The last time we posted about these drives was 2015, and we’re seeing another surge of these drives failing again.
In the past week alone, we’ve seen two separate pairs of RAID mirrors (four drives total), an iMac Fusion Drive, a standalone iMac drive and an external Seagate backup drive from a PC. All failed with no known impact, and all unrecoverable due to media damage.
What is media damage?
In a hard drive, the discs are the media, and damage is caused by impact from the heads or another internal part. Usually this takes a certain amount of force and will be the result of the drive being dropped or knocked over. For some reason, these Seagate drives seem to also succumb to damage without any known impact.
Is it just a head crash?
Yes it is. However head crash is a very specific term that has now been abused to mean many other general faults. It’s very common to hear people talk about a crashed hard drive, when all they really mean is the drive is not accessible.
Is this unusual?
For other common hard drives, when parts wear out or fail, it doesn’t usually result in media damage. Often we can replace the heads and get the drive running, at least well enough to extract the data one last time. Dropped drives always run the risk of media damage, but drives do have protection from such impacts, so it’s always worth pursuing if the data is important.
What’s the answer?
If you’ve already got a failed Seagate drive, get in touch with us ASAP, as there really is a limited window of opportunity to get the data back when these fail. Recovery is possible if we get them soon enough!
If you’ve got any of these drives installed anywhere, it’s probably a good idea to backup and migrate over to some new disks as soon as you can. We don’t give specific brand recommendations, as we strongly believe in running a full-time backup regardless of the disk you choose. In an ideal world, any disk you own should be replaceable without any loss of data by loading from a backup.
Disks to watch out for
- Seagate Barracuda
- Seagate Desktop Hard Drive
There may be other similar model numbers too. These are particularly risky in consumer RAIDs, as it’s common to either not notice when the first one fails, or to get two failures in quick succession.