Fixing Firmware

Firmware failures are very common and result in the hard drive not operating correctly. iCube Development can fix firmware failures.

Hard Drive Firmware Failures:

When powered, a loader instructs a head to read the service area of the hard drive. The service area (or SA) is a reserved area of the hard drive only the hard drives internal operating system can access.

iCube Development uses a fast recovery process to recover data from firmware failures.

Typical Failure Types:

  • G or P (defect) lists are full.
  • S.M.A.R.T data logs are full or corrupted.
  • Unable to read ATA module.
  • Unable to read or verify a certificate.
  • SA or backup SA records are corrupt or mismatched.
  • ROM chip does not match SA data.
  • Hardware password protection.

If a head cannot read the SA, or if the SA contains corrupted data the hard drive will not work, and may not be recognized by the computer.

Typical Failure Reasons:

  • Manufacturer defects (very common in select Seagate 7200.11 and 7200.12 models).
  • Head failure (the drive is unable to read and write information).
  • Bad sectors (failure of the drives internal magnetic surface).
  • Power failures or surges.
  • Bad or corrupted RAM.

Can I Fix Firmware Myself?

How do you fix firmware failures?

Expensive and very specialized equipment is needed to repair firmware. Firmware cannot be repaired with software you can download from the Internet. You may be able to find firmware updates from the manufacturer of your hard drive - however updates do not fix firmware failures.

It is important to note firmware does not fully exist or operate within a PCB (logic board). Switching a PCB (logic board) from a working identical HDD will not resolve or bypass a firmware problem.

Each manufacturer uses a different type of firmware and each drive within a series may also use a different version of firmware. iCube Development maintains contacts with firmware providers in over 13 counties. In most cases, firmware repairs are a simple and quick process. That said, obtaining a working copy of the firmware is typically the hard part. Manufacturers typically do not freely distribute firmware.


Before you start trying to fix firmware issues yourself.

Attempting to repair firmware failures without the use of specialized equipment and knowledge may result in the loss of data or the inability to recover data. iCube Development provides this information without warranty and for education purposes only. Never delete firmware values - this can destroy the information needed to access hard drive data.

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