MacBooks face lost data risk

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by IChing, Nov 5, 2007.

  1. IChing macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2007
    A U.K.-based data-recovery organization has warned Apple Macbook users that they risk potential data loss due to a design flaw on certain hard drives.

    Retrodata has come across "many dozens" of failures affecting Seagate Technology LLC 2.5-in. Serial Advanced Technology Attachment drives, commonly found in laptops such as the MacBook or MacBook Pro. Apple Inc. desktops that use laptop-oriented components, such as the Mac Mini, are also at risk.

    "The read/write heads are detaching from the arm and plowing deep gouges into the magnetic platter," explained Retrodata 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."
  2. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    1. So far this is one guy making this claim. Obviously it is all over the internet by now, with people quoting people who quoted people who quoted him.

    2. Does anyone think that Apple would be the only manufacturer using these drives? Like, should Dell customers, HP customers, Gateway customers, Acer customers etc. etc. watch out as well?
  3. kkat69 macrumors 68020


    Aug 30, 2007
    Atlanta, Ga
    Well since Dell, HP, Gateway, Acer, et al don't make the iPhone, and don't have iMacs that have constant lock up issues, and don't have people pulling out of iTunes I don't think they are affected.

    People love to find and/or create news items directed towards/against Apple even if it can involve other computer companies, yet they leave those other companies as well. But because it's Apple or Apple has those components or potentially can be involved, news writers LOVE to single out Apple.

    In regards to recent news of course they are gonna single out Apple.
  4. MacBytes macrumors bot

    Jul 5, 2003
  5. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    ANY hard disk can crash and lose data; that is why we have backups. I would never operate any computer, especially a laptop, without a good backup. Perhaps these drives are worse than average and should be fixed, but there is no reason for losing months or years of data due to this.
  6. dr_lha macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    Hmm... very interesting. My mother-in-law's MacBook HD recently died, and she lost a bunch of stuff. I fixed it for her and set her up with a system to back her data up in future, but I'm wondering now if she was a victim of this "flaw".
  7. chrissurra macrumors member

    Feb 9, 2005
    This happened to my hard disk I wonder if it was due to this malfunction.
  8. eenu macrumors 65816


    Aug 11, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    Not quite true! My MBP has a Fujitsu so mine is not at risk from this guys claimed mass fault!
  9. JoeCo0611 macrumors member

    Oct 9, 2007

    My blackbook's HD failed at the beginning of August, so I can see this as a legit topic.

    When I took it in to get replaced the apple genius' (genii? lol) at the Chicago store actually high fived me for telling them "do what you need with it, I have a everything backed up at home." I guess they don't get that kind of responsibility all the time.

    Lesson: All drives face the risk of failure, so go spend the (now) sub 100 dollars to get an external drives to save your stuff. DUH. Apple makes it easy for you now with Time Machine if you didn't know how to drag and drop your folders before.
  10. royaletea macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2007
    I hope Apple gets on this quickly; I'm thinking of getting a new laptop sometime soon, and I'd hate to have it crash on me. Thankfully I already have an external HD so it wouldn't be hard to backup what I needed.

    I agree with the other posters though, an external HD is just a good investment, especially with the prices dropping to pretty affordable rates.
  11. John Morris macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2007
    Florida (USA)
    While I do agree that ultimately it is the user who is responsible for their own data security, if this is a hardware issue it needs to be addressed by Apple immediately.

    Luckily, my White MacBook has a Toshiba drive and my MacBook Pro has a Fujitsu drive, so I should be ok.
  12. Foxglove9 macrumors 65816


    Jan 14, 2006
    New York City
    Wow, that's not a good thing but it's not Apple's fault. Luckily my MacBook came with a Fujitsu Hard Drive, but what scares me in the 3 months I've had it I already had to "repair disk" in disk utility because an error came up when I verified.
  13. mogema macrumors newbie

    Apr 30, 2004
    This is somewhat good news to hear. I work at a large university where our recommended mac setup is a Macbook with external monitor. We have had so many macbook drives fail it isn't funny - we were certain that there was some kind of design flaw or that apple chose the cheapest drive they could find. It's comforting to hear that we aren't alone and weren't going crazy.

    I also personally own a Macbook, and about a year after I bought it, I was working in a document and every application one by one froze: a tell-tale sign of hard drive issues. I took it into our hardware shop and the drive was toast. Fortunately I had applecare. However, over the next few weeks we were seeing the hard drives failing in the exact same way in other Macbooks. Many, many others. To date we've had 10 of ~40 drives crash in core duo macbooks (not core 2 duo - they appear to mostly be using toshiba drives).

    Of those that were sent to apple for repair, they were returned with the same model of seagate drive. Those that we repaired in house were replaced with hitachi. It'll be interesting to see what happens when this new batch of seagate drives reach a year old.
  14. CPPhoto macrumors member

    May 23, 2007
    i just checked my system profile and i have one of these drives, with 7.01 firmware...of course im backed up...but still...

    its a macbook pro as well, which, i think is crap that they would use bad drives in it, because for a 2700.00 machine, it should have quality components. You would figure apple would be a little bit smarter. I have noticed the noise from the hard drive has become noticable over the past few months, so i have some reason to worry..
  15. macFanDave macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2003
    Why is MacBook in the headline

    when it is a Seagate problem?

    Is Apple the only one using this drive? If not, the appropriate headline would have been something like, "Seagate flaw affects MacBooks, others." I'm sick of Apple getting singled out for bad press when a problem is industry-wide. I'm disgusted when I see "iPod causes hearing loss" stories because ALL MP3 players (all personal stereos, for that matter) have the same potential to cause hearing loss. If the iPod had exceptionally loud volume, that story would be legit, but using the iPod's popularity to cause the greatest alarm is yellow journalism.

    And that woman who lost two months of "critical data" when her HD failed: F*** her! If you have critical data, and you don't back up, you are just waiting for a disaster like this to happen. Had her house been burglarized or caught fire, her data loss wouldn't have made the news, even though it exposes the same level of negligience on her part.
  16. iJawn108 macrumors 65816


    Apr 15, 2006
    so.... i have one of these... what the hell should i do with it? i havent been having issues.
    doesnt seagate give 5 year warranties? is it still the same on apple hardware
  17. mulze22 macrumors regular

    Jul 25, 2005
    Up Nort
    This exac thing happened to me. I lost so much data. I was stupid for not backing it up but then again being a college student doesn't really allow me to go out and buy an external. However x-mas is coming up so I think I might have to ask for a harddrive.
  18. eenu macrumors 65816


    Aug 11, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    NOTHING, just make sure you back up your data
  19. J@ffa macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2002
    Behind you!
    No. Five years applies only to retail Seagate drives, not an OEM (original equipment manufacturer), which is what these drives are. They're guaranteed only for the life of the manufacturer's warranty, which is obviously either one or three years depending on whether you bought AppleCare.

    On a side note, I work for a Mac repair company and this is definitely not an isolated issue. We've seen way too many to count, far more than any other make. Sure, if it's Seagate's problem, they should foot the bill, but Apple has a responsibility to warn their users that their equipment might be defective. Also, in the cases where we haven't been able to retrieve data, neither have several data recovery labs. Practically all the others (Hitachi, Fujitsu, whatever) have failed but not as totally as these, and either we or a lab with a clean room has been able to recover at least some data.
  20. longofest Editor emeritus


    Jul 10, 2003
    Falls Church, VA

    There is news today on potential data loss vulnerabilites in Mac OS and in Apple's notebook drives manufactured by Seagate.

    The vulnerability revolving the Mac OS was first documented by Tom Karpik.

    The bug is claimed to have existed as far back as Mac OS 10.3 Panther, though the site focuses mainly on Mac OS 10.5 "Leopard."

    The other data loss vulnerability surrounds Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro computers that utilize certain Seagate drives. UK data recovery firm Retrodata discovered a flaw where the read/write head fails and causes gouges in the hard drive platter.

    Retrodata discovered the flaw due to the sheer volume of recovery requests of the particular drive, and strongly suggests that Apple take appropriate action, possibly including a product recall.
  21. the Helix macrumors regular

    the Helix

    Sep 16, 2003

    Holy sheet Batman! That is one scary possibility!
  22. X5-452 macrumors 6502


    Feb 16, 2006
    Calgary, Canada
    i was poking and prodding around my system profiler, but i can't seem to figure out how to tell if i have a seagate drive. under the serial-ata tab it tells me the vendor is intel, but that can't be right?
  23. technocoy macrumors 6502a


    Sep 4, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    This is a little sensationalist. Apple wouldn't have known that the drives were going to do this at the time of the deal with Seagate. It's a manufacturing flaw that is discovered to late.

    The key thing here is that they fix the issue by offering a recall if indeed it becomes evident that this is in fact a mass defect.

    I've have used Seagate for years and always had quality performance from them. The only brand I have had perform the same or better were my hitachi drives.

    I would hope that when brought to their attention and after their independent analysis they take steps to make it right, but there is no reason to assume that Apple duped us all by putting ACME brand drives in our macbook pros. hahaha.
  24. PygmySurfer macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2006
    Wellesley, ON
    Apple didn't deliberately chose cheap components, apparently there's just a bad batch of these Seagate drives out there. It's not as though Apple new the drives sucked and used them anyway.
  25. crackermac macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2007
    American Dad

    Reminds of me a quote from American Dad.
    "...something might go down somewhere in some way at some point in time."

    Moral: Hard drives can go bad. Back your stuff up.

Share This Page