According to news site The Register, Seagate's 1TB Barracuda hard drives are giving up the ghost "at an alarming rate." Users all across the globe have started complaining of lockups, non-detection in the BIOS, 0GB reported disc size, and other ailments, as reported by The Register and forum threads like the one at MSFN (Microsoft Software Forum Network).
If true, the problem appears to affect Barracuda 7200.11 drives made in Thailand (ST3100034AS) with firmware SD15. Users claim the reported failures are higher than what would be considered normal for hard drives, and adding insult to injury, some users are complaining of deleted and edited posts in an 18+ page support thread on Seagate's own forum.
And for you conspiracy theorists out there, while no Seagate Knowledge Base article yet exists on this specific topic, the company did recently reduce its bare drive warranty period from 5 to 3 years. For you non-conspiracy theorists, that means your drive is still under warranty.
Update 1/16/09 - Seagate Responds
Seagate sent us an update regarding the failures and what steps potentially affected users can take to both resolve the issue and recover data. Full statement below:
Seagate has isolated a potential firmware issue in certain products, including some Barracuda 7200.11 hard drives and related drive families based on this product platform, manufactured through December 2008. In some circumstances, the data on the hard drives may become inaccessible to the user when the host system is powered on*.
Support is also available through Seagate's call center: 1-800-SEAGATE (1 800 732-4283)
Customers can expedite assistance by sending an email to Seagate (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please include the following disk drive information: model number, serial number and current firmware revision. We will respond, promptly, to your email request with appropriate instructions. There is no data loss associated with this issue, and the data still resides on the drive. But if you are unable to access your data due to this issue, Seagate will provide free data recovery services. Seagate will work with you to expedite a remedy to minimize any disruption to you or your business.