Customer Reviews: Seagate Backup Plus 4TB Desktop External Hard Drive USB 3.0 (STCA4000100)
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I am attaching a collage of 2 photos, where you can see the relative size of the drive. I put a pen into a picture for relative size reference.
In the photos you see this drive laying on its side on top of the netbook computer and fitting into a very small space.
The drive is 5" wide x 7" long x 2" tall.

There is no on/off switch on the drive. If for some reason you need to reboot it, you have to pull the plug. Since I have crammed into a tight place, I had to place the side the unit to the front so I can easily reach the USB plug (which are now facing to the left side) (see photo #1 left side). The drawback of this, that the green light that tells me that the unit is on is now facing the right side inside of the shelve and not visible from the front (see photo #2).

The drive has a fairly large brick, and had to be placed on the edge of the power strip otherwise it would have covered two outlets.

I use this drive as an additional drive for home-build DVR. My DVR is a netbook computer running Linux. In addition to using this drive as a DVR, I also use it for redundant back of some critical files. The netbook has a relatively small size internal drive and this external drive nicely supplements my storage needs. This Seagate drive came formated with NTFS format which is a format used by the Windows file system. This format is also supported by Linux so I could have used it as is. However NTFS file system by its nature causes disk fragmentation when you delete and add large files and since in my use of this drive as a DVR I will be constantly adding and deleting large file I reformatted the drive as a Linux ext4, a file system that does not cause fragmentation when you delete and add large files. The reformat took a fairly long time (several hours) but was successful.

Before reformatting the drive I ran bad disk test on the drive and it showed no bad disks.

The netbook computer does not support USB 3, so even though this drive is capable USB 3 I am using USB 2 connection. However, USB 2 is sufficient for recording and playing the video content. I tested the drive's USB 3 connection with my main computer, and it worked well.

I use rsync Linux command to do backups. I use HDHomerun network card and its commands via Linux scripts to schedule recordings and write to the disk. I use a media player to play the recordings. I don't use any of the Seagate software that came with the drive.

Despite the minor annoyances mentioned above, I am pleased with the drive and recommend it.

Ali Julia review
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
TOP 500 REVIEWERon August 25, 2012
Size: 2 TB|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Seagate makes several similar models in the Backup Plus External Hard Drive series with different ports and cables and finishes. This particular one has one port only for USB 3.0, backwards-compatible to USB 2.0. All the different models seem to work with both PCs and Macs so choose the right one based on what your needs are as far as the number and types of ports and included cables.

CAUTION: Don't be misled (as I was) by the claim that it can used with Thunderbolt and Firewire with an adapter unless you realize that the adapters are NOT the same thing as a cable and they are expensive and not necessarily readily available. Instead, choose a model that doesn't require an adapter to meet your needs.

The hard, shiny plastic shell on this one is so shiny that you can use it as a mirror. Unfortunately, it picks up smudges if you look at it sideways and is almost impossible to get clean. The appearance also seems to be mimicking a book, which makes no sense to me. It has a little blue light to show that it is working that surprisingly isn't too intrusive even at night.

It also has four indicator lights that show how much space is available but this seems to me to be a silly feature on a 2 TB drive where each light represents 500 GB. It is simply not granular enough to be useful, especially since it is so easy to check the available capacity on the computer with a mouse click.

The sister model that I am using as attached storage without installing any of the included software was easy to set up, no formatting required, just plug and play. I have been using it continuously for two full months and so far there have been zero problems with it. It is quiet enough that I never notice it except for an occasional "click" and it runs warm but doesn't get too hot. 2 TB is a lot of space and moving up to that was a real pleasure. This drive will hold hundreds of films, lots of music, etc.

EDIT 9/26/12: See the Seagate Customer Service comments below stating that this hard drive can be used on its side. Note that there is no stand so if it is used vertically, it will be prone to tip over. Also, some of the *other* models (not this one) may not be able to stack when used on the side because they have ports on both the edge and the side.
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Size: 2 TB|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The 'Plus' to this drive is the Seagate Backup dashboard that gives you clear options for storage and a way to automatically back up your data on a schedule. Yes, Windows already has a back-up feature, but not a speedy 3.0 USB way to do it!

The Pro's:
+ 2 TB of space in a book size hard drive.
+ Runs quietly and stays cool.
+ Super easy to set-up; virtually no directions, but you don't need them.
+ Seagate Backup software installs without CD; the installation files can be found by going into My Computer (once the drive is hooked up via USB to your system) and clicking on the drive.
+ Seagate Dashboard allows you to see all the external drives attached to your PC and direct specific files to be routed to them on a schedule.
+ USB 3.0 is the latest and greatest for speedy information transfer.
+ Will work with either a MAC or PC.
+ Plug n' Play
+ Works with XP & Vista.
Seagate GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt Adapter (STAE122) and Apple Thunderbolt Cable to make MAC transfers fly!
+ Drive is already optimized to be used seamlessly with MAC for 'Time Machine' Backup.
+ Drive can be plugged into your network router to be accessed by SmartTVs or other PC's on the network.
+ You can back up photos and videos from social media sites like Facebook, through the Seagate Backup Plus dashboard.

The Con's:
- The drive is only as fast as the rest of your system will allow. If you have USB 2.0, a 3.0 drive doesn't really help you all that much. I'll be installing a USB 3.0 PCI card Uspeed Superspeed USB 3.0 PCI-E Card with 4 USB 3.0 Ports (with 4-pin Power Connector) in the next week or so and expect a nice bump in transfer speed from my core i7 Windows 7 PC. *I will update this review when the drive has been used with the USB 3.0 port.
- If you use the Seagate backup software, it appears you can't use the Windows 7 backup.

If you have a PC or MAC that has a USB 3.0 port, this is a fantastic upgrade for speedy storage of movies, music, photos, and back-ups. If you don't have one with a 3.0 interface, it's still a solid drive with an easy to use software interface, but you won't gain a bunch in transfer speed using it with a 2.0 USB port, and you may as well stick with the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk 2 TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive STAC2000100 (Black) that has a USB 2.0 interface, but still is MAC & PC compatible with the same amount of storage space. The 'Plus' (the Dashboard) is nice, but not really worth much of a price difference in my opinion.

Of course if both drives are priced the same, choose this one with the USB 3.0!

Like something more mobile?

There's a whole line-up from Seagate with Backup Plus including smaller, portable high capacity drives including: Seagate Backup Plus 1 TB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive STBU1000100 (Black) and the slightly smaller Seagate Backup Plus 750 GB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive STBU750100 (Black). Portable and desktop versions both enjoy the included software and high speed capabilities to be used with PC, MAC or SmartTVs.
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on June 11, 2014
I hardly ever leave negative reviews but this story has to be told. I had a 1TB WD hard drive for 8 years and zero problems despite heavy use. Needed more space so I thought this would be a great upgrade to the 3TB unit. Bought it directly from Amazon (not a re seller) This unit stayed on top of my desktop for 4-5 months (as the WD did for 6 years) and failed. Called Seagate 4-5 times and got the run around for 4-5 days Finally sent a picture of the S/N only for them to tell me it was not an authentic drive. Other techs at local stores told me it was. Very dissatisfied with the quality, the fact I had to retrieve my data now and the fact Seagate would not let me return the drive. Thank goodness for Amazon allowing me to return it and I was able to retrieve my data for under $100.

Two lessons: Don't buy Seagate (stick w/ WD or Toshiba) and back your stuff up to a virtual cloud like Crash Plan or Carbonite!!
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on May 17, 2013
I got this info from Seagate in January in an email reply. I just found it and posted it in response to a review that has like 6 pages of replies so far a few months ago, but I am also putting it here to help people that have problems using the 3 TB and 4 TB drives. The review with a LOT of discussion about this if you want to find it, is a 1 star, so click on 1 star reviews, and it is titled Backup Minus created in June 2012. Gives good formatting/use insight for Mac and PC as I recall.

Reply from Seagate to my question... (Both paragraphs are from them)
All of our drives have a physical sector size of 4k. For our Backup Plus drives, the 2TB and lower automatically emulate 512 sectors. The 3TB and above are incapable of doing that due to the size of the drive.

You can format up to 2TB without a problem. 3TB and 4TB can have issues. All of our drives come partitioned as MBR, however, the adapter fools the system into seeing the full 3TB or 4TB as one partition, something MBR is not supposed to be able to do. Oddly enough, Windows XP can still format them MBR normally, but Vista, 7, and 8 are not fooled when formatting, and will require resetting the drive to GPT to format, which will make them not show up on Windows XP. So if you have a 3 or 4TB drive, and need to format it, do so on Windows XP. 2TB and Smaller have no issues formatting, as MBR normally works with up to 2.2TB.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on January 28, 2013
The product description is misleading. It says "Install the pre-loaded NTFS driver for Mac, and use the drive interchangeably between PC and Mac computers without reformatting the drive." This implies that the needed driver that would enable users to drag and drop files between Mac and PC is in the installation file that comes with the hard drive. During installation it even asks if the hard drive will be used Mac and PC or Mac only. You'd think choosing the Mac and PC option would install that needed driver to make it read/write on Mac, but it does not. All it does is install the Dashboard software that uploads/downloads your social media content. The instructions were unhelpful, and the support page for Mac even says "Install the included software which has a special driver that will allow the NTFS partition to be read and written under MacOS" with a Note that says "If the driver is not installed, then the drive will be read-only under MacOS." THIS IS FALSE! The software DOES NOT include the special driver and the hard drive will still be read-only. You have to go to the Downloads section of the Seagate website and install the file "NTFS Driver for Mac OS." This additional VITAL step is not mentioned anywhere in the instructions, the product description, the box, or on that support page for Mac. Something just told me to check the Downloads section of the website, and I saw the driver file there, tried it and it worked, ending the hours of headache and frustration.

So if you purchased, or plan to purchase this hard drive so you can save files from both your Mac and Windows computers, I'm letting you know (because Seagate doesn't) that you need to go to the Downloads section of their website and install the NTFS Driver for Mac OS for it work on your Mac.
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on September 7, 2012
The drive is nice and it has all the standard stuff. However, I bought the "Seagate Backup Plus 3 TB USB 3.0 Desktop", which is the Windows version (because the Mac version is named differently) and I discovered that it is not compatible with the standard Windows Backup. The product comes with a nice backup software, and you can find several other good backup utilities out there, but nothing beats the utility integrated in the Operating System. I wanted to use Windows Backup! Unfortunately, this is not possible. I discovered that Western Digital hard drives have a similar issue, but WD provides a fix [...]. Apparently, this does not work with Seagate drives: this is the transcript of my chat session with their support:

(9:53:37 am) Kimberly: Hello, Paolo. Thank you for contacting Seagate Chat Support. How can I help you today?
(9:53:43 am) Paolo: Hi, I purchased a "Backup Plus" for Windows, and I have just learned that it is not compatible with the standard Windows Backup. Skipping all the part on how absurd this is, I was wondering if there is any available fix for this issue. Thanks
(9:55:41 am) Kimberly: I understand you are wanting to use the Windows Backup Image with your drive. If your drive is over 2TB, you are correct, Windows Image is not compatible with your drive. Windows can not write to the advanced sector format of the drive. Unfortunately, there is not a work around, this is a technology issue.
(9:56:15 am) Kimberly: I do apologize for the inconvenience, Paolo.
(9:56:30 am) Paolo: What if I reformat?
(9:57:45 am) Kimberly: It will not override the 4K sectors of the drive. It is in the hardware.
(9:57:58 am) Paolo: I see.
(9:58:13 am) Paolo: Ok, too bad.
(9:59:59 am) Kimberly: I do apologize. Is there anything else I can assist you with, Paolo?

The conclusion is: if you are looking for a drive to be used with Windows Backup, this is not for you.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on December 14, 2013
Problem is well-documented on the seagate forums. Hard drive will suddenly stop working and dissappear from windows. Sometimes a restart will bring it back, sometimes it won't. Same inconsistent results appear using either USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports. Seagate thinks I should make sure to update my drivers - they are updated. Seagate suggests I look for new firmware - There isn't any for windows (and isn't it their job to do more than to just say, have you looked for new firmware? Like point me to one instead of have me waste MY time?).

Anyways. I am returning it. Too many people said multiple drives perform the same way. I would stay away until Seagate issues a fix.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
VINE VOICEon January 25, 2013
Size: 3 TB|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
EDIT February 6, 2013:

I have been in contact with Seagate, and it was a slightly lengthy process to get a replacement AC adapter that does not make an irritating high-pitched sound, but today, I did receive one that seems to work just fine. It took eight days from my first contact with customer service.

They recommended I reseat the power and USB cables at both ends, plug in directly to the wall rather than to a power strip in the first reply email, and in a later email even recommended I try another adapter to make sure it wasn't the my own expense:

"Thank you for contacting Seagate Support. I recommend trying another power supply to be sure the issue is with the power cord and not the drive. The specifications are listed below. You can find a power supply at any electronics store.
Universal Power Supply, 12Volts 1.5Amp Output, Barrel Connection"

I thank Seagate for finally coming through with a replacement, but honestly, while the first couple of suggestions were reasonable, the last suggestion that I buy another adapter to make sure it was an adapter problem was simply bad customer service.


While this drive says it can be used by PC or Mac users, once hooked up to a Mac, it says it is not in the correct format. It is in NTFS format (PC), but the drive contains software that is supposed to be installed to use interchangeably between PC and Mac.

For users of either type of computer, this means using Seagate software to manage backups rather than the method provided by the OS used. For Mac users, this means one would not be able to use Time Machine.

This is not acceptable to me, so I reformatted the drive, tossing the included software. Mac users must reformat using Disk Utility, to "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" format.

After doing this, the drive works great, but there is one concern with the device I received: The AC adapter makes a high-pitched sound when plugged in, almost all the time, and it's very irritating. Obviously, the one I received is defective to a degree, but hopefully not dangerous. I will see if it is possible to get a replacement adapter from Seagate.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on July 9, 2013
This review is for the 4TB model. I've used many external drives in past and needed a 4TB model for a backup as my user data has gotten very large due to digital photography and music.

Came formatted as NTFS so it worked with windows right out of the box.
Comes with Mac dmg file as well as windows exe file so Seagate dashboard SW will work with either computer if you decide to use it.
USB3 is fast. I backed up 1.5TB in about 6 hours.
Drive doesn't seem to care if I'm not using Seagate dashboard SW they include.
Very quiet.

Seagate SW takes up about 650MB though you can delete it off the drive if you want.
No power switch so it's on all the time.
Form fact makes tipping it over sort of a problem if you're not careful

Pro Tip - you can reformat the drive to whatever you want if you don't like what they shipped. Simply copy the included Seagate SW off the drive (so you don't lose it) and reformat the drive to whatever you want -- exFAT, NTFS, Mac OS Extended, etc.

One final note - I chose Seagate over Western Digital because WD seemed to have some quality issues from the reviews I was reading. Seagate had a better overall "crowd sourced" review so that's what I went with.
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