Seagate suffering massive failure rates on Barracuda 7200.11 drives?

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The Inquirer is reporting that Seagate’s flagship Barracuda desktop drives are experiencing massive failure rates.  Apparently, there is faulty microcode installed on the drives that occasionally results in the drive bricking itself when the computer first boots.  It’s impossible to tell if or when it’s going to happen, either; the drive simply locks up, spinning, powered, and completely undetectable.  At least one person involved with the RMA process is suggesting that failure rates may be as high as 30-40%.

Seagate has already tracked down the problem and released a firmware patch, but this can’t do anything for already failed drives.  Unfortunately, no recall has been or at this point will be issued for drives with problematic firmware still on store shelves.  Seagate’s community forums are being filled with complaints and worries.

If you currently use a Barracuda 7200.11 drive and don’t have a current backup, do it now.  Don’t reboot the computer; the problem, when it happens, happens at boot.  Instead, take any important files and back them up via USB flash drive, hard drive, or even optical drive. You could also look into online storage solutions, such as Amazon’s S3.  Remember, you should always keep a current backup. 

Have you had any problems with these drives?  Let us know in the comments.

Further reading:

The Inquirer

Seagate forums

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