Buyer Beware

Today I spent $300 to replace an external hard drive that had already been replaced twice since my initial purchase. Consider this a warning: Do not buy Seagate products!

I am a photographer and the files were starting to eat up my computer’s internal space. Realizing that my two 100+gb externals weren’t going to cut it, I started shopping around for a 1tb drive. The two drives I already owned at the time were both Western Digitals and had both been good so far, so I thought about sticking with the brand I was comfortable with. The only thing that bothered me was that one of the drives often made a loud humming noise and sometimes (most times) didn’t boot or wake up with my computer. I have a Mac laptop and I rarely turn it off, but I do put it to sleep most of the time, so the fact that the drive didn’t always come back with it troubled me.

I asked around, searched around and decided to give Seagate a try.

Big. Mistake.

I made my purchase via Amazon and received it in a timely matter, plugged it in, set it up, and went about transferring my photographs over to the drive. I rarely used the drive once everything was transferred. I intended for it to be simply a storage device. Someplace to move files to when my computer was getting too full. I burnt everything off to DVD, moved things over, and then removed them from my hard drive. I was in the process of a transfer, the Seagate drive was sitting beside me on my bed. I shifted, it tilted over, softly landing on a pillow. All of the sudden, the drive was no longer showing up on my computer. Everything was still connected. The drive light was still on, but the computer didn’t see it. I picked the drive up and held it to my ear and heard the sound of it trying to boot – this sort of continuous spin and click.

I went online to research the issue and found nothing. I e-mailed Seagate with full details of what had happened and what operating system I was using and got a response telling me to download their diagnostic software. I went to their site and downloaded it, installed it, ran it and realized it was only designed to work if the machine could still detect a drive. I e-mailed Seagate again and was again told to download this software, which I’d already explained to them would not work with the issue I was having.

Finally, I called the company and was told that all they could do was send me a replacement drive. So, I went through their complicated purchase order process and sent my broken drive to them and received my replacement a few weeks later. I used the new one, with much caution, for about a month before the same exact thing happened. I was using the drive and it failed – this time without even a tilt. Just stopped.

I called Seagate again, furious this time. I was, again, offered a replacement drive. I told them I didn’t want any more of their products – I wanted my money back so that I could go buy a Western Digital. They told me this was impossible. I had made my purchase through Amazon, so they were unable to refund my money, only replace my drive. I found this absurd, but seemed not to have a choice. They offered me a 1.5tb replacement with a sturdier connection and a promise that it would perform far better than the previous two drives.

It’s been about a year. I’ve been using the drive, for the same purpose – photo storage, nothing more. Occasionally, I’ll re-route a folder to the drive from Lightroom so that I can edit photos that are no longer on my computer’s main drive. Today, the drive failed. Nothing changed. It’s been sitting steadily on a table top, no loose cords, no shaking around. Just stopped working. It spins and the computer won’t pick it up.

I’m sick of this company. I know it’ll be useless for me to call them and ask for my money back, though I do intend to try. I went out and bought myself a 2tb Western Digital in the hopes that a brand I’ve trusted before will not fail me as Seagate has.

I suppose everyone has issues with every tech company out there, but this has been my experience with Seagate and I figured I should let people know to think twice. Either way – always back your stuff up onto discs before trusting it to an external drive.


i'll let you know when i figure it out.

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