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Old December 12, 2011, 09:56 PM
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Default Bad RMA replacement drive? Fix or return?

I received a Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 (with updated firmware) as a replacement for my same-model dead drive of a few years. On my first attempt at installing Windows, it stopped at 33% saying something about physical damage. I thought it might be my XP disk so I tried again and it completed installation just fine.

But just after two days of using the replacement -and I've barely done anything on this drive besides download drivers, watch a couple of vids, and the usual web stuff - today I started getting "Delayed Write Error"s, followed by a "Disk Read Error press CTRL-ALT-DEL" on boot that occurred for a few more boot attempts. I then shut it down for a while and it restarted fine later. I disabled the write caching thing, and ran SeaTools - it passed SMART and short DST.

Just a while ago, I ran into more "Delayed Write Error"s of various files, and the computer completely locked up, forcing me to restart. It stopped booting Windows even on safe mode (gave a BSOD), even after waiting a while in between boot attempts. I tried the repair console & a reformat, but it would not even detect Windows on my drive to repair, and reformatting says something about the disk being damaged. When checking the C partition before attempting to reinstall Windows, C is listed as "Unknown" partition and says the drive is "too full, damaged, or incorrect file system". It is definitely not too full as nothing was installed and the file system was correct.

I tried reinstalling again and the 5th time it let me do the "Quick" reformat to install Windows. Windows is now installed and has survived 3 reboots due to reinstalling drivers. It appears fine...for now. But is this the sign of bad drive or a minor issue that can be fixed? Technically the drive is now working, but for how long? So I'm not even sure I can return it to Seagate for replacement #2. I'm at a loss on how to proceed. In the meantime, I have unchecked the Write Caching thing again, as a possible preventive measure.

If anyone has any advice or ideas, please share. Thanks!
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Old December 12, 2011, 10:40 PM
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I would shoot them an e-mail and ask for a shipping label to mail it to them for a replacement.
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Old December 12, 2011, 10:57 PM
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First thing to do is download the testing utility (aka Sea Tools) and run the extended test (short test is nothing more than a SMART poll that sees if the smart data is saying its screwed). THAT will tell you if the drive is toast. IF it comes back as bad...you will have ZERO issues getting an RMA for it, as all you need do is say "i ran the test. it failed". IF it comes back as good...THEN you will have to do some fast talking to explain the situation (and conveniently forget to mention you ran their tester).

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Old December 13, 2011, 02:13 PM
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Thank you both :)

I ran the longer test and well, it's not good news for me. I am a bit ticked off because I paid for the Advanced Replacement because I can't afford the downtime of a dead drive, only to be sent a messed up drive that goes nuts but shows up fine on tests. What are the odds of Seagate sending me another drive via Advanced Replacement at no cost to me? From what I could find online, it seems like people have to pay again for advanced replacement on their faulty replacement.

Is there any other way to verify the disk is messed up or are my issues enough to prove it may be defective?

Edit: Is it possible it's not defective, but that whatever was on the drive previously wasn't properly overwritten? It seems Seagate only sends repaired, low-level reformatted drives as replacements, I'm wondering if that was the problem. I just need to make sure whatever I end up with is a stable drive that won't kill my data during exams or anything.
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Old December 13, 2011, 02:40 PM
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Change your SATA cable.

If SeaTools reports the drive is fine after a long DST, then it's extremely likely it's fine.
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Old December 13, 2011, 05:22 PM
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This might be a dumb question, but I assume Long Generic Test is the same as Long DST? Long Generic was the only "long" test I had in SeaTools, though it does have both the Short DST and Short Generic options...

I forgot to mention in my OP that I did check & reconnect the cable before running into the disk damage/full error when trying to format. It appeared fine, but I guess that doesn't rule out a cable issue...though I thought SeaTools would give a "bad cable" error code if that were the case?
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Old December 13, 2011, 05:45 PM
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I feel your pain. I recently rma'd two dying 500gb seagates, and one of the returned drive started exhibiting problems after a week, and when i ran seatools it immediately failed the short test. Frustrating! I don't know why they don't test their drives more thoroughly.
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Old December 14, 2011, 03:21 PM
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Both my old and this replacement drive are also 500gb, as well. It sounds like they do need to test better because it seems like a lot of people receive faulty drives as replacements yet Seagate claims these are tested to meet current standards or something?

I'm inclined to believe this drive really is fault due to the problems above and I have noticed a few more things: I can hear this drive "think" and it gets pretty loud and "clunky/clicky sounding" when it's doing a lot of "thinking"; it is slow to transfer/install files that never too long on my other drive; videos are now lagging/out of sync when they didn't lag during the first install of Windows.

It may not have failed any of the tests, but one of Seagate's codes if Seatools doesn't generate one does include "poor performance", so I may have to end up sending this one back because it seems very unreliable. I'll follow the advice given above and tell Customer Service what has been going on since having this replacement for just a few days. Hopefully they will send me a shipping label or do another advanced shipment at no cost, otherwise my money was wasted this time around.

I'm going to hope for the best and will post a follow-up if possible :) Thanks for the help, everyone!
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Old December 15, 2011, 12:33 AM
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Something does not add up

If a drive is faulty, it should drop a code. SMART parameters *do* account for performance.

If it's acting intermittent then change the cable.
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Old December 17, 2011, 05:10 PM
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Maybe their test doesn't account for certain poor conditions? I don't have any other ideas. All I know is that they do have a "poor performance" option on their code list for those who are having issues yet cannot get a code from SeaTools.

In any case, I will try using SeaTools for DOS once I find a CD-R/W, as I've read elsewhere that you can get different readings on Windows vs using the CD at boot. I'll try swapping out the cable as well, but I'm unsure a cable accounts for the sound this thing makes when it's trying to process something. Could be, though, I am no hard-drive expert! So we'll see how things go, thanks for the tips :) A follow-up post may be later depending on when I get my hands on a CD and SATA cable.
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