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Recovering From a Manufacturer's Error

The need for data recovery can arise for a variety of reasons. Reasons can include a natural disaster, user error or a manufacturer error. Data recovery is not always a cheap procedure, especially when sending the drive off to recovery specialists. But if the drive succumbs to a failure at the fault of the manufacturer, should you be expected to shell out the cash for recovery?

There’s no definitive answer to that question. All decent drive manufacturers should provide a suitable warranty period when you first purchase the device. It never used to be rare, but you’d probably be hard pressed to get three year warranties nowadays. The standard is likely to be a year, or even less in some cases. However, even if you are covered by warranty, it doesn’t necessarily mean that recovery is included in that. As always, it depends on the drive manufacturer.

Pinpointing your drive’s failure to a manufacturer’s fault isn’t as easy as it sounds. A reputable manufacturer should own up to the error and offer to fix your drive, and recover your data, for free. But they’re not obliged to.

Some manufacturers and sellers will offer additional cover that can be purchased with your drive. For example, Seagate have a Rescue and Replace plan that covers you for a period if your drive fails. This activates as soon as the warranty ends. If your drive fails, for example through an electrical fault, then you will be entitled to data recovery. However, some critics might argue that these drives should be built so as not to succumb to things such as electrical faults.

There was a case in 2009 where Seagate issued a firmware update to a number of their drives that bricked the devices. “Bricked”, for those who don’t know, essentially means that your device no longer works. Seagate then put out a second firmware update in order to fix the error.

Seagate also offered free data recovery for anyone who had the problem. However, this came under fire by some who claimed that Seagate’s recovery process took too long. For those businesses that needed quick recovery in order to operate, Seagate’s need to check each drive for the fault was too time consuming.

However, the good thing was that the data on the drive wasn’t actually damaged by the firmware update, thus data recovery was usually a simple process. Seagate also admitted that the error was theirs and put in the steps to help fix it, including issuing the second firmware update and offering free drive recovery. The latter is a great move and one that you would hope competitors would mirror should a similar problem arise.

In conclusion, if your drive breaks due to a manufacturer’s fault then you may be entitled to free data recovery. However, it entirely depends on who the manufacturer is and what their practices are. Some might only recover if you’re inside the warranty, while some may do it for a fee. Some, of course, might not do it at all. Check the conditions of the drive before purchasing to make sure how covered you are should a failure at the manufacturer’s hands occur.


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