Seagate hard drive issues and the MediaSmart Server

by Alex Kuretz on February 11, 2009 · 25 comments

in News

There’s been a fair bit of discussion recently about the firmware issues with some Seagate hard drives . After some forum members noticed a different, HP-designated firmware version on the original drives from their MediaSmart Server they contacted HP support, who stated that HP engineers were investigating the issue.

I followed up with HP, and have just received the following response:

Seagate has recently informed HP of a potential issue with certain Seagate SATA hard drives that may be associated with the MediaSmart Server.

The drive models include the following:
Capacity Model
500 GB ST3500620AS, ST3500320NS, GB0500C8046, GB0500EAFJH
750 GB ST3750630AS, ST3750330NS, GB0750C8047, GB0750EAFJK

A hold has been placed on all potentially affected Seagate SATA hard drive models. HP has discontinued use of the potentially affected Seagate drives in manufacturing.

The symptom of an affected drive is the inability of a system to communicate with the drive immediately following a power cycle. Based on Seagate’s analysis, the condition rarely occurs.

HP is working to release hard drive firmware updates to prevent the unlikely event that a drive exhibits this issue. Please check and visit the customer support web page for the HP firmware update on your product. HP customers should not apply the hard drive firmware available on the Seagate website.

I have to wonder how HP plans to issue a firmware update for these drives. Since HP support does not recommend the use of Remote Desktop to access the server it would seem that the update would need to be delivered via a Windows Home Server Add-In, a scenario I feel to be fairly unlikely. I’ll be sure to post more info when I hear it from HP.

Article by

I'm Alex Kuretz, and I'm the founder of I was the Lead Test and Integration Engineer at HP for the MediaSmart Server until April 2008 when I moved on to other opportunities outside HP. I've kept active in the Windows Home Server community, creating several add-ins and helping users make the most of their Home Servers.


Norm February 11, 2009 at 5:34 am

Actually they could probably deliver the update via HP update, but doesn’t updating drive firmware automagically seem kinda risky.

Alex Kuretz February 11, 2009 at 8:28 am

Hi Norm, that’s a valid point. I guess I wasn’t thinking of the HP Update mechanism as a viable solution simply due to the breadth of the user base that would be impacted. A manual tool could be downloaded and utilized only by those users who met the criteria of drive model and serial number, while a full HP Update would potentially be utilized by every single MediaSmart Server owner which would significantly increase the risk of some issue occurring.

I definitely agree, updating firmware even manually seems to have some risk involved.

Lars Hoffmann February 11, 2009 at 10:09 am

I don’t believe many hardline MSS users on this site will have this issue. From what I can see browsing through the forums, most EX470 users have replaced the stock 500GB HD with something else much larger. That what I did immediately since Seagate drives tend to make noises like lawnmowers. After I have replaced the Seagate drive with extremely silent WD 750GB green drives, I could actually hear the power supply fan (which also has been described in many posts as a nagging issue).

Are the 750GB drives used in the new EX models ?

Daleo1 February 11, 2009 at 5:06 pm

The MSS I run for my parents is not having an issue but my home built WHS Dell SC440 with the ST3500630AS IS having an issue. About twice a month it will freeze during the nightly backup and in the morning when I reboot it will fail to find the drive. My only solution so far has been to boot from the diagnostic CD once, sometimes twice, and then it somehow finds the drive on the enxt reboot. No data loss, just an hour of panic. Seagate says the drive is not on their list so now I have to decide on how to replace the drive (I have three external USB drives with folder duplication and backup) and move this drive to the second bay for data only.

IamDefiler February 13, 2009 at 1:36 pm

I just received both of my EX485s and guess what. Both have models ST3750630AS installed in them. Lovely…Here’s to hoping for a working firmware in the near future.

Texas-Hansen February 19, 2009 at 9:33 am


Any update from the HP MSS team on this issue? I still cannot get an answer from them despite the fact that my case tickect has been open 3 to 4 weeks.

Alex Kuretz February 19, 2009 at 10:24 am

No updates, be assured I’ll share any info as soon as I have it.

DvO February 26, 2009 at 3:49 pm

I have replaced both my Seagates 500Gb ST3500630AS drives with WD 1Tb drives (much,much more silent and cooler !!)
The problems began with not being able to update to HP 1.3 with the normal update proces. When I downloaded the update and installed it manually on the server, the problems begann with not being able to connect to the server. I have tried several times to restart but no result. Red lights stayed on.
Recovery of the server: no better result. No connection, No recovering of data: failure message. Done this twice.
I have put in 2 new WD 1Tb drives and maid a new factory installation. I have added the first two drives in bay 3 and 4, not added to the pool.
Found some files back on the second drive. Recovered some data with REcuva. Still quit some data is missing. The first drive had only a big number of cluserfiles.

Is this connected with the drive issues?

joelfinkle March 12, 2009 at 6:50 pm

On another site, it was revealed that upgrading the drive bios is a nassssty process: you have to remove the drive from the system storage (see you tomorrow if you’re pretty full), install it in another computer, before you can apply the bios update… and then it might not be usable in the WHS box.

You can’t even find the serial numbers correctly without yanking the drives from the box — Seagate’s normal diagnostics for grabbing the serial number don’t work under WHS, even if you’ve remoted in.

At this point, I’m taking a risk not updating, and as you say, hopefully HP will supply an add-in to update any troublesome drives.

Steve March 16, 2009 at 10:51 am

Does anybody know what the status of this issue is? I just got my EX485, and it came with a ST3750630AS. Should I replace it, or cross my fingers and hope I don’t have any problems?


Daleo1 March 16, 2009 at 11:11 am

I would run SeaTools to check the drive first. I could not get the Windows SeaTools to install on my WHS. I kept getting an Active X error each time I tried to run the program from inside WHS. I installed SeaTools for DOS and after booting to a CD I could finally run the repair program. I have not had any issues since then (2 weeks) but I am weary since I could not confirm the original issue.

Don April 16, 2009 at 2:43 pm

I just received an EX485 today from newegg and it came with the Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 750 Gbyte drive. I entered the model number of the drive (ST3750630AS) on their website using the model number check utility and it came back with “the model number entered is on the list of potentially affected drives”. I then used their serial number check utility and it came back “Drive is not affected. No action required.” The firmware on my drive is “HP24″ and it’s made in Thailand, not China. I’m not sure if HP went ahead and applied a firmware fix or not. I guess I’ll keep my fingers crossed and hope that this 7200.11 drive is OK.

IamDefiler April 22, 2009 at 11:40 pm

Well, just got off the phone with HP because after repeated attempts to “repair” the unhealthy Seagate drive, it keeps going back to unhealthy after a few days. They checked the serial number and sure enough, it is one of the drives affected. So, they are sending out a “pre-checked” replacement drive.

Hopefully the pre-checked drive is legit.

Steve B May 4, 2009 at 1:37 pm

What models of the WD drives did you replace the Seagates with?

Comp1962 November 2, 2009 at 12:35 am

I replaced my EX470 System Drive with a Western Digital 750 GB. Personally I have not had the best of luck with Seagate Drives. For me the best approach is to deal with this issue when it becomes known. Even if my experience with Seagate drives was more positive my inclination would to to change out the drive rather then run the risk of running into an issue. After all you can apply the firmware update when it becomes available and then reuse the drive. Hard Drives are cheap so why risk potential problems I say replace the drive.

Francois November 6, 2009 at 8:11 am

Does someone know if ST3500320AS are also known to have the same issue? I have one of these that as failed in my EX475.

Grant December 1, 2009 at 2:01 am

I have been experiencing a nightly freeze-up of my MSS ever since I got it about a month ago. After weeks of agonizing troubleshooting, I have come to the conclusion that the problem is the Seagate 1TB drive. If I run Chkdsk or Seagate’s own SeaTools against the drive I get the exact same problem on as I get at midnight – my server freezes. The drive is a 1TB ST31000528SA unit with a firmware version of HP22. I bought an exact drive in the store as a second drive and the firmware on it is CC37. I am wondering if there are any known issues with the HP22 firmware. And why does HP have their own firmware?

Todd December 1, 2009 at 10:01 am

I just got off the phone with HP and they are mailing me a new HDD for free. They said they are aware of the problem. Thought you would like to know.


Alex Kuretz December 1, 2009 at 10:04 am

Thanks for the update Todd!

Grant July 20, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Did they ever come out with a firmware update?
I’ve got a ST3750630AS that needs it but I can’t find anything.

Francois July 22, 2010 at 5:01 am

For me the EX475 was no longer under guaranty so I have dealed with Seagate for getting a replacement drive. They sent a refurbish one, got the same problem a few month after, get it replaced a second time… and then after a few weeks the same problem with the third refurbished drive. Now I gave up, will no longer use Seagate drives… to cheap. I will go get a 1 Tb Caviar Green from Western Digital. I’m done with seagate poor quality drives

Comp1962 July 22, 2010 at 6:46 am

@ Francois ~ if you get the 1 TB WD Caviar Green drive from WD and desire to use it as a system drive then make certain you get the EADS Model. There is an EARS Model as well which is an advance format drive but it will require a special alignment before using as the system drive but the EADS does not and I would recommend the simplicity of the EADS drive for this application. I know this is off topic be feel compelled to inform you of the differences. Please review the forums regarding these drive before purchasing them.

I still do not use Seagate Drives myself but have been looking at the 2.5″ Momentous XT Drives which are hybrids and am thinking of trying one out. Again off topic but it may convince me to give Seagate another shot.

Francois July 22, 2010 at 9:33 pm

@Comp1962 – Thanks for the advice, for now I have purchased a WD10EARS and installed it as a storage disk (not system) and it work well. I’m impressed how it stay cool compared to the 3 others Seagate’s drives. I will probably look at replacing all three of them… one is starting to show bad clusters. But, for sure they were my last Seagate’s drives.

Francois July 24, 2010 at 6:11 am

Need help! I successfully have replaced the seagate with the WD10EARS. Server was working well. Installed two add-ins (Home Server SMART & WHS Health). SMART add-in showed bad sector on one of the other drives so I decided to perform a chkdsk onto D: that asked to reboot the server to get it done. Server rebooted… and now stuck into a non working state: health led blinking blue for two days for now and the server still not back online. Any idea what is going on? A chkdsk should not be that long…

Comp1962 July 24, 2010 at 7:59 am

@ Francois ~ Can you kindly post your issue in the forum where your issue will get much better exposure and increase your chances on getting your issues resolved faster.

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