Customer Reviews: Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 500 GB USB 3.0 Ultra-Portable External Hard Drive STAA500105 (Black)
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on April 1, 2011
Honestly to make this easy, here are some steps you can follow, since I believe this to be the better of the 3 mainstream external 2.5" drives (Toshiba, Western Digital, and Seagate).

1. Why bother with the software in the first place?? just reformat the drive, or delete the software. Sure it is a bit annoying having 40 gigabytes taking up space right out the box, but is that really the only main source of concerns for this drive?

2. Now for the USB cord. out of the multitude of variations of 1tb usb 3.0 drives I have run and tested, every manufactuer has just about the same length of cord. If you want a longer cord, and or are wondering how you are going to power this drive other than with the supplied USB, then why are you buying this particular external HDD? this model is not for you if you are NOT an on the go type of person. what I mean by that is, if you do not lug your external drive around, why dont you go buy a powered 3.5" external HDD model for the same price as you would this one and have twice the space?

3. As far as the construction of the drive goes it is solid. I have tested the Toshiba 1TB 3.0 as well as the Western Digital 1TB 3.0, and my opinion is that Toshiba and Western Digital were too concerned about how slim and compact they could make the case of their external HDD, which has resulted in may more failures of those particular brands than I have seen from Seagate. Small shocks, such as light drops and accedental shock is a killer for the Western Digital as well as the Toshiba more than the Seagate models I have seen. Yes I know that there are about 3 or more warning labels stating the these drives should never be hit, moved, droped, abused, etc... but If it WERE to happen I have noticed that the Seagate construction has had a better chance from failing due to these certain cercumstances than the other brands I have tested and seen.

4. If there is any con's about this drive I will say that I am not a fan of the two piece adapter. they should have included their USB 3.0 "Upgrade" cable with this drive and not the two piece unit that is currently supplied with it, as the upgrade cable is also a few inches longer and one solid piece. The two pieces I am referring to are the adapter that plugs into the drive itself and the USB 3.0 cable that goes from that adapter to your USB device.

5. Im not here to bag on any one company, and or promote Seagate as the best of the best when it somes to drives in general. I am just stating overall that if you are looking for a 1TB 3.0 USB 2.5" drive, then this is what you are looking for. I just thought I would post this up as I keep seeing negative reviews on this drive just because of a bloatware issue not a material type defect. hope this helps! If not im sorry for wasting you time.
1212 comments| 621 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I got this with one purpose in mind - to get the MP3s off my hard drive. (Seagate apparently wants me to use it for movies - more on that below). I have so far found it to perform flawlessly, with a few caveats:


- My laptop (WinXP) treats it like another hard drive, so I can drag-and-drop stuff directly onto my player, and can extract winzip files on the drive to another directory on the drive, and move stuff around in general.
- It runs off the USB power, so no need for a power cord
- The upload transfer speed (USB2) from my internal hard drive is just over a gig a minute for MP3s - I moved 18gb of music, in files of between 2 and 5 megs each, in just over 17 minutes, and 5 gig of audiobooks, in zip files of up to 300meg, in 4.5 minutes. This may change as the disk gets more fragmented.
- This will be upwardly compatible for my next laptop, which will probably have USB3.


This isn't so much an external drive as an internal drive in a case. The "GoFlex" connector (which is not shown in the pictures) is a bus-to-USB adapter, and other adapters are available (Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Upgrade Cable USB 3.0 - STAE104). This is great for sharing files, and perhaps for eventually putting multiple drives in a jukebox or desk brick, but it means there's a third bit of electronics between the USB cable and the drive, with all the potential for loss and breakage that implies. The connection was already a tiny bit wobbly right out of the box, though I note that the snaps are metal, not plastic, which does mitigate. (The drive says "Made in Thailand and assembled in China" Sheesh).

I decided not to install the backup software, so can't comment on that.


Seagate wants you to use this drive for movies (and one of the GoFlex adapters will output directly to a compatible TV). And to this end, my drive came preloaded with about 45 gig of movies from Paramount. They're not free, however, just preloaded, with a promise of a free Star Trek: Reboot if you register the drive.
I did redeem the Star Trek movie (a short series of hoops, including agreeing to share my data with "third-party vendors", two different EULAs - from Seagate and Paramount, a DRM agreement from Microsoft, and registration on the Paramount site in case I want to buy more). I note that the movies seem to be $10 or $15 each, that they don't include any bonus materials (unlike my Star Trek DVD), and that "buying" a movie gets you three "licenses" - trying to play ST:R from the same Seagate drive on another laptop spawned a pop-up asking if I wanted to download another license, so I guess the licenses are associated with the individual computer, not the drive. (In a further loss of geek creds, the registration software automatically popped up IE as the browser.)

Fortunately, the movies can be deleted.
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on March 7, 2011
After only 6 weeks of use and no noteworthy physical trauma, this drive failed catastrophically, corrupting most of the data on it in the process. I wish I listened to the voice in my head saying, "Hmm, this doesn't seem very sturdy," when I took it out of the box, but I instead used it as planned for housing files I need at home and at the digital lab that I use for work. As another reviewer observed, this hard drive had an annoying spontaneous ejecting habit. My real problem was when it imploded - with a backup in progress - after less than 2 months of use. It was functioning normally one minute and then the drive's light started blinking and my computer was unable to recognize it. We tried the drive in another enclosure and hooked to a linux computer that usually will recognize even corrupted drives. Nothing. The data recovery lab I ultimately sent it to had to replace multiple "physically damaged" components to restore functionality and found more than half of the data was in fact corrupted. Mind you, this drive had never been dropped and travelled primarily in a protective camera bag. Call me crazy, but I think that a drive billed as "ultra-portable" should be able to withstand a few weeks of regular desktop use and the occasional commute. Do not recommend.

Note: I have a few older Seagate external hard drives (different models) that I've used for 1-2 years without incident. I've travelled extensively with them and had nothing but good things to say. That's why I went with Seagate on this one. I might even have been able to forgive the company its obvious construction and quality departure on this line but for the nightmarish customer service experience I had with Seagate after the drive crashed. Suffice it to say, I've sworn off Seagate products indefinitely.
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on April 12, 2011
The drive performs well; I ran the HD Tune tests and was impressed with the drive performance, using the eSATA cable attachment with my Sony laptop.

And, 1.5 TB in a small, portable, self-powered configuration is a really cool thing.

Unfortunately, the drive spontaneously disconnects and then reconnects on its own. Most of the time, this is not that big of a deal, but for some applications (like, say, Windows 7 backup :), the disconnect causes the application to stop whatever it's doing.

I use this drive for daily file backups, keeping a portable system image for recovery and I keep some large movies on it, as well. The Seagate support forums are absolutely 'lit up' with this issue and Seagate's universal response is to reformat and try again (i.e. "'re using it wrong...").

My belief is this: the Seagate firmware that will engage a sleep mode on its own; then, when an I/O request comes in, the time required to spin-up causes an I/O timeout in Windows because, well, Windows doesn't know the drive is sleeping. Some applications will just try again, but many won't. You can read all about the same issues on the Mac support forums for the Mac version of the same product (i.e. the Firewire attachment cable for this drive).

I installed the Seagate dashboard application, as an attempt to disable the sleep feature, but I can't see any way to do that. Sorry, but the morons at Seagate need to leave functions like these to the operating system, which would be aware of the condition and allow more time for I/O to complete, instead of just giving up and returning an error to the application.
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Size: 500 GB|Color: Black|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This drive reviewed here is a pretty impressive little device which is capable of boasting of having USB 3.0 interface which is also backward compatible with USB 2.0 interfaces. The drive can be used in Seagate's other GoFlex compatible products or you can swap out the USB 3.0 interface with a Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Upgrade Cable Powered eSATA - STAE103 to have eSATA capability.

The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 500GB USB powered hard drive did perform pretty well in my tests and while the USB 3.0 speeds is nowhere near what a true external HDD like Western Digital My Book 3.0 - 1 TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive with PCIe Adapter Card WDBABP0010HCH-NESN it was able to deliver these decent speeds expected off a USB powered portable hard disk drive.

USB 3.0 speeds: Average of 62.4MB/s
Burst rate of 93.5MB/s
CPU usage: 8.5%
Access times: 18.0 milliseconds

USB 2.0 speeds: Average of 30.0MB/s
Burst rate of 30.8MB/s
CPU usage: 16.3%
Access times: 18.4 milliseconds

The cosmetics and appearance is pretty much similar to Western Digital My Passport Essential 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive WDBAAA5000ABK-NESN (Midnight Black) but very slightly bigger and heavier compared to WD passport drive of the same capacity. The USB cable is slightly short and stiff but is completely useable.

Other than that it is just another USB drive which has become pretty much a commodity now-a-days 500GB while can be a lot for some but with the age of digital photography bigger and bigger drives are needed for larger capacity it is best to go for 2TB or more while they are not as portable as this drive they offer better value for money in the long run.

It is a decent purchase if you wish to have a portable shinny USB powered drive and if you are already having GoFlex compatible products this ultra portable drive will serve dual purpose.

If you feel that 500GB is too less, you can try this Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1 TB USB 2.0 Ultra-Portable External Hard Drive STAA1000100 (Black) for few dollars more which has more storage capacity.

Please see the pictures that I have posted on Amazon product page for a quick reference and feel free to comment.

Happy Holidays & Happy Shopping!
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on September 3, 2011
We bought a Seagate a month ago and first started using it about 2 weeks ago. It has, hands down, been the worst computer or accessory experience I have ever had. Shortly after we started using it, I noticed files were missing on both my C drive AND the external drive. I am a professional photographer in the height of senior picture season.... this has been a nightmare! At first I thought it was something I was doing but today when the drive started making a funny noise and then completely stopped working, I realized that the product is just a piece of junk. I started searching the internet for possible ways to recover files from the corrupt system and found myself on Seagate's website... where I was directed to a link to PURCHASE recovery software! For $100! Sorry, but that's crap - I already spent close to that on the hard drive less than a month ago and it ruined my perfectly good system! When I called customer support (because I thought I must be misunderstanding) I was told that "data recovery" is not covered under the warranty.... how convenient.

Am I the only one that thinks a company should take responsibility for the product they make? The purpose of an external hard drive is to back up & store data... there is an implied promise in selling this product that, when used properly, you can avoid data loss. I discovered too late that Seagate does not believe it has any responsibility to the consumer it sells its faulty products too... Web sites, message boards and blogs are FILLED with people's frantic cries for help in recovering the data they lost as a result of storing it on a Seagate external hard drive - somewhere in the neighborhood of 90% of those pleas came from people who had hard drives LESS THAN 6 MONTHS OLD!! A large portion of Seagate's business seems to come from selling lab services to recover data off of their own failed drives!!????!!! This just seems like a scam to me - manufacturer a faulty data storage/back up product.... when said storage/back-up device eventually fails, offer to sell the consumer another, FAR more expensive, service to get their data back. The company tag lines (of which I heard repeated DOZENS of times over the course of 2 hours on the phone) are "we can replace your drive but Data Recovery is not covered under the warranty" and "every one in the industry does it this way." Now maybe this is just the parent in me but since when did the reasoning "everyone else is doing it" become an accepted argument/explanation for doing something wrong/immoral/unethical?

Personally, I am switching to an online service for back up storage as I will not give another DIME of my money to these crooks and I will peruse the internet weekly looking for a class action lawsuit I can join against this industry... I can only imagine it is just a matter of time - the government has its head up the rear end of every other industry to make sure they act ethically, eventually this one will follow suit. Till then - BE AWARE THAT THIS PRODUCT WILL FAIL ON YOU (probably sooner rather than later) AND YOU WILL LOSE EVERYTHING ON THE DRIVE.

If you MUST use this type of system:

1. back up your files somewhere else as well... don't EVER use these external hard drives as a storage device (no matter what the company claims)

2. don't ever use the SYNC option (always manually copy your files/folders from your main drive to your external drive - Seagate (and maybe other companies in this industry) do not define SYNC the same way everyone else does and using the SYNC option will ultimately lead to lost files on your main drive (so you THINK you have everything backed up but you really don't because some files are ONLY on your external drive without any warning that this has happened.) This warning comes directly from a Seagate Supervisor/Lead - of course it was after it happened and offered up as an explanation as to why I was responsible for my data loss and not them... again, sounds like a scam to me.

3. DO NOT LEAVE THE EXTERNAL DRIVE PLUGGED IN AND RUNNING FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME (i.e. overnight) - they overheat easily, which is one major contributor to the drive's eventual failure.

4. DO NOT LET THE DRIVE DROP/FALL DOWN/BANG INTO ANYTHING/ OR SET IT DOWN ROUGHLY. This seems like common sense but when I warn you of this I mean: be careful to an extreme that is pretty much ridiculous given what century/decade we live in and FAR more careful than you have probably been with your phone/itouch/ipad/laptop/ipod etc.... I read countless complaints about drives not working after being dropped one foot off the ground onto carpet, falling off someone's lap onto a cushioned chair or carpet the person was sitting on, not working after being carried to class/work in a backpack or purse or from just tipping over on the desk! While I know the drive is a fragile piece of equipment, similar storage devices (like itouches and iphones) do not have even close to a similar failure rate and I can tell you from experience, having 3 teenagers in my house, that they are NOT very careful with them.

For the record, #4 is the reason why I suspect the real purpose of these companies is to sell their RECOVERY SERVICES and NOT the drives themselves... the data being stored/backed up on them, logically, is far more important than just a bunch of apps or music files and the consumers using them, logically, have far deeper pockets to raid - all of which creates the perfect scenario for holding data hostage until the ransom is paid in full. I know I would never consider paying $1600+ to recover apps or mp3 files off my itouch and my kids don't have those resources, but I am seriously considering paying it to get back my family's photos and videos - including pictures of one child from birth to present and countless pictures of school activities, extra-curricular activities, homecomings, proms, graduations, vacations, birthdays, Christmas, Halloweens, etc. of the other 3 children for the last 10 years. That being said, if I choose this route, the service I use will NOT be one that is owned and operated by a company that SELLS these devices - what a conflict of interest that is - but an independent company that is just taking advantage of the unethical business practices of the companies selling these devices. Call it the lesser of 2 evils....
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on December 15, 2010
Tried to sum up all the features in the title. Definitely worth going for. Seems USB3 is catching trend and expect new laptops to support the USB3 connections. Even if your present laptop has only USB2, you can use this drive. The drive comes with a sata to usb3 adaptor and a single cable(usb3 connector for HDD and USB2 for your laptop). I connect to my USB2 laptop and get a read speed of 28-30MB/s and write of 13-15MB/s. Which is the same speed for all the external portable HDDs. You can definitly get the USB3 speed by using a USB3 adaptor for your laptop.
Tip. Seagate drives are a little costlier as compared to Western Digital. But they come with the flexibility of connectors (firewire, usb3 etc each for $15-25). Also, I read the WD usb3 drive is capable of ~105MB/s read speed and seagate is merely 78MB/s (cnet reviews havent tested myself).
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on February 9, 2011
Bought the GoFlex 1TB blue version. Arrived today, hooked up to one of the two USB 3.0 ports on my Windows 7 (x64) gaming rig (ASUS P6X58D mobo). Included USB 3.0 cable is only two feet long and appears to have a proprietary connector on the GoFlex drive end. Taking off one star for that...

Drive was recognized immediately. Used the registration app on the drive which interestingly, asked for my serial even though it is embedded in a "registration.xml" file in the same dir as the reg app (LOL). Whatever. Other software included on the drive was 3rd party trial junk that Seagate includes on the off chance you will actually buy it at inflated prices and they will get a cut.

NTFS formatted to 931GB. Running a very large backup of my system now using Windows 7 Backup and Restore (serves my needs fine). I will measure the transfer rate afterwards and update with details.

(UPDATE -- just transfered 8GB of audio/video to the drive at a sustained rate of 62 - 68MB/sec)

Overall, not bad for the price, assuming it holds out as well as my previous 160GB Seagate FreeAgent did (still working after 4+ years). Aesthetically, good looking device (like the blue) however the status LED is WAY too bright (landing light!). No big deal.
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Size: 1 TB|Color: Blue|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Hmm... I was expecting some great things from this little blue 1TB external HD. Unfortunately Seagate dropped the ball here.

The unit itself is tiny; barely bigger than the 2.5" drive itself and it's supplied in a pleasing reflex-blue shiny case with two indicator LEDs to show power and data transfer. It comes with a very short USB lead (18") which is probably due to the target usage being laptop owners. Do keep in mind that depending on the age of your laptop or PC you may need to have carry a powered USB hub to be able to use the drive as it gets its power via USB and there's no power block supplied.

So hooking it up was a breeze and after a few seconds the software install dialog box popped up. I opted for the standard install but disabled the four (!) software trial installs. During the install process it added Microsoft's .NET Framework which was a bit of a surprise and I was not asked if that was okay to go ahead and do. Fairly harmless but annoying. Also my firewall reported that several of the elements installed were trying to call home including the registration part of the equation - again not necessarily surprising but somewhat annoying.

What was super frustrating though was having gone through the entire install I'm finally greeted with an error that I need to install some version of .NET and the program just crashed out. I did a cursory search on google for the error and found several sites including a review on CNET also reporting the error. I did not bother trying to troubleshoot it - in my view in this day and age programs should just work out of the box... especially something as simple as back up software. So I'm going to use the drive for basic data and not as a back up drive as originally intended.

The final blow to this experience was the 50GB (yes gigabytes) of DRM-filled movies that were already taking space up on the drive. Sure I just deleted them but again it's something that really shouldn't be there in the first place.

I'm running XP pro and perhaps my findings won't match yours, but for the price and the brand name I expected a smoother more trouble free evening setting up my new back up drive.
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on February 4, 2011
The problem with this product is the company behind it, Seagate, and its complete lack of professional customer service. My Seagate Free Agent drive became corrupted after only six months of ownership. Now begins my odyssey through the choppy waters of Seagate customer service. Seagate openly discourages actually talking to a human being by making it nigh impossible to get through to the support number on its website. The first two days I tried calling, I got a recorded message that said "we are in a departwide meeting." Long meeting!

I tried the e-mail support method next and no one EVER returned my e-mail. Failing that, two days later, I tried chat support. I was initially informed that Seagate chat did not support the Firefox browser, the browser that serves more than 50% of the PC market. Whatever. I used IE and got through. From there I was informed that Seagate products are only for redundancy and backup, despite the fact that Seagate, itself, markets its drives as a good place to store large music and picture files. I informed the chat support guy that I can't afford two drives just for music and image files but I would still like to try and recover my data, if possible, as the drive was still under warranty. He replied that it wasn't a warranty issue as the drive would work fine if I simply reformatted it and erased all of my own data in the process. The very data I was trying to get help recovering.

The chat support guy FINALLY got it that I wanted my data back and, get this, referred me to a Seagate website where I could download THEIR data recovery software for $150! Just to get my own data back I would have had to pay MORE than the cost of the hard drive! About this time IE started crashing on me, because it's IE, and I asked if I could talk to them on the phone. The chat support guy said okay and gave me a number and told me how to wade through the options menu. I got through! I asked for the name of my support guy and the woman who answered told me she couldn't put me through to him "because he's on a support chat." I told her he was on with me. She said "we can't do that, we can't put you through to people who are on chats." I told the guy on chat to end the chat and pick up the phone. He acted like he didn't get the message even though he'd been sending me chat messages about expensive Seagate data recovery products for the last 15 minutes. At one point she also told me to go eff myself.

They finally put me through to a manager who kept trying to talk over me and lecture me about redundancy and why their product's failure was really all my fault. DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THIS COMPANY! They will sell you an inferior product and then treat you like the product's failure was your fault while trying to sell you new products as you attempt to get support and warranty coverage.
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