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Users at risk of data loss thanks to 'irresponsible' Apple

Company urged to recall dodgy hard drives.

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A UK data recovery organisation has warned Apple Macbook users that they risk potential data loss due to a design flaw on certain hard drives.

UK firm Retrodata has come across “many dozens” of failures affecting Seagate 2.5 inch SATA drives, commonly found in laptops such as the MacBook or MacBook Pro. Apple desktops that use laptop-oriented components, like the Mac Mini, are also potentially at risk.

“The read/write heads are detaching from the arm and ploughing deep gouges into the magnetic platter," explained Retrodata’s managing director Duncan Clarke. "The damage is mostly on the inner tracks, but some scratches are on the outer track (track 0), and once that happens, the drive is normally beyond repair.”

The problem is found on the Seagate 2.5-inch SATA drives that are made in China and are loaded with firmware version 7.01. Model numbers affected include ST96812AS and ST98823AS.

Clark advises users to go to their System Profile, and under Serial ATA look for the revision number. “If it is firmware version 7.01 then you have to panic,” he warned.

“Apple are being utterly irresponsible and should launch a product recall,” Clarke said.

One unlucky Macbook user told Techworld that she had lost two months of crucial work data when her hard disk “just collapsed when saving a Word file.” She insisted her 13-month old Macbook had been treated very gently, mostly as a desk-based computer, and rarely left the house.

According to Alkas Ali, a director at data recovery specialist DiskEng, it is difficult to pinpoint specific hard disks with design flaws, due to the high volumes of faulty disks they encounter.

“Damage to magnetic platters are a normal type of failure for laptops,” Ali said. “This can be caused by temperature related issues or if the read/write head oscillates.” However he conceded that if the read/write heads are detaching from the arm, that is a design flaw. But he warned that you would need to see several hundred or several thousand drives with this problem to know for sure there is a design flaw.

Retrodata’s Clarke concedes he does not see these numbers of failures as his is a small firm, but the picture could be different when all the experiences of UK data recovery firms with these hard drives are tallied up.

“There is absolutely, definitely a flaw with these drives,” said Clarke. “I have seen enough to know there is a problem with them...any Apple Mac that uses a 2.5 inch drive is at risk.”

“This matter has only just come to our attention and Seagate are looking into it,” a Seagate spokesman told Techworld. Apple meanwhile, did not respond to a request for an interview.


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M.F said: Joined the dead HD club too It just happened to my 15-inch MBPJun 2009 without any sign or warning It just froze when I plugged in the power and woke it up from safe sleep And after a hard restart it was just the apple logo and spinning circle or whatever you call it and later the apple became a prohibitory sign

Barney said: I had this problem with this drive Twice The second time was out of warranty and I had to pay for the repair but when told about it Apple refunded the entire cost with no quibble whatsoeverI am not complaining at all as the new drive is 100 Gig larger than the old one and a clean install is never a bad thing

brainmist said: Well this is a club I certainly could have stayed out of My MacBook was getting pretty rare use because of overall limited appeal of the included software but I did use it to store and sort photos and do some sound tinkering One whirling beachball of death later and literally thousands of photos and decagigs of music are gone Not backed up I know I know but I lent someone my back up drive and never got it back Silly me I thought being a Mac person meant fewer problems Now Im a PC

Alan said: Was this ever resolved My MacBook Pros HD died 2 months before the warranty ended - phew They replaced it with no quibble even upgraded it to twice the size I was ecstatic until 3 months later same thing Dead HD Is this going to keep on happening

applelo said: can i replace my apple laptop battery from httpwwwsales-batterycoml for free

Joe said: My FW 701 ST96812AS hard drive crashed 8-21-08 exactly 26 mos after purchase I hold Seagate responsible but Apple too for not warning its customers appropriately A recall for those drives still working replacement including data transfer is the right thing to do

dadsgravy said: Same FW701 ST96812AS hard drive crashed At least I was prepared and waiting for 6 months now Im usually not one to scream law suit but this is ridiculous Apple and Seagate clearly know about this and are doing nothing Great job

teacherdan said: i have a fw 724 that went belly up after a year and two months was using an hp windows unit grr

idiocracy said: same faulty harddrive on ps3 60 gigsBrand new 60gig ps3 giving error hd was not found because same drive


Jamye Hickman said: My day of tears turned into a evening of RAGE I am a new Apple user and switched from PCs because of the greatness of Apple stability and great for designers I feel completely left out to fend for myself To all those Apple addicts who turn up their noses at those who lost everything in this hard drive failure epidemic dont worry I take responsiblity It was my fault for trusting your recommendation my fault for trusting a 10-month old Macbook and my fault believing in the hype that is

Sigi Fischer said: My harddisk just crashed same modelIts built in a macbook pro 216GH6 months of intensive work is lost more than 3000 fotosWell backing up isnt my talent Fuck

Inigo said: Same problem for me on my macbook I bought it on may 2006 crushed less than one year later and changed But the problem is that it has crushed again only 10 months later I dont care about the fault i only want a solution as evidently there is something wrong on my macbook

gentlyused said: seagate 60gb hard drive with the same revision number crashed on me two days agothank you apple for giving me the heads up useless

Goffredo Puccetti, Paris - Fra said: My macbook hard drive just collapsed No warningSeagate ST98823AS of courseLocal Apple Vendor and Apple France deny knowing anything about any hd macbook issueJust google it and youll see how big the issue isApple should have sent out at least a warning if not a proper recall

Tawabet said: Mine died on last friday and of course I have not enough backupsI think it is really irresponsible that users are not warned by Apple to backup ALL their data - I lost my fotos a lot of my work and my believing in a reknowned company

Jarrod said: Ok Now im a huge believer in backing data up wich is why i bought my laptop i previously had an unreliable pc whose hd was less than consistent and whose dvd burner wasnt workingso i bough my macbook I was in the process of loading all my files off my pc and off my camera so i could back everything up when all of a sudden what you are all discribing occurs now if this was my work stuff id be upset but this isnt my work stuff these are unreplacebly pictures of my baby boy i have had my macbook for a month and a half brand spanking new wasnt given any time to back up my stuff this is absolute crap I expect mac to recover all my lost files and substantialy reimburse me for this bull If I cannot get my files back I will be making this a serious issueTomorow my macbook is going to the apple dealer and am expecting to have things resolved if not theyll be talking to my wife

Van der Veen said: I think that without seeing any evidence you could say that this is just a hoax I have an Apple I book and mine is functioning perfectly As for data Recovery I always have a back up from my hard drive You should never leave you data in only one place always copy it onto 2 places If you get used to it its easy to do and you do not have to worry about your data loss

d90 said: Irresponsible Apple Umthe design flaw is with Seagate ChesterAnd Apple isnt the only one who uses these drivesIm not necessarily trying to stick up for Apple just calling it as it is

Mike said: My MacBookPros HD became corupted and unreadable several months ago but its Toshiba not a SeagateThe data I thought I had saved with DiskImage did not recover either So much for It Just Works

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