires agreeing to a statement that absolves them of lots of stuff - nice!), which then led me to a rather generic form rather than email.

Submitting this form then suggested a number of possible knowledge base documents that might help me (I just came from there!), before finally allowing me to actually submit the help request. Even then, I apparently did it wrong, because it got stuck in a "self-service" status. (Why I would open a help ticket for self-service, I do not know.) I did not realize this at the time, but presumably (and unsurprisingly, given the horrible user experience) lots of people hit the same problem, because their system actually emailed me later (using my own email address as the "from" address!), warning me of what I had done, and telling me if I actually wanted help I would have to log back in (it did not give me a pointer to where, so I had to search the Seagate site again) and change the "escalate case" popup that I guess I overlooked to choose "Yes - Escalate Case to Seagate Support". After I got that, I received another email (again, addressed from myself), telling me that I could expect a response within 24 hours.

Sorry this was so long, but I found the process tedious, confusing, and frustrating, and I hope this helps some others.

After all this, given how Windows-oriented their initial instructions are, I suspect the firmware update will require Windows as well. I have relatively-convenient access to a machine running Windows in VMWare - hopefully that will be sufficient, because getting access to an actual Windows PC is definitely more inconvenient (and I imagine it would be extremely inconvenient for many people). But perhaps I'm being needlessly pessimistic - the support form did include controls that let me specify OS X 10.5 as my operating system, so maybe they will provide an OS X firmware updater. If their automated response is correct, I'll find out within about 23 hours...


Harris Upham

I read about the widespread problems in Seagate 7200.11 drives, checked my own and found two potential troublemakers in my mac pro, ST3500320AS models. No data lost yet, but I got in touch with seagate today to get advice.

Their phones were jammed and their email support system is tied up with lots of registration nonsense, so I went on a limb and tried their chat support system.

After a long wait, I mentioned my issue and got this reply:

"Thomas M.: If this is in rerference to the Seagate Knowledge Base article concerning the certain famlies of Seagate and Maxtor hard drives relating to fimware, unfortunately, the firmware updates are not available yet. Our engineers are currently working on the issue now, and they are looking at having the firmware updates available, hopefully at the later part of next week. As to which serial numbers of these drives that are affected by this, they are working on a addition to the web site for a serial number checker that should be up by Monday. When the serial checker is online, you can put in the serial number, and it will tell you if the drive associated with that serial number is affected by this firmware issue. If it's not affected, then you'll be good to go. If it is affected, it will say so, then you will need to call into 1-800-Seagate, have the model number, serial number, and part number ready when you call. Because this is a large issue affecting a large number of consumers and partners, we would request that you address this issue only when you call, so that we can assist as many as possible and expedite the resolution of this issue quickly. "

And just to toss it out there- I know the 500GB Apple Time Capsule uses a disk in the same general family as the affected models, but I don't know of a way to read back the disk serial number to perform Seagate's test. Any takers?


David Gelphman

After reading about the Seagate problem I was concerned because I have 4 drives of the affected model number. I started to do what Andrew A did, which is to email them with the information. When I saw that I was going to have to create an account in order to send an email I said forget that and called.

After waiting 15-20 minutes for an agent to answer it took at least that long or longer to get a straight answer from them. Actually I'm guessing the whole conversation was more than an hour. The best they could do now is confirm that ALL FOUR of the drives I have suffer from this potential defect and that I would have to update the firmware to address the problem.

I'm OK with doing that but the firmware updaters aren't available yet and they will "email me when they are available". I couldn't get a firm commitment as to when that would be but "probably in a few days".

However I never got a clear understanding what the process would be for updating the firmware. First I was told I needed a Windows PC in order to run the updater. Then it sounded as if I just needed to be able to burn a CD from an ISO image and boot from that. While I *think* I understood what the deal was by the end of the conversation, I have no doubt that it could be completely different since there were several changes in the story as I asked questions.

What seemed to be clear about the process of performing the firmware update was that you are going to have to have a direct SATA connection to your disk and almost certainly will need an Intel based computer. If you are using one of these drives in an external enclosure and don't have a Mac Pro available, I'm not sure how you are going to be able to do this. I asked whether it was possible to exchange the drive and I was told that was not an option.

While the rep I spoke with was perfectly nice and seemed understanding of my concerns, the customer service experience that Seagate is providing seems severely lacking. They were very coy about determining if my disks were at risk. They don't have the firmware updaters ready and don't appear to have an alternative to using them. They couldn't provide clear information as to what the hardware requirements are for the updater process.

I'm lucky that I appear to have the hardware that seems to be necessary to address this. I can imagine that there are a very large number of people who do not.

I'll report back if/when I actually get to update my drives. I'm hoping that the problem with their support is poor communication from Seagate to their customers rather than terrible customer service beyond their ability to communicate.


David Gelphman

Yesterday I posted a long message about dealing with Seagate to determine if any of my 4 drives are affected. The answer given after about an hour on the phone was yes, all four are affected.

Now their page that discusses this issue has a link to a page that lets you input your drive serial number and it tells you whether your drive needs to be updated:

This page tells me that *none* of my 4 drives is affected.

While possibly reassuring, it confuses things considerably. Who is right? Their online web page backed by some database somewhere or their support people who supposedly looked up this information?


Paul Huang

Can we trust this utility?

Apparently not. I have a dead drive (as of this morning) that is supposedly not affected, but it is dead.

So, the serial number could be part of the affected drives, but the 'more detailed' check above may exclude it (not affected), but I am not believing that. Of course, I only have encountered *one* dead drive at the moment. However, if more than three that are supposedly 'not affected' drop dead in the next three weeks, I believe I have sufficient reasons to believe that any and all 7200.11 are suspect and should not be trusted.

Once again, this proved what I have been saying for a long time when people ask me to recommend a hard drive: 'all hard drives are bad, some are worse, so back up often and do it on more than just one drive.'


David Miller

I have 3 of the questionable-model-number 1TB ST310000340AS drives with SD15 firmware that I bought from OWC in late 2008. I've been using these drives for 2 months now without incident. None of them have failed.

I emailed OWC to ask about the drives, and so far, OWC says that all of the bad 7200.11 drives were manufactured in Thailand in December 2008.

I checked my two external drives (the internal should be the same, I bought it at the same time as one of the externals) and they're all manufactured in Thailand, but of course (since I bought them prior to December) they wouldn't fit OWC's "bad" criteria. The date code starts with "09", which probably means manufactured in Thailand in September.

Seagate's serial number verification page is still unavailable as of early afternoon, today, 1.20.09

I'll post more information when I hear more. I'm going to have to crack open the internal to get at the serial number in case I need to open a Seagate support case. Since I'm running on a G5 tower, from what I'm reading here, there will probably be no way for me to update the drive firmware; and even if I'm told that these drives are "safe", I'll have a hard time believing this is true, or having confidence in the drives. I wonder if my only recourse will be to force Seagate to send me a new set of replacement drives with updated firmware....


Al Cellier

Can anyone tell me if my:
Seagate Free AgentExternal ST305004FDA1E1-RK
or Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus STM307504OTA3E6-RK
are affected? System Profiler cannot see "inside" these drive housings. ...Al n6ac_AT_arrl._net


John Baltutis

David Gelphman wrote:

"Yesterday I posted a long message about dealing with Seagate to determine if any of my 4 drives are affected. The answer given after about an hour on the phone was yes, all four are affected. Now their page that discusses this issue has a link to a page that lets you input your drive serial number and it tells you whether your drive needs to be updated:
This page tells me that *none* of my 4 drives is affected."

That link just pops up with a "This application is temporarily unavailable" message.


Rich Cruse

Thank you to Jerry and others for the Seagate links. It looks like my drive is "okay". It does not have SD or AD firmware installed. Mine has revision CC1H according to System Profiler.


Jim Robertson

I've just had my THIRD consecutive Seagate 500 GByte drive failure. Each of these has been used as my Time Machine backup location. Each has lasted less than 3 months. In each instance, a dialog pops up on the screen informing me that the Time Machine Backup failed, and on reboot the Seagate mechanism no longer appears on the desktop.

I've received warranty exchanges for the first two. Because I'm relying on this drive to keep my data backed up, I'm wondering whether I should get and sell the next replacement and substitute something more reliable. This is becoming absurd!


Jim Robertson

Actually, my dead drive is a 750 GByte mechanism. I shut down my Mac Pro and pulled it out and confirmed that it's one of the 7200.11 series. It has firmware SD15.


Rick Chin

Seagate seems to be all over the place with their recent updates.

I called Seagate over the weekend and was told my 1TB drive was not affected but they wouldn't tell me how they came to that decision. On Monday they updated their KB articles and now my drive is part of the affected group. I downloaded the ISO but it generated an error when I tried to use the CD. An updated patch was release at 5:15 PM ET Monday so I have downloaded that and will try it again.

For their 1.5TB drives, it looks like a firmware update is in the testing process and not ready yet. Oddly, if you have a drive with firmware starting with "CC" or "LC", this updater will render your drive inoperable! Yikes! Really? Why not design it so that it does nothing for those drives?

I like Seagate drives but lately they seem to be tripping over themselves.


Larry Rosenblum

I have a Newer Tech miniStack V2 with a Seagate drive inside that is connected to my Mac mini via Firewire. Is there a way that I can find out if this drive is one of the ones affected?


Gisle Totland

My backup drive is a Maxtor Basics Desktop Storage USB 2.0 1 terrabyte. It just stopped spinninga few days ago.It contains a Seagate 7200.11 STX-ST31000340AS (B).



Someone mentioned Seagate firmware SD15 as not being affected. According to this, it is:

I have 4 with this firmware and 1 with AD14. All are 7200.11 ST31000340AS.

I just had a live chat and an update will be out tomorrow according to him. He said "SD1A will brick your drive"

Stay tuned...


MacInTouch Reader

In response to Rich Cruse. Quoted from ...

"Note: If your drive has CC or LC firmware, your drive is not affected and no further action is required. Attempting to flash the firmware of a drive with CC or LC firmware will result in rendering your drive inoperable."


Jeremy Roberts

I have a 2-week old ST3750330AS (7200.11 - 750gb, firmware SD15) in a G5/2.7DP (PPC) - still spinning (fast drive, BTW) -- Spoke with a nice woman at Seagate support, who advised that they do not have any way to flash the drive in a PPC mac. I have an external case with a FW800-SATA bridge (Oxford 934 chipset), but she doesn't think the flash utility will work on a macbook pro via fw800 on the oxford 934 bridge.

Damn... this drive was just configured from scratch -- new OS install, fresh installs of all apps, converted all mail, etc... (and backed up, but a restore of all the copy protected software will result in a zillion re-auths and phone-homes, ESPECIALLY when you change hard drives. I don't mind doing this in the rare case of hardware failure, but this is a STUPID bug.

Seagate rep had no idea if or when a PPC flash utility would be available. Part of me says "send it back" to OWC/use the AMEX return protection program and simply get a refund, and start all over. What drive should I replace this with? OWC suggested the 7200.11 -- is there a better drive that actually works, in the 750gig range?

Jan. 22, 2009


Chris Eschweiler

To Andrew A., you didn't do anything wrong. My tech support process went exactly like yours did, with my submission being unescalated until I logged back in and manually selected the escalate option.

Actually, the first ticket I opened was closed within an hour with no assistance or communication with Seagate. How they determined this was "solved" is beyond me.

I also attempted to chat through their online chat system ut was disconnected three times. If it hadn't taken 20-30 minutes of waiting for the next available support person, it wouldn't have been that big of a deal. But after 90 minutes of frustration, I gave up on the chat and opened a second ticket.

I don't want to sound like Chicken Little, but I think it might be prudent for people with Seagate drives to make sure that all important and irreplaceable data is backed up on either other brands of harddrives, optical media, or online somewhere. Until the extent of the issue is determined, it's better to be prepared than surpised.


Terrence Thompson


It sounds like this is a good case for a class action lawsuit.

Mike Stone is correct. Seagate is stonewalling and the drives were said to be Mac-compatible. I'm not by a Windows PC to fix mine.

Seagate should be forced to provide a TOTAL cash refund for anyone with the drives and cover data recovery costs.

Ironically, a few years ago I stopped buying IBM (Hitachi) DeskStar (Deathstar) drives since three failed.

We're running out of reliable drive sources.

I depend upon hard drive backups in my business. I'm switching to lower-RPM drives since they seem to fail less. The speed difference for real life business is negligible.


Mike Youngberg

I have multiple 1TB drives. Three I know are affected. Four are Hitachi (not affected). I also have 4 in Drobo, but have no clue as vendor and firmware level. I've put in a problem request at Drobo -- no reply thus far. I also have 1 in a WiebeTech enclosure -- same problem: Can't remove it to check it 'cause it might die.


MacInTouch Reader

Just a few observations to add.

1. I noticed that Seagate's DriveDetect
does not seem to be able to detect a Mac formatted
drive on a Windows system with MacDrive7 installed. It only detects Windows formatted drives.

2. Panther System Profiler does not seem to list
Seagate serial number. Only the case info, for example, OWC/WiebeTech Model Names and their Firmware versions are listed.
Digging around with TechToolPro
listing of serial number (ST... etc.) can be found in the Tests>Drives pane.

4. It seems to me that the Seagate article note on affected: "drives from these families manufactured through December 2008"
is a fairly vague definition.
At first reading I thought it meant drives manufactured
during Dec 08. But without any other specification I guess
it means all drives of this family manufactured, over the years, up to this date...?

5. I have found no information on what drives are installed in the Free Agent series. But their Firmware versions do not seem to be on the list.


Randy Garbin

I'm not 100% sure I had one of the affected drives since I don't have it in front of me, but two months ago, I bought a 1TB drive that failed about 45 days later. It made these uncharacteristic clicking noises (never good for a hard drive). When it failed a S.M.A.R.T. test, I pulled it and since it was still under warranty, sent it back to Seagate and got a replacement. Unfortunately, I got back (according to their policy) a refurbished drive.

Also, word of advice, never, never, never throw out your original packaging for these things. Warranty dictates that you must use original packaging to be accepted. Since I didn't have mine, I opted to buy new packaging at $20/pop. Ouch.


Eric Taylor

re: Jeremy Roberts & Seagate hard drive xfers

IMHO, the easiest way to transfer your whole "from scratch" drive somewhere else is to just do a copy with ASR in the Terminal.

sudo asr restore --source / --target /Volumes/NewDrive

This will pretty much copy the entire boot drive exactly as is over to the new HD using Apple's own tool. Frequently, as long as the new HD is then booted in the same machine even things like Adobe Creative Suite won't complain about the move. Just don't have anything running except Terminal while you do the transfer.

Tip: It is highly advised to name the drive you are copying to something quite different from your current HD, like "NewDrive", before you start any cloning or restoring process. That way there is less likelihood of a mistake due to name similarity...


Jim Behlke

I just had a funny live chat with a person working for a retailer who sells Seagate hard drives. I don't want to single them out so I'll keep their identity generic. I was asking about the new Seagate 7200.12 drives. I wondered if these drives may experience firmware flaws similar to the 7200.11 drives. Here is how the session went:

Me: regarding your Seagate 7200.12 hard drives, At this time they are having terrible problems with their hard drives failing because of firmware issues, especially with hard drives manufactured in Thailand late last year. I'm concerned this item number may also fail -- there is only a 30 day warranty. Can you give me any information about the firmware version on this drive? Apparently the problem Seagate is having is with their firmware and not with the hard drive itself-- the wrong firmware can kill the drive. I doubt you can answer my question in a few moments and you may need to get more information from Seagate; if you could look into this and email me I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

Her: I'm sorry, we can't provide specific manufacturer's information about firmware on these drives.

Me: Sounds like you may be selling garbage.

Her: I will give the information to my department.

Me: Thanks. I hear you folks provide good service. If your service department gets any more information I'd appreciate hearing from you.

Her: I am sorry we don't have a sales department, nor do other departments contact customers on versions of items we have. We don't guarantee versions unfortunately.

Me: Thanks. Have a nice day.

My conclusion: First, don't buy oem drives. Second, don't purchase any current or future Seagate hard drives, boxed or OEM, until this issue has been resolved and Seagate has explicitly assured us that all flawed drives have been expunged from retail channels. Seagate will need to issue a statement assuring us that all flawed hard drives have been recalled.

Question to Seagate: Are you still selling flawed hard drives through your retail channels?


Todd Bangerter

There is already a class-action lawsuit being investigated:


Paul Huang

Randy Garbin said:

Warranty dictates that you must use original packaging to be accepted. Since I didn't have mine, I opted to buy new packaging at $20/pop. Ouch.

The above is not true. As long as the drive is placed inside a sturdy box and has plenty of cushioning materials (more than 2" all the way around) such as dense foam, it will be acceptable.


Neil Maller

Eric Taylor writes:

"IMHO, the easiest way to transfer your whole 'from scratch' drive somewhere else is to just do a copy with ASR in the Terminal."

It's not necessary to use Terminal. The Restore tab in Apple's Disk Utility will perform this same function in a fashion that's more straightforward for most users.

Jan. 23, 2009


Randy Cooper

I see seagate has a bootable ISO image that can be used to upgrade the firmware on the drive I have. I assume this is only for an Intel based PC; is this true? Are the instructions for performing the actual firmware upgrade in the ISO image or are they on Seagate's web site and if so can someone tell me where? My biggest problem may be getting access to a PC that supports SATA, as the only computer I have that does is my Power Mac G5.


Mike Connally

Interesting post on the situation:
  Seagate Firmware Update Bricks 500GB Barracudas


Bill Graefe Jr

I've not read the notes posted the 22nd, but I wanted to quickly share my thoughts. I bought two 1G affected Seizegate drives. One was making clicks of death out of the box (and vibrating badly). I found this month that it was giving SMART errors (OS X should put a message up and not make you look in Disk Utility!) Quality control was seriously lacking.

I ordered a cross ship drive on the 9th, copied it, then started secure erasing it. I finished yesterday when I saw this info via macsurfer. I figured the bad drive would be a good test mule to use for the updater. I downloaded the ISO and burned it to a DVD-RW (faster than CD). Set the OS to boot the DVD, took out all BUT the bad drive, booted, and applied the firmware (picked the right model in the list of three). I shut down and reinstalled the rest of the drives and booted. Verified all was as expected so I did the same thing against my Time machine disk as that seemed the smartest to apply the update against. When I did so, I used the hold C option to boot the DVD as it worked and was much simpler.

So, I'm going to wait and see how things run with this and watch the news before the main drive gets its update. Hope this helps someone. (Oh, I have a Mac Pro with the drives directly in the bays. Woe to those that don't. Seagate needs to step up on this.)

For the person who said his Mac was also bricked by this, try removing the problem drive and zapping PRAM (cmd-opt-P-R at boot). Then boot the DVD.


Tracy Valleau

Here's what worked for me:

Success!... or at least what appears to be success: I have working drives (turned out I had two affected 7200.11s) which I powered up and down a few times with success. The firmware went from SD15 to SD1A.

Here's what I did:

and clicking on my drive in the table at the bottom of the page, was taken to another page on which I carefully selected the frimware update for just my drive.

Downloaded that to my Mac PPC Quad an d used Disk utility to burn the .ISO image to a CD.

Took the affected drives into Disk Utility and repartitioned them to
MasterBootRecord and FAT16

Put the CD into my Dell
Disconnected all other drives in the Dell, and connected the one to be updated
Booted from the CD
Pressed F10
Pressed S (scan) to verify that it properly saw my drive
selected the letter (A in my case) to install the firmware
waited for the process to conclude, whereupon (as noted on the screen) pressing "the any key" :-) the machine shut down, and I retrieved my freshly minted drive.


Rick Gordon

I have three internal Seagate ST31000340AS 1 TB drives, two configured into a striped RAID, and another independent.

I've got two questions:

1) I've seen contradicting information on the Seagate website concerning the SD04 firmware level:

, it says that SD04 firmware is potentially problematical.

, it lists only SD15, SD16, SD17, SD18, and SD19.

What's the real deal?

2) Has anyone determined whether the firmare updaters can be run as a wine application using Crossover?


Robin Lake

As I posted previously, several hours with very patient Apple Tech Support did not resolve the lack of bootability for my brand new Seagate Barracuda 1.5 Tb SATA hard drive. Model ST315005N1A1AS--RK .

Long story short: Even with hard-zeroing the drive and using Carbon Copy Cloner to copy a working, bootable volume onto the Seagate Barracuda, the drive would not boot. Running Disk Warrior on the drive produced a bootable drive!


MacInTouch Reader

Does anyone know if this is the current firmware for this drive? I am experiencing random "will not wake from sleep" issues.


Capacity: 186.31 GB
Model: ST9200420ASG
Revision: 3.AAA
Serial Number: 5SH09DF7
Native Command Queuing: Yes
Queue Depth: 32
Removable Media: No
Detachable Drive: No
BSD Name: disk0
Mac OS 9 Drivers: No
Partition Map Type: GPT (GUID Partition Table)
S.M.A.R.T. status: Verified
Macintosh HD:
Capacity: 153.88 GB
Available: 96.71 GB
Writable: Yes
File System: Journaled HFS+
BSD Name: disk0s2
Mount Point: /

I contacted Seagate but they have not responded.



Arthur Kent

I went into a local Circuit City store today, and they are selling (actually, closeout sale on all their items) a Seagate 500 Gig SATA drive for $99.99, before 10% off. This is a 7200 RPM, 16 MB Cache drive, manufactured in 2007 in China, and according to Seagate's site, it is a 7200.9 series drive. Also, it is a retail box that they are selling, which means it includes some cables and software (for Windows).

In my Mac Pro, I have a Seagate 7200.9 250 Gigabyte series drive (even though, according to System Profiler, the "vendor" is Intel), but it has only 8 MB of cache.

So, my questions are:

1. What are the differences, if any, between the 7200.9 and 7200.11 series?

2. Will the additional 8 MB of cache make a noticeable difference when I use the machine, especially at start up?


Steve Maller

Seagate appears to have posted firmware updates for some of their drives. Here's a page with updates for some of the Barracuda 7200.11 drives, including the 1TB SATA drives which I have (ST31000340AS).

Now to figure out how to do this on a Mac. Parallels didn't work. I may have to install Boot Camp. I don't have a PC with an SATA controller.


Steve Maller

I successfully updated five Seagate ST31000340AS (7200.11 1TB drives) which were at SD15 firmware to 'SD1A' firmware. This was a little complicated because after I did the two that were internal to my Mac Pro, I had to remove three of my internal drives and replace them with the three from my eSATA drive. It turns out the sixth 1TB drive was actually a Maxtor-labeled drive, and the firmware hasn't been posted for that drive yet.

Details here:


Todd Bangerter

The article about SD04 that Rick Gordon links to is about a different (and much older) issue. Some of the very first batch of 7200.11 drives shipped with the wrong firmware on them. They shipped with a firmware for a lower-performance drive, which is why only part of the disk cache is recognized.

The label on the drive correctly identifies the drive model. So, if System Profiler shows firmware SD04 or SD14, and the model reported by System Profiler is DIFFERENT from the model shown on the drive's label, then you've got the wrong firmware on the drive, and it's only recognizing a portion of the drive cache. If the wrong firmware is on the drive, then the model number will differ in System Profiler by the orange highlighted numeral in that article. You can contact Seagate to get an update to firmware AD14.

These SD04 and SD14 drives are (so far) not identified as having the bricking issues that's been in the news the past week.

Jan. 24, 2009


Mark Evans

To all those with an affected Seagate hard drive-

If you have an Intel Mac with access to the SATA ports, the Seagate Windows Firmware ISO CD will work. Windows is NOT needed.

I did it.

My affected drive-
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11
Model - ST31000340AS
Firmware - SD15

1)Download the Seagate ISO
2)Burn the CD as directed.
3)Shut down the machine with the CD in the drive.
4)Place the Seagate drive in the FIRST bay (Mac Pro instructions). Remove all other drives from the machine. If you have more than one Seagate drive that needs to be flashed, I have read that it is best to do one drive at a time.
5)Turn on Machine. It will boot into DOS. How I don't know.. but, it did. I don't have a Boot Camp partition and even if I did, my startup drive was sitting on my desk, outside the machine. Weird.
But DAMN cool.
6) Follow prompts. The whole process took about two minutes.

For my PPC brothers, I think Seagate left you out in the cold. Be vocal, RMA the drive and complain with your wallet. I know I will. has a report on this as well--

Hope this helps someone.


John Warwick

Seagate's firmware updater download is used to create a bootable freeDOS CD (from an ISO image) that runs the updater. You do not need Parallels or Windows to update your drives, but you do need a computer with a SATA bus.

If you are using a Mac to do this, you need an Intel Mac to boot the freeDOS CD. Practically, this means you need a Mac Pro or a friends PC.


Matt Rosenberg

Installing the Seagate update is fairly easy, assuming you have an Intel-based Mac that you can install the drive into. It needs to be attached directly to the built-in SATA bus. If you have a Mac Pro, just put the drive in one of the trays. You may want to remove other drives temporarily as a precaution. I assume you could also use an Intel iMac, if you can get the drive in there. The update doesn't require that your normal operating system be available, so it's OK if you have to remove your boot disk to do this.

The update file itself is a .ISO disk image. Use the Burn function in Disk Utility to burn it to CD. Put the CD in the Mac's optical drive and restart. Hold 'c' on the keyboard to boot from the updater disk. Then, just follow the prompts on screen.

I updated two drives using a Mac Pro -- one at a time -- with no problems.


Dennis Bishop

Yesterday I found Seagate 1.5TB Barracuda 7200.11 internal drives for $127.99 on Dell's Small Business site. The model number of the drive is ST31500341AS. I'm going to put two in my new Drobo box.


Gary Kellogg

N W wrote:

"Someone mentioned Seagate firmware SD15 as not being affected. According to this, it is:"

The info below the chart on that page says,

"If your drive *matches* one of the models listed in this article and *does not match* any of these versions of firmware, please call us at 1-800-SEAGATE..."

This suggests to me that (as with other listed firmware versions), the revision SD15 firmware is not affected because SD15 *is listed* in the chart.

Twisty logic, but for now I have an LaCie Q4 enclosure with a ST3500320AS drive with SD15 firmware; the drive is working and I am a bit less concerned. In other words, I'll wait until tomorrow morning to go to Frys rather than go tonight.


Antonio Tejada

Arthur Kent wrote that:

"[Circuit City is selling a 500GB Seagate] 7200.9 series drive.
1. What are the differences, if any, between the 7200.9 and 7200.11 series?
2. Will the additional 8 MB of cache make a noticeable difference when I use the machine, especially at start up?"

First of all, $90 for a 500GB drive is way too much, never mind for an old model! On NewEgg you can find various brands of drives that size for about $65. Or you can get a 1TB drive for $100. I buy OEM drives -- it's no unnecessary packaging, and no unnecessary cables.

As for the difference between 7200.9, 7200.11, and 7200.12 (the current model), it's just performance. Each version is faster and more efficient than the last.

And finally as for cache: you'll never notice the difference. After about 2MB, differences in drive caches are academic at best -- benchmarks and real-world experience show that there's no measurable difference in actual performance.

What will make a difference on startup times and application launch times is the seek time, which is largely a function of the disk's RPM. If you really want to fit your Mac Pro with a fast boot drive, look at the Western Digital Velociraptor drives, which are 10,000RPM instead of the usual 7200. (15,000RPM drives exist, but require a costly expansion card to connect to. And of course the drives are very expensive, too.) Velociraptors are noticeably faster, but you give up capacity, as they only go up to 300GB. For a Mac Pro, you must buy the "backplane ready" version, not the "SATA cable" version. If a Velociraptor is too small or too expensive, look at the WD Caviar Black series, or the latest Hitachi drives. They're all great contenders while we wait for the Seagate problems to pan out.

FYI, all else held equal, a higher-capacity drive will be faster than a smaller drive.

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