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Old 01-31-2009, 05:12 PM   #11
ktinkel
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A recent statement of the Seagate drive problem.

This may affect:
Barracuda 7200.11, Barracuda ES.2 (SATA), DiamondMax 22, FreeAgent Desk, Maxtor OneTouch 4, Pipeline HD, Pipeline HD Pro, SV35.3, and SV35.4. While only some percentage of the drives will be susceptible to this issue, Seagate recommends that all drives in these families be update d to the latest firmware!
The cause is this:
The firmware issue is that the end boundary of the event log circular buffer (320) was set incorrectly. During Event Log initialization, the boundary condition that defines the end of the Event Log is off by one.
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. This error is detected and results in an "Assert Failure", which causes the drive to hang as a failsafe measure. When the drive enters failsafe further update s to the counter become impossible and the condition will remain through subsequent power cycles. The problem only arises if a power cycle initialization occurs when the Event Log is at 320 or some multiple of 256 thereafter. Once a drive is in this state, there is no path to resolve/recover existing failed drives without Seagate technical intervention.
The solution is to update firmware, and Seagate recommends that all drives in the “effected families” be updated the latest firmware.

From what I have read on Macintouch, Mac users should call Seagate and throw themselves on the mercy of the techs there. We cannot easily determine if our drives may be affected, nor can we easily apply the firmware update.

Much more information at the link.

   
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Old 01-31-2009, 09:37 PM   #12
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Thanks to you and Hugh for the pointers. I'll continue breathing for now.

I have 12 drives that are affected models -- in three four-drive RAID-5 arrays. After reading the Seagate KB article on the issue last weekend, I sent off an email to Seagate as the article said I should. Yesterday (a week later), I got a message back from Seagate ... pointing me to the KB article. Very reassuring!

But this event log weirdness sounds like something that's not likely to reach up and bite all the drives at once ... and may not hit any of them. So I'll see what I eventually hear from Seagate, assuming that they send a more thoughtful response to my reply to their unhelpful message.

Will be a pain, though, to go through a drill of pulling drives one at a time from the RAID arrays and connecting them to a regular controller so I can flash them.

I'm also wondering whether the RAID controllers will see them as the same drives when they're reconnected or whether they'll look like new drives. If they look like new drives, I'll need to let the array rebuild after I pull and flash each drive.

   
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Old 02-01-2009, 06:41 AM   #13
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Yes, it does sound as if even those with affected drives have breathing room.

But given the difficulties of dealing with the problem (actually, dealing with Seagate!) to diagnose and, if necessary, solve the problem on a Mac, I am trying to figure out what drive to get to replace this Seagate.

The company needs either to stop marketing heavily to Mac users or fix their Mac support or both. Right now I am just annoyed.

   
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:45 PM   #14
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If the updating/diagnostic software recognizes USB drives, Bytecc makes some cute little gadgets that'd be handy in this situation.

You plug one end into the bare drive. The other end's a USB connector. Plug that into your computer, it recognizes the bare drive as a USB device and you're off to the races.

EIDE or SATA available.

   
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Old 02-02-2009, 02:14 PM   #15
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Seagate do stress that you must disconnect all other drives from your system before flashing the firmware, as one might expect.

But since the drive on my desktop was newish and little used so far and because of the fag of getting the case out into the open, opening it, disconnecting cables and remembering where they went to and then reversing it all, I decided to take a chance.

My system has two Maxtor (now Seagate owned) main hard drives and the Seagate plus a WD external on USB.

I made the bootable CD image from the download file and rebooted to it and it went through the motions of listing drives -- Maxtor (not Seagate), Maxtor (not Seagate) Seagate .... and burned the update and it's now SD1A

However I have read that someone who did a system with several Seagate drives inside found that the updater listed them and then burned them all without asking one by one and he did not like that although I'm not quite sure why ....

FWIW

   
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