Having problems with the Seagate FreeAgent 500 GB external disk drive

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.


336 Responses to “Having problems with the Seagate FreeAgent 500 GB external disk drive”

  1. Peter K Says:

    The idential issue just happened to my drive (also use OSX). The system log shows input/ouput errors and suddenly the drive disappears with the error ‘no media present’. I managed to save 50GB of data before it finally became inopperative. Like you I’m going to get an ordinary exernal HD after my refund.

    I’m not sure I’ll buy another seagate.

  2. dane Says:

    I also am having a similar problem with my FreeAgent 500gb. Stops the reboot of my XP Pro OS. And after awhile of being on, the files on the HD show up as empty. Also am constantly getting write error windows popping up about it.

    hmmm, what to do…

  3. Mitra Ardron Says:

    Me too – this drive crashed my MacBook Pro on Tiger (black wall of death) and kept hanging the machine to where it required a reboot under Leapord.

  4. Michael Says:

    Same probelm with my seagate. I have spent a lot of time on the phone with support….no solutions. AH!

  5. Jamie Says:

    Same nightmare is haunting me. OS X 10.4.10 is constantly freezing up because of this drive. Reformatting using Apple Disk Utility doesn’t help, Seagate’s Mac Formatting Utility doesn’t help… this is completely stressing me out. Give me a good old LaCie drive and call it a day.

  6. Adam Says:

    I’m using Windows XP-SP2 … I got my FreeAgent drive 1-2 months ago … everything worked as it should until yesterday when I got home. Suddenly it told me over several failed write errors … I tried to open and save a file on the disk … it opened the file but saving caused the same write error.

    Rebooting caused the device to completely disappear from my system.

    After hours going through the Seagate website and testing/trying anything I could, I sent a mail to support indicating to them I had already been through all of the material regarding this on the site and was unable to find a solution (and the material they had was paltry). They told me to go through the material on the website in a standard, pseudo-automated reply.

    Today I’ve managed to get the drive visible for Device Manager and Disk Management … hell, even SeaTools can see it. Can they access or use it? Nope. Errors listed? Nope. Can I view the contents of the drive via Explorer? Nope.

    Pissing me off here.

  7. Rick Says:

    Same problem on a Windows machine – drive locks up with ‘write error’ message after copying so much data to/from it. Unplug the drive completely, reattach everything and it doesn’t show up in Windows at all. Try 10 minutes later and everything is back to normal – until the next ‘write error’.

    Glad to see it’s not just a problem with my drive – this is getting returned for a different model tomorrow! :o)

    – r.

  8. Are Wold Says:

    Thanks for posting, people! Good to see it’s not just me.

    I tried using this drive once more before I sent it back for a replacement – of course it worked. Unplugged and tried again – did not show up. So if you send it back for a replacement, it is probably a good idea to advise your supplier that it sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t – and hope that they test the drive thoroughly.

  9. isoprophlex Says:

    I’m having the same issue with mine too. I can plug the thing into the USB for about 1.5 minutes, then suddently OSX wheel spins around and freezes up. I’m not very impressed considdering the amount of data I have on there that I need, and I used it as a backup before formating my normal Mac. I’m not the most happiest person at the moment!

  10. TS Says:

    Hey I came across this site while looking up solutions for my Seagate 250GB hard drive. I have the same problem as you guys. I probably should try and give it back and ask for a refund, huh?

  11. Are Wold Says:

    Yes. My retailer (komplett.no) sent me a new drive without any fuss.

    isoprophlex, I hope you manage to copy your data from the drive again. My drive did work sporadically, so with a bit of luck you could be able to extract your stuff before sending it in for a replacement.

  12. growltiger Says:

    I have had no joy with my free agent pro 320gb – system crashes about every hour

    I have also started having problems seeing my other external HDD which has operated faultlessly for months

  13. Jay Says:

    Same thing here. After 1 hr of copying data in windows — I/O error. Then the drive was dead. All it does is click now… Good thing I didnt delete my original data.

  14. Aidan Says:

    I cant believe the amount of people with the same problem, I would have thought more from Seagate. Same thing happened to me and have sent it back for a replacement.

  15. cf Says:

    yeh, just lost 250GB of data here… my imac20 tells me it can’t read the files on the disk, even although it did a day ago… i think i turned it off without ejecting the disk, so i guess it’s my fault? don’t know what to do…

  16. Derrick Says:

    Same thing here with my new seagate 250 gig
    write errors and all.
    Good bye Seagate usb.
    Anyways going for Western Digital I guess.

  17. Derrick Says:

    Actually I went back to get my refund and decided to just direct replace. So far so good.

  18. Sean Says:

    Same Deal! Have a 250 gig freeagent on Mac osx …. about as stable as as a wolverine in heat on steroids. Really considered taking an 8 pound sledgehammer to it but have decided to take it back to best buy and just be disgusted with Seagate.


  19. André Says:

    I just bought my FreeAgent 500 and I am making a backup of an lacie 120 G Firewire 800 to it and getting less than 1 mb per second.


  20. Sean Says:

    Ok. Update. I talked to Segate and yeah the will replace the drive if I give the $ 19.95 CAD for shipping or ship it myself. It was too late to get anything useful out of Best Buy (more than 30 days past purchase date.)

    So here is what I did.

    Told seagate I had lost confidence in their enclosure not their drive.
    Asked to speak to Tech support so I could taunt them a little and find out what kind of drive was in there. Turned out my 250 gig drive was a 3,5 serial ATA or SATA. Not a boad drive at all.

    In my opinion all the trouble was coming from the interface not the drive. I verified this by (not very Gently because I wasn’t in the mood today) removing the drive from the enclosure and (yes this really is the source of all troubles with this drive.) upluged the fricken light!.

    Voila! It works Its faster. So far very stable and I don’t have that stupid light taunting me anymore!

    So you can use this solution to fix the drive. You might want to be more gentle than I was to get it out. I had the FreeAgent 250 USB only enclosure. to do a nice job you have to spudge the base off the bottom of the drive. there are a couple of very small phillips screws to remove to give you access to the interface card. unplug the spindlely thin wires with the white plug head. Reassemble.

    And Bob’s your uncle.

    If you have lost data and disk repair software has failed you… it might even work after you unplug that stupid little light. Not sure though it didn’t try it.

    So I am shopping for a decent drive enclosure so I can wring some value out of my fast 7200 rpm Seagate drive.

    I like the Newertech Ministack V3……

    Best wishes and

    Caveat emptor

  21. Janne Says:

    Same problem here, too. Seagate FreeAgent 250GB don’t respond anymore. I got a lot “Delayed Write Failed” messages in the Win XP before total crash.

  22. Alan in Scotland Says:

    I was about to buy a Seagate 500 from a website, to empty my PC on to before rebooting it. After reading all of the above comments I ‘m going to think again. More research and no Seagate for me I guess.

  23. Are Wold Says:

    Indeed. I would advise people to stay away from this drive. As Sean says above – thanks for your investigation, Sean! – the problem is more likely with the enclosure and not the drive itself, but there are plenty of options for external drives and no reason to go for this one.

    I replaced the Seagate with a Iomega external drive, which I am happy with so far, and the Seagate that I got back from my retailer has been collecting dust. I’ve turned it on a few times – this specimen has not been reliable either.

    I’d advise you to try the Iomega external drives or WD’s MyBook series. Two of my flatmates have the latter and they have had no problems. Of course, you can always be unfortunate with a tech purchase, but my impression is that the FreeAgent has a very high failure rate.

    This situation saddens me a bit, as Seagate used to be my favourite storage company… oh well.

  24. brianf Says:

    I can’t believe how many people are having the same issues! My 320gb drive was coming and going in XP and now has quit altogether. I think I’ll try tearing the sucker apart like Sean did, I have a tonne of data on there! Glad I came across this post!

  25. brian Says:

    I have having the same problem with the Seagate 500 gb. It worked for a while and then I have had nothing but frustrating hours trying to take care of the problem on my Mac Pro book. I just followed the instructions that Sean posted and am waiting to see what happens. If this doesn’t take care of it then I am buying a lan network case and using the hard drive for it. What a pain!

  26. Neil Says:

    I had a similar problem with my 500GB FreeAgent drive in Windows XP – after a few minutes of operation I would start getting delayed write errors and then the drive could no longer be found.

    Managed to fix it by the downloading “FreeAgent desktop software” from the Seagate site. It allows you to make “power settings adjustments”. Seems that these drives have an internal setting that allows the drives to “sleep” after a specified period of inactivity – this is set to 15 minutes by default. I changed this to 5 hours and have not had any problems since.

    • Joe Says:

      Thanks Neil. Worked like a charm once I downloaded the software. Why in the world would they not include it with the drive?

    • Raf Says:

      Hey Neil. Thank you so much!! I put this drive away years ago until I ran into this forum and decided to try out your solution… I can’t believe it worked after so long. The drive has been running for about an hour now! I also did what NoName said below (March 16, 2008) just to try multiple solutions. I was getting a conflict since I have another type of external drive but fixed it from Windows in Disk Management (Changed drive letter on one and forced the other one to switch from offline to online)

  27. Sean Says:

    Update. I have had no problems with this drive since unplugging the light as mentioned above. It has been performing very well with no hiccups. I have even been able to boot from a reformatted partition table using GUID as the table type. I have an intel mac so GUID is needed if you want to boot from the drive. If making the drive bootable matters to you then it matters what OS you have and on which platform.

    Power PC Macs- Use – Apple Partition Table
    Intel Macs- Use – GUID Partition Table
    Windows -Use – Master Boot Record

    (For Mac users using Disk utility you can get access to these settings by selecting the drive> clicking on the (partition) tab> clicking the (options) button on the partitions tab panel)

    So I have no further complaints. I tried Neil’s suggestion and downloaded the FreeAgent Desktop software to see if I had missed something. As you might expect, although this may help a Windows user, it is of little use if you have a Mac. All it does is run some simple diagnostics and provide a fairly lightweight backup utility.

    Happy Camping

  28. Chris Says:

    you have saved my sanity. After months of messing with the 250gb version of this drive trying to stop the delayed write failures, I came across your post. Unplugged the light and sure enough the drive is working perfectly now. Thank you so much, I was about to trash this piece of junk.

    • tunilopez Says:

      Same think happened to me with a 750GB version. I was unable to copy files greater than 1GB because I was getting “delayed write failures”. After unplugging the light the drive started working perfectlly again!!

      • fred Says:

        bad idea, delayed write failure, can mean the drives on its way out, in other words the failure might be intermittent until it goes dead, you shouldn’t trust that thing anymore, the light was probably a coincidence.

  29. Are Wold Says:

    Guys, very well done with troubleshooting this! Excellent, thanks very much for your posts!

  30. Jeff Says:

    How did you guys open the enclosure without breaking the plastic? I’m having a hard time cracking this thing open.


  31. Sean Says:

    Spudge?…. Spudge!

    It’s a weird word, even sounds a bit rude, but somehow it is mildly descriptive of what you have to do. If you have ever used a shoe horn to slip into a tight fitting stylish shoe, then you have the basic idea.


    Step: 1. Move the couch or head to the junk drawer and search for a hard stiffish yet somehow not to sharp, preferably plastic or wood, stick-like implement that tapers down to a wedge on one end.

    Step 2. Somehow jam that puppy into the seam between the upper and lower halves of the base.

    Step 3. Using a kind of prying action slide your homemade spudger, while prying until you encounter something you can’t slide past.

    Step 4. What you just hit is one of the stabby, clik-in plastic teeth that hold the two halves together. Take a firm thing with a thin bladeish head (perhaps a flathead screwdriver of a dull knife, and push in on that to help its little lip clear the upper part of the case. (these little tabs are attached to the bottom half I think.

    Step 5. Carry on spudging until your done. It gets much easier after you get the first one. Reassembly is “literally” a snap. If you busted one of the stabby things… there is always crazy glue.

    And yes “spudge” is a word and a “spudge tool” is standard equipment sold with techie tool kits throughout the known universe.


    Step 6. Grab a pint (I recommend Guinness or maybe Boddingtons) and “Revel” in smug self-satisfaction that you “stuck-it to the man”, by demonstrating, once again, that one of the most important innovations of all time…. was opposable thumbs. They are still mostly free to possess…. and they come with a limited lifetime warranty.


  32. Joe Says:

    I am having this same issue, should I try to open it up or take it back to Best Buy and get a replacement? (considering that one might have the same problem too) >.<

  33. leon Says:

    yep same here….these are pretty unreliable….buy a lacie for pro work!!

  34. rick Says:

    From FAQ on Seagate website (link below)…

    My Seagate FreeAgent drive falls asleep and will not wake up
    Seagate FreeAgent drives are bundled with Drive Management software that can control the interval of inactivity before the drive goes to sleep. Once asleep, it usually requires 30-60 seconds for the drive to wake up to full readiness once the user attempts to access it.
    Note: The default value is 15 minutes. Since the software is for Windows only, the 15 minute sleep interval cannot be changed in MacOS.
    Solution: See the following Seagate Knowledge Base articles for information on how to manage the sleep interval.

    For FreeAgent Pro.
    For FreeAgent Go.
    For FreeAgent Desktop.
    The original generation of FreeAgent Desktop drives did not come with any software and thus there was no way to change the sleep interval. However, this link leads to the download site for the new FA Desktop software, which will allow changes to the sleep interval for any FA Desktop drive, new or old.

    Link—-> http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.jsp?locale=en-US&name=fa-desktop-sw&vgnextoid=e7acb5b59b7d5110VgnVCM100000f5ee0a0aRCRD

  35. oli Says:

    I’ve got the same problems as you guys…
    I’ve unplugged the stupid light but the drive still doesn’t mount on my macbookpro….so i’m stuck…
    of course i’ve got some very important datas inside so I’m thinking of moving the drive into a new enclosure.
    Does anyone know if the ANTEC veris MX-1. enclosure would be ok to do that ?
    I mean i’m not sure of what enclosure I need ? Sata or Ata 3.5′ or 2.5’…
    or any other ideas of reliable enclosure ?
    thx in advance…

  36. Hank Says:

    I returned mine. Nothing wrong with Seagate drives – but their external enclosures are rubbish. Ist shouldn’t be that hard!

    Just my 2c.

  37. Neil Says:

    Update: Since installing the software and setting the sleep timeout to 5 hours, I have not had any issues on my PC. However, my friend who is borrowing my drive at the moment is having the same issues with the drive. I suspect that maybe having the software installed might somehow be bypassing the problem.

  38. Geno Says:

    The problem is the enclosure, more specifically the interface electronics on the bottom of the enclosure. When the electronics start to heat up, the drive will slow down, and eventually stop working… usually with “write Delay” errors. Sometimes the drive dissapears completely. Sometimes a corrupt files error occurs.

    After much testing (USB and Esata) I laid mine on it’s side, stuck a couple stick on heatsinks to the bottom and sat a PC fan on the desk to blow on the heat sinks. I know… crude way to do things, BUT the drive has been plugged in and working for over 7 straight days. This also explains why disabling the light helps, it reduces heat.

    So I’m going to rig a cooling fan up that is more permanent.


  39. Sue Says:

    This is all quite interesting.
    I have A Seagate FreeAgent 320 GB Desktop drive purchased November of 2007.
    Started getting delayed write errors the past few days.
    Downloaded the Seagate software, said the drive was ok.
    Ran chkdsk /f – the drive was ok.
    Tried all the MS Knowledge base stuff too.
    But the drive would disappear from my computer.
    And delayed write errors kept occurring.
    Then I noticed that the bottom of the case is getting very hot.
    (And that light – really quite annoying. )
    Thought about somehow extracting the drive from the case
    and eliminating the light at the same time.
    At the present I have the drive propped up on top of wood strips in a cool area. And turned down the heat in the room, living in NW PA the room is now cold.
    No errors since doing this.
    Perhaps it really is just the case that encloses the drive and that light!
    Glad I found this site.
    I like Geno’s way of handling it much better, using stick on heat sinks and a fan. I am going to do some redesigning of the drive case myself too.

  40. Neil Says:

    Update: The drive is giving problems again. After about 5 mins of operation, read speeds drop until I eventually get an IO error. So the Seagate software did not solve the problem. Going to try some ways to keep the drive cool and see if it makes a difference.

  41. noname Says:

    open my computer – freeagent – right click – properties – hardware – select freeagent – properties – policies – check optimize for perfomance

  42. André Says:

    I was having the same problems an I guess I could solve mine. I took my Freeagent Desktop 500 USB and plug it into a windows XP PC. I run the drive utility (on the PC with my dirve pluged) to put the drive to never sleep. Than I downloaded the new version of the drive manager in the seagate site for my Macbook Pro (10.5.2). My drive is working fine in my MAcbook pro. Fast and with no noise.

  43. Will Smile Says:

    Sorry to hear your troubles. After installing two of these drives at two clients I decided they were poor quality as well and switched to the Western Digitals. For my own installation I have the WD mounted on a wire shelf that allows air to rise directly up through the entire bottom of the unit. No fan needed. 3.5″ hard drives get hot and I was curious about the Seagate ones as for the 5 year warranty, since it’s better than WD’s, but the case design is not. Thanks everyone for contributing.

  44. Are Wold Says:

    Thanks for your comments, and thanks for the tip, André! Maybe it’ll do the trick for my Seagate, I’ll give it a go.

  45. POOOS Says:

    I am having problems with my 250gb FreeAgent. I don’t get any error messages because my PC will NEVER recognise the drive’s existence! It’s been driving me bonkers for weeks.

  46. Nigel4x4 Says:

    RIGHT – thanks chaps, I was about to, and still may, throw my Seagates back through PC Worlds window.
    I bought 2 500GB drives, one for work, and one to back up the work. After 2 weeks one failed, took it back for a replacement, a bit peed off. 2 weeks ago the other failed, sort of gave up on them, lost loads of data now. And just now the 3rd (replacement) gave up. Hence me searching and finding you guys, looking for some one to make a doll of and stick pins in to.
    I will not buy another Seagate – and I notice PC world no longer stocks the 500.
    I will try breaking into the drive enclosures – yes breaking into – I need the satisfaction of breaking something at the moment.

    And even if the remedies above work out I will still be replacing them asap with some thing more stable.


  47. Mohammed Says:

    Wow, and I thought I was the only one. 500 GB FreeAgent Drive’s been working flawlessly for 5 months, but now, I’m also getting the Delayed Write Failed messages.. I’m VERY disappointed in you, SeaGate! Shame on you for releasing such a faulty product!

    Well, going to purchase a WD MyBook soon.. I need to transfer the 150 GB of data off my SeaGate now… pfft…

  48. John Says:

    No need to remove all the above to disconnect the light – just takeoff the bottom & then the bottom plate – disconnect the pair of fine wires- these run to the light – I also put a small heatsink on the main chip while I was at it!

  49. Curtis Says:

    Bought the Free Agent Pro 500 GB 2 days ago. Noticed it was getting hot when transfering large amounts of data (>200 MB). Seagate isn’t owning up to a problem, and might not be able to return it (7 day returns). Should have gone with my intuition and bought a seperate actively cooled enclosure and hdd like I did the last time. If I can’t return it I guess I’ll “hack” into it and try the changes suggested above.

    Mac OS X, 10.3.9, G3, B&W

  50. Matheus Says:

    Wow!! I thought I was the only one!!!!!! Man, if heat is the problem, I’m screwed, I live in Brazil. The costs to return would be really high. I’ll try this “unlight” solution. I’m afraid to damage the Free Agent 250 glorious GB, haha, and loose the warranty.

    Good Luck people.

  51. Kyle Says:

    Yep, same thing here… I took the previously posted advice and unpluged the power to the light. Now the drive is working great and I havn’t had any problems. Thanks!!

  52. Dan Says:

    I was also having the Delayed write error, and then the drive not being recognized as connected. Also the mft$ error saying the data was destroyed…but it really wasn’t.
    After reading about the overheating problem I tried the solutions recommended here.
    I was able to turn off the light in the freeagent software and then moved the entire drive to the front of my desk and turned the fan on it. I have been copying 35 gigs from it for the past hour and it is working fine. Before that it would stop after about 5 minutes.
    I hope this is a permanent solution.
    I also changed the timing of the “Sleep” to 5 hours as recommended but don’t understand how that has anything to do with reducing overheating….

  53. Lynne Says:

    I also changed the sleep timer to 5 hours. However, instead of disconnecting the lights to solve the heat problem, I bought a metal mesh paper clip holder at Office Depot for $4 and put the drive on top of it. Having the air flow underneath seems to have solved the problem because it has been working great ever since.

  54. André Says:

    Now I am having a different problem, my disk is needing repair and Disk FIrst Aid can not do it, I found that DiskWarrior will repair and make my disk to mount agian, but its stay connected for couple of hours and than unmount by itself and I need to repair it again, and again…. I’ll never buy anything from seagate again.

  55. Joe Says:

    Well well, sitting here in disbelief as my hard drive is working great after weeks of frustration. The trick with the light works well. I used two butter knives and a pearing knife with a sharp point to unscrew the tiny Phillips screws from the base of the hard drive. There is no gentle way to do it, just pry the case apart. The little white plug for the light should just pop right out, it works great. Thanks to everyone that posted.

  56. Adam Says:

    THANK YOU!!!!

    I have one of the FreeAgent desktop 250g purchased in australia as a backup drive. It worked fine for intermittent use over 3mths. then a week after moving to rural africa it started to freak out! First came the Delayed Write Error, followed closely by the G\$Mft your data is dead error (not so as it turned out). It got to the point where folders were corrupted and the disk would stay running for more than 5mins before locking up.

    I tried hotfixes, usb hub driver updates, and the classic pacing in circles swearing at it method – all to no avail. then I came across this forum and promptly pried open the case and unplugged the lead to the light. 5min later it was up and running. used the windows disk check tool to repair the disk and all of my data is in perfect nick!

    heres hoping it stays that way – i’ll post again after further testing

  57. bob Says:

    Are Seagate aware of this solution? Well I just unplugged the light on mine and got my data back after I/O errors. Pity i already returned one to kmart with data i would have preferred to keep.

    If the light trick works for me it should for anyone.
    I have the worst luck!

  58. Dirk Says:

    This hint seems to be a winner. Disconnected the pair of fine wires in my FreeAgent Pro 1 TB, removed this senseless FreeAgent Software from my Mac with the uninstaller – restarted. And voila the drive works. Thanks!

  59. Adam Says:

    Just wanted to check back in to confirm that the light fix is still working for me. A few weeks and tens of GBs later the neutered FreeAgent is still going strong. It spools up much quicker, and actually shuts down when it is asked to.

    Thanks again!

  60. Are Wold Says:

    Thanks for checking back! I have disconnected the light myself now – and indeed, the drive behaves reliably.

    I don’t know what this says about the design team behind this drive (or the QA it went through) – I doubt I’ll get a Seagate again, but at least my drive is working now – thanks to the internet and you guys, thanks! :)

  61. Mizzenmast Says:

    God! I wish I had seen this forum before I bought the freeagent !!
    I would had probably changed my mind…
    Anyways, mine appears to be working nicely for 1 week now ,except that sometimes transfers data at very low rates.
    What I would like to ask is, that when I transfer data in and out, I sense a disturbing sound, or rather an intense vibration coming from the case,I mean it’s rather strange if you think that there is a hard disk inside, I can’t look inside but it feels like that something is not in place.
    I never had any external storage unit other than a flash disk,and I wonder if I should be worrying…

  62. Are Wold Says:

    Has the vibration been there since you started using the drive? A HD should not give off intense vibrations – if you can, I would go back to the store and ask to have it replaced with a different model, for instance a WD external drive.

    We have had several of those running smoothly for ages here, while I have had two Seagates misbehave on me in quick succession. I will be getting a WD next time.

  63. Adam Says:

    @ Mizzenmast: Mine FA makes a bit of noise and vibration when transferring data. by a bit i mean no more than a regular hard drive in a desk top, however i have found it more noticeable because the snap-fit plastic case does not provide the kind of sound and vibration dampening that you get from a few kilos of solidly joined (hopefully) pressed sheet metal that makes up the carcase of a desktop. There is a bunch of platters doing some fairly serious RPM in there, so it won’t be totally silent…

    That said, if it is making some really wacky noises I would be following Are Wold’s advice and taking it back if you can. I would be tempted to do the same myself if i hadn’t just moved to the middle of no where ( though thanks to the advice here i don’t actually have to)

  64. Mat Says:

    Had the same problem with freeagent 320GB desktop using vista. Would work for a bit, then just stop responding. Files would seem to disappear. Unplug, leave for an hour and plug back in, okay for a bit.

    I tried the software fix and no joy. Removed the light connector and seems to work fine now.

    Interesting point, the drive failed the drive manager’s software test before I disconnected the light, and now its passes the test. Though may have been in a semi crashed state when I did the first test.

    I don’t think heat was a problem for me, as sometimes it would just stop responding to windows after a minute, and it never felt hot.

    Thanks for the fix.. was there any reason in the decision to disconnect the light???? Would not have been the first thing I thought of.

    Thanks again to everyone…

  65. Jason Says:

    I’m glad I found this thread. I pulled out my Taurus 911 and shot my 500G Seagate, and now it doesn’t work at all.

    Never getting a Seagate again. Obviously.

  66. Ken Says:

    Well folks, I have a slightly different problem with my 320 freeagent. Unlike most of you folks, mine has been working flawlessly. I use it to carry back and forth between work and home so that I have files to use both places. This morning, I plugged my drive up to work on a project at work. Nothing, drive does not spin up, no light, nothing. BTW I’m on a Mac. I will need to recover some files off the drive, naturally.

    I suspect that the I may have a broken cable, either power or USB, I’ll try another USB cable at home, if I can find another power supply, I’ll try that as well. I am going to take it home and try it there, doubt that will change anything. I guess the alternative is cracking the case and trying the drive in another enclosure.

    Thanks for any suggestions!

  67. Richard Says:

    Hi folks,
    I had the same problem. When I opened the disk I saw a problem that I’ve seen before:
    – a SATA to USB2 adapter board is added to the disk so that you use USB from your computer and they can use a standard SATA disk within the chassis.
    – the SATA to USB adapter board plugs onto the SATA connector of the raw disk.
    – the manufacturer of the adapter board does not adequately insulate their electronics.
    – the disk manufacturer does not insulate their electronics
    – unfortunately, the two boards come in contact when they are mated.
    – I believe this causes the faulty and erratic behavior.

    The solution is to just slip a piece of paper between the two boards as an electrical insulator. Of course I took the whole thing apart. I think you might have to take the unit apart in order to be able to slip the piece of paper. But, I don’t remember what it looked like before I took it apart.

  68. Mat Says:


    Well I spoke to soon about removing the light being a fix for me. However following on from the last post I removed the base again and unscrewed the circuit board from the base of the housing, but left it otherwise attached to the drive (I think my warrnaty is void).

    The drive worked fine all night, which is the longest its ever gone for. So could the problem be something to do with the pressure on the circuit board when you screw either the board on, or the cover over it?


  69. Avinash Pathak Says:

    well, i also had run into the exact same problem, with the freeagent stoping to respond after some time (about 4 min), tried removing the wire to the light (activity light) and now it is running perfectly, and has increased in the throughput speed by about 5MB/s…saved the 400GB of data on it…
    thanks for the tip…
    i think the problem with the freeagent lies with the CB in the base, as the drive inside seems to be quite reliable…

  70. Nigel Says:


    I just bought one of these and it failed during the first backup. Anyone have any tips on how to remove the base without damaging the plastic ?

  71. Tim Says:

    Hi Everyone-

    Nigel: I would suggest caution and patience to avoid messing up the plastic. However, even with both, I wasn’t able to do a clean extraction. Simply pry the plastic base off with a screwdriver or other wedge to reveal the screws. The rest you can find in this blog…somewhere.

    I purchased the 500GB FreeAgent Desktop external and after 2 weeks my usb connector (I purchased the usb only version) broke and I couldn’t connect the drive at all to a PC or Mac. The port engineering is terrible. However, I needed the 200 GB of data on the drive so shipping it out or swapping at my local outlet isn’t an option.

    But…all is not lost. When opening case you’ll discover that you are the proud owner of a Seagate Barricuda internal hard drive with SATA connections. You first have to pull the cheap circuit board from the drive which plugs into the ports on the back of the HD. Also, take a moment and bash the hell out of it with a hammer for causing you so much panic. I had to set the jumper to 1.5 Gb/s and connected it to my motherboard through my unused second SATA port. Drive works fine and my data is recovered.

    Hope this experience helps someone.

  72. Adam Says:

    @ Nigel – re: opening the case

    I would stay away from using hard metal objects to pry open the case as you will inevitably damage it. use something softer like a spludge (as decribed near the top of this thread by Sean) made of plastic or wood, or do as i did and pry it lose with your finger nails. the trick is to make slow progress around the case, pushing into the seam and using only relatively gentle prying, so as to disengage the snap fasteners instead of breaking them.

    good luck

  73. SudeepJD Says:

    I’ve got a Seagate FreeAgent Desktop 500MB…worked fine, for a while.

    My Vista laptop now detects it as a FreeAgent harddrive but when I open Windows Explorer, it hangs. I downloaded and installed the Freeagent desktop software to try and do a diagnostic but the software says no device plugged in. However my device manager says there is a USB device and detects it as a freeagent.

    Any Ideas as to how I can access the files on the disc and why Explorer hangs? Just wondering if disconecting the light wire trick would work. The drive is still under warranty so I do not want to void it. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  74. Luke_Bon Says:

    I’ve got a Seagate FreeAgent Desktop 320GB and it has worked just fine on my MacBook for over 7 months now. Although the other day i was carrying my external drive while holding on to the cord with the other hand (Still plugged in to the USB cord port) i dropped the external drive and broke the solder of the female end that is inside the drive.

    So what i did was take it apart and see if i can get it back together but i don’t think it is possible, and i talked to seagate customer service on the phone and what happened isn’t included in the warranty so i was wondering if any of you guys that has a Seagate FreeAgent Desktop 320GB would be willing to sell the circuit board of their external hard drive. If so Email me at lbontrag@purdue.edu.


  75. Steve Says:

    Hallelujah! Disconnected the light and I have a working drive. Will report back in a couple of weeks with updated status. My base unit was connected somewhat differently than the description in this post – had to remove the rubber feet to get at 4 screws, but still had to go through the prying exercise to get the thing off. One further note – the light power is the orange wire.

  76. Judd Says:

    I just wanted to say that I also followed the instructions for unplugging the light and the drive worked great first time I tried to access it. I will see if this fix lasts.

  77. Robert Says:

    Having had problems with both Western Digital (USB drive died after ripping 200 CD’s to it – one month after the warranty expired… fortunately got the MP3’s back after ripping it out of its case and attaching it internally using GRC.com SpinRite to recover it) and three bad LaCie external USB drives, I switched to Seagate as I’ve always had success with their internal drives. My original 320GB 3.5in Pushbutton drive is still going strong (touch wood) and I use it to backup my work PC and laptop. I bought a 500GB FreeAgent Pro drive for my home machine (to backup the 160GB internal drive where I now keep my MP3’s) and it’s been working okay for about a year. So I just invested in a 500GB FreeAgent Desktop for my daughters Mac. This one has sat uninstalled for a couple of weeks and in the interim the FreeAgent Pro on my home XP machine started throwing NFTS errors and delayed write errors, so I switched it off until I had some time to look into it. Looked into it last night and like the other contributors to this forum, XP can no longer see it. I verified the power supply, USB port and USB cable was okay using new FreeAgent drive, which worked just fine; so I just shipped the bad one back to Seagate and fortunately had the new one to make sure I have a good backup. So I’ve previously lost faith in WD & LaCie and now Seagate is problematic. The common factor is that they’re all external USB drives. I rarely have problems with internal drives, so maybe it’s just the crap USB to SATA / PATA interface that’s the source of the problems.
    That said the stupid sleep mode on the FreeAgent drive that generates the disk event log errors until you switch off the sleep mode and the poor quality FreeAgent backup software has shaken my faith in Seagate. Really, really poor consumer products. I will never now consider using a USB drive as a primary storage device. Just beware if you’re over Seagate. WD and LaCie are no better.

  78. Jim Says:

    Interesting thread – wish I read it before buying the 500gb external model…

    It ran for about 5 minutes after getting it out of the box, then it disappeared. It came back, disappeared again, now it won’t register on ANY computer that I have (a desktop and a laptop).

    I disconnected the light, but still nothing – it’s as if it’s in permanent sleep mode, and multiple attempts at waking it up don’t work. (Disconnecting, reconnecting, etc). And, the power supply is good.

    Any suggestions?

  79. Are Wold Says:

    This sounds like a slightly different problem. I would return it immediately and exchange it for a drive from a different vendor. Despite what the previous poster said (and he has good points – in general, I think USB external drives have poor reliability) I would recommend the WD MyBook-series, as I know of 3-4 people having those without any problems.

  80. BHarmer Says:

    I disabled the light and all worked fine for a day and then back came the DWF message. It’s winter here in New Zealand so ambient temperature is not high. I am now going a step further, and leaving off the neatly folded metal shield (the one that covers the main board)to see if that helps heat dissipate faster. Discoloration patterns on the inside of that shield suggest that heat is definitely an issue.

    It is disappointing that Seagate don’t seem to have acknowledged the extent of this problem and offered some program of remediation. I haven’t seen such a widespread shambles since the dreaded “click of death” on early Iomega Zip drives.

  81. BHarmer Says:

    Nope. That didn’t work either. Now I am getting desperate

  82. David Anderson Says:

    Seagate FreeAgent? No Thanks! Not only is the drive rubbish, Seagate KNOW it’s rubbish, hence all emails, faxes, and telephone calls to their various facilities asking for technical assistance go unanswered. I managed to recover all data stored before ceremoniously destroying the drive with a large hammer.

    The best way of dealing with the entire issue is to avoid buying Seagate products AND tell all your frieds and colleagues to do the same.

    Best Wishes,

    Dave Anderson.

  83. Tony Lyons Says:

    Here’s the answer..

    (A) With no forced ventilation, the problem is caused by overheating of the USB-to-SATA translator chips mounted on a small PCB in the base of the drive enclosure.

    (B) I attached a temperature probe to the PCB and, after 30-40mins operation, the drive failed at 58 degrees C.

    (C) With the PCB out of its enclosure the drive gave no eoperational errors i.e. convective heat dissipation kept the PCB below 30 degrees C.

    (D) I removed the drive from the upper enclosure and installed it in a spare bay of my Dell workstation. I configured the drive as SATA 1, restarted the PC, and I now have a fully-functional 320GB SATA drive, which has run diagnostics without failure for more than 48-hours non-stop.

    (E) The LED indicator light on the front of the enclosure takes just a few milliamperes of current, runs cold, and plays no part in the gradual failure of the drive operation.

    (F) In conclusion.. Poor enclosure design results in overheating of the USB/SATA PCB causing the drive system to malfunction. There are 3 options: (1) Carefully dismantle the drive system and rebuild in a larger enclosure (easily available). If possible, ensure adequate airflow to remove heat. A fan is best. (2) Remove and discard the PCB, Remove the screen surrounding the drive and remount in a spare drive bay of your PC. Configuration is easy. (3) Buy a better alternative.

    Hope this answers the questions. Best Wishes, Tony

  84. kppdx Says:

    I left my Seagate 500 in the enclosure and built a box with a 5″ intake fan on one end and a 5″ output fan on the other. I have had no failures since. In fact, I have placed my WD 500, my router and my SB Audigy Video Editor sound box in there and all seem happier. It seems like a lot of work to cover a bad design, but it works. Good luck. Ken.

  85. Tony Lyons Says:

    I’m pleased to read kppdx has got his drive working, but as he says, it is a lot of work to cover a bad design, and everyone experiencing the problem should let Seagate know.

    Keep the temperature of the USB – SATA translator PCB as low as possible (ideally, below 30C) and you can’ go wrong.

  86. Are Wold Says:

    Thanks for sharing your insight, people. It’s incredible that this design got past QA…

  87. Ken Says:

    Well, a follow up to my post of May 28. My drive was truly dead. New cable did not fix the problem, new power supply did not help, disconnecting the light, nothing. Finally took the advice posted early on here, pried apart the case, actually did not have the patience to try and salvage it, and with the interface board probably dead, I figured what was the use. The case was a royal pain to get apart, was unable to do so without breaking the connectors.

    Had ordered a new case from Buy.com, took the drive out of the enclosue. It was encased in a metal casing, pried off the rubber shock parts to reveal the screws, took them out, installed into the new board and case, and voila! Drive back alive after a month. Thank goodness.

    Thanks to everyone’s comments, how-to’s, and advice. Tony’s commentary above is very accurate IMHO, and I wonder how this case design got by anyone in Seagate. The drives are nice looking, but I hope anyone who wants one strongly consider the commentary and effort expended by so many who have posted here before they plunk down their hard earned dollars.

  88. jason Says:

    When I got this drive I formatted it into linux file system so I could run it off my buffalo linkstation NAS as an auxillary drive. Had lots of problems of the device “forgetting” it was connected. Reformated it with seagate tools and used to directly off USB hub on computer and worked fine ever since. I think at least some of the problems experienced by other people are due to USB cable or USB root device issues. What do you think?

  89. Judd Says:

    Just a quick follow-up. Since I’ve disabled the light, my drive has worked perfectly. It hasn’t changed locations on my desk and hasn’t been subject to any extra cooling.

  90. Gabriel Says:

    Damn! Thanks! I disabled the stupid light and it seems that its working faster than ever, I almost have 300gigs of data there and the stupid people of seagate wanted to charge me 500bucks for data recovery… f*u! anyway thanks for the tip, the only bad thing is that I think I invalidate my waranty but 300gb of data worth more than 100bucks I think I’m going to have to have a backup of my backup!

  91. James Says:

    I think I am seeing the problem now.. after using it for a month or so.. starting to see delay write and I have to power down.. let it cool for 25~30 minutes or so and power on again.

    I tried calling Tech Support. Gosh.. they’re all idiots and as reading from the scripts and telling to me check all cables. I told them everything is fine… it is their damn drive. I wanted them to ship me a new one but after reading these post.. I don’t think it will help because of a bad design.

    Say.. how do you power off the yellow pulsing lights? Perhaps this will cool it down?

  92. Tony Lyons Says:

    James, it’s a cooling problem! Disabling the yellow light (an amber LED embedded in a plastic lightpipe) will do nothing to overcome the problem. The LED takes approximately 10mA, and runs cool. Electronics require cooling; the USB PCB beneath the drive’s stand is running at too high a temperature. Prise open the case (it CAN be done without damage) remove the small PCB from the case, power up the drive and see what happens.

    Best Wishes,

    Tony Lyons.

  93. Are Wold Says:

    Tony, I very much agree that it doesn’t make that much sense, but there is no doubt that just unplugging the light makes some people’s drives more stable – my own experience as well as that of others show as much. I agree that the root issue is cooling most likely – somehow unplugging the LED improves the situation enough to make a difference, at least for my drive. (Could the light be faulty in some way, drawing too much power on certain drives?)

    James, you can find out how people went about unplugging the light earlier in this thread. If that works for you, great – do let us know if you unplugged the light and/or improved the cooling and what you results were.

    Cheers, Are

    PS: On a partly related note, I just removed a faulty Seagate drive
    from a friend’s one year old Macbook – it had suddenly started making clicking noises and could not be read from. I won’t go near a Seagate product for a long, long time…

  94. ogiepogi Says:

    my gosh… i got this problem for months!!! and those damn fat ass seagate staff don’t answer any of my mails. (i’m in a too far away island that’s why i can’t give it back on where i bought it). now i will try to do the fancy light thing… will give you guys update on this… thanks again for this information.

  95. Mat Says:

    I just wanted to give an update. My 320 GB freeagent would work for 1-2 mins max and then stop responding. I removed the light connection and thought it worked initially but soon realised it made no difference.

    I ran the drive with the circuit board uncovered for a month without faullt. I have now reconnected the light and replaced the cover, but importantly left the metal plate that covers the circuit board off. The drive has worked fine for several weeks.

    I wonder whether people who remove the light and find a fix have actually disturbed something else which is helping cooling. For example they don’t put the metal cover back, don’t screw it down as hard, don’t push the plastic cover back flush, or something that improves air flow just enough to make the drive stable.


  96. ogiepogi Says:

    ok after removing the light thing connection, i still feel the heat from my free agent, BUT, it fixes the problem on write delay. i did a check disk (until phase 5), it works fine, i did a simultaneous copy from A->B and B->A (assuming B is my Free Agent). i did it for 20GB copy from both side at the same time. it works fine. i did the test right after the check disk, so the disk is already too hot by that time (i did not put any ventilation in it to further test it’s capability).

    in summary, it works pretty well…

  97. Tony Lyons Says:

    Dear Are Wold, You are right, it doesn’t make much sense but, as Mat says, opening the case to get at the light may well physically affect things sufficiently to ensur stability. There is no doubt that the USB-SATA PCB at the base of the case runs far too hot, (the heat rising into the upper section containg the drive itself), and cooling, as we all know, is critical. I wrote earlier that I removed my drive from the case and installed it in my PC,; now it runs without any problems whatsoever. If removing the light works for you, great! But the only real answer is improved ventilation. Let me know how you get on. Regards, Tony (Dublin, Ireland).

  98. DAVID 2.0 Says:

    I visited every review video on YouTube and ragged on this garbage creation by Seagate. I ended up making a lot of new owners uncomfortable and others just irritated by my ranting. In the end, I ripped that stupid enclosure off of the hard-drive and got down to the nitty gritty. I’d talked to tech support on live chat as well as over the phone and neither one wanted to help me save my 370+ gigs of data. I knew there was a way, but I just couldn’t see myself spending $500+ on data recovery. Honestly, I’d sooner piss bricks. But, enough of my disgruntledness with Seagate…


    I went to Fry’s Electronics, bought a new enclosure for all of about $21 and some change, including tax. The hard-drive slid right in, I connected the USB and power adapter (no tech experience required WHATSOEVER) and BOOM! The hard-drive works like brand-spanking-new!!!!

    After all those hours of working on the heat/light issue (which did absolutely NOTHING in my case), and groaning over a MASSIVE loss in data, all it took was a $20 spot and a 20 minute drive. Hindsight is always 20/20 yeah? Indeed.

    Thank you, Jesus…!!!!!!!!!!

  99. Rick Taylor Says:

    Hey everyone had the same issue as everyone else with my 500gig drive.
    I have an easer solution for the light heat buildup issue based on what I learned about here.
    Which by the way will resolve your problem’s here is what you do.

    Step1. Locate on the bottom of the unit a louver type heat vent approximately 1 inch by 1 1/2 inches.
    Step2. Take a pair of side cutes and preformed dental surgery and snipped out all of the vent pieces until you have a square hole.
    Step3. Next locate and cut the red and black wire pair with your snipes and the light is disabled. Leave the other Black and white pair alone it’s your activity light.
    Step4. Place your drive in fridge for 5 minutes, Yes this will speed up the heat recovery wait. I needed my data immediately so this is what I did.
    Step5. Take it out of the fridge along with a cold Duvel.
    Step6. Take drink of beer and plug in your unit and it will work fine ever more.

  100. Daijhon Says:

    Hey guys, same problem here with my free agent 500g not reading on the OS. So I replaced the enclosure with an Antec Veris Mx-100 for sata drives. From Circuit City. Now the computer see the drive but now asking me to format. I’ve read most of the responses and haven’t recall anyone saying they had to format. If I format won’t i loose my data I am trying to retrieve? Any advice would be a helpful.

  101. Judd Says:

    Well now my drive has gone back to failing after a bit of hard use. The light trick was not a permanent solution. I will be buying a new enclosure and transferring the drive over as that seems to be the only way to save it.

  102. Adam Says:

    the dreaded ‘write failed’ started appearing again as the weather warmed up and dried out for the start of the long dry season… so inspired by Geno’s method i flipped the freeagent on its head, popped off the bottom of the case, and then balanced a s/steel drinking cup on the piping hot sheet metal cover over the circuits as an improvised heat-sink.

    Now all is well again, i ran it flat out al day moving movies, animations and other large files back a forwards. though it is a rather inelegant solution to have it balance on its head with its naked butt in the air, so i think i’ll be off to the workshop to build something nicer ( because there is no easy way to buy a new case around here)

  103. Earweed Says:

    First of all thank you for everything, i had problems with my freeagent 500 gb for a long time and thought that the device was crap. By accident i found this blog and read all the posts and then i realised that the device has problems because of the enclosure and only. That’s why i bought today a new enclosure from aluminium and everything is just right. i opened the Seagate enclosure and really got confused because the drive could not take a breath in there! That’s obvious why it couldn’t work at all. The enclosure i got is that one in case someone is interested http://www.plaisio.gr/product.aspx?catalog=23&category=69978200&product=1074555 and it works just fine as an enclosure because it has some tiny spots all over and the drive gets cool and not hot. For the end i have to say that here in Greece is total hot so this box is just the real thing. Thank you again and good luck to everyone.

    ps: @ Daijhon: man, i connected the box with the pc and it didn’t ask me to format anything.

  104. BL Says:


    I was looking at the Freeagaent 500 due to some low prices on the internet ($88US, free ship, no tax), but now I see why there going so cheap. I have reviewed other forums also, and the concurrence seems to be a failure to dissappate heat. HEY SEAGATE–your losing your consumer base here, better wake up fast!! I guess I’ll stay away until they fiqure this one out or go out of business. Thanks to all who bothered to note their issues, thereby saving me alot of heartache and headaches. Will keep the WD My Book 500 I just purchased for $99US+tax.

  105. Trevor McPherson Says:

    Thanks all for the confirmation about the Freeagent 500 problem. I’d been tearing my hair out for about two months with what I thought was unreliable video software (this sort software is often borderline in reliability). Then a couple of computer hangs occurred duringlarge file transfer/s and I realised and that my problem was probably with the external drive. Looks like getting a SATA enclosure might be the way to recover value from my two Freeagent drives. Thanks again. Of course I’ve yet to confirm my problem but I am confident you’ve helped out.

  106. CANDY LAIRD Says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! AFTER MESSING with this stupid drive all day yesterday. i found your site here. it has saved me. I purchased 5 of these things at once. several to be used for work. i have had problems with them from the beginning at different times. I took off the bottom, removed the little metal cover and unplugged the light wire. i left it just like that, layed it on its side with the bottom facing a holmes blizzard fan set on high. I will try a more permanent solution after i retrieve my data.

    I only wish I would have found your posts here before I reformatted the drive. ( I thought it was a problem with the mft ). OH well live and learn I guess.

    Has anyone tried these solutions long term yet? I don’t want to go through all this just to have the drive die again when I have loaded it with 400gb pf data again.

  107. Mat Says:


    Mine has been working for a month now with just the metalplate off, otherwise the light is connected and the base pushed back on. Prior to that it would work only for a few minutes before stopping. Must say add though, mine does not get heavy use, maybe 1-2 gig transfers once a week. But no problems now the metal plate is removed.


  108. Jason Says:

    I lost my power supply!!! can anyone give me the specs on theirs? 110v? thank you

  109. Tony Lyons Says:

    Just to let you all know…..Seagate have withdrawn Freeagent external drives from sale (you might still find some at discount stores) owing to thermal failure!!!

    Best wishes,


  110. Kitt B. Says:

    So I actually took out the entire light from the enclosure so more air can get in there, and it worked for a week before it started spazzing out again. I think it’s because I use it constantly every day for my music rather than as a backup HDD that it overheats so much.
    I recently downloaded the Hard drive manager from Seagate (probably the only good thing they offer) and I switched the sleep timer to 5 hours, it seems to be running much more smoothly, very overheated, but smooth.

  111. Eric M Says:

    My Freeagent 500GB drive was running at 50-52c, I figured that the idea was that the heat would rise to the top vent drawing cool air through the bottom to cool the thing down..However if other posts are correct and the board is generating the heat and cetainly to touch the hottest part is close to the base then all the heat is being drawn past the harddrive making it hotter.

    I am testing standing the drive on its head so the hottest componenst are at the top so the heat will not pass by the entire drive on its way out. SO far the drive does appear to be cooler currently 39c after running for an hour doing backups. Failing this an external fan to either push or pull the air out is the next option.

    Also my drive is reporting two bad custers ….

  112. Fivos K. Says:

    I bought a freeagent hard drive 500GB about a week ago. I made a “small” mistake and before installing it on my windows xp i didn’t copy the files in the drive to my pc. Then i installed it too on a friend’s mac and all the files needed were deleted. Now i cant use it at all at my computer. I sent a mail to seagate but they havent answered so far. Can anyone please send me the files needed? I hope it works…. My mail is xigas_4_life@hotmail.com

    You ll do me a big favor

  113. Fivos K. Says:

    Lol. I just checked my mail and at last they answered me. The problem is solved but with all the previous comments there is little to hope not to face another one in the future. Thnx for your time guys

  114. Mr Taylor Says:

    Holy Crap, 20 minutes ago I unplugged the light like you guys said and BINGO! Months of frustration gone. Thank you so much guys!

  115. Kitt B. Says:

    UPDATE! I purchased an ANTEC MX-1 external hard drive enclosure to house my Seagate Freeagent 500GB harddrive. IT WORKS PERFECTLY! Job well done Seagate for making crappy enclosures that overheat and reset every 15 minutes. Thank you very much for the troubleshooting solutions, this was a lifesaver.

  116. James Taylor Says:

    Is anyone able to post an exact model number for the free agent drives that are dying, Today I purchased one from from Dicksmith and it seems to be going alright at the moment, There seems to be a few different models out there with differing designs for the base etc, I haven’t investigated fully but I think mine may have some sort of fan built in as its making more noise than just HDD chatter but It would be great if someone was able to post a model number of one a problematic one so i know if i should look forward to potential problems and be a bit more cautious with backups etc……

  117. David Says:

    ok so today i was editing a movie for my friend and had well over 200 Gb wroth of EXTREMELY important files and then for a sec my comp froze then when i tried importing the files it said they were corrupt, i said maybe if i restart my comp….. FREEagent 500 gb disk drive was no wehre to be found…. i plugged out the drive and recconencted it ad it said device was unknown and that i yad to install drivers which i did and it still said the same thing!!! what is going on over 3 months of work were lost in 2 tragic minutes…..

  118. Ben Says:

    Just got my FreeAgent 750 GB yesterday. Hooked up via firewire cable.
    Time machine worked great on it, until I woke up this morning and found “backup failed!”.

    The drive was still there on my desktop when I looked. Console log shows messages like:
    10/4/08 6:32:55 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00 mode paremeters set failed
    10/4/08 7:01:33 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00: IssueStartCommand with option (3)
    10/4/08 7:01:42 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00: IssueStartCommand with option (3)
    10/4/08 7:02:32 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00: IssueStopCommand
    10/4/08 7:02:52 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00: IssueStopCommand
    10/4/08 7:03:01 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00 mode paremeters set failed
    10/4/08 7:07:47 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00: IssueStartCommand with option (3)
    10/4/08 7:07:56 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00: IssueStartCommand with option (3)
    10/4/08 7:08:26 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00: IssueStartCommand with option (3)
    10/4/08 7:09:07 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00: IssueStopCommand
    10/4/08 7:09:28 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00: IssueStopCommand
    10/4/08 7:09:37 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00 mode paremeters set failed
    10/4/08 7:31:17 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00: IssueStartCommand with option (3)
    10/4/08 7:31:26 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00: IssueStartCommand with option (3)
    10/4/08 7:32:13 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00: IssueStopCommand
    10/4/08 7:32:33 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00: IssueStopCommand
    10/4/08 7:32:42 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00 mode paremeters set failed
    10/4/08 8:01:32 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00: IssueStartCommand with option (3)
    10/4/08 8:01:42 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00: IssueStartCommand with option (3)
    10/4/08 8:02:50 AM kernel com_seagate_IOPowSec00: IssueStopCommand

    I ran the FreeAgent disk test, when I first started it I saw a message that no drives were detected, and that went away. Then a test under “Utilities” passed.

    I have since done a Time Machine backup, and used the utilities to turn off the light (shouldn’t this be enough? Why should I physically disconnect the light?)

    And the Memo software *can* be simply disabled. You can stop the background service on it, or just remove any backups.

  119. salam Says:

    don’t buy seagate freeagent it’s a mess…. with 5 yr limited warranty..

  120. Javier Says:

    Why don´t we go all together to a Consumer Organization??

  121. Javier Says:

    I have the 500 GB FW and all i want to do with my drive freezes my finder. I could see some day a error verifying the disk somethigh of a “node”…but actually verifying disk just keep verifying disk form 10 hours (i had to go to bed). Seagate = problems

  122. Lee Says:

    I have probelms with the freeagent 500 gb hd as well. its been running fine for the year, maybe a little more, that i’ve had it for.

    i run on an xp sp 2 and so far, the hd has treated me good until now. Just the other day i go to my root folder on the hd and i get an error telling me something along the lines of “..is in accessible or coruppted.” so that sucks. i end up disconnected the hd, reconnecting it, and turning it back on. then when i go into the hd, i see that my root folder was gone. just disappeared. however, when i went to check on my properties, 320 gb of data was still being used up. so i guess something is still there i just cant get any access to it.

    i really don’t know what to do about this. atm, i’m running a chkdsk and its very slowly going through phase 4. its been on for i dont know, say two days today. any solutions or advice?

  123. DAVID Says:

    I wish I had found this blog before I bought 3 Freeagents……….as now I have one that is 2 weeks old and has failed by losing its formatting.
    My Freeagent is a 750 gb usb model. I use it as an auxilary file storage drive, and never loaded the supplied backup software. It came preformatted NTFS and so I created a directory for my files, leaving the Seagate directories intact.
    Over a several day period, I copied about 500gb of files from two different computers into the Freeagent 750 without any errors. Then, during an overnight file copy a “delayed write failure” ocurred. After that error, the drive was not recognized anymore as a Freeagentdrive to the host computer(s) a Win xp and a Win vista machine. It was listed in drive manager, but as a generic “local disk” RAW. that was ureadable.
    I used R-Studio to try and recover my data, and I am able to recover most of it intact. I have several external drives of various makes and models and have never had troble like this….Is this line of Seagate products their “JUNK” sale drives ?

    So it seems to me that the sector that contains the System ID Field in the partition table is corrupt. If true, I should be able to rewrite that field with the correct value, and make the drive readable again.

    Can anyone here reccomend a free or cheap program that they have experience with in recovering a bad partition, and/or suggest another way to make this Freeagent readable again. I know I can reformat it, but Iam trying to avoid that, until I gat my data recovered.

    Thank you.

  124. Lex Says:

    Hello – I have a FreeAgent/Desk 1TB which accidently was pulled of the table by my 9 month old son. When I turn on the power the drive is making a buzzing sound every 3-4 secs and after a while goes quite. The OS (XP) does not see the drive nor does FreeAgent SW. I guess the drive is dead – how can I recover the data on it – the drive inside is model no. ST31000340AS – I believe SATA. Thx in advance for your feedback.

  125. MilesMom Says:

    Lex, Please email me any feedback that you received regarding your issues. My FreeAgent is doing the exact same thing. I purchased my drive on October 26. I was so excited to download old pcture and songs for Itunes which took me the entire weekend. Not to mention time away from my three year old.
    I connected my drive again tonight and not it is buzzing and not being recognized by my brand new vaio. This really sucks. I was in queue(I think that is how it is spelled) four times tonight waiting for help from seagate every time I was next to be connected I received an email that said no one can help me at this time. I have only had this drive for 8 days…..1, 2, 3, 4 , 5, 6, 7, 8…..what a waste!!

  126. MilesMom Says:

    Lex, Please email me any feedback that you received regarding your issues. My FreeAgent is doing the exact same thing. I purchased my drive on October 26. I was so excited to download old pictures and songs from Itunes which took me the entire weekend; not to mention time away from my three year old.
    I connected my drive again tonight and now it is buzzing and not being recognized by my brand new vaio. This really sucks. I was in queue(I think that is how it is spelled) four times tonight waiting for help from seagate every time I was next to be connected I received an email that said no one can help me at this time. I have only had this drive for 8 days…..1, 2, 3, 4 , 5, 6, 7, 8…..what a waste!!

  127. danno Says:

    I bought a 500GB Free Agent last year and had no problems till 2 months ago. I moved it and now the drive is under a desk with a little less ventilation than it may have previously had.
    Since then I have encountered constant write errors and the directories or the entire drive would disappear or stop responding. This would at times happen shortly after initial boot.
    All that talk of this pointing to a heating issue definitely makes sense. I’ve had many systems in my day die from poor ventilation. Any hard drive can die because of heat issues not just Seagate.
    As for the light I don’t know about that unless there’s a fault on the board. I wouldn’t think an LED would generate much heat.
    I did follow everyone’s instructions on removing the bottom of the casing and disconnecting the light as well as removing the aluminum cover on the circuit board (Hope this is not a fire hazard now) and so far no issues.

    It does look like a bad enclosure design as I don’t see how you could have proper airflow within that casing. Usually air goes from one side to another or top bottom basically goesintta/goesoutta. Preferably the air would flow over the vital components that get heated. It doesn’t look that is possible on this this device. There is only the one vent on the bottom.
    How would air make it to the hard drive? In any case you guys are saying its the USB circuit board.
    I’ll see after a few hours as it most often it doesn’t take long for the errors to happen.
    If that doesn’t work I’ll yank it out of the enclosure and mount it internally if that’s possible with this one.

    Thanks for the postings here as this issue was driving me up a wall. I have lots of data on this thing I’d hate to lose.

  128. Nigel Jones Says:

    Thanks for this — sounds very similar to what I’m getting — in this case when connected to a linkstation NAS.

    I was suspicious of the drive before (Vista connected), but now it’s just failing constantly. I’m guessing this relates to it being on continuously .

    Interestingly a SMART test shows the disk/media is FINE.. It is the electronics I’m sure at fault.

    The only “warning” is indeed temperature
    190 Airflow_Temperature_Cel 0x0022 056 035 045 Old_age Always In_the_past 44 (6 184 44 44)

    My problem here -> http://buffalo.nas-central.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=13226

  129. Nigel Jones Says:

    I inspected the drive (externally) and observe the electronics are at the bottom.

    Im going to try running the drive “upside down” since
    a) The vents around the electronics have air flowing around
    b) Convection will remove heat upwards

    worth a shot…

    Meanwhile have raised a tech case with seagate just to get the sw that allows disabling led/timers. Worth trying this before dismantling.

  130. David McGarry Says:

    I wish I had seen this before I purchased this drive.

    Seagate 500GB Free Agent Go (smallish 500GB USB drive)
    Mac OS 10.5.2

    Drive worked for a few days, then would no longer mount. finally got it to mount in xp on an older machine, and it the Mac Book Pro will not recognize it.

    I foolishly threw out the cheap plastic package it came in. I am going to print this thread out, return to bestbuy, and cause a scene.

    How do they get away with such a terrible product with this many documented issues!

  131. danno Says:

    After doing the above no issues for the last 3 weeks.I D/C’d the LED and pulled the shroud off. Not sure what step solved it but the drive has been fine since.

  132. Ritchie Says:


    think I’m only echoing the same reports over the last year or so -I have the SG HD 1TB, I ‘ve had it for about 2 months and yesterday it stopped working – no Error reports, just a pathetic , annoying LED light that slowly fades in and out. The computer no longer recognizes the HD so I’m about to show it the wall – Any suggestions before I get even more irritated..

  133. Ritchie Says:

    And in addition – I have around 300 GB worth of information on there, including my degree course work, but more importantly, my entire iTunes library!! I’m devastated…..

  134. Ritchie Says:

    Ok, I’ve stripped the bloody thing, blown it through with compressed air, stripped it of the plastic and metal sheaf/ covering – rebooted the computer, SEAGATE icon appears in the tool bar showing connected, no response – my computer displays symbology of E drive, clicked on icon, computer freezes and decides it’s unresponsive – computer crashes….

  135. themaster Says:

    I now have 3 drives including 2 Seagate FreeAgent 500Gb USB.
    These 2 drives have writing issues with large files since day 1 almost and they’re like brand new.Very little use because of this.
    On the other hand, i have no problem with my WD mybook 500Gb USB

    I’m interested in this “turn off the light” hack but am not sure how to proceed.(i know myself when i touch things…. it can be ugly at the end)

    If someone can post pictures of this operation that would be very welcome!

    English is not my native language so not sure i have understood the explanation correctly, hence my request.

  136. Dan Says:

    Feel like a broken record here, but, yes, I have had the same problem with 1TB FreeAgent. Got it three days ago, now it will not mount. It’s amazing that the engineers who designed this failed to think of adequate heat sinks.

  137. MrPete Says:

    This is interesting. We own half a dozen of these drives. Nary a problem.

    There’s only one thing we do: we make sure the drive is on a flat surface so air flow is not impeded. The fan MUST be able to blow air out the bottom, and the metal case MUST be in open air (not jammed against something else.)

    With that, the drives just plain work. Not tricks or kludges. HEAVY use.

    My experience at least!

  138. MrPete Says:

    OH — one thing to understand. ALL hard drives have a certain failure rate. Industrywide, about 1 percent fail each year. Do NOT treat one of these as your only backup! You will eventually be sorry.

    ALSO note: if you remove the case, now you have removed all cooling mechanisms for the drive. Hard disks need a heat sink (metal that draws heat away) and/or air flow (fan) to remove heat. A bare drive not in any kind of case will eventually overheat.

  139. Ben Says:

    I have a FreeAgent 500GB hard drive and it has worked fine for 3 months, until today. I unplugged it from the outlet and walked 200 feet to my desktop and plugged it in to back up files. When I plugged it in, no response. I have spent hours at the seagate website searching for help. So far nothing that seagate suggests has worked. I do not know if it is a power supply issue or what is causing it not to get power. Any suggestions?

  140. Seagate Freeagent Firewire Adapter - Mac-Forums.com Says:

    […] I have sent a request to Seagate to see if they offer the module. I may just take the drives out of the seagate housing and buy an external FW housing to put them in. My reason for taking them out of the seagate housing is the following post I found Having problems with the Seagate FreeAgent 500 GB external disk drive Are about everything […]

  141. Stewy8888 Says:

    This is how you dissemble the drive to get that damn light unplugged and stop getting I/O errors

  142. Glen - Free Agent Pro 1T Says:

    This is the most grand piece of crap that I have bought in a long time. I have been working with computers for years and this is the first product I have bought that failed from day one. It would keep disappearing and constant write errors in addition to it getting hot. I got so frustrated I bought an Antec MX1 cooled enclosure ripped apart the FAP (CRAP) and transferred the drive to the MX1. I now can use my backup drive for what it was meant to be – a back up drive and not a decorative load of crap. Won’t support these folks again!

  143. themaster Says:

    Stewy8888 thanks a Zillion.

    I didn’t do that with my first HDD at all and i broke the case in pieces. Hopefully now i can do things properly with the help of this video for the other hdd

    The only thing i note is despite the light turned off the trick did not work but i wil lretry for my other hdd , i’ll keep you up to date.

  144. cdjones20 Says:

    same story here. followed the advice to unplug the lights and my 500gb drive came right back. Still working good after several hourse and several reboots (games).

  145. Gunslinger Says:

    i rma’d a 750GB pro for exactly the same erratic behaviour earlier this year, delayed right errors, freezing windows etc etc, disappearing files, corrupted folders blah blah blah, and it didnt matter which adaptor or connection interface i used, however, the eSATA was the worst.

    i now have a replacement (reconditioned unit – tight fisted b*stards) which is working ok in USB and Firewire, but still screws up in eSATA.

    The adaptor units on the bottom did get very hot on the old drive i sent back, the new one too seems to get fairly hot as well :(

    Tech support was next to useless, went through christ knows ow many numpty suggestions, even blamed my motherboard, saying it idnt support eSATA… until i sent them a link for the white paper eSATA specifications, that i hoped the had followed during production, that stated that there was NO difference between internal SATA and eSATA requirements, except that eSATA must support hot-swap, which 90% of SATA controllers do now anyway ! once i pointed this out they sent me a replacement drive !

    Points to note for eSATA users….

    1. The internal drive has a SATA150 limiting jumper on it, this will be (or should have been) removed during building the drive, so if your SATA controller only supports SATA150, then you might get issues and have to open the drive to re-fit this jumper and limit it back to SATA150 speeds, dont forget this external unit kind of assumes you have SATA300 ! and does little for backwards compatibility

    2. Native Command Queuing (NCQ) is a feature of the drive in these enclosures (the 750GB version at least) ….. when installing the drivers for your SATA controller, if there are no options for basic SATA + AHCI, then install the RAID driver, even if you do not plan on using the raid features, this will install the AHCI driver as well….. without AHCI driver installed, NCQ will not work, and thus could cause you errors, and it is also doubtful whether hot-swapping will work correctly.

  146. Todd Finneran Says:

    I bought the Seagate Free Agent 500GB 3 months ago. Everything about it appears to work perfectly except for one thing: it won’t back up. I start the process and the screen shows backup is proceeding normally; but, at the end an error message says the files I attempted to back up are “Not supported/skipped’. The pitifully inadequate troubleshooting device (a single “Test” button) and the mindlessly simple pamphlet included with the product are nothing short of pathetic for a company of Western Digital’s reputation. Based upon my own experience, from comments above and found elsewhere on the web, the product would appear to have multiple serious bugs.

  147. Andrew Says:

    I have a FreeAgent 500 GB that has just started going wonky on me. It gives me I/O errors and then upon reboot fails to mount properly. Unplugging the drive and letting it sit for a few minutes seems to fix the problem for a short time, but it comes back after a bit of use.

    Seems like it is an overheating issue. My apartment is somewhat warm, so I might end up resting the hard drive on the window sill, which is nice and cool. If that doesn’t work, I’ll be shipping it to Seagate for replacement. I’ve had the drive for 1.5 years with no prior issues.

  148. Adam at Appiam Says:

    Chaps I would love to buy you all a beer! I managed to salvage a whole companies data store off one of these pieces of junk using your advice.

    I intially had about 6 months of good use from the drive, but then it stopped being detected on our server. Plugged into a workstation it was fine for a week and then sporadic connectivity. I/O errors all over the place.

    Ripped the thing apart and removed the light connector but it was still overheating and only providing a few more minutes worth of use.

    I followed someones advise and conncted it to a motherboard using SATA connections and finally I could get the data off…

    Thanks again everyone. I am never buying another Seagate product again…ever

  149. Nick Says:

    I just got a FreeAgent 1TB around 3 months back. Transfered a lot of data from other drives and computers to clear up space and it died on me. Cracking open the enclosure and removing the light didn’t seem to work for me although I did notice 1 chip on the SATA adaptor PCB was getting burning hot in just 3 seconds of use.

    I got an external SATA to USB adaptor but that just gave the same problems as before. This time however, I noticed there was a spot on the drives PCB that was giving off a lot of heat just a few seconds after turning the drive on which seems to also be the problem. I get around 5 seconds of drive use before it just goes silent.

    Looks like I got a double failure this time…

    500GBs shorter on irreplaceable data

  150. Are Wold Says:

    My sympathies – that stinks!

  151. Mads Kiner Says:

    These advices made my day, along with 200GB of data.
    I just removed the light connector, and now everything is fine.


  152. danno Says:

    Well just another update

    I did follow everyone’s instructions on removing the bottom of the casing and disconnecting the light as well as removing the aluminum cover on the circuit board

    Since I did the above back in November NO PROBLEMS!!!!!!
    Yes no errors and the drive sleeps and wakes with no issues at all. To add it’s in the same spot under the desk and the heat has been on consistently.
    This page has saved me a lot of head aches and possible loss of data.

    Thanks all!

  153. Chaz Says:

    Hi all,
    I know a lot has got to do with thermal issues, but I’ve just disabled my light on 750GB Freeagent and all my troubles have gone. By the way, you don’t need to pull your enclosure apart, just use this program………


    You’ll find that you can turn off the light in ‘settings’. Thanks to all who have posted, I thought my set up was bricked until I read this thread.

  154. Poodlebra Says:

    i just spudged my way to salvation with a 320GB full of my photos from the last few years. I’m now light-free and have my digital memories intact. thanks!

  155. Hap Says:

    Just received a new FreeAgent Go 500 gb drive, plugged it into the usb port and immediately did a very quick backup of 20 gb using FileBack PC. This unit has no yellow activity light nor does it get even warm when running. The program Chaz referred to comes on the drive all ready to install and includes a utility to turn off the LED and another to control drive activity. I find myself wondering if the drive I have is the same one folks are having so much trouble with?

    Actually what brought me here was exploring how to make the drive bootable into windows xp professional. Any leads?

  156. James T Says:

    I have the same the similiar issue with Seagate 250. Hopefully soemone can help. Mine makes a small noise and doest get recognized by the PC. I deattahed the light with no luck. Have 250g of important work data i need to extract. If anyone can send me answer I would appreciate it. jt_nsn@yahoo.com. Or give me insite

  157. jrklein Says:

    I, too, have had many problems with four matching Seagate FreeAgent Pro 500GB USB+eSATA units connected to Linux PCs ever since they were purchased a year ago (in 02-2008). At first I thought I had a bad drive or two, but it turned out that any combination of the four would give me the same problems/errors.

    I originally planned to use a pair of these drives (with Linux software RAID1) on two different Linux systems but experienced endless Drive Not Ready and similar errors during initial sync of the RAID. I have tried various USB2 and eSATA cards and have found that using these drives via eSATA is more prone to problems, though using these drives via USB2 experiences fewer, but similar, problems.

    I have not been able to successfully completed a sync of a pair of these drives in a software mirror and now only use the drives in separate/individual configurations. I have worked with many other matching pairs of USB2, eSATA, and FW400 drives in similar Linux Software RAID1 configurations over the past few years and have never had problems until now.

    On a positive note, it seems connecting one of these drives to an Apple Airport Extreme (802.11n) for use as a Time Machine backup destination does work fine. I’ve been backing up for about 4 months and have restored several files via Time Machine without any indication of errors. Haven’t tried a full system restore, so hard to say if this configuration is even 100% error free.

    It sounds like the enclosure is the real problem. That’s too bad Seagate. :(

  158. Jarrett Says:

    Oh my gosh! Thank you guys so much for the tip. I disconnected the light on my SeaGate 500 and pesto…the computer now recognizes the HD and all the data is there…whew! I almost lost everything! Thank you thank you thank you!

  159. Hartmut Says:

    My FreeAgent 500GB just failed totally after just 6 weeks service as a back-up HDD and makes strange sounds. I just prepared the parcel back to seagate. I do not think I will buy one again from this company. I do understand that HDD fails perhaps after some months of hard labour, but not occasionally used as a mere back-up drive after just six weeks.

  160. zaf Says:

    I got the 1TB which, as a gather from all the comments, quite predictably died after a couple of months. I have now killed the light as suggested and it is working again.

    Would you recommend putting it back in its casing or leaving it bare? What have people who solved the problem done?

  161. Maxtor Basics 500gb - Page 2 - Show-Off - TechEnclave Says:

    […] 500 GB Problems – PC Perspective Forums ( you’ll like the next one … read all of the comments ) Having problems with the Seagate FreeAgent 500 GB external disk drive Are about everything Amazon.com: Phillip M. Dampier’s review of Seagate FreeAgent 500 GB 3.5-Inch USB 2.0 … And the […]

  162. Ken Weiss Says:

    I just installed a Seagate 500G FreeAgent drive. It seems to work fine, except that it takes a full minute to retrieve even a small file from it. Is this normal? Does anyone know a possible solution?

  163. Are Says:

    If you have the same problem when connecting the drive to a different computer too, I would do a backup and return the drive.

  164. ryan Says:

    i have had my drive 4 3 weeks and i lost all my info except movies!! they want to charge me $250-$1000 to try n get info back!!! thanx seagate yer great! at destroying things! i really apreciate you losing all my pics vids music events that have ever been saved in my life!!! what if they lost all there system info and had to start all over?!! i hope carma hits them hard!!!

  165. dude Says:

    I dropped my 500gb external and it’s not turning on. it keeps making a beep when i plug in the AC power. HELP PLZ?

  166. Andrew J Says:

    Help appreciated.

    I have started to get an error message under Restore Files on the Drive Manager, says “Last back up failed on then the date/time” and the icon on the bottom tool bar has a red background.

    I have look at the Seagate documentation and website, but cannot find any info. I tried to contact Tech Support but the website won’t let me register.


    • Jeff Says:

      Bought Freeagent “Desk” last year. Managed to get a few backups but am now getting same error message..”backup failed” and does anyone know what “Skipped” means when you “View backup log” ?

      Not sure if its me or the machine..I think its the machine, obviously!!

  167. platypusrex256 Says:

    I bought this Seagate Freeagent external hard drive less than a year ago and the other day when I plugged it in I came to the cold realization that it had overheated. There is a known problem with the design of the product and Seagate refuses to acknowledge it or take responsability. This is a serious issue and I need help finding resolve.

  168. michael Says:

    Have the same problem as “dude” 3 posts before.

    “dude Says:
    February 19, 2009 at 4:59 am

    I dropped my 500gb external and it’s not turning on. it keeps making a beep when i plug in the AC power. HELP PLZ?”

    Do we have anything on that?

    I tried this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIs3Pz15OFU), unplugging the light, however I don’t think overheating has something to do with my problem.

    Do you have any idea? SOS

  169. Ganzo Says:

    I also bought a Freeagent Desk 500gb. Working great for a bit……I was storing movies on it. Had about 20 movies and yesterday I went to check and GONE!!!! Here’s hoping that disconnecting the LED brings back my stored movies. Here I go……..

  170. Ganzo Says:

    Well, disconnected my led but still no movies. All my files gone….can anybody offer some suggestions? I have to reformat my drive therefore losing any and all my movies that were on my drive for sure. I think I’ve exhausted all my avenues……freeagent Desk 500gb SUCKS!!!

  171. Nick Says:

    I have the same thing. Even a separate enclosure doesn’t help meaning that the drive’s toast. Tried reformatting after being driven to insanity but the drive wouldn’t have any of that. It has bursts of usability, usually long enough to read the directory occasionally but that’s it. My brother suggests freezer stay as that seems to keep it stable for a few seconds longer.

  172. Pete Says:

    Guess what…? Same story here! I bought FreeAgent 1TB, and after 2 weeks disk just refused to work.. I had no choice (I HAVE TO recover my data – all my holidays pictures are there) so I sent it to http://i365.com/ and they gave me first quote: £700-
    £1100 ($900-$1500).. if its ‘motor failure’. If its ‘electronic failure’ it would be around £300.

    Do you think is there any way I could simply _sue_ Seagate for such crap hardware? My all memories, my holiday pictures from past years are on this disk. I will end up paying ridiculous amount of money for disk that is BRAND fuckin’ NEW. I think this is highly unfair, because for this price I could buy 5 disks from any different company….

    Seagate sucks. I’m hoping the guy who designed FreeAgent model is fired. I would kick his ass if I knew who is it… wrrrrr

  173. michael Says:

    i have a seagate external harddrive and its giving me problems it does not appear on my computer it totally does not wanna read and i dont know how to fix this

  174. Pete K Says:

    I have a freeAgent 500GB I bought a little over a year ago. It became gadaully difficult to access and then unusable in Nov 08. Had all my music and backups on it. Unfortunately, I also experienced a hard disc crash on my internal HDD in December, before I got around to fixing/replacing it (yeah, I know, learn the hard way…). I subsequently recovered most of the important stuff from my bad internal HDD, but still missing most of my music and archived emails, and some Word docs I’d like to get back. SO, I want to get the FreeAgent working again enough to copy off the docs, then the music, then the email archives, in that order.

    Fortunately, I found this web site (Thanks, Are!) and the symptoms I experienced are accurately described by what many contributors have said above, including the OS locking up, not starting correctly with the external drive pluged it, etc. Also the lack of “support” from Seagate, and yes, I spent some time going through their wesite and downloading SeaTools and running that (useless for this problem). At this point, I can leave the drive off overninght, plug it in, and see the directory structure through Windows Explorer, and occasionally access some music files, but then it gets slow and locks up.

    A couple days ago, I pried apart the lower case, unplugged the light and tried blowing on the circuit board to see if it responded any better, but it didn’t make any difference (I also tapped on it a bit to see if it changed anything). I then removed the lower case and USB PC board and pried apart the upper case. I have a SATA to USB adapter kit that I bought in order to do the data recovery off my bad internal HDD, so I used that to plug directly in to the drive. No change. I also put it in the freezer overnight and tried again, but no significant change. Still getting I/O errors and slow/locked up response when accessing it through Win Explorer. It now appears that the problem is with the drive itself. But, since I can ocasionally access the directory and some files before it warms up, I conclude that the physical drive is still okay, but the drive electronics are causing the I/O and other errors. Looks like mine is more far gone than others.

    I also conclude that the problem is NOT with the USB interface PC board, as postulated above, but with the drive itself, so the recommendations from other contributors above may help by allowing additional cooling air to reach the drive, and that may make the difference between living and dying, but eventually, you should expect further problems with the drive. WARNING: make sure you have another backup method!

    I also am very disappointed in Seagate’s lack of support for an obviously widespread problem. They have no offical info on the problem on their website, I can’t get through on the phone in a reasonable time, and therefore, I can’t get a return authorization. At minimum, they should put a notice on their site and give instructions for exchanging the drive without the need to reach someone on the phone. I would be satisfied if they repaired the original drive and returned it, so I wouldn’t lose the data on the disc. No more Seagate for me, and I will use every opportunity to tell others to avoid them. Too bad, they used to make good products.

    Disgusted, Pete K

  175. Are Wold Says:

    Thanks for sharing, Pete! I’m certainly also staying away from Seagate products and giving them bad press whenever someone’s getting a new HDD.

  176. j r wills Says:

    Just got mine today.

    I hope it helps to use the option to turn the light off. Has anyone tried that?

  177. Ricky Says:

    Okay, so about 2 months ago I bought a 1.5TB freeagent desk from the get go i didn’t like the stupid blue light so I disabled it using the software. I have had off and on trouble with it, mostly i thought it was probably due to over heating. So using a notebook stand with two fans i kept it cool. Until today. I’m pretty sure it has bricked. It crashes my explorer.exe 64 bit vista laptop, and here on my 32 bit xp desktop it shows up as drive E:, but trying to open it gives me the I/O error. I’ve tried spinrite, which won’t work on it because it just won’t. I’ve tried chkdsk but it claims that it’s a RAW file system. It crashes zero assumption recovery. this is what it looks like http://imod.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/seagate-free-agent.jpg
    and short of a hammer I can’t figure out how to open this thing up. I’ve got over 500gigs of data on there, above all i have all my school stuff on there. I really want to take a hammer to it, but i need my data. Any suggestions?

  178. RickO Says:

    Wow. I wish I’d found this site sooner. I’ve been struggling with a 750GB FreeAgent (Classic) drive for a year. I’d try it, usually for Time Machine backsups; it would fail consistently; I’d contact Seagate for help; months would pass without a response from Seagate and I’d ignore the drive; like a dog to an abusive master, I’d go back and try again as though the PoS hadn’t already failed me a half-dozen times only to find that it failed me again.
    Last night, I broke out the drive to back up a friends iBook before transferring everything to their ‘new’ (previously owned) PowerBook. Lo and behold, the FreeAgent 750 failed again. Twice.
    On a search for answers I finally arrived here. This is the best information online about this horrible, horrible product. I used the Seagate software to turn off the light, and I’m going to try this again. If it fails, which I’m kind of expecting it will, I’m going to cannibalize this doorstop for the drive and pop it into a new enclosure.
    Thanks to all who have kept this thread alive for well over a year.
    P.S. Ten minutes later, and the drive appears to have failed. Time to break out the tools. I swear I’ll never use another Seagate product as long as I live.

  179. RickO Says:

    Same day; quick update. I tried a few more times to get the disastrous Seagate drive to work, but no luck. At my wits end, I ripped open Seagate’s visually attractive but technically flawed enclosure and pulled out the hard disk. I picked up a nice IOgear enclosure for $30 and put the Seagate disk in there. I’ve been using the drive in the new enclosure all afternoon without a hitch.
    Screw Seagate. I will *never* knowingly purchase another product from them ever again.

  180. Ricky Says:

    Oh. Just as an update, I opened up my drive and found that it is a barracuda. Not sure if anyone has established that before. I’m going to take it apart again and try to use the sata hook up to my computer and try to format it like that.

  181. Mar Says:

    looks like it was not an issue of over heating.

    see this and try yourself if your cable has proper ground loop.


  182. Ricky Says:

    Please translate what is said in Mar’s link for me. Do I have to tear my cord apart to test that?

  183. Marc Says:

    Anyone up for grouping up together and going to a consumer agency – please email me at marc_corinth@yahoo.com

    I’m sick and tired of the Free Agent Pro 750gb I bought. Worked once… got my backup done completely. Now it turns on (the light) atleast, but wont be recognized on any computer.

    I used this stinkin’ thing ONE time to transfer my LIFE’s work onto this stupid harddrive before donating my old computer (which was a nice VAIO) to someone in need.

    I have only ONCE been able to access the files, and now, the drive wont be recognized anywhere.

    I’m tired of these crap-ass corporate thiefs that screw the public by providing crap products, then try to rape us with $900 for data retrieval when they know we need our files – otherwise we never would have saved em in the first place!!

    PLEASE – if any of you see this again – email the addy above, just leave me your name, email addy, and model you got from seagate with 1 or 2 lines of what went wrong. I have a friend that’s a big swinging d*** at a lawfirm and im gonna do anything I can to get some kind of class-action against these thieves.

    Wish me luck – hope to hear from you soon!

  184. Pete Says:

    GUYS, LETS SUE SEAGATE! This is ridiculous, new devices just cannot break like that.

    LOOK WHAT I FOUND: http://www.kbklawfirm.com/seagate
    Drop them a line, show them we do feel harmed by Seagate!

    I finally got my price quote after evaluation from Seagate: £1350 !!!! They said ‘Motor wedged’ :| Obviously I didn’t agree for recovering my data for that price.

    Lets fuck Seagate together!

  185. Ricky Says:

    Excellent news. Thanks Pete.

  186. Ian Says:

    today my drive stopped working :( its been getting bad for a couple of days, not allowing me to be able to watch movies directly from it (i have to move to the laptops internal drive in order to watch them without it being all choppy), but now it seems dead.
    It shows up in win explorer as drive I but has not got any properties and will not allow copying documents to it and appears to have no data on it.
    I have stuck it in the fridge and removed the casing but no luck!

    Any ideas people? I am only 8 months into my 5 year warrenty!.

  187. Ian Says:

    just taken my SATA out of my computer and put it into the usb plug type thing thats on the external freeagent. It works. Im thinking this is probably a sign that it is the actual drive thats FUBAR rather than the usb controller :(

  188. sk Says:

    i bought a FreeAgent Desk 500GB in Nov 2008. it worked fine until last week, i switched on my laptop and noticed it had trouble booting up, saw a bluescreen and said it was doing chkdsk… i’m not IT savvy, not sure what to do so i waited. it finally booted up and everything’s looks ok, but i realized that the FreeAgent drive could not be detected… the lights on the freeagent did not light up. i tried changing the cables and moved to another computer… still could not be detected. spent hours reading seagate’s website but nothing helpful.

    would removing the led wires help in my case?

  189. Mark Says:

    I have a Freeagent Desktop 500gb. I bought it sometime in late 2007 and have had no problems with it for the past couple of years.

    All of a sudden, a couple of days ago, it now fails to spin properly and beeps for about 1 minute. Windows cannot detect the drive at all.

    It’s very frustrating since I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff for the past couple of years, though I am happy to say that my critical stuff is on the internal, reliable, HDD.

    I have read on other websites that the issue that I describe, and others described above, is simply a power-supply issue. This post http://forums.seagate.com/stx/board/message?board.id=freeagent&thread.id=1294 suggests buying a replacement, with 12V DC 4A. I am going to try that, but I don’t like my chances.



  190. Mat Says:

    Gave up on this drive today after it has sat idle for months. Brought a Vantec Hard DRive dock for $45 (2.5/3.5 drives-SataI/II-eSata/USB). Pulled the peice of ccrap that is the Free Agent drive apart, and put the hard drive in the Dock. Works so far, will update in am month whether any issues persist.

    Took 15 minutes to get the Free Agent part.


  191. Josh Says:

    I have recently purchased a Seagate 500 GB drive. I am a filmmaker, and got the device to put all of my films, computer effects, scripts, et cetera on it. I ended up having the same problem as described very well on this webpage. I try looking through the troubleshooting pages on the Seagate website, but that of course, (as mentioned many times above), did not help at all. I need the files back, so I will not return the hard drive yet. I am really mad about this, as I always seem to have bad luck with the software and hardware I pick to use for my movies.

    As there are clearly enough cases of this error, I say we contact the Better Business Bureau and either force Seagate to fix this problem or shut the whole company down.

  192. Ricky Says:

    So I had a computational computer forensic scientist look at it, and there was nothing he could do for it, what-so-ever.

  193. Little Known Facts About seagate barracuda 400gb | Seagate HDD Blog Store Says:

    […] Having problems with the Seagate FreeAgent 500 GB external disk … […]

  194. Josh Says:

    I have contacted the BBB (Better Business Bureau) about the problem with Seagate drives. The BBB contacted Seagate immediately and Seagate contacted me within a day of me contacting the BBB. The representative from Seagate who spoke with me was very rude and treated me as if I was a stupid inferior to him. Seagate also lied to the BBB, saying that they gave me a new drive, when they didn’t. Lying to the BBB is one of the worst mistakes a business can make. Currently, I am fighting Seagate through the BBB, and if they keep up this poor customer service, the BBB may give them a poor evaluation, which could shut down the entire company. Maybe I could get some help from other people who could also contact the BBB. They will definitely force Seagate to solve your problems.

  195. Joel Says:

    Got an advanced replacement drive of two drives; one a 750 GB Barracuda and the other a 750 GB Freeagent Pro drive. It cost $20 to get each and although the new Barracuda is working, the newly refurbished Freeagent couldn’t even handle my first transfer onto the drive. What a waste. They should have replaced it with a better model had they known this model was so unstable. I will not be buying Seagate again and will bad mouth them every chance I get.

    I will give a chance cracking open the Freeagent as suggested above and just using the drive. I’m done dealing with Seagate.

  196. Mat Says:

    Hard drive works fine, without any problem at all, once it is removed from the stupid enclosure.

  197. melaniewesslockphotography Says:

    Please help! Write errors … unplugged … plugged back in … and now just moans a bit when plugged back in… No light … just revving for lack of a better word.

    Seagate data recovery can run from $300-$3500 according to cust service.. pls help!!! Anyone else having this “revving” noise?

  198. jeff Says:

    I’ve been having issues for a few weeks now, after a year of flawless operation in OS-X, now I get stuck in a power cycle and the drive seems to go away.

    Looking through the System.log file when it happens I’ve noticed this stuff.

    May 11 19:57:43 jjw kernel[0]: USBF: 72539.397
    AppleUSBEHCI[0x4274800]::Found a transaction past the completion deadline on bus 0xfa, timing out! (Addr: 2, EP: 1)

    IOSCSIPeripheralDeviceType00::setPowerState(0x43a1200, 3 -> 2) timed out after 100131 ms May 11 20:09:29 jjw kernel[0]:

    I’ve been unlucky lately, backing it up using Mozy’s cloud backup software because of these issues so I have it in Windows right now and am doing some disk checking at work to see if I can find out anything. Otherwise, I’ll take it back to my Mac and run some disk utilities on it.

    Needless to say, after all the reading I’ve done about the Seagate drives, I’ll probably stay away, even though Costco does have a 1.5 TB drive for $140.

  199. Craig Says:

    Same problem, Seagate Freeagent 500 MB firewire 800 for mac. This site gave me all the incentive I needed to rip open the enclosure. Once in my drive dock, the hard drive worked fine. The metal casing inside the plastic case is destroyed, though.

    Used it for raw data files – video making – with a Firewire 800 connection. Needed a fast connection for my Macbook Pro becauser the internal drive is so slow and I need to work off a separate drive. Worked fine for a while.
    Then it just died. I have no idea what went wrong; it was a brick. I suspected it was a power or enclosure issue, more because I was hoping the data was intact, and lo and behold, when I ripped the drive out of the useless enclosure, and plopped it into my HD dock, it worked just fine. No firewire, though.

    Now I have to go out and get a firewire 800 enclosure. That’s the whole reason I bought this thing. I could have gotten a 500 MB drive and done it myself anyway. All I got for my trouble was an hour of panic and $80 down the drain.

    Bastards. Will never buy anything made by Seagate again.

  200. Guh Says:

    woww … same here ..

    FreeAgent Go 320Gb. Undetected by Explorer and Disk Management.
    Seagate huh .. bad Seagate .. bad Seagate …

  201. Ricky Says:

    I linked the better business bureau to this and 12 hours later i was contacted by seagate and they replaced my drive for free and did the advanced replacement meaning i got 2 day shipping for free.

  202. st Says:

    Oh my…, I wish I had read this a week ago. :( I’ve just bought not only the-now freezed again-piece of shit (!) freeagent go 500 GB for Mac, but also freeagent Xtreme 1.5 TB. Xtreme still works, but after I read this thread I expect it to die any moment. Fortunately, the Go drive crashed so soon, that I could not do the intented reorganization of my data…

    It’s a shame, what Seagate is doing! A decent company would run a return or repair program and would try to find a solution. There is not a single word about this problem on their website! Well, when I was deciding what external drive to buy, I noticed some problems people were having with Seagate, but those discussions were almost 2 years old. So, I assumed, that the problem has to be solved by now. And when they added the tag “for Mac” I expected a Mac quality…

    I hope, I’ll get my money back for both drives, I don’t want to wait till the other one dies to… thanks for maintaing this blog!

  203. santito Says:

    thanks guys, working perfectly now after taking out the light issue!

  204. Diego Says:

    my problem was not of heating, simply when I first connected the drive in XP it was not recognized until I re-connected it again, so I took the light of the drive and now it seems it is working fine.

  205. modrisco Says:

    It’s kinda ironic that Seagate touts “Now your digital content has room to breathe.” in their product sales sheet for the FreeAgent Desktop series only to stuff them into an enclosure that can’t breathe and overheats.

    I bought 2 250GB FreeAgent Desktop drives about a year ago; the first one for music and pictures and the second one as a redundant backup drive in case the primary ever failed. Within 3 months I had sent the second one back to Seagate for a refurbished one; the refurbished one is now dead. The primary started to crap out this week; I disconnected the LED on this one 6 months ago. Yesterday I went out and bought a WD MyBook 500GB and a Gigaware 3.5″ SATA enclosure. This weekend I’m gonna pull the drive out of the Seagate enclosure and try to copy everything off to the WD.

    Seagate is completely incompetent and I will never purchase one of their products again.

    • syu Says:

      Any external drive with plastic enclosure would have the similar overheating problem which will accelerate the aging of the usb interface chips causing the eventual failure.

      In my case, I opened up the the plastic case and drilled a bunch of 1/4″ holes on the top, left, and right sides. I also installed a small fan on the case blowing directly on to the usb interface chip. The drive is still running fine.

      I would never again buy an external drive with a plastic case and no cooling fan. It is way too much work to try to fix the overheating problem.

  206. Rodrigo Passos Says:

    Hi people!
    Well, i´m from Brazil and i´m experiencing the same problem: my computer doesn´t recognize anymore my seegate! :( Please, i wonder if someone can tell me if Seagate is making a recall for this product. Tks a lot.

  207. srikanth Says:

    hey i am having same problem ,i bought 2 seagate go 500gb in may and having problem with one, “delay writing ailed msg comes very often,any method to fix it

  208. Strike Says:

    My FreeAgent external 500g just stopped working. What happens if I send it to Seagate for warranty? Will they just replace it and throw away my existing drive (and its data)? Or will they make any attempt to recover the data? (sorry if that’s an idiotic question – I almost hear the sarcastic replies coming about some naive soul thinking that Seagate might recover his data for him)

  209. Pete Says:

    Strike, Seagate will NOT recover your data. Data recovery is not covered by warranty.

    To restore data from my Seagate FreeAgent I had to use their ‘data recovery company’ – they evaluated restoration for…. 1300 GBP (2181 USD). Simply, I told them to fuck off :|

  210. Strike Says:

    bwahahahahaha … $2181. Funny. I guess I’ll just take the thing apart as others have done and try to get at my data somehow.

  211. Strike Says:

    ok I must be missing something … after wrestling the bottom/base off and disconnecting the wires, how do I take apart the big/main part of the enclosure?

  212. Strike Says:

    to be clear, I have a freeagent desktop 500G … it seems like it is structurally different from some other freeagent drives that I see instructions for disassembling. For one thing, there’s only one set of three flat ventilation slots on the bottom. I can’t seem to get a knife or screwdriver into the seam anywhere on the case.

  213. Strike Says:

    never mind … I just used more force … it’s open, now I just need to see if it works.

  214. phil Says:

    I have not one, but 2 of these. One is the backup to the backup. The frequently used drive started stalling, running slow and then crashing about a week ago. I’ve been trying everything without much effect. The only thing that seems to have had any impact is turning on indexing for the drive. I’m running Windows Vista Ultimate.

    Thanks for providing the information here. Will get my data off, though it might take a week. Will never buy Seagate again.

  215. Strike Says:

    and bingo, all is good, newly-naked internal SATA HD working fine, lots of plastic case material thrown in trash.

  216. Diegator Says:

    I bought my 500GB FreeAgent Pro about 5 months ago now, and had been having delayed write failed, where unplugging it and plugging it back in would solve the problem momentarily. I’ll try the solution of disabling the light, but will proceed to backing up my data before buying a new drive… the problem is that my old drive was a WD mybook which had failed on me, which is the reason why I turned to seagate in the first place. Now I don’t know where to turn!

  217. Chad Says:

    My friend is a drive engineer at Seagate. He said they have had a lot of issues with this line. My 500 GB version was used to disk image a server in a very warm server closet, and would drop connections regularly, resulting in write errors. I had swapped it in for another drive of lower capacity when I ran out of space.

    I didn’t bother to un zip tie my power and usb cables, instead plugging the Seagate into my existing 12v adapter. (2000 mA with 116 input volts). It never worked with any regularity.

    After removing this drive and placing it in a well ventilated area, and perhaps more importantly, using the supplied 3000mA power supply (on a much less congested circuit with 126volts), it is working fine. I’ve heard a number of these shipped with the 2000mA supply, which causes them to run hot. These things need POWER! About double a normal drive and interface. I don’t know why?

    The high temp shutdown is intended to protect the drive, but in many cases makes it unusable. Try a 3000mA power supply, get your data off like I did, and move on to a more stable platform. I pulled the drive out and put it in a media server at home and it has been working fine, but with non-critical data.

  218. Lio Says:

    Thanks you all (especially to Sean who discovered the light trick)
    I had the same problem with my FreeAgent Desktop 500GB for more than 1 year; it hangs after few minutes of intensive read/write with lot of frustration.
    I unplugged the light, now the drive is working great and I haven’t had any problems (I’m doing heavy read/write for 3-4 hours without errors)
    It’s a bit tricky to takeoff the plastic bottom (use plastic tools or you will damage the enclosure), then I removed the bottom metallic plate and disconnect the pair of fine LED wires.
    Now I placed back the plastic bottom without remounting the bottom metallic plate and the drive is working perfectly.

  219. Trevor Bevan Says:

    Hi The problem I have With a 500 GD hard drive I plugged it in and the Green light is flashing and un able to use
    The Problem is I have All My Music and Photos Going back for years and Hundreds of Films Please Help

    • jeff Says:

      Trevor –

      I was in the same boat as you and I used a program called Beyond Compare (30 day free trial) to compare the 2 drives (500 Gig Seagate and a new 1 TB drive I bought) and then clicked the button to copy from the Seagate to the new drive. It happened much quicker than using Windows Explorer, which I was trying to do but the drive kept pooping out on me before more than 50 MB would be copied over. At that rate it’d take a year to copy the 500 Gig but with Beyond Compare it took only a day or 2 and the drive seemed to stay up for that application.

    • jeff Says:

      Once you get the files copied you should look into an online backup service like Mozy (I work for them, testing the online backup program).

      While my photo albums are a bit messed up, because of my testing many links are broken, you can check out what you can do after you’ve got information backed up: http://jeff.decho.com/guest/.

      Why share a few pictures when you can share them all?

  220. Lio Says:

    If your problem is caused by the ATA-USB interface overheating you can try to open the bottom enclosure (be carefull to avoid damages to the enclosure) and disconnect the LED wire.
    But if the HD isn’t readable even when it’s cold (disconnect it from the USB and the AC Power for 2 hours), I think you should start a data recovery (there are many tools and many alternatives, but you need some skills)

  221. Nadeem Says:

    Hello, This is to relent my frustation with Seagate Sata Hard disk, I have been at the brunt of things. This the 3 time my seagate 500 gb has crashed. I have given all hopes to rely my precious data on this useless HDDs. even my friends have faced the same with external drives.
    Sata and seagate dont match, that what I have noticed.

    I wud suggest any other brand, but not Seagate.

  222. Mike Says:

    hey i got an seagate 500gb for christmas last year it been working til last night. i was tryna finishin mixin one of my songs for a cd im doing and for some reason it wudnt read the file. it loaded up and erything but i click to play one of my files it would say windows cant find the file then maybe 10 mins later it would play the file i need assitance what does that mean for the hd

  223. Melissa Says:

    UGHH im glad to hear im not the only one with this problem. I was slowly going out of my mind until i ran into this post, so thanks everyone :)

    Im not too sure if my hard drive is the same model as everyone elses tho. Its a 500G, sort of flat with a seperate bottom and top cover. very different from the one on the youtube vid. It has holes that are supposd to be for the light, which i pulled out like many of u had advises.

    The drive’s still not working, and my computer keeps on giving me the I/O error crap, so im gonna let it sit for a while and try it again.

    any other advise..?

  224. pete Says:


    I have the 750GB drive. It had the same problems as mentioned above…. write errors, I/O errors, rebooting my system etc.

    After trying numerous things to solve this problem….mind you unsuccessfully…. I was on the verge of throwing it away along with my 700GB of data. Needless to say I was more than just a little upset.

    Thankfully, I found this webpage. I found the recommendation to disconnect the light and it should be fine. Soooo, I decided to pop it open and have a look. I unfortunately had to use a blasting cap to open the case. Well, OK not a blasting cap but you get the point that I had to force the enclosure open with a lot of force.

    Once opened, I reconnected the drive. Same ol errors. The moment I cut the wires to the light and reconnected the power it worked. I was jamming to Linkin Park again…..Crazy!

    I cant see how this made it past the testing stage. It was probably some marketer who thought the cool light would help the thing sell better.
    Anyway, shame on them for not finding this before shipping it.

    Two side notes:
    I bought this thing in Iraq. It worked well for several months in fact. Now if it was going to fail in this fashion I would have thought it would have failed there with the heat, dust, and somewhat unregulated power supplies. Go figure….

    Also, the other day my wife commented on how cool the thing was with the pretty yellow/orange light. She went on to say it was very cool for halloween. Even as I write this Im gringing at this…….:) and laughing a bit.

    Finally, Im going to leave the enclosure off of the drive. If cooling is the issue I want to ensure there is sufficient airflow across the drive to cool it. Doesnt look cool but should work.

  225. Eva Says:

    My external drive went dead after a couple of months, I lost all my precious photos that I have taken for years–I’m devastated, can’t recover them. Both of my PCs are crashing when this device is connected. I highly regret this bad back up unit that it does not work.

  226. maxim_84 Says:

    I just bought my FreeAgent 320gb last few days, I same thing happen to me too.. The disk crash and i lost all my data less then an hour after i transferred all my data..Now i can’t open any files but when i checked the space still missing 80gb which mean all my data still there… Guys any solution so can get back all the missing files?

  227. Lisa Shaw Says:

    I bought a Western Digital 1TB external hard drive as I had read about several problems with Seagate. However, I have also heard of problems with Western Digital which is why I am buying a second backup hard drive in case the first fails.

    I shall probably go for a FireWire external hard drive this time as opposed to a USB 2.0 as the data transfer is much faster with the 800 port.

  228. maja Says:

    Mine stopped working after just a few days. Believe it’s because of the heating problem since I live in a HOT house in El Salvador. It doesn’t appear when I connect it, the light doesn’t light, but I makes a sound as if trying to connect.
    Is all data lost forever or could it start working if I cool it down?
    Greatful for advices

    • Lio Says:

      Hi Maja, I think your is a different problem.
      If the light still remain off when you connect the drive, the problem could be the controller; it is the small PCB (Printed Circuit Board) located inside the base.
      To try to recover your data you can open the enclosure (to avoid damages follow instructions on previous posts), remove the HD and connect it to a desktop PC.
      If it still make strange noise, when you start the PC, the HD is damaged and there are few possibilities to recover your data.

  229. Ayesha Says:

    Hi.. I have everything on my Seagate FreeAgent hard drive(external). It has had a power failure. Im in UK. Please tell me what can I do to get my data????

  230. lojer Says:

    the same problem…seagate is Free Agent Going To FUCK

  231. Amey P Says:

    Thanks guys, for setting up this blog and for providing the solution.

    I only have to turn off the flashing lights through Seagate manager settings panel, and I no more see the write failure error.
    Harddisk is working perfectly. Thanks.

    I guess it’s problem with power supply, as flash lights seems to consume majority leaving too less not enough to perform write operation for harddisk.


  232. Igor G Says:

    Hey Guys,

    I’ve been reading here, and although all of this sounds great to the extent that most of you have found ways into the FreeAgent External Hard Drive, it’s really making me desperate. I have a Seagate FreeAgent 500GB External HD and I can’t access my files, I’m getting that I/O Device Error and the disk shows itself as a Local Disk F: (different than when it used to show itself as Free Agent Disk F:) and it doesn not give me ANY ACCESS TO IT.

    Unfortunately, I trusted Seagate and did not back up my files. I have over 330GB of data, all of our (my, wife and kids) pictures, music, videos and other important data.

    I’ve tried using a Disk Recovery Software called DDR – Recovery, however it didn’t work. I tried spudging (pyring opened) the FreeAgent 500GB HD and removing the light. It did not work either. I’ve tried waiting and then trying again. Didn’t work.

    I’m afraid that I might’ve lost all my data.

    Does anybody know how I can save my data?

    I’ll even pay for it. Please help!!!

  233. Are Wold Says:

    Hi there,

    unfortunately, I don’t have any good advice for you. But if you are willing to pay, there are plenty of data recovery companies who can take apart your drive and attempt to reconstruct the data. Recovering data that way should be a real possibility if the drive platters themselves are OK. Googling ‘broken hard drive data recovery’ should give you plenty of data recovery options. I’ve never tried that approach myself, though.

    Cheers and good luck,


  234. TheMatser Says:

    I have an advice for you all (with I/O errors): remove the enclosure, remove the USB adaptator and put the HDD in your regular 3’5 bay. It seems to work for me! I haven’t made intensive tests though.

    I think the problem comes from many things and one of them (the most important i believe) is POWER related.

    My PSU on this desktop is brand new, a 450watts “Hiper Power” i changed it because the older fried. So, i have connected the drive with a sata cable + a molex for the juice and the copy speed from my main drive to this barracuda is incredibly fast. No I/O errors thus far.

    The second problem may come from the south bridge of your motherboards. The south bridge handle everything USB related and i know mine (Ati SB450) isn’t good.Hence a slow down during files transferts which probably leads to I/O errors.Add to that a bad PSU in the mix and you get a faulty drive.

    On the other hand that don’t explain why my WD my book works fine so i believe there is a third factor: the usb adptator and accessorily the software part is faulty.

  235. TheMatser Says:

    On a side note:
    I have connected the drive with a sata cable but my bus work in IDE mode (it don’t support ahci sadly ide & raid only).
    So if you try my method and get “device errors” or the drive is not found i think you should go to the bios and pick IDE or auto.Most recent bios can do that i believe.

    Hope this will help many

  236. olando mccall Says:

    what are these people talking about! u cant unplug the lights they are LEDs attached to the circuit board!

  237. ughgh Says:

    TO PEOPLE THAT HAS LOST DATA: I have a feeling some of you are deeming it gone prematurely. It may be gone and I dont want to instill false hope, and what must be held in account is the fact that a portion of all manufactured hard drives fail to some extent (they are not stress tested by nasa standards), and in different ways. So it could be for whatever reason, other than this, and in more substantial ways. I have a feeling that if you had this particular issue, and didnt get the same symptoms out of normal issues with a bad disc, it is quite possible that the damage that wont allow you to see it is partial and fixable. No promises though, and I am no expert, by far.

    Anyway I dont have any hidden agenda, what I’m saying is – try to look harder for things to do, like tech savvy people that can probe the drive for you and have a better all around understading of them, looking at it through explorer (my computer etc) may not be all you can do, and not all file retrieval apps work the same way and do all approaches or are created equal. If it wasn’t working via usb I would point at Grc.com and Spinrite which is a good file retrieval and repair as well as hd diagnostics solution (Microsoft even tried to buy it at some point) that works outside windows, and dont read usb. But dont take my word on it, I’m sure there are others that are equal or maybe even better, but it is often mentioned.
    Another thing to look into if you ever get it working to that point that you can get it to show up is looking at its s.m.a.r.t or smart info via an application (cristal diskinfo, hddscan for example, check “s.m.a.r.t” on wikipedia), which is a service that is built into all hard drives that logs diagnostic data and can indicate certain things for people that know what is what. it may be good to approach it with caution, some things like writing to it somehow, or even some diagnostics may make it worse.

    Personally I have just gotten a 1.5TB Freeagent Desk or Desktop (new white style), and it disappears after a while. Drive is there in “my computer” but when trying to create a document onto it via explorer it basically says “file couldnt be created, file couldnt be find” as well as the dialogue for removing connected usb drives now that it is empty, before when the Seagate software was still on it I got the delayed write errors when trying to open the files, and references to the mfrt, probably from the indexing or such as I didnt write anything to it.
    What is weird is that I have zero filled it (looong format, factory format) as well as done long and short smart tests (available with apps that read out smart data) and it has managed through that. The zero fill took 17 hours..
    I dont know if that is because it works on its own and in a different mode as these kind of things may be sort of hardcoded into them, I wouldn’t know.
    Its all a bit confusing. All diagnostics came up ok, as well as smart readouts afterwards. What I will try next is installing the Seagate software, as I know that the software for my old Desk (orange) which works flawlessly by the way- only doing sporadic backups and reading occassionally and at other times turned off, not used as a 24/7 drive – would be easier to disconnect by the safe disconnect, no “device is in use, try later” while the two processes making up the app was on.

    But I’m thinking of returning it as everything stands right now. All the horrors with the firmware affair – which is another issue, which though should be fixed now, on my drive included (newer firmware) – and general outcry has gotten to me, although its not rational to try to draw relevant figures of internet forums. It is just frustrating.. If I wouldn’t have this last problem and so early on I would probably go on and use it, but now I dont know, with everything combined. Also in a way I dont feel its comforting that you would have to turn off the lights (which you can do through the softwre now) or turn off sleep-mode entirely to make it work. Maybe it elevates the root issue completely, but its not exactly ideal or good for ones paranoia to need to tweak something so uncertain as in what is causing it.
    Another thing with this model is that it doesen’t turn off as the usb signal dies off with the computer, like the previous 500gb Freeagent did. Its a major inconvenience having to unplug it. Ahh, I dont know.

  238. Igor G. Says Says:

    Hey Guys,

    Updating my situation. Tried to contact a Computer Tech and he was not able to read or restore my data on my 500GB HD. Unfortunately I’m going to have to try an outside Data Recovery Company which my Computer Tech guy told me it can run up to $2,000. to do so. I’m probably going to have to do that. All my data is in there. DO NOT USE YOUR EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE AS YOUR SOLE HD.

  239. ughgh Says:

    Had to run off after spotting these but correcting now to make everything clear:

    “file couldnt be created, file couldnt be find” as well as the dialogue for removing connected usb drives now that it is empty, before when the Seagate software was still on it I got the delayed write errors when trying to open the files, and references to the mfrt, probably from the indexing or such as I didnt write anything to it.

    “.. “file couldnt be created, file couldnt be found*” as well as the dialogue for removing connected usb drives being ever present.
    ..Before when the Seagate software was still on it I got the delayed write errors when trying to open the files, and references to the mfrt, probably from the indexing or such as I didnt write anything to it.”

  240. ughgh Says:

    and “mft”…

    having a stressful day, apologize for taking up space.

  241. ughgh Says:

    Ok I guess its not all that odd, reading Tony lyons comments. After googling like a madman on everything Seagate related as far as problems goes its easy to subconsciously start not taking things at face value after a while, or that one thing may not apply for oneself.

    My first thought doing a smart check on the drive was how hot it ran (maxed out at 60 and 45 idling), and it was even my first possible explanation for this. I’m just puzzled it made it through a 3-4 hour long smart test and 17 hours for zero filling it. This also seemed to happen spontaneousy after a while, not during load, or as much as it has been with the format, no data yet luckily. I’m returning it.

  242. ughgh Says:

    I have probably come off as a mad babbling manic person not reading through the thread properly, eheh, but I will end on this to make up for it:

    search this page (ctrl+f) for “chad” and “theMatser” respectively

  243. Mike B Says:

    Hmm…. I try to play music from my Seagate Free Agent 1TB. Error…

    Try to move files back to internal drive… Error…


    I can hear the external drive clicking and making noises that I have never heard a good HD make…

    Very HOT…

    Unplugged for 10 mins, was able to move files back to internal drive…

    After reading almost 300 complaints about the same thing, I take no chances. It’s getting returned right now…

  244. Garry N Says:

    Like Tim (June 2008 above) I purchased the 500GB FreeAgent external HD in mid 2008. First I had a problem with the included Memeo autobackup which is horrible backup software. So I just continued using the FreeAgent with LapLink Gold backup software (about monthly) until Nov 2009 when the FreeAgent would not light up nor would it show up as a drive. I found this blog using Google (thank you all) and opened the FreeAgent enclosure and yes, I am another proud owner of a Seagate Barricuda hard drive with SATA connectors. I left the jumpers open (for 3 Gb/s) and connected it to my motherboard through an unused second SATA port. Drive works fine and my data files are all there. Checking the drive on a Win XP restart showed no errors. I am going to try a Sabrent USB-DSC5 Serial ATA or IDE 2.5-/3.5-Inch to USB 2.0 Cable Converter Adapter with Power Supply for $20 to see if that makes the HD easy to use for backup thru USB.

  245. Rok Says:

    for recovering data maybe try following:
    isolate the hd and store it in freezer

    and or open the case and use the HD as normal internal drive if power failure

  246. mooky_10 Says:

    Hi guys,

    I have a seagate 320gb. i also had this i/o errors. I open the case quite brutally and took this light off. It seems to help. also replaced the usb cable with a better one.
    I still get this i/o error when i trying to extract lots of files to make a 4-5 gb file. I dont know if its a pc processing power issue/overheating issue.

    I talked to someone from their online support. i gave him that link and told him that many seagate customers are really pissed with their product.
    i asked him regarding the light workarround, he replied with the product user’s manual link. he suggested that i will format the drive….

  247. Igor G. Says:

    Hey guys,

    Just a final update, thank God, http://www.salvagedata.com was able to restore my data, although it cost me a little over $1,000., but they gave me a brand new 500GB External HD, I haven’t received it, but I’m wondering if it is Seagate!??!?!….

    Anyways… take care… thank you so much for your help..

  248. Michael Says:


    I found this site back last Summer (2009) when my Seagate Freeagent 500GB drive began acting up and giving errors just as described here. Went through the hoops (and paid my $19 for advance replacement) to get the warranty swap (drive was 4 months old).

    Replacement drive is now showing some signs of impending death – though with a bit less warning that the first (the first would randomly not show up on the desktop, and I would get failed back-ups that could be restarted and complete for a couple of weeks before it just quit). This one has been fine until today – when it disappeared off the desktop. I unplugged the drive for a while and plugged it back in and have had Disk Utility running on it for the last 40 minutes (what should have taken 4 minutes). Not a good sign. Assuming death is the diagnosis – will be giving Seagate a piece of my mind- again.

    How could a company that has been making drives as long as Seagate be so completely clueless (and uncaring about their customers)? I am pretty fed up.

  249. Lori Says:

    I have a freeagent 1000GB and I was using it on my G5. I recently upgraded to a macbook pro and the drive is now “read only” with no option to change sharing/permissions. I hooked the drive back up to the G5 and it goes back to “you can read and write” but NO option to change permissions so I am able to read/write on all computers I hook it up to.
    Does anyone know how to do this?
    Thanks! Lori

  250. Sowmya Narayan Says:

    I have similar problems with my Seagate 500GB hard disk (Free Agent)..

    the drive was working fine till last month. now it started giving me Read/Write errors. i tried formatting it and then use it.. no use.. now i dont even see that drive, when i plug in.. i am tired of this one.. tried lot of troubleshooting.. still could not get it to work..

    i will not suggest to anyone in future to go for Seagate .. nor i would buy one..

  251. Rebecca Strange Says:

    i have a 250gb drive and it is only registering that i have 11gb. is there some reason for this or should i just get a new drive??

  252. Peter John Scicluna Says:

    I have windows XP and I recently bought a Seagate 500GB
    External Desktop Drive, and all the time I click onto my
    Expansion Drive to open my files there’s about a five second delay,
    and when I go back one page there’s a delay as well.
    My computer overall is running normal but I only experience
    these delays when I go into my expansion drive, can you tell me
    what’s causing this problem and how to rectify it?

  253. olman arguedas Says:

    i have Seagate 500GB went i trying toplay some of my videos I got an error message, saying that the:your input can’t be opened: and some other types of errors how can i recovery all this data?

  254. Daniel Says:

    Joining the party – my Mac-compatible Seagate Freeagent 1TB failed after two months of very rare usage (hardly filled up 80 gigabytes of it). I’ve tried repairing it with Disk Utility, with Disk Warrior, with Tech Tool Pro, with Data Rescue.. no chance, every and each sector is reported as bad and I am not dragging a single byte of information from this drive. I’ve never seen anything like this and this was my last Seagate product ever bought. Howgh.

  255. Michal Says:

    techtoolpro solves problem on mac (tools/volume rebuild). No need to recover eny data, disk is just running again ;)

  256. David Hamilton Says:

    Lost my Seagate Freeagent Go 640gb a month after I bought it to an I/O device error, $160 down the tube. Thanks, Seagate.

  257. Jonathan Campbell Says:

    Update: the case of this drive has virtually no ventilation, so that overheating is very likely the problem. I didn’t have a problem because I was using the drive strictly for backup, and disconnected it after an hour of use each time.

    I followed the instructions given for disconnecting the lamp, but I’ve gone one step further. Since the lamp was now not operational, I pried open the case at the lamp, which allowed to lamp to drop out of the housing. Since it was now disconnected at the circuit board, I then snipped the wire and removed the lamp entirely. (If you snip the wire and remove the plug when you first unplug it from the circuit board, then the you can just pull the wire through.) Then I pressed the case back together and voila there is now a long open ventilation channel!


  258. Jonathan Campbell Says:

    By the way, I would suggest never buying Seagate anything ever again.

    The very fact that they created an external drive in a housing with virtually no ventilation, with a “cool” looking but very hot lamp in the housing, is an example of complete design incompetence. The drive itself and the little circuit board look and feel cheap and chinzy, not the same quality structure that you find in typical internal drives.

    There are other reports of Seagate drive failures, one article refers to the problem more generally – a “hard drive failure epidemic.” Just type “Seagate internal drive failure” to google and you’ll see what I mean. I have been in this business (software development, and now QA) for many years. This is a sign that this company is not long for the world.

  259. Jonathan Campbell Says:

    Another update: I took the chance of leaving the external drive up and running and connected on my system for a day. With the lamp removed, the opening into the housing provides plenty of cooling, and the drive remains cool as a cucumber (well, room temperature anyway). No drive failure. I did notice that while I was asleep and not actively using it, it disconnected itself from the system, I don’t know whether this is a bug, a feature, or an “aspect.” But it came up again just fine when I unplugged the USB cable and plugged it in again.

    A word to the wise: use this external disk as a last-chance backup device, not like an internal disk. If you want more disk space for your system, just go buy an internal 1 TB drive.


    • Joe Says:

      Download the software from the company it will enable you to adjust the power saving setting to “never”. What a pain in the butt this thing has been. I got the suggestion for one of the guys who wrote in. Works like a charm.

  260. Nick Says:

    Might wanna be careful with that. I used mine connected to a computer sharing the drive as a backup disk. I kept getting this problems where the network would just hang and thought my network card was just crapping out. Turns out, it was the drive which kept hanging and not the network. Died a week or two after.

    And you said, replugging fixed it but it got more frequent up to its death.

  261. SOPHOS Says:

    My mom purchased a Seagate 1tb external hard drive last November for me as a gift. As of today it stopped working with the famed Beep, Beeping, or Buzzing Sound. Thanks mom for being awesome, Seagate I hope you go bankrupt.

    CAUSES: 1&2 are interconnected.

    1. Barracuda hardware was faulty at time of assembly.
    2. Dropping tests or claims where and are bogus!!!
    3. Power source and wiring also f*ckes up


    1. Don’t do anything stupid. These things might cancel your warranty.

    a) Freezing and all that other stuff wont work and will harmfully introduce the possibility or ice crystals and wiring problems.
    b) Don’t return it to Seagate without backing up your data BECAUSE THEY WON’T return one back with your information and please do not pay that ridiculous $19.95 they ask you to pay for the shipping option.
    c) Don’t open it without knowing how to open it, check this out to help <>. I hate Seagate external’s for several reasons and one being it is hard to open. I SUGGEST using a small set of eyeglass screwdrivers to help open it and a regular medium sized Phillips screwdriver for the inner screws.

    2. CHECK TO SEE IF YOU HAVE THE BARRACUDA 7200.series drive.

    a) Contact the BBB because Seagate sucks, explain your situation.
    b) Contact Seagate to get a replacement via your warranty.
    c) Have one Ziplock bag (or equivalent) with the crews and stuff and another larger one for the casings and connected board so you can have them all accounted for.

    3. Buy a 2.5/3.5 Sata to eSata & USB HDD Docking Station also known by 2.5″, 3.5″ SATA I/II HDD Docking Station (SATA to USB 2.0) and USB 2.0/eSATA – SATA I/II Hard Drive Docking Solution. Wow alphabet soup right? Just make sure it has the 2.5″ or 3.5″ Serial ATA (SATA) Hard Drive situation going on.

    Some popular ones:




    4. Go and buy another external and back everything up!!!

    a) Make sure you have at least 30 day return policy.
    b) Once you get your new Seagate it will take 3-7 business days for the assholes at Seagate to get it and work on it and another 5 business days to get you (US stats). So figure anywhere from 1.5-3 weeks.
    c) If they return it which they should return the other external hardrive you bought ;-)… If Seagate wont return it back to you because of bullsh*t (which they do) keep the one you bought.

    5. EITHER WAY contact back to the BBB and complain AGAIN.

    If you have any questions let me know I hope this answers everything.

    • SOPHOS Says:


      My drive is toast -beeping sound will not stop- just in case you guys cared :-( Putting back together the piece of crap to send back to Seagate tomorrow.

  262. TNguy Says:

    I have a 1.5 TB Seagate external harddrive… it sucks!!!! cannot open because of an I/O error (what the heck is that anyway) I have no idea how to get it fix… anyone have a clue?

    • SAM Says:

      Try laying it on it’s side and running a fan to it. It appears the these drives have cooling issues. I tried everything in the book to fix my drive..finally touched it and realized it was running quite hot. As an experiment I turned it on it’s side and put the fan to it…all the write errors are gone. This is just a temp fix for me to get my data off. Disconnecting the light will also help

  263. Seagate FreeAgent losing files « c# to javascript, actionscript Says:

    […] As do others. Leave a […]

  264. Leppers Says:

    My Seagate FreeAgent Desk ST315005FDD2E1-RK (1,5 TB) runs now for about half a year like a charm. With reading this problem thread i am either one very lucky boy or Seagate has sold different production bulks. Mine runs almost the whole day and until late in the night. Yepp it gets warmer than my Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II 2TB, but no problems so far.

    Instead of problems with Seagte external drives i had serious failures with LaCie and Freecom – both suck big times. Service is a very big advantage of Seagate – others simply fail.

  265. Moses Says:

    Does anyone have a problem with the Free Agent 500GB where it seems like it goes to sleep, then when you try to access files on the drive, it will take a minute or two for the drive to realize you’re trying to access information? Should I just give up on this drive and get something else? With my business, I can’t afford to lose data on this drive. I want to catch a potential problem before it gets worse.

  266. themaster Says:

    Just to let you know i got 2 of these 500Gb FreeAgent models.
    I just made a test and it turns out these drives tend to get hot real fast.
    Compared to my other drive (Samsung Spinpoint) i get 36°C versus 29° for the samsung. That is if your PC case is well ventilated (fan in front of the HDDS) otherwise it’s 50°C for the Seagate ! Measures made with my own fan controller’s probes

    So like it was discussed previously, get out the drive out of that plastic case and put it in your regular pc case with a fan or two in front.

  267. Ralph Nugent Says:

    I got a 500GB external hard drive for BACKUP so I would not lose any business files and everything else on my system in case of a problem in Nov 2009. This month, April 2010, it just blinks fast and will not recognize anything.

    What of piece of JUNK. Next step is to call them and see what they can do/say. I do not want it for backup if it will only work for 5 months.

  268. Leann Says:

    Ok, i have the same problem with my 500gb drive. Does anyone have a fixable solution. Running vista, the light on the drive works, windows does not recognize.

  269. Tom Says:

    I purchased 2 each, 1.5 TB FreeAgent drives. I wish I would have read this posting first, because I have experienced all the problems mentioned above.

    I solved my problem by removing the drives and installing them in a different External hard drive case. I have not had 1 problem since.

  270. Phil Says:

    Hey guys,
    I have a 500GB Drive, and recently it wasn’t being seen by my pc.. It took over an hour today to get the PCB to respond and talk to the drive, since then I have copied over 400GB of data off of it and no problems..It’s been running for about 11hours, no signs of over heating.. light flashing as normal.. but move the drive or PCB or USB wire and its all dead.. It’s defo something to do with the PCB/USB connection I think..

    Thank for all the posts on here.. helped alot..

  271. Pragnesh Says:

    I have a 1 TB Seagate Expansion external drive. I am having the same problems with the drive as most of you. I keep getting an I/O device error when trying to open the drive. When I try to do chkdsk F: /f via the command prompt, it says cannot open volume for direct access. I’m getting sick and tired of it as most of you. So yesterday, i broke open the case and removed the entire wire, it was a 2 piece black and red wire jointly. now I’m trying to access it, and no luck. Keep getting the same error over and over again. I even left it in the freezer for a good 16 hours, and same problem. :(

  272. Pragnesh Says:

    I need to get my data back from the drive before I can return the hard drive back to seagate.

  273. Gaurav Singh Says:

    I have a 500 GB FreeAgent Go bought in January 2010. It worked well until yesterday when I connect it, the windows prompt for formatting the drive. Since that is my backup drive, I cant format it, so I pressed no. After then windows cannot connect the drive and asks for its driver and shows as Unidentified Device in device manager.

    The drive when connected runs and I can feel the vibration, then the LED keep blinking forever and the drive failed to connect and the rotation of disc also stops.

    Please help as its 500GB and 430 GB is filled and that data is crucial for me.


    • Keun Says:

      maybe is power issue, cause i just buy the 500GB FreeAgent, the windows 7 always ask me to FORMAT the HDD, after i used the OLD external HDD cable (with 2 USB plug in to computer for giving more power to External HDD) the problem is solved, the cable like this..

      USB port 1 to PC———————->To 500GB FreeAgent
      USB port 2 to PC<————-/

  274. Nachiketa Das Says:

    @Gaurav: Same for me too.

    I bought a 500GB FreeAgent Go in February, 2010. It worked properly till 1st June, 2010. Now it is not detected by my laptop (Vista business on it). The LED keep blinking and there is vibrations too. But it is not detected by the system or by Seagate device manager. Windows asking for its driver and shows as Unidentified Device in device manager.

  275. Gaurav Singh Says:

    @Nachiketa: Well I called Seagate Service centre. They are saying that problem can be solved…lets hope for it… I haven’t visited them yet

  276. Paul Larn Says:


  277. Rick Says:

    I foolishly bought a Seagate Freeagent Xtreme for $150 because it has SATA and Firewire connections. Well, those lasted for a couple of weeks and the only way the drive would mount was via USB. Finally that stopped as well. I was about to return it to Seagate to get another of their crappy drives when I decided to try it on a Mac. Lo, the Mac could see it! Then back on the PC it is detected there as well. But still nothing from SATA or Firewire.
    I don’t know whether it’s worth returning to Seagate just to get another bum drive. BBB here I come.

  278. Nachiketa Das Says:

    @Gaurav: I got it replaced.

  279. Keun Says:

    MAYBE is the power issue, cause the power from USB maybe is not enough for operate the 500GB FreeAgent, i also with the same problem, always ask me to FORMAT the HDD, but after i used the OLD External HDD cable (with 2 USB plug to the computer for giving more power to External HDD), the problem is solved.

  280. Ron G. Says:

    This gets shocking. Seagate tried to “fix” the problem but only succeeded in making it harder to cool the USB circuit, and it fries even when the hard drives are completely powered down! I have a 320GB Freeagent purchased on 7-30-07 which occasionally did the DWF error because I only occasionally used it. When it first did it, I figured I better hurry up and buy one of the newer 500GB Freeagents in case my 320GB gave up for good. So in March of 2008 i bought a 500GB Freeagent. Then someone told me to move everything from my 40GB PC hard drive to the 320GB Freeagent and my computer would run oh-so-much faster. Well, I did that, and there was no difference in speed. What I did notice was that with the large file transfers and now much heavier use, my 320GB was giving me DWF errors multiple times a day. Investigating this led me here to read about the 500GB drives, but it’s no different with the 320GB. I read all the popukar solutions here, and when I got home from work I was ready to cut the vent slots out, remove metal shields, etc from the ESATA/USB board. But when i got home and looked at my 320GB and 500GB Freeagents, I realize that they both have had design changes which prevent any easy cooling solutions. I have not heard any reference here to this design.

    My 320GB is model #9NG6AG-570. The 500GB model is 9NG6A6-570. Both of these have an identical ESATA/USB board (P/N 100453518) which is now easily removable externally from the bottom of the base by removing only one brass screw. It is a plug-in module now, but the friggin’ module is completely encased in plastic. But here is the shocker. When I went to flip over both hard drives, both had been off all night, and the drive cases were cool as cucumbers. I lightly touched the plastic ESATA/USB module on the bottom and damned near burned my finger! I IR thermometered the module’s surface at 135 degrees F! Why the hell if the computer is off and the hard drives are off is this module, encased in plastic, creating so much heat? If the surface of the external plastic, a relative insualtor, is 135 F, the mind reels at how hot the circuits encased inside must be. 160 F+ is my guess, and go up from there when you actually turn the drives on and start transferring data. And there are no slots, no external heatsinks, only a small square of metal mesh which I believe contacts the metal shield in the base to afford a little heat transfer, but only to a point even deeper in the guts with no ventilation. So the net effect is they insulated the overheating ESATA/USB circuit even more, making it impossible to cool, but made it much easier to replace with one screw. Big whoopie. Now consumers have to deal with regular crashes, until the ESATA/USB board crashes forever, then it is easy to replace with another of poor design. Another big whoopie there. The only way I can see to make this design perhaps run reliably is to do the extreme thing and extract the raw Barracuda drive and throw it in my PC where it can stay cool and not be subject to that ridiculous ESATA/USB board.

    It is bad enough that Seagate let the first design out the door, and never admitted publicly a problem. But this design change shows that they knew there was a problem, but then put their same retard design team on the “solution.”

  281. Sukhdev Taneja Says:

    I have a Assembled Computer with Processor Intel Dual Core (R) @ 270 GHz, 3 GB of RAM equipped with Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition version 2005 service Pack 3 with Wi-Fi Netgear 108 Mbps Lan Card and Internal Pixelview TV Tuner Card.

    I have just bought this external harddisk today from market. But My system cannot read the information on the my 500 GB Seagate Freeagent go external hard drive using the supplied USB cable. The external drive does not come up at all. Is a required driver missing out on my system? When I connect my 500 Gb Seagate Freegent go External Hard drive, it always ask for drivers and show message at last “The hardware was not installed because the wizard cannot find the necessary software.” I think that my Windows have some missing driver for this products. I have successfully running Freecom External 160 Gb Harddrive and Enter 2.5” HDD External Case without Drivers on my computer. Do I need to get a Y USB cable which have two USB cable (one additional USB cable for power consumption for this drive)? Does this drive run successful after plugging this with Y USB cable? I am running Window Xp Sp3. Does Window Xp Sp3 required external drivers for detecting 500 GB Seagate Freeagent go External Drive?
    Please help

  282. Gordon Roberts Says:

    Absolute (sleek looking) POS. It “never” worked properly from day one. I bought it from a guy whose father owned it before he died. It looked like it just came out of the box. The guy wanted $80, I offered $50 and unfortunately got the unit. Fast forward 2 weeks later, I bought a new enclosure (Netstar 3) Not a peep out of the drive for about 6 weeks and counting. Shame on this company putting out such a POS and then doing nothing about it. I no forget…. like they give three craps

    Seagate Free agent M series
    750 GB
    pn 9NL6AR-500

  283. Ray Says:

    Just purchased a Seagate External 500GB in Glossy Black! Looks so nice on my desk, but I have had a few problems with it not responding for about 3 or 4 minutes, and that is just whilst creating a ‘New Folder’.

    Do you think I should take it back to the shop and Exchange for a different model? I am not sure what to do. =/

    • Are Wold Says:

      If you can – I would take it back, swap it for a Western Digital. If it is already behaving strangely, it’s just not worth the hassle.

  284. chukker Says:

    I have always been satisfied with Seagate internal hard drives, hence I purchased both a FreeAgent 320 GB external and a 1.5 T external for backup; the first one is for my laptop, the latter for my desktop.
    My opinion is that they’re both crap. The one for my laptop doesn’t work at all. The software wreaks havoc on my laptop, so I removed it. Then the FreeAgent works for brief periods of time, then shuts down. When it works and I try to backup my hard drive, a message pops up saying that I have only 4 GB of available space. What’s with that?
    The 1.5 T attached to my desktop turns on and off at random. Initially, that option box would pop up asking if I wanted to open file folders, no action, etc., over and over again. I shut the danged box off, but the drive still clicks on and off every five minutes and halts everything I’m working on, including the internet, when it does so.
    I’m astonished that Seagate hasn’t recalled these external drives; there are so many complaints littered all over the internet, including here. So many people who have wasted their money.
    I’m sensing an eventual class action lawsuit.

  285. fred Says:

    I’m about to be on my second replacement.

    I think the drives fail because frankly they are over heating. I’m surprised that a harddrive company would design a case with no vents!!! They should know better..
    Atleast the warrantee is long and i’m not stupid enough to depend on it as my only backup.

    But really, it was an odd design for a product that almost garranteed their drives would fail. Plastic non conductive case with no venting. Engineering win? I couldn’t even blame the design/marketing department as it is pretty ugly for a case.

  286. fred Says:

    Btw it seems the 5yr warranty on the new models is down to a 2yr one.. i wonder why…

  287. Alex Says:

    I just ordered two FreeAgent Go 500Gb on eBay and only AFTER that I saw this website….

    Now, I’m already thinking of changing the enclosure case and USB cable to solve the overheating issue that seems to cause so many problems but I don’t know which one is needed: IDE or SATA ?!?!?



    I’m not good at all at these things so maybe some1 could gimme a hand.

    I haven’t paid for the items yet, and I was thinking of canceling my bet and buying two Western Digital Elements 500GB…..but I see that almost every WD 500GB has a problem with the power supply !!!!

    So which one I should choose ?!?!


  288. Denise St-Onge Says:

    I have the I/O error. Tried to get the software out but the Manager does not want to leave. The software in the Zip file is rather silly; it forces you to get Zip & then you cannot get it out.

    If I remove the light like so many persons say will the company accept the drive back I am sure not…

  289. tony Says:

    i have the I/O error too.
    All my important data are inside and it is very frustration with this overheating issue. The Seagate company offer for 5 years warranty for this FreeAgent 1Tb .
    What is the points of this default product even company can offer long warranty periods to customer?
    Anyone has resolved this issue, please provide guide with appreciation
    i have no porblem with my WD so far. I am very regret to try seagate !!!

  290. Mike Says:

    I am now having i/o issues with my 1.5 TB freeagent. I had it running fine for over a year and half and have my entire iTunes Library on it. I need to recover my library but I can’t get into the drive. I currently have it in the freezer to cool it down and if it still has issues I’m going to cut the light out. my Western Digitals are all still running fine after 4 years of constant use.

  291. tony Says:

    hi mike,

    i fully agreed with you.MY WD disk still working fine for many years.
    Very frustrate with my freeagent 1.5T,anyone has solution before i send for repair or return to Seagate factory. I will never buy any Seagate products in any future.

  292. tony Says:

    hi mike,

    i fully agreed with you.MY WD disk still working fine for many years.
    Very frustrate with my freeagent 1.5T,anyone has solution before i send for repair or return to Seagate factory. I will never buy any Seagate products in any future.

  293. themaster1 Says:

    Yes i have one: remove the drive entirely of the enclosure and get a good fan to cool it down. I have 2 x 500Gb drives they’re hot as hell (44-48°C, ..and we’re in winter! ) , i can only imagine with a 1.5TB drive…

    Also get a good power supply that provides lots of amperes

  294. sajjad Says:

    i have it to just wondering i have the error messge to the i/o device error messge just wondering do i break the light or how do i unplug it

  295. Gunther Says:

    Had the same Problem with a 1TB Free Agent after ~1 Year. But instead of capping the LED, I cleaned the SATA-contacts of the internal Drive and now it seems to work. But the Drive gets really hot… Not the best Invention of Seagate………

  296. GP Says:

    i have seagate freeagent external hard drive 1 TB, that is detected by my laptop, but i can’t get into the folders. if i do get in sometimes, the laptop hangs.
    sometimes i get a message asking if i want to format the hard drive, other times i get an i/o error message.
    does anyone have any info on how to get his fixed up without sending to data recovery company

  297. fred Says:

    rip the drive out of its case, there are tutorials on youtube.
    connect directly to a new case or usb->ide converter or simply into another desktop pc.

  298. Michael Says:

    Hey, I’ve got the 750gb freeagent pro model, and it won’t mount. I have the thing partially disassembled now. Anyone know if it’s possible to just disconnect the light on this model? It’s base and innards seem different from what’s described here.

    • fred Says:

      pro model disassembly instructions are on youtube.
      Just remove the thing entirely from its case, and plug it in as sata

  299. hana Says:

    I am having trouble too! Its amazing how many people around the globe are having trouble with this company.. somebody should definitely sew them..
    I bought a 500G like 4 months ago was working fine really slow and noisy but worked..a friend changed the configuration so hopefully it would work faster.. so it worked for like 2 days. I unplugged . and the next time it just didnt appear in my desktop (MACbook) so I went to Utilitys and Harddrive info.. Tried repairing it or rewriting the disk and it keeps showing me a message that my disc has no script… whats up with that? what can I do?

  300. Shingky Says:

    Hi guys as you’ve guessed it, i am one of the not so few having the same issues. so intead of telling my story, i’ve read enough to just ask questions instead hopefully you guys could answer them and hopefully will help me and anyone coming across the similar

    1 – Most of the hard drives i see mentioned here are of 500gb or less. Mine is a 1TB seagate freeagent desk (silver one with glowing galaxy lights). Does the light hack apply to this model? and are the previous seagate freeagent desk have the same circuitry and design?

    2 – Also most of the comments ive read is about the Delayed Write failure, i’ve never experienced this, but what im having is an I/O error which i reckon is worse. how effective is the light hack or the Transfer of hard disk to a SATA? im still trying to muster the guts to decide on breaking/and opening the enclosure.

    3 – Im a photographer by hobby and profession, if i end up transfering the barracuda drive into a laptop, desktop or another SATA enclosure. how will the data come out as? (i mean regarding the data on the files) would they be “as is” where you last left them, or altered? I need to know this because photos have important ‘exifs’ data embedded in them (like time taken, gps, aperature etc) having all that data is very important for us photogs.

    4 – when i connect the freeagent to my laptop, it would still be recognized as ‘seagate freeagent etc’ which gives me hope that my files are most likely still ‘there’ yet i cannot access the drive. i’ve tried a good recovery program like Recuva but it too would say that it cannot deep scan the drive because of an I/O error. what does it mean when the computer recognizes the drive and maker yet it cannot be accessed?

    4B – is there any program that could fix what i mentioned in 4? which would prevent resorting to opening the drive.

    5 – Would initializing the drive in the ‘device manager settings’ help? what does it do (im curious of this option but afraid to give it a try as it might damage files)

    6 – When i plug the drive into the usb, the lights would blink twice or thrice on the seagate then would remain lighted up, is this a significant symptom? no real worrying sounds in the drive. just a disk spinning and hard drive scanning sound. the whole thing does get hot when plugged on whether used or not.

    7 – with all my factors mentioned above, is there any chance to determine how much my files (almost 1tb – 900gb) worth are safe and retrievable

    Im sorry for the long reply, i only know so much about computers but i do know is im like everyone, who wants to save their priceless files and make the drive work. hope to hear feedback soon

  301. rokwamalfo Says:

    I have the same problem with my 500GB seagate but the problem gets worse its shows that the disk is 2 terabyte . what could this be?

  302. SyntaxSyanide Says:

    I’ve had the Seagate Freeagent Go, 500gb for over 2 years and it worked almost flawlessly till about a month ago. Kept giving me the I/O error message while trying to do ANYTHING…I’m going to try the unplugging of the power for the light, see if that works..I’ll come back here either way.

    Thanks for all the info.

  303. MRINMOY Says:

    i have seagate 1.5 tb hd. i AM GETTING i/O DEVICE ERROR. ANY SOLUTION ? PLEASE HELP

  304. cuzndupree Says:

    After reading through most of the post I realized most of us have the same problem. I believe the problem is overheating due to a poorly designed case. The base gets hot and the heat rises and gets trapped in the case with no ventilation. I am surprised no one has suggested the following solution. There is a Seagate utility to turn the led light off which should offer some help with cutting down on the heat,but the thing I did was take a hot soldering iron and poke holes in the case to allow heat to escape. If you are creative you can create tasteful designs that will keep the case from having that ghetto look. I just made sure to poke a lot of holes in the top, bottom and middle on both sides to be sure there is plenty of ventilation. I am amazed at how much it improved the performance. Good luck and hope this works for you.

  305. hillsfootguatemala Says:

    Please help… I keep connecting my seagate to my Macbook pro and nothing happens… the icon doesn’t even show on my desktop———— Is like if is not even recognizing it… What can I do?

  306. Zvezdoros Says:

    My first post! :)

  307. Tony Says:

    I wasted a great deal of time reading the many comments regarding the overheating problems with the 500GB Seagate external drive. I even disconnected the light and considered installing a heat sync on the base. However, I could have saved all this effort if I had asked for advice from my local pc dealer. He suggested changing the whole drive enclosure which is straigtforward and takes 10 minutes. If you buy the enclosure from the dealer the installation is free. The enclosure kit contains all the circcuit boards and wiring (don’t go to the big chain pd dealers. My local shop is Disking, who have several branches in the south east). When plugged in it worked like a dream with no loss of data or files and the new case looks better than the old one and it also has an on/off switch. Alright, it does cost £35 (Akasa Integral) which is a lot to correct a design fault, but my time is at a premium, particularly when you are approaching 80!

  308. Jesse Says:

    Wow I didnt even have to unhook the the light after removing the cover to were the circuit panel is! As soon as I took the cover off to were it was aired out it runs just fine! Thank you for this Information, it was very Helpful!

  309. Ron G. Says:

    A follow-up to my post of July 25, 2010…

    I have both 320 & 500 GB drives. Both have the newer USB interface encased in plastic, the surface of which exceeds 135 degrees F even when the unit is powered down. DWF all over the place on both. Since the USB interface module itself is what overheats, I mounted a square aluminum heatsink to the plastic right over the module, then mounted a tiny fan to the heatsink. Right next to this there are several slots on the underside, so I mounted another fan there to force air up the stack. I had to hot glue a stand to the bottom using popsicl;e sticks and wooden dowels to keep the unit raised up about an inch for airflow to the fans. It looked as sleek and sexy as it sounds! Finally, I ran the power supplies through a switch, so when i was not using the drives, I could easily cut all power to the drives, since the circuits run hella hot even when the drives are off (!). I did this to both drives. Result? It bought me another year, until recently the module components became so unstable that the 320 GB drive would only operate for a couple minutes. Net result? The fan and heatsink solution was not worth the time and effort. I’ve now removed everything from the enclosure in preparation to either turn it into an internal drive, or external using a different case/SATA-to-USB module. Just sitting the drive on the table with the other two circuit boards attached loose with a tiny fan blowing on them, everything works fine now. Drives are fine, A-OK. Just crap external circuits. Seagate is only the second company from which I will absolutely not buy anything from ever again. One can only get screwed so badly by a company until it leaves an indelible impression.

  310. kathie c. Says:

    I have not been able to use the 500gb FreeAgent “desktop” model for over 2 yrs. I am running it on an customer build IDE motherboard with win xp pro sp3. Seagates site said it might be usb drivers-humbug-I’m running three other external drives and they work fine-just this puppy goes dormant. Sometimes is seen by os on cold boot (and I had set it to never sleep via the drive mgr some time ago). I managed to finally get the case open after finding your posts and disconnected the plug to the light-which in this model after you remove the bottom you have to remove the usb interface to get at the screws-but the wire from the housing light comes through a hole into the usb interface circuit board, so once I opened the circuit board housing I was able to pull the plug with the puller I normally use to pull plugs from the motherboard. I didn’t have to get all the way into the larger housing. The instant I plugged it back into winxp after disengaging the lights VOILA! drive instantly returned….now we’ll see if the drive stays awake…thanks for this long set of posts – and to the videos-until today couldn’t figure out how to break into the housing..only took 15 minutes once I saw the video…

  311. hlm fitness Says:

    same here. i had that one and always formatting.

  312. travel special Says:

    travel special…

    […]Having problems with the Seagate FreeAgent 500 GB external disk drive « Are about everything[…]…

  313. Freeagent 500 | 3shn Says:

    […] Having problems with the Seagate FreeAgent 500 GB external disk …Mar 29, 2012 … I’ve used this drive before on XP PRO, and now in Win 7/64 Seagate Manager doesn’t see drive at all. Need to get to its ENCRYPTED folder. […]

  314. Chuck Says:

    I didn’t believe it but with at least a system crash every two days I thought I’d give it a try. Cut the LED wire and also used the Seagate Utility routine to increase the go to sleep time up to 5 hours (read in another post) and I haven’t had a crash in over two weeks. Go figure !

  315. Mark Says:

    After having what seems to have been the majority of the issues posted previously, I have the satisfying cure: Forget drilling holes in the case and disconnecting the lamp etc, just mash the box open, throw the controller board, case etc in the bin, and install the hard drive into your PC’s HD cage, connect it with a power sata lead and Robert is your proverbial – you now have a second hard drive which you can control to do back-ups with Windows or (for example) Norton Backup facility. Problem solved, and one less thing plugged into your mains plugs!

  316. Bob R Says:

    I’m having the same awful problem everyone else here is except mine is the 880 GB model Free Agent Go. Darn right I’m mad. No support, no help whatsoever from Seagate. I’ll never buy another product from them again. These things aren’t cheap!

  317. Michael Dougherty Says:

    I just went to BestBuy and bought an external HD case, ripped out the Barrcuda and everything works great

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