October 1, 2010

Seagate “Expansion” Drive powering itself off?

Filed under: Technology — joel.cass @ 4:13 pm

I don’t know what genius wrote the power management “feature” of Seagate’s new range of low-price external drives. I recently purchased a 2GB Seagate “Expansion” powered external drive, and continually while I was trying to make all-important backups of my data, the drive would power itself down and I’d continually get these “delayed write failed” messages, which indicate potentially lost data.

One would expect that such a dodgy feature would be turned off by default. But no, the drive is configured to power itself down every 15 minutes, no matter what you might be doing with it. It’s a bloody stupid feature and whoever designed it needs to read a book on logical decisions.. Or learn to read.. or whatever

Anyway I digress, to fix the problem you will need to download the FreeAgent software from Seagate’s website, install it, run it, select your drive, click on “Adjust power setting” and set it to “Never”. More details can be found in the FreeAgent User guide, page 9.

You will never need to use this feature, the drive will power down when your computer is turned off or in standby. It will not turn on by itself whilst disconnected, at least not in my experience.

Furthermore it’s frustrating that I had to figure this out on my own. Endless perusal of FAQ’s, forums on the Seagate site, came to no avail. These guys clearly do not care about their product or the opinions of the customer. Well, here they are: I bought once, will never buy again.


  1. This is the most helpful info (that I managed to find so far). Really, power management is set for 15 min (out of box) and this causes drive clicks (apparently power off followed by power on) and read/write failures sometimes.
    I changed it to NEVER, now will observe drive for several days – if clicks remain, then next trouble is bad power socket on drive box (will return drive to seller in this case…)

    Comment by Nic Tiger — October 11, 2010 @ 6:09 pm

  2. Thanks for this tip! I’ve been searching the net for months because my Seagate RSS LLC “Expansion External Drive” kept clicking while connected to my Synology Diskstation. Now it’s fine!

    Comment by Swen — October 12, 2010 @ 9:55 pm

  3. Well, disabling power management helped, but not ultimately.
    I disassembled box (mainly to be able to run scan/remap from DOS connecting drive directly to SATA) and found out that DISK IS PERFECT. Being connected into external SATA Docking station (or USB docking station, no difference) it works perfectly, doesn’t produce clicks.
    This means only one – bad external power supply. I tried to use other PS (the one from mentioned docking stations, they are 12V, 2A), but failed since plug is subtly different (more thick center axis).
    I will try to measure output of original PS to prove it is bad, But for now all behaviour proves this thery – 14 sec clicks start when most power consumption starts (disk spin up and many seeks).
    It is pity that we blame Seagate for bad drives while drives are good, but other components (PS and disk enclosure) are not.
    Anyway, Seagate should pay more attention to product quality as a whole…
    Probably, PS has poor stabilizer, and with unstable input voltage produces unstable ouput.

    Comment by Nic Tiger — October 15, 2010 @ 8:48 pm

  4. Strange, I haven’t had much trouble with the power supply itself, but am not surprised. You get what you pay for sometimes. Transferring the drive to a different casing / PS unit makes a lot of sense. I see what you mean about Seagate as a manufacturer of hard drives. They make excellent drives – the barracuda series were brilliant. I just expected that the same sort of manufacturing ethos would carry on to the external products aswell. I think I’ve seen better design on the $20 external casings you can get from the discount computer shops.

    Comment by joel.cass — October 19, 2010 @ 10:20 am

  5. Thank you so much! This is the only thing that worked after much searching and failed solutions. I routinely copy large video files to hard drives overnight at my office and obviously, the drive stopping after 15 minutes meant I had made almost no progress by the time I got to work in the morning. This seems to have worked so far, thanks.

    Comment by Colleen — November 17, 2010 @ 1:20 am

  6. thanks for your advice
    exactly what i was searching for!

    Comment by Sery — January 15, 2011 @ 5:13 pm


    Comment by toni — August 10, 2011 @ 9:44 am

  8. I have a 2tb expansion drive as well. My troubles started with all files not showing and 20 mins later the drive’s light shutting off and no longer showing on my pc. It is nowhere on my computer. the light continues to be off but i can hear and feel the drive spinning. any ideas? Thanks in advance for your help.

    Comment by Gatez — July 16, 2012 @ 6:46 pm

  9. Hi there, the drive sounds faulty. When mine was automatically shutting down the light would remain on but the drive is clearly stopped and unavailable. Mind you the design may have changed since my model was released. If I were you I’d try returning it, if it can’t be returned maybe see if you can replace the case.. I can’t recommend anything though but perhaps try dealextreme or ebay.

    Comment by joel.cass — July 17, 2012 @ 9:25 am

  10. Hi. Regarding files not showing up, sounds like a random power off such as the stupid inbuilt power saving, has corrupted the disk. This can be fixed.

    If you plug it into your PC/Laptop and wait for it to be assigned a drive letter. Lets say ‘D’ for this example.

    You need to open a command prompt. click start and type CMD in the search bar.

    When the command prompt window opens, type the following:

    chkdsk d: /f

    (please note the d: should be whatever your drive letter is)

    This will find any corrupt data and fix it.

    Worked on my 3Tb expansion drive twice. Once randomly died and once was after a power cut.

    Hope this helps someone who find this page

    Comment by Alan — January 23, 2015 @ 9:35 pm

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