Seagate dithers over drive firmware fix
Seagate, the largest manufacturer of hard drives in the world, has experienced some firmware problems recently with several of their hard drive families. Unfortunately they have also had difficulty in identifying and resolving the problems.
The first problems with Barracuda series 7200.11 drives were reported on internet forums on Friday the 16th of January. The reports claimed that after three or four months the drives would start correctly, but then would not allow access. Seagate have said that only a very small batch of 1TB drives (ST31000340AS) were affected. The cause of the bug was believed to be a firmware problem.
The following day it was discovered that the problem affected many other Barracuda 7200.11 series drives, not just the 1TB versions. Other drives from related families such as the Barracuda ES.2, SV35 and Maxtor DiamondMax 22 were also added to the list of drives with problems. According to Seagate the fault doesn't result in data loss, however the user can no longer read or write data. Seagate stated that it would offer free data recovery for drives, still under warranty and affected by this issue, that could not be fixed with the new firmware.
On Monday the 19th of January Seagate provided firmware updates for many of the defective drives including the Barracuda 7200.11, Barracuda ES.2, SV35 and DiamondMax 22 families. As soon as the firmware updates were out, reports came up on forums reporting that some drives would not accept the new firmware and that it didn't work. As a result, on the following day, Seagate pulled the firmware.
Seagate has stated that it will have a new firmware out for the affected drives in "the next few days." Until the new firmware updates are available, Seagate say it is best to avoid unnecessary use, or power cycles to the affected drives. Seagate say they will issue a detailed list of serial numbers and that the upcoming firmware update is recommended for all the drives they will list, regardless of whether they have manifested the fault or not.
If you are unsure if your drive is affected, you can contact Seagate Support (email@example.com) with your model and serial number and current firmware version. They are currently handling requests on a first-come-first-serve basis.