Seagate Service Impresses

My how hardware support has changed. Used to be that when a hard drive died it was just hard luck; but recently I experienced problems with a Seagate hard drive that proves things have become much closer to the way they should be.

The drive is a 250 gigabyte Barracuda 7200.8 that I bought some time ago ago when I saw it on sale somewhere (the vagueness is intentional, as you will see). I must have figured I would eventually use it as an external drive to archive files. Well, the eventual day came yesterday and I plugged it into a USB drive enclosure. I plugged that into my main desktop machine, an IBM ThinkCentre P4HT, and fired it up. Everything worked fine.

(BTW, the IBM is now a Lenovo and I am pleased to report that the excellent IBM online support appears to have transitioned nicely to the new company, with lots of information about my system available at the click of a button.)

The Seagate drive formatted fine and I started to copy some files over. All went well but there was an occassional high-pitched click, barely audible, and only traceable to the Seagate drive by using a handy paper ear cone (old car mechanic trick). I figured it was no big deal and began a large copy operation [about 180 gigabytes] from a Maxtor USB drive to the Seagate. Next morning I checked the copy operation and it had completed successfully, but the Seagate drive was now making a sound much closer to the dreaded "katink katink" that can herald a drive failure.

Aaaargh! I had no recollection of where or when I bought the drive. How would I be able to exercise my warranty rights? Was the warranty still good? I surfed to Seagate support onthe web and clicked on Warranty. Wow! With a few keystrokes I had confirmed, via serial number, that the warranty was still in place (Barracuda's appear to come with a reassuring 5 year warranty). Furthermore, I was offered a chance to check out the drive's status via a web page. One Active-X control later, a basic check had reported a healthy drive. But a more intense check was offered. I launched it and was soon told the drive was damaged. Not only that, an automated return process was initiated right there.

I was given the option to send in the drive and get a replacement, or pay a modest fee and get a replacement before I sent in the bad drive (the bad drive going back in the prepaid box that came with the new drive). If the drive had been mission-critical I would have used the paid option and thought it good value for money. As it was, I figured I could save a few bucks and just send in the damaged drive. I did that and got a replacement in short order. Kudos to Seagate for making the painful as painless as possible.

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