Hard drive makers cutting warranty periods

If you want to get a new hard drive, you might want to consider getting one now, if indeed you can find one with the recent shortages. The Verge reports that the two biggest hard drive manufacturers, Western Digital and Seagate, will be making some changes to their hard drive warranties starting in late 2011-2012.

Seagate is making the biggest change in its warranty plans. Starting on December 31 most of its standard hard drives for both PC desktop and notebooks will have their warranties cut down from a very generous five years to just one year. Some other hard drives will have their warranties cut to three years and that includes the company's Momentus XT hybrid drive.

Western Digital's moves are not quite as drastic as Seagate's. It will cut the warranty times for three of its hard drives (Caviar Blue, Caviar Green, and Scorpio Blue) from three years down to two years beginning on January 2, 2012. Western Digital will also offer an extended warranty offer but you will have to pay extra to get it.

These changes will not affect any of the external hard drives that Seagate or Western Digital offer, nor will it affect Seagate enterprise drive or higher-end Western Digital drives.

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As much as this sucks, it sounds a lot like when all the OEM's cut back to 3 years from 5. There was a lot of outrage then but failure statistics pretty much stayed the same. I wonder if this cutback isn't at least partially due to all the warranty claims by people that can't figure out how to get a new drive to work from the management console? Or maybe the shift from people buying in brick and mortar shops to buying online where packaging and handling can make a huge difference to DOA and failure numbers.

Whenever I purchase a hard drive the second thing I look at after the size is the warranty. For years I have always gone with the company with the longest warranty. Has worked well for me. I will continue to do the same in the future.

One of the things I look for when buying a HDD and that's warranty. At least from a US stand point I think some sorta of legislation should be handed down to protect consumers cause these things break and break fast sometimes. I've had them die 2-3 days after getting one.

I am wonderinf if they will change G-Technology warranty as well. WD bought Hitachi's Mac brand sometimes in 2011 (can't remember).

It's OK Seagate, based on many many bad experiences with your drives I too don't have any faith in them lasting longer than a year.

I remember when Hard drive warrenties were 5yrs... to me a warrenty should speak quality, not how much money we are going to make off you... If I believed I made a quality product I'd have no problem giving it one for 5yrs but it does seem like they are only doing this not because of quality, but since they are slowly having their territory infringed on by SSD's they need to find a way to make money they use to get right off without something to take it from them...

BTW, having cut the warranty period just let us know that Hard Drives failure rate will go uphill, and they will be much less reliable. I think I'll be gong with Optical Media to backup heavy files.

Dropbox is doing its job with important docs.

Planned obsoletion at its' best. Hdd makers busy reprogramming firmwares so drives blow up "suddenly" right after warranty period ends.

Good thing the law in Quebec forces company to offer a warranty so the product has a reasonable longevity and I don't believe hdd are supposed to last one year only...or I am worried for my data!

"Western Digital will also offer an extended warranty offer but you will have to pay extra to get it." there you go! make more money, we have this in NZ and its a rip!

Another reason to go with a SSD. Most offer a 3 or even 5 year warranty. Now all we need is higher capacity and lower priced SSD's. I would say by end of 2014 and SSD's are mainstream, replacing HDD's in all Desktops and Notebooks.

It really annoys me that we consumers allow them to do this. I really hope that people finally rise up against this and cause a problem or boycott. But that's never going to happen.

Trueblue711 said,
It really annoys me that we consumers allow them to do this. I really hope that people finally rise up against this and cause a problem or boycott. But that's never going to happen.

And if you boycott all of the hard drive makers, where exactly are you going to get drives for your computer?

Trueblue711 said,
It really annoys me that we consumers allow them to do this. I really hope that people finally rise up against this and cause a problem or boycott. But that's never going to happen.

got any ideas on how to stop this? cause they sell though out the world, and each place have there own laws. nothing is going to happen and this will now be the norm.

protocol7 said,

For now. I think they're being bought up by WD soon.

Gosh! Really!

I didn't like WD So I went for G-technology and Hitachi. Then Hitachi bought G-techonology, and now WD buy Hitachi! ****!

protocol7 said,

For now. I think they're being bought up by WD soon.

That sucks. WD's quality control has gone downhill over the past 5 years.

Enron said,

That sucks. WD's quality control has gone downhill over the past 5 years.

In all honesty, it's any mass produced drive from any manufacturer that has quality issues these days.

Aergan said,

In all honesty, it's any mass produced drive from any manufacturer that has quality issues these days.

Yet I have had exactly zero issues with WD internal hard drivews (I have one of their bottom-end GP-AV drives (designed for DVR/Tivo replacement/upgrade usage, not computer usage - this was part of a trainload of such drives shipped to, and sold by, Best Buy) that has been my boot drive for two years, and it's still running quite happily, and with decent performance besides.

ViperAFK said,
Really seagate? One year warranty on a hard drive?

In EU it's 2 years. EU directive 1999/44/EC requires at least 2 years for electronics.

david13lt said,

In EU it's 2 years. EU directive 1999/44/EC requires at least 2 years for electronics.

The EU seems intent on driving most electronic and technology companies out of business with their nonsense rules. Either that, or they are trying to encourage foreign companies to abandon the European market entirely. I can't wait for the first company to finally say "FU" to the EU and stop shipping products there.

ViperAFK said,
Really seagate? One year warranty on a hard drive?

interesting, so in NZ we have our 1 year warranty from shops, how will the effect it. does this mean i get 2 years now?

roadwarrior said,

The EU seems intent on driving most electronic and technology companies out of business with their nonsense rules. Either that, or they are trying to encourage foreign companies to abandon the European market entirely. I can't wait for the first company to finally say "FU" to the EU and stop shipping products there.

Ever think maybe they are sticking up for the people for once by not getting screwed over by the companies?

roadwarrior said,

The EU seems intent on driving most electronic and technology companies out of business with their nonsense rules. Either that, or they are trying to encourage foreign companies to abandon the European market entirely. I can't wait for the first company to finally say "FU" to the EU and stop shipping products there.
Are you serious?
You really think a 2 year warranty is going to drive an electronics company out of business? Maybe that would be a good thing anyway, if a company is producing such a low quality product that it frequently breaks within 2 years. Even if they just stopped shipping to the EU, at least it would stop other consumers being ripped off. Either way, over in kapitalist America you wouldn't be effected, you could keep getting ripped off for as long as you like

Wolfbane said,
Are you serious?
You really think a 2 year warranty is going to drive an electronics company out of business?

Obviously the difference in length of warranty makes a difference in the profits of a company, since these companies are reducing the length of them now. And I wasn't just talking about this particular article. The EU seems to love suing technology companies for things that aren't a problem anywhere else in the world. As for your "kapitalist America" comment, do you live somewhere that doesn't allow companies to profit from their work?

roadwarrior said,

Obviously the difference in length of warranty makes a difference in the profits of a company, since these companies are reducing the length of them now. And I wasn't just talking about this particular article. The EU seems to love suing technology companies for things that aren't a problem anywhere else in the world. As for your "kapitalist America" comment, do you live somewhere that doesn't allow companies to profit from their work?

Well of course they should have the ability to make a profit, but in Europe we have this, perhaps unfounded, belief that a product such as a hard disk should work for at least 2 years. Is this unreasonable of us?

Frankly I find it hard to believe that anyone could see a positive light in this article, unless of course they were on the payroll or board at Seagate and/or WD. The fact is that these warranties are being reduced to provide them with a get-out when people buy faulty merchandise, there's no other possible reason, and even if it is, it's not for the benefit of the consumer, which coincidentally is who the EU supports with its "2 year warranty" rules.

If WD and Seagate can't make a HDD that lasts more than 2 years, and the loss of profits from returns causes them to go out of business, then perhaps they should have made better quality stuff. Capitalism in the EU is sort of cruel like that.

Oh, and for the "FU to the EU" theory, not gonna happen. I'd love to see a company approach it's shareholders with the "We're not going to sell stuff in the EU anymore because we don't want to sell products to half a billion people that demand quality merchandise" line.

roadwarrior said,

Obviously the difference in length of warranty makes a difference in the profits of a company, since these companies are reducing the length of them now. And I wasn't just talking about this particular article. The EU seems to love suing technology companies for things that aren't a problem anywhere else in the world. As for your "kapitalist America" comment, do you live somewhere that doesn't allow companies to profit from their work?
A warranty shows how long the manufacturer expects their product to last (obviously you reduce your warranty if your product is unlikely to last the length of the warranty). A 1 year warranty for a storage device just shows how crappy the product must be.
Edit: As for "suing for things that aren't a problem anywhere else", the EU contains a kind of large chunk of the western world, so saying they shouldn't do something just because nobody else does is bit stupid... And your comment wasn't true anyway, the only place this isn't a problem is US (and IDK about Canada), everywhere else has similar quality laws.
I live in New Zealand. I was just joking about how you seem to think the EU is anti-capitalist.

Wolfbane said,
the EU contains a kind of large chunk of the western world, so saying they shouldn't do something just because nobody else does is bit stupid...

The US is nearly as large as the EU in population (312 million vs. 502 million), and pretty close to the EU in GDP (14.5 trillion dollars vs. 16.2 trillion), so it has similar influence with manufacturers. Overall, the EU and the US are fairly similar in most aspects.

roadwarrior said,

The US is nearly as large as the EU in population (312 million vs. 502 million), and pretty close to the EU in GDP (14.5 trillion dollars vs. 16.2 trillion), so it has similar influence with manufacturers. Overall, the EU and the US are fairly similar in most aspects.
What's your point?
Just because the US does something one way doesn't mean the EU has to do the same.

Wolfbane said,
What's your point?
Just because the US does something one way doesn't mean the EU has to do the same.

You stated that the EU made up "a large chunk of the Western world". I was simply reminding you (and others here) that the US makes up nearly as large of a chunk. People here seem to discount (or complain about) the influence the US has on the corporate world since it is "just one country", but they forget that the US is nearly the equal of ALL of the EU countries combined.

Hell, if you add in Canada and Mexico, the three largest countries of North America (not even including the smaller ones south of Mexico) actually EXCEED the population and GDP numbers for the entire EU.

roadwarrior said,

You stated that the EU made up "a large chunk of the Western world". I was simply reminding you (and others here) that the US makes up nearly as large of a chunk. People here seem to discount (or complain about) the influence the US has on the corporate world since it is "just one country", but they forget that the US is nearly the equal of ALL of the EU countries combined.

Hell, if you add in Canada and Mexico, the three largest countries of North America (not even including the smaller ones south of Mexico) actually EXCEED the population and GDP numbers for the entire EU.

I didn't discount the influence the US has, I know it has a lot of influence on the corporate world, I simply said that the EU makes up a large chunk of the Western world, and therefore there is no reason why they should do things the same way as the US just because that's how the US does it.

Majesticmerc said,

Oh, and for the "FU to the EU" theory, not gonna happen. I'd love to see a company approach it's shareholders with the "We're not going to sell stuff in the EU anymore because we don't want to sell products to half a billion people that demand quality merchandise" line.

Actually, it would probably be more like "we are going to concentrate our sales efforts on the 6.5 billion people outside the EU, since the EU continues to place more and more costly restrictions on our business".

roadwarrior said,

Actually, it would probably be more like "we are going to concentrate our sales efforts on the 6.5 billion people outside the EU, since the EU continues to place more and more costly restrictions on our business".

Come on, be realistic. Are shareholder's going to approve a decision to stop selling product to ~8% of the worlds population, and probably closer to 20% of the world's hard disk consuming population (latter figure was pulled out my ass), simply to sell shoddier merchandise?

They'd have to either be immensely stupid, or inhumanly greedy.

Fantastic, more entities taking advantage of crises to give the general public the shaft.

Meanwhile, these executives/politicians are taking home record bonuses/'donations'.

Well, if there are any other HDD manufacturers that offer 3 or 5 year warranties, I'd imagine WD and Seagate have just exited the HDD business as customers switch to the other brands.

dvb2000 said,
Well, if there are any other HDD manufacturers that offer 3 or 5 year warranties, I'd imagine WD and Seagate have just exited the HDD business as customers switch to the other brands.

They have nearly no competition, as they bought most other HDD companies.

xn--bya said,

They have nearly no competition, as they bought most other HDD companies.

Which is why they can now get away with this...

Shows how much confident they have in their products. That and theyre gonna use this flood as an excuse to do anythin to screw over customers

Wasn't it that WD, having actual trouble at their flooded factories, made a reasonable announcement and Seagate, who did not suffer nearly as much, immediately took and ran away with it? Besides, one year warranty will not hold water in EU anyway.

cralias said,
Besides, one year warranty will not hold water in EU anyway.
Quite true. The minimum warranty period in these parts is two years.

cralias said,
Besides, one year warranty will not hold water in EU anyway.

As far as I'm aware, the obligation to provide a two year warranty rests with the retailer, not the manufacturer. Unless the manufacturer is also the retailer, they can get away without providing any warranty at all.

cralias said,
Wasn't it that WD, having actual trouble at their flooded factories, made a reasonable announcement and Seagate, who did not suffer nearly as much, immediately took and ran away with it? Besides, one year warranty will not hold water in EU anyway.

Hard drive part production was also affected, which affects Seagate's production.

Moker said,
only one reason behind it. $
corporate world, hard at work

Considering that companies are in the business of making money, not charity, why are you trying to make it sound as if that is a bad thing? Are you one of these hippie liberal morons who thinks the world runs on butterflies, rainbows, and sunshine?

roadwarrior said,

Considering that companies are in the business of making money, not charity, why are you trying to make it sound as if that is a bad thing? Are you one of these hippie liberal morons who thinks the world runs on butterflies, rainbows, and sunshine?

Seriously? Are you one of those people that involves politics with everything that you don't agree with? There is nothing wrong with the consumer trying to protect his interest with a decent warranty, especially if the item is not cheap or has had a high defective rate (ex. Seagate 1.5tb drives a couple years ago)

Non-Active-Account said,

Seriously? Are you one of those people that involves politics with everything that you don't agree with?

Liberal has many more meanings outside the realm of politics. Perhaps you aren't old enough to remember the hippie movement other than what you've seen in movies, but they were the very definition of anti-corporate liberals.

roadwarrior said,

Considering that companies are in the business of making money, not charity, why are you trying to make it sound as if that is a bad thing? Are you one of these hippie liberal morons who thinks the world runs on butterflies, rainbows, and sunshine?

I'm in the market of making pens. I'm selling you one with no ink, no cap and a very simple to make grip made of the cheapest plastic ever. All for the amazing price of 200$! What a deal!

What... I'm in the business for making money you know. I have to feed my starving kids!!

roadwarrior said,

Liberal has many more meanings outside the realm of politics. Perhaps you aren't old enough to remember the hippie movement other than what you've seen in movies, but they were the very definition of anti-corporate liberals.

His point stands though, the only reason they're cutting the warranty period is to reduce the number of payouts they have to make for THEIR faulty goods. Nothing says "we don't trust our own product" like reducing the warranty period.

Non-accountability rocks. /s

Majesticmerc said,

His point stands though, the only reason they're cutting the warranty period is to reduce the number of payouts they have to make for THEIR faulty goods. Nothing says "we don't trust our own product" like reducing the warranty period.

Non-accountability rocks. /s

Certainly the first thing I thought of when I read the title was "well Im not buying a harddisk from them if they've reduce the warrenty. it seems obvious that they're rushing the manufacturing process and quality has slipped way down. "

For the data that I keep on my drives, I don't want to run the risk of losing it, even with backups I'd much prefer not to have spend time and energy to replace the drive and fix the lost data with backs ups etc.

roadwarrior said,

Considering that companies are in the business of making money, not charity, why are you trying to make it sound as if that is a bad thing? Are you one of these hippie liberal morons who thinks the world runs on butterflies, rainbows, and sunshine?

As for the comment about business of making money, not being a charity... well yeah I'm not a charity either, and I'm not giving the money I've spent hours of working my ass off earning, in my job, to pay for the drives only for them to fail withing 3 years (the time I expect a harddisk to last) at the VERY minimum.

sagum said,

Certainly the first thing I thought of when I read the title was "well Im not buying a harddisk from them if they've reduce the warrenty. it seems obvious that they're rushing the manufacturing process and quality has slipped way down. "

For the data that I keep on my drives, I don't want to run the risk of losing it, even with backups I'd much prefer not to have spend time and energy to replace the drive and fix the lost data with backs ups etc.


As for the comment about business of making money, not being a charity... well yeah I'm not a charity either, and I'm not giving the money I've spent hours of working my ass off earning, in my job, to pay for the drives only for them to fail withing 3 years (the time I expect a harddisk to last) at the VERY minimum.

Then you go to the trouble of buying a hard drive with a longer warranty. It is the lower-end (budget) drives that are having their warranties cut (in Western Digital's case, the Eco-Green and Caviar Blue series - in both cases from three years to two). Their flagship desktop (Caviar Black) and enterprise (RE series) keep their five-year warranties.

Moker said,
only one reason behind it. $
corporate world, hard at work

hooray for EU where warrenty is automatically more then 2 years.
dutch warrently law states that the warrenty is as long as you can expect the product to work, for harddrives this is more then 3 years.

companies can go change this, but law > companies tos

Mouettus said,

I'm in the market of making pens. I'm selling you one with no ink, no cap and a very simple to make grip made of the cheapest plastic ever. All for the amazing price of 200$! What a deal!

What... I'm in the business for making money you know. I have to feed my starving kids!!

Let's make that more realistic..
I'm in the market of making hard drives, there are few makers of the parts required and this list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L...nct_hard_disk_manufacturers keeps getting larger. So that now we have basically five left, I can make you pay whatever I wish as long as I can get the other four to agree with me.

jnelsoninjax said,
Well I can somewhat understand the reasoning behind it, but at the same time there is going to be allot of outcry over this.

Absolutely. And they'll probably use this as a rationale for decreased quality...

Voice of Buddy Christ said,
There will be. The problem is, the flooding in Thailand, where virtually all hard drives are made, is driving costs sky high.

true if one spends $140 for a 1 tb drive one would expect a better warranty. I'd be guessing recertified drives will be a bit more in demand at that crazy prices. wonder how they'll do with the warranty on those. sometimes I've gotten 6 month warranty's out of those. and normally ran better. although geeks*com , watch out, most are not recertified. had a Samsung once and the smart came back fail and 15,000 hours behind it. Usually some of my drives start showing problems at 10,000 hours. Never had a samsung fail on me true but I have had problems with some of them. Especially one of the chips off the back. scalding hot. Had that same drive come at me later for another buy and it looked like it caught fire at some point. so I'm careful with some.