05-05-2009 01:53 PM - last edited on 05-05-2009 02:57 PM by BradC
Seeing all of the disgruntled customers with the latest Seagate firmware belly flop I thought I'd post my experience.
About a month ago a 4 month old ST31000333AS decided to get stuck in BSY state while attempting to boot one morning. This normally wouldn't be a horrible thing except it contained the only copy of my taxes that had thankfully been filed but it was my only copy for retention purposes. I only did weekly backups and that was usually enough, but this time it wasn't. After battling with the online tech support who were absolutely not helpful at all, I was stuck in and endless loop of them telling me to update the firmware on a drive that was stuck in BSY state. At wits end I decided to try a drive recovery service, but the lowest quote I could find was $2k, which was about the point where I'd just redo my taxes if I ever needed it. I sucked it up and just stuck my failed drive in an ESD bag, and vacuum sealed it at work with a desiccant pack inside for safe keeping.
After my previous failure I needed a replacement drive, so I went to my local Fry's and picked up an STM31000334AS knowing that it was still Seagate but not thinking they would be so inept as to manufacture two separate lines at the same plant using the same base firmware. About 3 weeks later I'm bashing my head against a wall reinstalling windows for the second time in a month because yet another Seagate drive had failed me, this time less than 3 weeks apart. Again I attempt online tech support, and again without even bothering to read what I wrote the guy gives me the blanket "update your firmware statement". I reply repeating what I had said to begin with which was giving the full failure mode and every ounce of information they could want.
After another round of online tech support making me want to jump out of my window I decided to tuck tail and run to daddy. I call up my dad, former Sr. VP of Engineering at Seagate, and explained the absolute crud I had been through. He said that he's heard a bit through the grapevine about a rather fecal laden base firmware that has made it to market and that I should just call the regular tech support phone number. I tried to argue due to my rather poor experience with the online tech, but he assured me aside from a rather pokey queue they are great help.
I call up tech support, and was pretty surprised that I was only on hold about 10 minutes. I give them the serial numbers from both of my drives, explain my failure mode and briefly about the run-in with online support. He said, "it appears your drives are affected by a faulty firmware, let me connect you with our recovery specialists. Here's your case number..." I was put on hold in the i365 queue for about 20 minutes, only for the tech to tell me to go online and fill out my info making sure to put my case number in. I was a little upset about having to wait that long just for someone to tell me to go online and fill out a form, but no worries.
I fill out my i365.com form, put in my info, print out my prepaid shipping form, then drop the box in our UPS pickup pile. The next day I get an email saying they have received my box and were waiting for a tech to look at it. 2 days after putting the box in the mail I get email from the tech saying me looked at my drives, they were indeed affected by faulty firmware, they seemed OK now, and will be in the mail the following day. 4 working days after I put my drives in my mail I get them back and both work flawlessly.
one 4 month old drive fails due to bad firmware - online tech support useless
another 3 week old drive failes due to bad firmware - online tech support useless again
I asked for some insider info and was told to call tech support.
I call tech support, 4 days later my drives are working great.
Kudos to seagate phone tech support and I365 guys!
[Edited in compliance of the community rules and regulations.]