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Failing Seagate drives haunt MacBook owners

updated 11:05 am EST, Tue November 27, 2007

Failing MacBook drives

A previously reported manufacturing defect is resulting in permanent data loss for numerous MacBook owners, according to Retrodata -- a UK-based drive recovery firm. The company says the critical flaw resides only in Seagate 2.5-inch SATA drives produced in China with a firmware version of 7.01, and an Apple spokesman has acknowledged that the company is looking into the matter. Retrodata says the problem is so severe that Seagate should recall the hard drives, and that Apple is responsible for replacing the drives free of charge.

"We've received a few reports that some MacBook consumer notebooks may have hard drive issues, and we're looking into it," Apple's Cameron Craig told InformationWeek.

The managing director of Retrodata, Duncan Clarke, says the company discovered that the head of the Seagate drives becomes detached from the read/write arms. The manufacturing defect ultimately results in "deep scratches" on the drive surface which often leads to permanent data loss.

Retrodata says it has received approximately 50 Seagate hard drives from MacBook owners hoping to recover their data since the summer of 2006, and that data was recovered in only three of those cases. Retrodata notes that the scratches that occur from the detached drive head often destroy the operating parameters that are unique to the hard drive which enable recovery firms to access "lost" data. However many MacBook owners immediately run MacBook utilities in an attempt to correct the problem, which results in more scratches.

"If you switch the computer off immediately, you might be able to recover the data," Clarke said. "I'm working on a fix, but it's going to take some time. I'm not optimistic."

by MacNN Staff



  1. Zaren

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Nice to hear from Apple

    I saw this report a few weeks ago, and notified my users about it. Only one of these questionable drives were found. If Apple's looking into it and finds a problem, maybe there will be some replacement program offered.

  1. OtisWild

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Glad I replaced the Seagate HDD in the 2.0ghz white Core Duo I bought about a year ago.. Got the minimum-spec 2.0 white and yanked out all HDD and RAM, then slapped in 120GB/2GB from OtherWorldComputing, all so far has gone swimmingly.


  1. petsounds

    Joined: Dec 1969


    no surprise

    Seagate has always produced c*** drives, and always will.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    What, are we now being faced with ghosts of iBooks past? Do the hard drives wake up at midnight and start clanking chains?

  1. ianaberle

    Joined: Dec 1969


    20% Failure Rate

    We've experienced about a twenty percent failure rate in the 100+ MacBooks in our location.


    Joined: Dec 1969


    MacBooks only?

    The 120 Gb drive in my intel core duo MBP has a firmware version 7.0.1. Is this one that I should be wary of?

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