You may have read my previous review on the Seagate Momentus XT hybrid SDD/HDD and even bought one for your MacBook (Pro). Mine is running fine and I’m still very pleased with its performance after 5 months now. No freezes or lockups or crashes though I noticed periodic spin-downs every once in a while. Not a real SSD but still pretty fast, especially on regularly used files and apps. And that’s where it counts most.

Apparently the first revision SD22 had some issues with power management/spin down cycles. I haven’t had any problems with my drive which already came with firmware revision SD23. There are still some users reporting problems (mostly Windows users ;-)) with intermittent OS hanging/freezing and crashing with SD23.

In December 2010 Seagate released the firmware SD24 but hasn’t published any further details yet. Even tech support won’t tell you anything on the changes in this revision. So far every user who performed the update is happy and therefore I gave it a shot.

It’s always strongly advised to perform firmware updates on your hard drives if available. Not every drive gets (or needs) an update during its lifetime. Sometimes an update only maintains compatibility for newer controller chips or management/monitoring features. If there are known problems with a drive and a manufacturer publishes an update it usually addresses serious issues like possible data loss or power management issues which can reduce the life span.

Check compatibilty

First you should check if your drive qualifies for the update. Open System Profiler (Lion 10.7: System Information): e.g. click Apple logo > About This Mac > More info… in Snow Leopard (Lion users click System Report… button) and go to Hardware > Serial-ATA. Then select your HDD (entry like ST9xxx6x0AS).

Screenshot of System Profiler

Your model should be one of the following:

  • ST92505610AS (250GB model)
  • ST93205620AS (320GB model)
  • ST95005620AS (500GB model)

The Revision key shows your drive’s current firmware version (e.g. SD22, SD23, SD24, SD25, SD26, or SD28). If you’re on SD28 then skip the rest, you’re already running the latest firmware. (I only did the screenshot after the update.)

The Serial Number can be checked online. I tried it with Safari and Firefox from my Mac with several Seagate S/N from other drives but still no result. This online tool seems to be broken right now.

Download firmware update SD28

Note: The update procedure hasn’t changed since SD23. Just go for the 1st link in the Links section and download the latest available firmware revision (currently SD28). Then continue with the procedure as described and ignore any different version number in the text. I’m tired of constantly updating the article for each new revision.

The automatic firmware checker (Drive Detect software) and update tool (firmware update utility) are only available as Windows executable. Mac/Linux users have to go the ugly (DOS) way via an ISO image of a bootable CD.

Alternatively you could also copy the image file to an USB device but you’d have to know how to make it bootable. Keep in mind that some old USB keys cannot be made bootable.

When the CD is ready put it into your CD-ROM drive and shutdown your Mac. Oh, wait, continue reading the next step before you do this!

Update firmware with DOS CD

To boot from CD you have to hold down the option key (<alt>) during startup. A HDD icon and a CD should appear on the gray screen. The HDD has the volume name written below and the CD is named Windows. Select the CD and boot to DOS.

  • Hit <ESC> to skip the README.TXT

Use PG UP/DOWN keys on an external keyboard to scroll through the readme, using arrow keys may lock DOS.

SeaFlash offers some options you should explore before performing the update. If you just want to do it ASAP then hit <D>.

  • Hit <L> to list compatible drives and FW version. (Column New FW version should state SD24, hit <ESC> to go back to main menu.)
  • Hit <S> to scan your drive(s). (Shows your model and FW, <ESC> for main menu)
  • Finally hit <D> to update your Momentus XT to SD24. (takes about 15s to update)
  • Power off your Mac.

Now you’re all done. You can boot up your Mac and check the new firmware revision in System Profiler.

Problems booting from CD

There are few reported cases where the DOS CD won’t boot. It worked for me on a MBP (late 2008) with 4GB RAM but if you’re the unlucky guy try the following options:

  • Try another CD or at least make sure your Mac can read the disc in OS X.
  • Make sure the CD is bootable. Test in another computer.
  • DOS may not boot on MBP (early 2008 and before) with +4GB RAM installed. Remove one memory module and try again.
  • If you can’t remove RAM try fdxms.sys or himem.sys in CONFIG.SYS. (Don’t do this if you’re not familiar with DOS!)
  • Remove the drive and connect it to a Windows machine then use the Windows updater. (Direct S-ATA connection preferred, USB-to-S-ATA adaptors also possible but some adaptors won’t allow firmware updates!)
  • Install Windows in Boot Camp and use the Windows updater. Boot directly to Windows after the update, not into OS X!

There’s always a solution!

Update SD25

Seagate just released SD25. The procedure is exactly the same as for SD24. As before no changelog info published.

Update SD28

Same procedure as for every release… now on version SD28 and still no changelog (probably company policy). Recent models shipped with SD26 pre-installed but it never made it to the official download portal. Though some beta testers leaked it to filesharing sites (see comments below). SD27 was skipped completely, it hasn’t even been mentioned on the forums. Then right out of nowhere: SD28!

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28 Responses to Seagate Momentus XT firmware update SD28 on MacBook Pro

  1. jerry says:

    Tried the update CD in a Windows PC with 8 GB RAM and no problems. Maybe it behaves differently on 8 GB Macs but mine only has 4 Gigs :-(

    And it took me a while but I finally got the the DOS firmware update tool booting up from an USB flash drive. No CD involved. Mac’s EFI and DOS MBR partitions on USB flash drives don’t like each other but I found a way! :-)

    • chris says:

      so whats the way?

    • jERRy says:

      Short version:

      make flash drive bootable
      make 2 partitions (FAT + Mac)
      install Syslinux on part1
      extract AN-SD24A.ima from ISO
      edit syslinux.cfg (optional)
      install rEFit on part 2

      Then boot rEFit, select Syslinux, load DOS image.

      More details in the long version.

      Sounds easy once you got it running but getting there is way too much trouble. I really recommend the CD but if wished-for I could write down the detailed instructions.

    • chris says:

      for some reason my last reply didnt turn out to be a reply

  2. chris says:

    ok,……. I appreciate the reply. It sounds like the detailed instructions could take a while… I also have spare hard drives I can connect by usb.. I am still working on it.. If you have a moment and can type a thousand words per second, well then I would be a very happy person. I dont want to go all the way to the store just for a blank cd.. But if you dont have the time, I totally understand,.. Time is very valuable.

    Thanks..
    Chris

  3. AC says:

    Thank you so much for posting this – it made the firmware upgrade so easy. …way better than the nightmare with OCZ SSD’s.

  4. Jeremy says:

    Thanks for the post! Very thorough!

  5. Spike says:

    So helpful! Thanks for this post. It worked exactly as described on my 2010 MacBook Pro with 8 gigs of memory. Couldn’t have done it without your help Jerry!

  6. James says:

    I’ve booted from the Sd25 CD (usb Dvd drive) and made your USB stick, two times using different pens (1Gb and 16Gb), and all the booting of EFI goes well, but once I select the rEFit boot, it thinks for a minute, and then tells me \None bootable Image ……\ (both the CD and USB do this?)

    Is my early 2008 MBP not compatible with the image?

  7. jERRy says:

    Hi James, theoretically it should work on any MB/P. Usually the CD works fine where my USB image may cause problems with Boot Camp partitions. On the Seagate forums I’ve read that the early 2008 MBP with 4GB or more RAM doesn’t even like the CD. The solution was to temporarily remove some RAM for the update.

  8. jay says:

    I upgraded MacBookPro 5.5 (mid-2009) with no problem using a dvd burned with Mac’s Disk Utility.

    :: sure hate upgrading stuff that is working with no changelog ::

  9. clanger9 says:

    Thanks for the clear guide. Just upgraded a freshly-installed Momentus XT from SD24 to SD25 using the boot CD.

    I also tried Seagate’s online serial number checker and it didn’t work, so I just downloaded the SD25 DOS bootable ISO. Burned it to CD with Mac OS Disk Utility (Images > Burn).

    So far so good: the drive is fast, quiet and my Macbook seems to enter sleep mode properly (it didn’t do this automatically on SD24).

    Hardware is Macbook 3.1 2GHz Core 2 Duo / 2GB RAM.

  10. Jonathan says:

    Hi Jerry,
    Thanks for this guide. I’ll be updating mine from SD24 to 25 shortly. Just as soon as I lay my hands on blank CD.
    Tell me, does your drive spin down when not in use? Also does your computer go into sleep automatically when on battery?
    I am on the verge of returning my drive (got it a week ago) because it does not behave well with the power management on this MacbookPro6,1
    No automatic sleep (i.e. it stops the computer from going into automatic sleep, when running on battery and not used for X minutes), and no spin down when drive not in use (making for excessive power draw).

    I read on the Seagate forums many other folk with Macs had the same issues. What about you?

    Cheers,

    Jonathan

  11. jERRy says:

    Hi Jonathan,
    I’m on the official SD25 and no sleep/spin down. Didn’t realize as closing lid and sleep from menu or apps still work. Battery time came back to normal or at least far better than SD23/24.

    I reset SMC and PRAM/NVRAM w/o luck. Then booted in safe mode and sleep works fine. Tested it twice with short timer, but still no spin down.

    SD25 is the best yet but still not perfect. Give it a try and watch the battery on your MBP. If you return your XT go for a WD Scorpio 750 (blue for less power consumption/noise or black for better performance).

    I like the XT for its performance/bucks but I’d go SSD if I could afford it…

  12. danwat1234 says:

    Here is the official Seagate Momentus XT SD26 firmware update. SD26

    is the latest version of the drive’s firmware as of the end of

    August, 2011.

    Windows version (easiest):
    http://www.sendspace.com/file/mhlkbf

    Bootable iso version:
    http://www.sendspace.com/file/rifiz5

    • jERRy says:

      The iso looks legit but was published on a french forum end of June 2011. The contained IMA dates from 05/09/11. It probably is an early beta that may differ from the (not yet released) final version.

      The correct way to get the official beta/pre-release version of the firmware is to contact technical support at Seagate or Joni Clark directly. Just write a short note that you’d like to try the next version (SD26) because you still have some problem (include brief description) with the current version (SD25). Back then early beta testers received a new drive with the pre-release firmware pre-installed instead of a firmware update but they don’t do that anymore.

      I got an answer the next day with the ISO included as attachment. Others reported they got a download link. Anyways these are the real thing and may be more recent than the outdated download from an anonymous file sharing site.

      Use the file from danwat1234 at your own risk. If you don’t experience any big problem skip it until official release. Otherwise contact Seagate first.

    • danwat1234 says:

      I obtained the .iso firmware from notebookreview and there haven’t been any bad reports about it from that thread, perhaps it did originate on a French forum. The 7z archive I got from someone on Seagate’s support forums. I am inquiring from that user, how they obtained that firmware right now.

      I didn’t think SD26 was ever in the beta stage of development and given to some Momentus XT customers when it was in that stage, but I have no way to tell that it wasn’t.

      SD26 has been shipping in these drives for some time.

      I agree that people should go ahead and contact Seagate first, but if they have trouble getting the firmware from them and really want SD26, they have a way.

      The iso version has firmware in the form of a “.ima” file, created 5/9/11 9:34am
      The archive version is in the form of “.cfs” and “.lod” file,created 5/9/11 9:28am

      The first person I could see that got SD26 with their Momentus XT was on 6/2/11 ::http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1162841

      It doesn’t seem too far fetched that the delay between finding the SD26 in the wild and finding it on shipped drives is a difference of 3 weeks, and this could be because of old stock that had to be shipped out from online stores and physical stores before they got the drives that came flashed with SD26 from Seagate.

    • danwat1234 says:

      With the iso version, I managed to extract the .ima image file with magiciso. I found the same .cfs and .lod file as the 7z archive version, same timestamps. So both have the same firmware unless timestamps were manipulated and both should be the same firmware version

    • jERRy says:

      Just wanted to point out that there is an “official” way to get SD26 early. I also said that the file looks ok (otherwise I wouldn’t have approved your comments at all).

      From my experience with previous beta versions I know that Seagate sent out different files of the same version (SD23/24/25) that didn’t match on a binary compare with the final release of that version. But nobody outside Seagate can tell any difference as they never provide any changelog.

      Still write an email to Seagate first. I got an answer the next day. If enough people contact Seagate directly for a firmware that already ships with new drives they may release it to the public quicker.

      If they don’t reply soon then go for the file above. I haven’t found any bad comment on that file either.

    • danwat1234 says:

      FYI I just found out from the person I got the firmware from, that he got it directly from Seagate Support recently.

  13. Stephen Fletcher says:

    SD28 is now available it seems. No changelog yet again?

    http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/search.jsp?DocId=215451&NewLang=en

  14. jERRy says:

    Quick update on SD28 after 1st day of operation:

    • Performance still great as ever
    • Power consumption slightly improved (?)
    • No more noise so far
    • No hickups, but never had probs with that

    Last time (SD24 > SD25) the chirping noise came back after a few days so let’s see if it has been silenced for good now.

  15. Mat says:

    Mine came with SD23. I successfully upgraded it to SD24. It has worked fine so far.

    Last month I upgraded it to SD25, but I had chirping noises, so I had to downgrade to SD24.

    Yesterday I upgraded to SD28. Nowadays the Momentus XT is in an optibay and is a secondary drive. It doesn’t get as much heat as it used to, but I’m getting chirping noises again, and I will downgrade to SD24 which was working fine.

  16. Kieran says:

    Upgraded from SD25 to SD28 on my Dell XPS 17 ( L701X)

    Runs much faster and no spindown issue. Also the noise is gone from the drive. Battery life improved as well about 15 min or so. Definetly hope Seagate can hurry up and provide the correct firmware that makes the drive as perform like they advertise it. If not will be dumping it for a full SSD’s in Raid 0! Only bought one of these XT drives to see performance comparsion before seeking the money into another for Raid 0.

    PC Spec:

    Intel® CoreTM i5 560M
    16 GB RAM
    Nivida GT 435M

  17. Harald Walker says:

    My Seagate Momentus XT shipped with SD26 and I’ve had serious problems like corrupted files with it since then. Updating the firmware was a nightmare. Wasn’t able to get a USB-stick to boot, first didn’t have a CD-R to burn and once burned the DVD drive in my 3 year old MacBook Pro didn’t read it. Updating from Windows in a VM didn’t work either. Updating the Seagate Momentus XT as external firewire or USB drive on a different Mac where I was able to boot from the CD wasn’t possible. So finally by finding an old Windows laptop I was able to get the firmware updated. Hope it SD28 fixes the corrupt files problem. No more Seagate for me.

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