Firmware 'bug' on Seagate hard drive...

For clients with Seagate Barrcuda 7200.11, DiamondMax 22 and ES.2 SATA hard drives manufactured before 2009, there is a well documented firmware 'bug'. This results in inaccessibility when the host system is powered on. In fairness, Seagate were offering a free data recovery service. Similarly you were able to download new firmware from their website and 'flash' this yourself. Nevertheless, we are seeing many more of these hard drives for data recovery. Although it is near impossible to say whether or when drives with this firmware will fail.  

When testing these hard drives, they are assigned a drive letter, but cannot be interrogated and were not recognised by the BIOS.   The fault lies with an invalid boundary value for the hard disk drive’s ‘circular event log’. Where this coincides with a particular test pattern being placed in the system tracks of the reserved area by some of Seagate’s post manufacture ‘tester’ applications, the event log pointer is incremented beyond its allowable boundary. During power up, if the Event Log counter is at entry 320, or a multiple of (320 + x*256), and if a particular data pattern (dependent on the type of tester used during the drive manufacturing test process) had been present in the reserved-area system tracks when the drive's reserved-area file system was created during manufacturing, firmware will increment the Event Log pointer past the end of the event log data structure. The drive subsequently freezes as a self-protection response. Once this occurs the drive is inoperable.   

Similarly there has been failures with Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 SATA III 6Gb/s drives (model numbers ST3000DM001, ST2500DM001, ST2000DM001 and ST1000DM003) running firmware CC4G (or earlier). They are particularly prone to random failure in RAID arrays. Again the answer is to reflash the hard drives to the latest version of the firmware - CC4H or higher.

Flashing firmware can be a quick process and removes previously unforeseen errors such as those listed above. It also increases the compatibility of the hardware. Simply copy the latest firmware update to another location (not the effected hard drive) and follow the instructions when you launch the hard drive firmware update. You will be asked to accept the user agreement and confirm that you want to update the firmware, then it will run it's magic. It really is that easy providing there are no exasperating factors!