We no longer take these Seagate models in for recovery. Finding spares is becoming impossible and, if the drive is clicking in any way, we have found them to be unrecoverable.

The other hard drive that was destroyed by overheating Macbook computers was manufactured by Hitachi, and the model number began HTS541… Similarly to the Seagate 7.01 and 3.CAE, if they are clicking, we no longer accept these for data recovery.

Scratches on Hard Disk

Scratches on Hard Disk

It came to our attention early in 2007 from the sheer volume of this particular drive received for recovery that they have a critical manufacturing flaw. We issued press releases to this effect, but despite the journalists speaking with Seagate and failing to get any reaction whatseoever from Apple, nothing was published until later in the year.

The faulty drives are all Seagate 2.5″ drives that are manufactured in China, with Firmware revisions 7.01 and 3.CAE. They are also all SATA interface. No other drives seem (at this stage) to be affected.

We are now aware that some of these drives with Firmware 7.01 have been manufactured in Singapore.  This means, simply, that regardless of your drive’s provenance, if it has firmware 7.01 or 3.CAE it needs to be considered dangerously unreliable and likely to fail.  Again, proactive steps should be taken to back up your data and replace the hard drive as a matter of urgency.

We believe that Apple, in their silence, and with no hint of a recall, should replace these drives (whether or not they have failed, and regardless of warranty status) free of charge with suitable alternatives.

How to determine if your drive is one of these affected:

In System Profiler, look under Serial-ATA for the Revision, which shows the firmware of your hard drive.  You will see “Model” and if it begins with letters “ST9” then it is a Seagate drive.

If yours is Revision 7.01 or 3.CAE (only Seagate drives have these numbers) you need to back up your data immediately because the drive is going to fail. But then it probably already has…

We are receiving quantities of these drives for recovery, and nearly all display the same cause of failure. The read/write heads appear to fail mechanically, quickly causing deep scratches to the platter surface, and rendering the drives unrecoverable.

Should you have one of these drives in your system, we recommend you contact Apple and demand a free and immediate replacement.  Be determined in your efforts if you encounter any resistance; Apple are responsible for supplying these defective drives in their systems, and not Seagate, and Apple should be held accountable for their replacement.

This issue has now been recognised in the following publications: