Bosch Glitch 4-Hell and the Flood (Seagate Is Dead to Me)

Written at T-minus four days.

Hieronymous was going pretty well. I was even a little ahead of schedule. After a big render, I put my machine to sleep to have some dinner and maybe read to my son a little bit. When I woke the machine back up to continue, the system was non-responsive. Reboot.

Then, the Click.

I have lost many Western Digital hard drives. MANY. So many, in fact, that I only buy Seagate enterprise-class drives, because they are more reliable and have a longer mean time before failure (MTBF). Of course, this drive was the one that failed. One terabyte. Of video. Mostly not backed up. The good news is, the files for the Hieronymous project are totally safe. The bad news is that another film I shot is completely gone.

Further reading revealed that there was a known firmware issue with this line of drives, one that should be rectified immediately. In some cases before you update the firmware on the drive IT WILL BECOME NON-RESPONSIVE. Jesus. But the data is still there, they say. It's there, you just can't get it. Because of this firmware issue, if this happens, Seagate says they will recover the data.

I called Seagate and they asked me a couple questions. Does the drive show up in BIOS? No. Does it make a click? Yes. Does it spin up? Yes. Does it grind? No. Based on that thorough assessment, Seagate told me that it's not firmware, it's mechanical failure, and therefore they won't cover data recovery. The yes answer to the clicking question gets them out of it, apparently. My options are a.) send it in for data recovery (super expensive) or b.) get the warranty replacement drive. I told the rep that a.) I can't really afford their data recovery and b.) I'm pretty much done with Seagate, based on that bullshit diagnostic. "Well, sir, you're holding in your hand one of the .07% of our hard drives that this happens to." OK, That's a pretty small percentage. Given the circumstances surrounding an admitted firmware issue, I think you should recover the data anyway. "Well, sir, we can't really afford to do that..."

WELL WHICH IS IT? Is it a rare screw up that you can own up to because you're professionals? Or do you make unreliable commodity crap?

Yeah yeah, my bad, I didn't back up. Look, I back up EVERYTHING. And for stuff that is too huge to back up as often as my work files, I use the more expensive drives so they don't fail. EXCEPT WHEN THEY DO. I have a plan C in terms of data recovery, so I'm not too dejected, and now I know I need to move on to Toshiba or Hitachi drives.

Sorry Seagate, I'm morally OK with failing drives. It happens. I'm NOT ok with a documented issue, utterly dismissed by a half-assed Q and A over the phone. You fucked up a batch of drives, and you know it—own up and recover the data lost from drives in that serial number range.

The best part? I was ready to pay for an expedited warranty replacement after being on hold for 45 minutes, but I have to call back later because their payment systems weren't working. "Maybe you shouldn't use Seagate drives," I said. "I don't think this has anything to do with our drives, sir."

That was a joke. Sort of like your company.