Q. What is happening with OEM hard drive warranties?

Hard drive warranty coverage has been reduced by the major manufacturers, and competition in drives is consolidating around just three companies.

All Seagate bare (internal) consumer level drives have 1 year warranty in North America (down from three years). Some enterprise drives and premium consumer drives like the Barracuda XT and Momentus XT (Hybrid) versions have three years (down from five).

Western Digital bare consumer level drives now have have 2 year warranty (down from three), premium drives like the Caviar Black still have 5 years.

What about the other brands? Western Digital recently purchased the hard drive division of Hitachi (Engadget article) and is selling some manufacturing equipment and technology to Toshiba, the #3 drive maker (CNet article) which will allow Toshiba to enter the 3.5″ hard drive market. Earlier in 2011, Seagate purchased the drive business of Samsung (press release), the original warranties on existing drives will be honoured.

The change in Seagate’s warranty was effective on on Jan 1 2012 – the warranty on your particular drive is based on the date of sale – if you bought a Seagate consumer drive with three year warranty before the cutoff date of December 31 2011, then you have a 3 year warranty – they cannot revert your warranty to a shorter period after the fact (but be prepared to show a proof of purchase from an authorized dealer). If you purchased the same drive on Jan 2, then you have a 1 year warranty.

Now the question of OEM drives – this depends on your definition of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). Drives that are pre-installed in new computers, or that are sold inside external enclosures have NO warranty from either Western Digital or Seagate – when a drive mechanism is sold as bundled product, the computer maker or external drive maker assumes all responsibility for warranty in exchange for getting a lower price from Western Digital or Seagate.

If the drive was sold in bulk to the manufacturer or distributor under a special OEM contract, and then subsequently sold as a bare drive then Seagate may limit the warranty to 6 months, and the OEM seller is responsible for warranty beyond that, if any. If you buy a drive through Amazon or eBay, for example, which was advertised as a 1, 2 or 3 year warranty, double check the serial number on the drive manufacturer’s site to see that you actually received a retail drive with the factory warranty, and not an OEM drive. http://forums.seagate.com/t5/Barracu…ue/td-p/145857

Seagate warranty check
Western Digital warranty check
Hitachi warranty check
Toshiba US and Canada information

Seagate’s bare drive warranty line up effective December 31, 2011 is:

Major Desktop and Mobile products change from 2 years to 1 years and 5 years to 3 years. Most of the Enterprise class product will be reduced warranty period from 5 years to 3 years.

Product Line Limited Warranty Period
(as of December 31, 2011)
Constellation®.2 and Constellation® ES.2 3 years
Barracuda® and Barracuda® Green 3.5” Drives 1 year
Barracuda® XT 3 years
Momentus® 2.5” Drives (5400 RPM & 7200 RPM) 1 year
Momentus® XT 3 years
SV35 Seriesâ„¢ – Video Surveillance 2 years
Pipeline HD® Mini, Pipeline HD® 2 years

Western Digital warranty policy

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