Archive for August, 2007

Having problems with the Seagate FreeAgent 500 GB external disk drive

August 27, 2007

Update 20/07/08: Going by the experience of Tony in the comments, the drive problem is caused by overheating. Unplugging the light in the enclosure seems to alleviate this somehow – at least it made the drive more stable for me and others, though if the issue is overheating simply ensuring proper cooling should fix it as well. (I used a flat screwdriver to remove the bottom cover, unscrewed the metal cover to get to the circuit board and unplugged the wire running to the light. It’s been working fine since. But remember – experiment at your own risk!). Read on to see what people have figured out, and make sure to catch Tony’s very informative comment about overheating.

Update 24/05/08: Make sure you take a look at the comments section of this post – it seems the problem lies with the enclosure and not the drive itself. Posters have reported that their drive became stable after unplugging the front light (!) – and it worked for me as well. I used a flat screwdriver to remove the bottom cover, unscrewed the metal cover to get to the circuit board and unplugged the wire running to the light. It’s been working fine since. But remember – experiment at your own risk!

Update 31/08: After a night’s rest, the drive was detected by OS X and appeared to function normally. However, after a few more hours of operation, it became impossible to write to the drive again. I’m going to take the extra trouble and test the drive with a Windows machine, just to make sure the operating system’s not in any way part of the problem here. Then I’ll ship it back to Komplett and hope for a good apple the next time.

Right. It’s a bit late, so I will be very brief. And a few of these details are problably incorrect, as I haven’t noted them down before now.

About a week ago, I got a Seagate FreeAgent 500 GB external drive in the mail from webshop Komplett.no. I intended to use it for my Mac Mini, as a media server/backup solution, and so I formatted it as one big HFS+ partition.

After about 24 hours of operation, the disk did not respond when I tried to read from it using the Finder. I was forced to reboot. After rebooting, it was not visible in Finder any more. However, it did appear in Disk Utility, although without the partitions I had originally created, but with one called “disk1s3”.

When I tried to repair it using Disk Utility, I got an error message, saying that the disk had been corrupted:

Disk Utility reports problems  with the Seagate FreeAgent
I gave up the repairs, erased the partition and created two new partitions with 250 GB in each, roughly.

A few days went by, the drive appeared to operate as it should. Suddenly OS X reported an I/O error when trying to write to it. Apparenty, a file was partly written to disk. We tried to reboot the Mac Mini at this point, this did not succeed (stopped while showing only the background graphics), after a hard reset the drive was once more invisible to OS X.

Now I have gone through all the material I could find on Seagate’s web site, and verified that as far as OS X is concerned, no drive is attached to the computer’s USB hub (according to System Profiler). I have checked it on two Macs, and my WinXP laptop does not find the drive either.

Consequently, I am preparing to give up and return the drive to Komplett. The next drive will have no flashy light in front, but a standard, sturdy USB connector (this one has a mini USB) and a dedicated power button (which this one does not).

I’ll probably update this post tomorrow.