Seagate has had quite a bit of trouble with their 1.5TB 7200.11 drives. The drives, which gave the company a notable lead in drive capacity over their rivals for some time, have come under fire for the second time now since they were first shipped. The newest complaint is actually more of the old, in that the drives are suffering from mysterious freezing issues. The failures are apparently happening across the entire 7200.11 lineup – not specifically the 1.5TB units, though that particular unit was already under scrutiny for its popularity and for Seagate's apparent silence on the issue early on.
A fixed firmware was posted late last year, which Seagate claims fixes the issue. They've also offered data recovery services to anyone who loses data as a result of the problem, though they say in the same breath that the problem doesn't cause data loss to begin with. The offer of data recovery has come up just recently, making many wonder if the problem is bigger than Seagate claims it is. Data recovery is something that hard drive vendors have typically never offered, even when drives have outright failed completely within the warranty period – they have specific disclosures protecting them from just such an instance.
Why the offer? Is Seagate attempting to boost PR in anticipation of a wave of cascading failures? I certainly hope not – I have several of the drives myself. The complaint sure isn't a new one, as Seagate has been dealing with it for many months, but things have picked up recently, and the addition of Seagate offering free data recovery can indicate worse things to come.