Recovering from a Seagate Central failure

So I currently manage a dozen or so PCs and iPads in this household – plus a couple more at my parents on ‘remote support’ when Dad has exhausted the first few levels of debug and problem analysis.

This means that we have an ever increasing quantity of data to back up – both professional level and our private lives. Several years ago getting bored with USB based backups, I bought one of the early NAS’s on the market, a WD MyBook which worked quietly and not so quietly until one day my entire backup stopped functioning.

This triggered a major hunt around for methods to recover the data which are all based around installing a version of Linux and recovering the data using various methods, all verging on witchcraft to me…! WD Ubuntu recovery

However since the data was all backup, then it doesn’t matter does it…..? So lets buy another NAS, but something better this time (well, ‘not’ WD). Having a lot of company data to store this time around meant I could afford a more expensive unit purchased through my company. This was the rather more recent 3TB Seagate Central unit.

Impressive installation, no hassles and it was amazingly quick to back up the necessary data across my network of PCs. And it worked very well for about 15 months…..then it didn’t.

Time to see what was happening (or rather, what was not happening). Power cycle and the LAN light blinks at me….and keeps blinking…and the ADSL router informs me that no component exists on the end of that cable.

More research…turns out that Seagate Central’s have a bit of a reputation for getting very hot and taking out the Ethernet/NAS part of the drive – the disk is however perfectly ok. Back around the ‘how do I extract the data from this drive’ loop….and Seagate also store the data in a proprietary fashion that MIGHT be possible to recover using…yup, Linux in the form of Ubuntu and another collection of tools. Great if you have the best part of a day and are au fait with Ubuntu, but if all you want is data recovery, not an option. Ubuntu-Seagate recovery

Several YouTube sites explained how to crack into the case (almost literally, it is clipped together with what are effectively single use plastic clips) (Open case), so I broke into it. Nothing obviously wrong but an impressive dose of anti RFI protection in the form of metal tape, shielded plastic screens and interconnections.

Nobody suggested the seemingly obvious route – to acquire another drive and replace the HDD with the one from the failed unit. In this case, eBay is your friend and I eventually bought a 2TB unit for a silly price (yes, note that it was a 2TB, whereas the original was a 3TB).

Unit arrives by post in perfect condition and I then opened it, removed the existing drive, plugged in my old 3TB drive and powered up.

Success, everything sprang back into life – the 2TB/3TB is obviously not related to the Ethernet but presumably stored on the disk parameters (would be the logical route anyway IMHO).

Needless to say after that exercise, I have now bought a ‘proper’ NAS with 2 drives and RAID capability.

So the lesson is if you have a dud Seagate Central because of a LAN problem, you can replace it with the cheapest Seagate Central and exchange the HDDs.