03-06-2009 09:44 AM
Since I have posted in several threads about this issue,
and some of those threads have been closed by the forum moderators
I am consolidating what I have tried and found into a single thread in hopes of helping the user community as a whole. I have found some interesting results which again re-enforces my opion that there is a fundamental issue with something in this drive. But, I have found a way to recover my data. It is my hope that this information can be of some use to the community as a whole and help other folks from loosing their data.
I have a 1.5Tb Free Agent that I purchased after my brand new Maxtor 1TB NAS drive died. I managed to get my data onto the new 1.5Tb drive, and it began to exhibit the EXACT same symptoms I see described by other users in this forum. The drive will "click" and give me delayed write failures. I cannot copy or delete my data off the drive.
I have used a USB cable from another USB drive which has multiple power leads to supply additional power. I have let the drive sit until it spins down. The only thing I have not done is remove the drive from its enclusure. I also saw one user post up about cooling the drive down. I am wondering if the drive will perform better in lower temps.
I understand this drive is not currently covered by the Seagate BIOS upgrade. But, on all the hardware support forums I visit (like Tom's Hardware). or when I check NewEgg, I find the same comments over and over. Lots and lots of failures.
So, here is the crux of my questions.
Is the BIOS to blame in these drives?
Can we get a definitive answer on what is wrong?
Is this a drive that data can be recovered by Seagate like the internal models?
The repsonses I have seen thus far from the forum support staff is for the end user to call Seagate tech support. I like many others am not interested in spending an hour to be given the run around by a cusotmer service rep who probably has no clue about my issue and will give me a rather generic answer.
Surely, someone at Seagate can comment on what this issues is or isn't. If it is BIOS, then can we upgrade it. If its a design flaw, then tell me so I can wipe the drive and return it. I purchased through Best Buy and want to get this returned before my 30 days is up if there is no possible resolution.
I've seen the same canned ressponse from the moderator AlanM in every thread which says "sometimes drives fail". Now, I do agree with you that drives sometimes do fail. But, does it not seem more than coincedental that you have so many failures being reported on this forum with the same exact symptoms. As well the same symptoms being reported on numerous other sites?
I've asked before, and I will ask yet again, Is there anyone at Seagate you can esclate to to get a more definitive answer? I will be quite honest that I am more than a littel preturbed that the only" support" we get is denial, obfuscation, and blaming the victims.
"Oh, the issue is that you didn't have all your data backed up in multiple locations." No Alan, the issue is that the drives that all of are paying our hard earned money for to back up our data are failing at an alarming rate. When we come here, and we all have the same issue all we get is silence, or we get some vauge answer and we're told the issue the fact we have an issue is our fault.
Honestly I haven't seen ANY effort on your part to assist folks on the most basic issue. You flitter into a thread, don't answer any direct questions, and the head off.
I challenged you before, and I challenge you again to get your superior, or someone from Seagate who can actually speak to all these failures in here and actually answer some of these questions...
Anyhow enough of my rant about the lack of real help from the moderation staff. Lets outline what all I have tested:
My base machine for use with this drive is a Dell Precision M75 with a Dell D-Port docking station. The drive along with all of my other USB drives goes into the USB ports on the docking station. I have also tested the drive in the onboard USB ports of the laptop with the same results. The Laptop is running Windows XP Pro SP2.
There have been reports that the drive works better in Vista than it does in XP. I will outline my findings around that as well.
The one laptop (M75) I am doing my testing on has a spare drive loaded with Vista. Some of my testing was with the M75 on Vista. I also tested the drive with a brand new Dell laptop which came with Vista loaded on it as well. Along with a Dell Inspiron 1525 loaded with Vista and a Dell Dimension C521 Desktop loaded with XP.
I wanted to update with the fact that I had tried a differnet Seagate Power supply from the one the drive came supplied with. There was a report in one of the threads about the power connector having a loose conenction. I plugged the drive into multiple machines (desktops and laptops) with the same result (click of death). I have also swapped out the USB cable. The only things I have left to try is to remove the drive from the enclosure and/or cool the drive down to see if there are any thermal related issues.
Test #1 was too cool the drive to about 40 degrees for 12 hours to see if there was a thermal issue. The machine was connected to an XP machine, and as soon as the drive had power applied it began "clicking". So, in this case I don't know that it is stricly a thermal issue.
Test #2 was an OS swap. I connected the drive to a Vista workstation (Dell Dimension C521). The drive clicked a bit at first, but it stopped clicking pretty quickly and started working for a few minutes. In this time I was able to delete some of the information I don't want on the drive if I return it. The drive does appear to work "better" in Vista than it does in XP. This appears also from further testing to be somewhat machine dependant.
I moved the drive to another Vista workstation and attempted to copy data off the drive onto a new WD 1Tb Black Caviar drive that I have set up to copy data to. The data shows to be there, but the copy is unable to read much of the data from the drive. Out of 60Gb of data I was able to pull 120Mb of data total. (Dell M75 running Vista). I tried this same test on other Vista machines as well, and on two different Vista machines the results were the same. The drive would see the data, but I could not copy it. In XP the behavior was worse, much much worse.
While the drive is running in Vista it is quieter. So, something abotu the OS interaction is "better". But, it is my belief the drive does still have some issues as data from the drive cannot be read.
Ok so I did some follow on testing. The 30 day return for Best Buy is almost up, and I needed to wipe the drive before I returned it. So, I did some further testing, and the results were quite frankly pretty suprising....
Step 1 was to see if I could format the disk from XP. I could not. The drive would click away and make all sorts of racket and generally not co-operate. So, I decided that I would remove the drive from its enclosure. I started fromt eh back of the case, and pried out around the SATA connectors until I could see the plastic "snaps" that hold the case together. I used a thin screwdriver to push on the clips, and worked my way around the perimiter of the drive. If you look on the back, the Connectors on teh back have writing over the top of them. ESATA, the power logo, etc... Aboce the writing is where you split the case.
Once yout have the guts out you just diassemble the metal enclosure and pop the drive out. Its a normal SATA drive.
Step 2 was that I placed the drive in a Thermaltake SATA docking station to see if the issue was the Seagate Enclosure itself. The drive still clicked like crazy... So, I've eliminated the enclosure. It still comes down to some issue with the drive.
So, my last bit of testing was going to be around what to do to wipe the drive. If I could not wipe the drive I was going to use some very strong Cobalt Samarium magnets and wipe the data by exposing the platters to a VERY strong magnetic field.
I got a low level format utility (which is a bit of a misnomer) from HDGURU. You can't actually Low-Level a modern drive as you can't change the geometry, etc.. of the drive. But, what you can do is write all zeros to the drive and wipe everything on it (provided you can read it). It just so happens that I have an old machine that I was going to use just for the sole purpose of doing a "low level" on the drive since it would take the better part of a day to do it... Its a Dell Dimension 2350.
Here is the interesting part. I plugged the drive (still in the Thermaltake enclosure) into the Dimension 2350. The drive went through soe "clicking" a few times. At first I thought "time to break out the magnets". It was taking a minute to be detected so I pulled the USB cable, and re-inserted it. Then a funny thing happened. The drive stopped clicking. And then the machine recognized the drive. It installed it, and showed it to be ready for use. I went into "My Computer" and began to browse the drive. All the data was there, and all of it was accesible. Hmmmmmm.....
So, I took my WD 1TB drive and put it in the Seagate enclosure. I plugged it into the Dimension 2350. It saw it as well. It took awhile for the drive to be recognized, just like the 1.5TB drive. But, I think its just because its an older and slower machine.
Not one to pass on good fortune, I took the opportunity to copy off any data I wanted to keep. All the data copied fast, and complete. The drive is actually remarkably quiet. The drive is actually much quieter than the Seagate. Once the copy was done I manually deleted all the files to see if the drive have issues with accessing or deleting data. The wipe went quick, again, no issues. So far the drive was acting an performing normally.
Not wanting to risk what i had working, I set up the low level utility (which basically writes all zeroes to the entire disk) to run from the Thermaltake enclosure. The wipe took about 24 hours. The drive ran without issue during that entire time... Once that wipe was done, I decided to do the big test. I pulled the drive from the enclosure and placed it back into the Seagate enclsure and pwered it back up.
The drive came back on with no issues... I went into Disk Administrator, made the disk active, and created a partition for the drive. I decided to to a complete format of the drive just to see how it would act. As I type, the drive is at 72% complete on the system format.
Once I am done, I will attach the drive to the orginal machines and go back through my original testing. It is my beleif at this point that the drive will still "click" when I attach it to the machines that I had issues with. But, i am going to verify this assumption.
The Dimension 2350 I am testing with is running XP Sp3. That is the only difference between it and my other machines running XP SP2. I feel like ther eis some fundametal interaction issue between systems and OS. I am unsure exactly where this issue is. But I at least feel good that the in my case I could find a workaround. My only suggestion to others would be to see if you can find other machines to test with and see if you can cooborate my results. Perhaps we can find some commonality in what does and does not work and find a resolution to the the issue.
So, out of 4 machines and two operating systems none would work. It come down to one older machine that was able to read the drive.
I will post up a bit later with my final results as once the format is done I am returning the drive for credit.
03-06-2009 10:30 AM
Well the results get even stranger. I moved the cable from the drive from the 2350 over to the Precison M75. It recognized it, and the drive came up normally. I copied a few gigs of "waste" data, and the drive took it without issue. I deleted the data, again without issue.
I powered the drive down, and brought it back up again. Again, without issue.
I am unsure what caused the drive to run properly. In fact whatever the issue is may now be resolved. But, I for one am not going to trust it. I am returning the drive and going to buy a couple more Western Digital drives.... I will follow up to see if there is any furhter resolution.
So, to summarize in my case I found a machine to connect to that the drive would not "click" on. Once the clicking stopped I have written data to the drive continuously for 24 hrs straight with no issues.
My next suggestion would be for someone to pull the drive from the enclosure and clean the SATA connector good to see if there is an loose connector issue or dirty connector issues.
06-23-2009 01:17 PM
so you were able to succssfully save your data via an older machine? I just caught a real nasty L, I had moved all the data on my computer to the 1.5TB one I had reformated and was in the process of moving thigns over when it randomly 'started'. Fortunatly I got my music studio files copied before it went fubar, but I have ALOT of other stuff (the drive only had 100 or so gigs free) I'm trying to save.
I'm going to try and track down a bootleg copy of XP SP1 or something and try that out, I'll post if that helps or not...it wil lbe USB 1.0 speeds...but saving my data is mroe important than how fast save it.
06-24-2009 06:10 AM
06-25-2009 08:59 AM
06-25-2009 09:25 AM
10-28-2009 09:15 PM
thanks for this post, very helpful.
I've very recently bought a 1.5tb seagate external drive, and it began exhibiting the 'click of death' (the constant mechanical clicking, followed by a failure to read).
I was able to get the data off it, I had reformatted it as a HFS+ drive as i use mac os x on that computer.
i took it back and exchanged it for another one yesterday, I had copied all the data off the original to another hdd (funnily enough to a freeagent 500gb i have for my laptop backup, that works well).
so, i took it back and officeworks gladly exchanged it.
got another one (1.5tb seagate ext), set it to copy back the data, copied it all back... today it is once again exhibiting the same behaviour.
I'm taking it back and will attempt to get a refund, or get another product tonight.
I thought this might have been a 'bad batch', but with two of them BOTH FAILING the exact same way, this is clearly endemic for this model.
I would remind moderators that it would not be a good idea to close this thread, it is very informative, and if there is a hardware problem (which I believe there is) is to advise seagate admit fault and offer a refund or another (working) product.
That is customer service, the man above is performing valuable quality assurance and should be valued by the community.
10-30-2009 02:26 PM
Registered just to post this.
Bought 4 of these drives 1.5 TB external drives. Two first, then two replacements. All four exhibited 'click of death' noises, though there's no indication of any degradation or failing tests.
Returning the last two today - will never buy a Seagate again. This is just unacceptable re: quality control.
10-30-2009 11:26 PM