MacBook Seagate 7.01 & 3.CAE Firmware Hard Drive Failures

MacMedics Locations in Severna Park & Lanham

Update 2/4/11: Apple completed it’s repair extension program covering the Seagate 7.01 type drives on February 04, 2011.
Update 2/1/11: We’ve noticed (and others on the Internets) that Seagate drives that have the firmware version of 3.CAE are in the same category as the Seagate 7.01 firmware drive that are prone to catastrophic and sudden failure. MacMedics STRONGLY recommends that both the Seagate 7.01 AND 3.CAE hard drives should be replaced no matter where they are installed or how old they are. Having an effective back-up is great protection, but if you’ve got a ticking time bomb in your computer it could blow up at anytime, and you could still lose data. Also, no time is a good time to have your hard drive blow up. It could happen before a big trip or project and the computer would be unusable until the drive was replaced, and the data that you HAVE backed up can be restored. In some cases that could take an entire day as Time machine often take several hours to fully restore. Also, MacMedics recommends having a clone of your hard drive in addition to your Time Machine back up. Read all about Time Machine warnings here.
Update 2/16/10 Apple announces repair extension program for MacBook Seagate 7.01 hard drives. Get details from If you have an affected MacBook, call MacMedics and we can arrange to have hard drive replaced.
This post has been updated on 3/11/09. It appears that more of these drives are starting to let go. MacMedics is recommending a proactive approach. These drives should be replaced before they fail outright.
We have seen a number of MacBook hard drives fail due to a certain type of failure. 2.5 inch SATA Seagate hard drives with the firmware version 7.01 have a fatal flaw that can cause a serious hardware problem. In some cases we’ve also seen this drive supplied as an Apple service part and we’ve seen it in MacBook Pros and Mac Minis. Because of the nature of the failure, data recovery is usually NOT possible if this type of drive fails in the manner that we have seen. MacMedics is recommending that if you have this make, model, and firmware version of this drive, that you proactively replace it. For more info, please get in touch with your closest MacMedics office.
See this screen shot to learn how to identify if you have this drive installed or not:
Update 9/19/08: The affected Seagate drives do come in different sizes (we’ve seen both 60GB & 80GB). If you have a Seagate drive (look for the model that starts with ST) AND you have 7.01 firmware of any size capacity, then you should look to replace the drive.
Update 10/18/08: Several customers and folks who have read this post have asked about hard drive replacements. MacMedics offers four ways to replace this drive.
1. We can sell you a new hard drive, and ship it to you if you want.
2. We can sell you a new hard drive and install it in your MacBook at either our Millersville, MD or Lanham, MD offices for $49 plus the cost of the drive.
3. We can sell you a new hard drive, install it, and clone your data from your old drive to the new drive for $99 plus the cost of the drive.
4. We can sell you a new hard drive, install it, then install a fresh Apple OS (you could upgrade to Leopard here if you wish for $129 extra), then migrate your data from your old hard drive, and we will update your system for $150 plus the cost of the drive. This is our full service hard drive replacement where we update your OS, check all of your setting, clean the system out from top to bottom, so when you get it back it’s factory fresh with all of your data in place and ready to go.
Our drives carry a 3-year warranty.
Update 3/11/09: We’re still seeing these drives come in for data recovery. We had two in one day this week. Check your hard drive in your MacBook to ensure this drive is not in your Mac. If this drive kicks the bucket, there is only a small chance that it can be recovered. Any recovery attempt would have to be done in a clean room.
We are working with a data recovery company that has had “some” success in recovering the 7.01 Seagate firmware drives. If you are serious about recovering your data and willing to pay the “clean room” recovery price, which is about $1000, then feel free to get in touch with our partners at Gillware via this link.
If you think you have a Seagate 7.01 firmware drive and you think it has failed, it is extremely important that you leave it powered OFF! This failure can result in platter damage, so the longer the unit runs, the lower your chances for recovery. If you turn the drive on and you get three quick clicks in a row, then there’s pretty much no question that you have this problem. I’m looking for an audio recording to post here. I’ll Twitter about it when I post it.
This is a really serious problem. 1. If you know of anyone that has a MacBook, MacBook Pro, or a Mac Mini, tell them to check their drive before it’s too late. 2. Get a back up and test it often. 3. Don’t generate data you care about without having a back up! Hard drives are cheaper then ever (as low as $99 for decent 250 GB portable drive Pay $99 now or $1200 (or more later).
I’m working with a very sad client that lost 4000 digital photos to this exact drive failure. His drive has already been sent to one of the leading recovery firms, and they could not recovery any data from it, and told him it was a lost cause. Gillware is taking a second look at that same drive for free to see if they can see any data on it at all. Oh, and by the way if you do need “clean room” recovery Gillware will look at your drive and evaluate it for data recovery free of charge. They also have a very fair two-tier pricing plan for lower priced “non clean room” recoveries and full price for advanced “clean room” recoveries. If they can’t get your data you’d don’t pay anything. No crazy up front agreement, price ranges, or high pressure sales tactics either. Just the way I like it.
If you are shipping your sick hard drive off to a “clean room” recovery company (any company), don’t ruin your data recovery chances by packing and shipping your hard drive incorrectly. Packing peanuts are not safe to use, and make sure you have a static bag. If you’re in the area, feel free to stop by our Millersville, MD or Lanham, MD office and we’ll be delighted to give you free shipping supplies and a static bag for wherever you’re sending your drive. Yup. We really do care that much about your data.
Update 12/5/09. We made a video to show folks what these drives sound like when they fail:

3 thoughts on “MacBook Seagate 7.01 & 3.CAE Firmware Hard Drive Failures

  1. lauren says:

    my model # is not identical to the one in the screenshot, but it does start w/ ST and i do have revision 7.01. should i be replacing mine?

  2. Rick Wahlers says:

    My big question, is since Mac is aware of the problem, as is Seagate apparently, who is going to foot the bill for the replacement drive, and the software? Surely a 1500.00 laptop should be expected to last more then one year. Does Apple have any type of exchange program for these defective drives? It’s bad enough I am loosing a years worth of data, but will they send a replacement drive to me?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *