My Life In Tech: Why I Won’t Buy Seagate Hard Drives

Dead Seagate Hard Drive

He’s dead, Jim

When hard drives fail, all is not always lost.  Sometimes you can recover that data and put it on a working drive.

Over the years I’ve seen a lot of Seagate hard drives fail.  I haven’t seen the same thing with Western Digital hard drives.  I won’t recommend Seagate drives, internal or external, to customers.  They are just not reliable.

I had two external Seagate drives here this week, both from the same customer.  He got them from a friend who’d had them connected to a Windows computer.  The reported trouble was that they weren’t being recognized by his Mac.  “No problem,” I thought.  “I’ll just make sure they’re formatted NTFS, find out what version of OS X he’s running, and make sure his Mac can recognize a 2TB and a 3TB hard drive.”  How hard can that be?”

The drives showed up.  One was fine when connected to a Windows machine, but the only thing on it was the installation folder for Devil Program From Hell, the Seagate backup software.  The other one wasn’t at all fine, and it beeped for a minute or two then went still.  It wasn’t recognized by any of the computers I connected it to.

Once in awhile these crappy Seagate external drives will let you recover the data.  Sometimes it’s just the interface that’s broken, and if you get to the hard drive itself you can recover the data.

Not when they’re beeping, at least not this one.

Now, hard drives do not beep, so this sound was kind of surprising.  It turns out that sound is made by something mechanical crashing into something else mechanical.  If you want to see what that looks like, check this video.

I took the case apart and extracted the hard drive.  (There”s a helpful YouTube video on how to do that without wrecking the case here.)  Then I connected the drive to my computer with a USB to SATA cable.  Then I sat there and listened to it beep some more.


I think all they had on there were movies or tv shows.  But I’ve seen these Seagate External Hard Drives fail before when used for backup drives.   Please don’t buy these drives, it only encourages the Seagate people to make more of them.  If you have customers using them as backup drives or as the only place where they’re storing important data, please get the customers to let you replace these drives with something else.  Do it soon.

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