Seagate fixes 7200.11 drives--except when it doesn't

After users find that the update "bricks" 500GB drives, Seagate retracts the fix.

Seagate on Tuesday released a fix to a bug in its current generation of drives that caused them to become undetectable by a computer. Users have found, however, that the fix breaks 500GB drives--the fix has since been retracted.

A member of Seagate's community forums raised the issue in November, with Seagate taking close to two months to offer a fix.

Seagate logo

The bug affects a significant portion of not only Seagate's Barracuda 7200.11 drives, but Barracuda ES.2 SATA and Maxtor DiamondMax 22 drives. Forums across the Internet have been filled with warnings not to buy drives that feature the SD15 revision of firmware; however, Seagate's own documentation shows that SD16, SD17, SD18, and SD19 are also affected within certain model numbers.

This is not the first time Seagate has had a firmware issue with the 7200.11 series of drives. The SD04 and SD14 firmware revisions were found to be under-performing because they weren't accessing the full cache of the drives, and were replaced with version AD14 to fix this.

The new SD1A firmware was meant to be preventative only, but some users have found success updating and reviving already dead drives, according to Seagate's forums.

Users of Seagate's Barracuda 7200.11 500GB product, however, have found that the update "bricks" their drives--terminology used in the tech industry to mean the unit is dead.

Seagate has since removed the firmware update, claiming it is "in validation."

U.S. customers have been offered free data recovery should the firmware bug have resulted in data loss.

The affected drives are listed below.

Drive typeDrive modelFirmware revision
Barracuda 7200.11ST3500320AS
SD15, SD16, SD17, SD18
Barracuda 7200.11ST31500341AS
Barracuda ES.2 SATAST3250310NS
DiamondMax 22STM3500320AS
MX15 or higher
DiamondMax 22STM31000334AS

Craig Simms reported for CNET Australia.

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