How to disassemble a Seagate FreeAgent Pro

I purchased a 750gb Seagate FreeAgent Pro (from America) with the sole intention of using just the drive as it was actually the same price as the standalone drive (in Australia). To remove the drive is quite a tricky procedure if you don’t have the knowhow.

Seagate FreeAgent Pro

I didn’t complete mangle my FreeAgent Pro, it is still usable (I think), but it isn’t pretty anymore.

There is already information out there but it seems this is an older model (which also looks like it was a lot easier to dismantle).

To start, remove the base. This is the easy part, just keep on removing screws till the base can be removed. You will have to remove the circuit board and also the SATA and SATA power cables from the board. Once the base is removed, you will have something that looks like this.

Seagate FreeAgent Pro with base removed

This is an already gutted FreeAgent Pro. Note the Seagate logo, this is the side that comes apart.

Now, onto the hard part. Also, as a note, I haven’t actually tried this method, but once I had it opened it was easier to assume how it should have been open (got to love hindsight). You will need a stiff, straight piece of wire, a wire coat hanger works perfectly, with the hook bent straight.

Seagate FreeAgent Pro location of main clips.

The locations of the two problematic clips are at the base. Once these are unclipped the ones at the top unclip very easily.

Seagate FreeAgent Pro positioning of wire.

Seagate FreeAgent Pro positioning of wire.

Insert the wire into the gaps at the bottom, the idea is to push the clip that secures the cover. When the wire is inserted and pushing on the clip, gently try to remove the cover. Do not apply too much force because as soon as the clip is deformed it will be impossible to remove (this is from experience). The cover should declip on one side nicely. Repeat this process for the clip on the other side.

Seagate FreeAgent Pro location of four clips.

It can be noted that the two clips, located at the bottom have been broken off, this was the extremely measures that I took to remove cover. Hopefully this post will prevent you from doing the same.

  • Eldon DeKay

    The real questions are: Did you have any problem hooking the drive up as an internal drive and also, is it an SATA drive? Finally, did it format correctly. I just bought two for $65 each and want to use them in my computer as a mirroring raid setup.

  • thydzik

    No problems at all. They are standard Seagate ST3750640AS drives. I am currently using the drive in a 4 drive raid-5 array.

  • Eldon DeKay

    That’s what I figured. I just got one taken apart and it is a standard ST3750640AS just like yours. Thanks for the directions. I had a tough time with the clips, but didn’t break them, so I guess I could put another drive in and use it. Where else do you get a 750 GB drive for $65. I’ll take the other apart tomorrow and initialize my array and get the copying done, free up the drives that are in use and get it all back together. Quick answer, by the way. Thanks again. I am constantly amazed by the resource the web is. By the way, I called Seagate today and the agent hemmed and hawed and said that it was an SATA drive inside but that the firmware was different and that the warranty would be void. I don’t even actually know if that is true because the label is standard, but they might have the serial number tracked that way.

  • thydzik

    That is the whole reason I purchased it, was cheaper to buy the Seagate FreeAgent Pro with the 750gb drive then just the drive (in Australia). I ended up putting a Western Digital 500gb in the enclosure and have been using it with no problems since.

    Picking them up for $65 is an absolute bargain.

    I didn’t check, but I bet Warranty is a standard 5 year warranty. I have yet to find a Seagate 750gb drive with OEM warranty of any sorts.

    Glad my post was of use.

  • Joe

    Good luck getting one of these apart. This guy must be a sadist because i spent over an hour trying to fish these tiny little clips off.

    This method does not work. The pictures are horrible also. He says push the clips, but doesnt say to lift them off, push them away from the screwdriver, or what. even after totally removing the metal covers on this case and being able to see the assembly, the clips just wont come off while trying to separate the case.

    Do yourself a favor and just rip the damn case apart. Its not worth the time or trouble to try to delicately remove the case from this drive.

  • thydzik

    Joe, if you have spend over an hour trying to remove these clips, it is clear that you have deformed them to the extent you can no longer remove them; this was the exact same problem I had.

    If you read through the whole post you will read I wrote “when the wire is inserted and pushing on the clip, gently try to remove the cover”

    There is no need to ‘rip the damn case apart’; read the comment by Eldon DeKay, he had no problems opening the case without ruining it.

  • Zack

    Thanks so much for the pictures of the inside. Unfortunately I found this after I had already done quite a bit of scratch damage to the case, but I actually have another one that I will try this method on. Got each of mine for $54 on clearance at Best Buy.

  • Shawn

    Zack, which Best Buy did you score the $54 units at?

    Eldon, where did you get yours for $65?

    Are these blowout drives just with the USB/eSATA module, or did anyone also get the Firewire module as well?

    Has anyone else seen blowout pricing like this anywhere else?

    Shawn

  • Andrew English

    Your story isn’t entirely true. I bought a Maxtor external RAID box a few months back, it came with two 500GB hard drives, GBit Nic, USB, blah blah… Recently one of the hard drives was causing problems so I removed the covers and found it had two Seagate 500GB SATA 7200.10 hard drives, looked at the stickers and both are the octangal ones you claim are counterfit drives, yes the warranty it unknown but after talking to Seagate they do this intially when they sell products with their hard drives built inside.

    So to claim the difference in the stickers on the drives determines whether its a conterfit or not is completely untrue.

    A.

  • thydzik

    Hi Andrew

    I am assuming you are referring to my post ‘Is your hard disk drive genuine of counterfeit’ http://thydzik.com/is-your-hard-disk-drive-seagate-genuine-or-counterfeit-fake/

    I am not suggesting that all rectangle stickers mean the drives are counterfeit, I am only suggesting that 750 GB drives with a rectangle sticker is a good indication. I am sure there are past and will be future Seagate drive sizes with rectangle labels, but I am yet to find one on a 750 GB drive.

    Further, this is only one factor you should look for. As per the post the label were of an extremely poor print quality and was not glossy plastic. The serial numbers would not register on the warranty checker, and further the serial number of the drive didn’t match that on the label.
    It was all these factors that pointed to the drive being fake.

    Travis

  • Gipfeli

    Do you also have the problem to transfer files from another external to the 750GB? My computer won’t detect both at the same time. But if it does, then I won’t be able to transfer files from the old external to the Seagate…

  • thydzik

    Gipfeli,

    I have had no problems transferring from a memory stick to the FreeAgent and back and forth.

    Try assigning a drive letter to the 2nd external drive manually.

  • Ryan

    Those problematic tabs are problematic on my new 1tb FAP because they are HUGE…the tab is very deep. Anyways, I disassembled the whole thing and found a nice OEM drive inside… that means I have to put them back if i need to warranty them. sadface.

  • Ryan

    But in seagates website it says it is warrantied still so who knows.

  • thydzik

    Ryan,

    How do you know the drive is OEM?

    From my experience all drives have 5 years warranty, whether OEM or retail.

  • Jason

    Ok Im in iraq, i let a guy borrow my seagate and he dropped it it fell from approx 3 feet and now nothing works on it. We have no service technions out here, i wish i could just take it to a local store but its not happening out here. If there any knowledge on what it could be i would greatly appricate it. Thank you Jason.

  • thydzik

    Jason,

    Whilst it is a bit difficult to troubleshoot the external drive from your description of ‘nothing works’, I shall give it a go.

    if no lights are coming on, then I assume it is a problem with the case. Is there notable damage? does it have any of the 5 year warranty left? if not the only option is to remove the drive.

    if lights are coming on, then I assume it is the drive. Remove the drive from the case; return for warranty, once received insert it into the case.

    Travis

  • Li

    anyone know how to take apart the new seagate freeagent desk version(white)?

  • Me

    Need help on how to dismantle a seagate freeagent desk.
    disassemble a “seagate freeagent desk” anyone?
    does anyone know how to take apart a seagate freeagent desk. – that is a statement. and hopefully is google searchable.

  • Kevin

    For the Iraq question, my drive survived the year in Iraq, actually 2 of them in a very high dust prone area but once I returned one of the drives stopped working. I followed the disassembly instructions and added a step of my own by just ripping the case apart and inserted the drive in my computer. The drive works fine, I would assume that the wiring in the drive had just had enough.

  • I’ve found that the most effective way of opening this drive was to rip it apart. Thanks for the help though!

  • Greg

    I have been working on my drive all day, apperantly I have bent the clips. How did you get yours apart after that?

  • thydzik

    Greg,

    By pretty much by ripping it apart. You should be able to deform the clips enough that the shell separates enough to fit some tools in-between. Use a pair of side cutters or small saw to cut away at the clips.

  • pkitz

    I just ripped apart the seagate freeagent desk. use a butter knife to pry open starting in front by the seagate logo. the area that lights up when you plug in will be the side you need to take off.

  • FreeAgentKiller

    Pliers, Huge screwdriver and a serious side cutter, thats all you really need.

    I’m sure the guy who designed this chassis used to be a tank technician who… Just spent an hour ripping it apart, I really didnt know you could get screws that small in that tight…. Anyway, there is no chance of me using the case again, its off to the dump.

  • Bill

    Well. i got mine apart without destroying it. thydzik is correct about the method to do it. the only thing is that you have to push on those clips very hard and they will pop out of the seat. the way these clips are in there they are sandwiched in between 2 pieces of plastic. it looks to me like it was a put together once type of case. but mine came apart without breaking anything. just need alot of force to push on those clips.

  • thydzik

    Thanks Bill for the info.

    I knew there must be a way for opening it without destroying the case, as I would imagine they do this for any RMA warranties.

  • Bill

    Oh and if you check the warranty on the drive on seagates site. actually pretend like you want to return it. and use the numbers on the Drive itself. it says is a freeagent pro. if you look closer the S/n on the drive itself and on the enclosue are the same. unfortuantely there is no way i can see to disassemble the drive without scracting the heck out of the clips. so chances are they will know you were inside it.

  • how to find serial n umber on seagate freeagent pro..
    exactly the same one as showin in the abv picture.
    can any one help me

  • siddharth

    I need to open my freeagent desk 1 TB….. Can someone help me out…

  • Andrew

    This is great and brilliant article. You have save my life :) Very very thanks for help with this disassembling manual.

    Andrzej [PL]

  • Rich

    I am on my third freeagent pro 750MB drive – just recieved the replacement this weekend, and within 2 hours, windows reported a drive write failure. I am sending the unit back for replacement (AGAIN), however, I am tempted to just take it apart when the replacement arrives and going internal. Does anyone know if it is the interface that is the constant problem or the drive itself? Likewise, has anyone taken it apart and put the drive in another external case?

    I am frustrated to no end with Seagate and this crappy external drive.

  • thydzik

    Rich,

    I am currently using the drive as an internal drive, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in another external case.

  • Rick

    I just had to do this myself. $eagate has pi$$ed me off royally. I’m less than a year into their “five year warranty”. My old notebook PC was rendered inoperable in a car accident. No biggie— I’ve got it all on my $eagate hard drive, right?

    But when I plug my new notebook up to the $eagate, the USB plug breaks and collapses into the drive enclosure.

    Now, there is no actual disk failure, but $eagate will not simply drop my old disk into a new enclosure. They insist on replacing the whole drive and charging me a ridiculous amount of money to transfer the data into it.

    They just made a Western Digital customer out of me.

  • Rick

    An update:

    Seagate’s recovery guys called and told me that, depending on how much of the 465 GB I had saved to that drive that I want to keep, recovery would run anywhere from $500-2000. Had the guy not been so incredibly nice while giving me the bad news, I would have told him to pi$$ up a rope.

    He advised that since I seemed to have a pretty solid grasp on tech, I should just bite the bullet, void the warranty, and drop the disk into a new enclosure. On the plus side, he gave me hus number and told me if I ran into any problems performing that surgery, he would be glad to walk me through it.

    So… Mixed bag.

  • B

    I did the operation. With a little packing tape and some hack marks the useful case is back in action sporting a new 1tb drive for my main backup the original 350g is going to live in a PC. I couldn’t for the life of me gently open the case with a coat hanger though it seemed like a good idea. I did break the switch sensor lead and have to re-solder it. So a word to the wise. Be careful not to break the thin wire going to the switch. The good news if you break is it that its only a single conductor wire.
    Happy case cracking.

  • Xavi

    The Seagate Freeagent Desk is a replacement for the original Seagate Freeagent. The original Seagate Freeagent had several hardware defects – it was a very very poorly made product (though the Seagate software is good).

    The 2 main defects of the original Seagate Freeagent were:

    1. The front panel light sometimes drew too much power, causing the drive motor to sputter.

    2. The small USB connector on the back was flimsy, not braced and was known to break-off. This was a BIG problem, because losing 500GB to 1TB of data because of a flimsy connector was a big scare.

    The solution for owners of the original Seagate Freeagent is to extract the SATA drive from it and stick it in a Seagate Freeagent Desk. This is what I did (perhaps there was an easier way).

    As another poster said use a butter knife to pry open the lid, starting in front (on top) by the Seagate Logo. Work your way around and it will open. Take off the lid, unscrew everything. Remove the metal shielding and remove the SATA drive. The new light is an LED light which will NOT unscrew or unplug – so leave the light.

    <

  • PhantomReality

    So I just spent a good number of hours taking this b**ch apart. In essence this little guide helped a bit…but is missing a few critical details.

    First: note that the close up of the “wire” popping out the clip is very ambiguous because it is so close up you don’t know which side of the case it is on. To clear this up, the side that has the glowing seagate logo on it is the piece of plastic you should be trying to remove.

    Second: attempting to pop these out with a wire is going to prove very very difficult. I managed to get mine open by prying the thing apart just enough to see inside, then wedging a screwdriver right up next to it and twisting so as to force the clip out. If you do go with the “wire” route, it takes a considerable bit more than “gently pressing upwards” as it’s in there rather good. Also pressure should be applied forward, not upward (or inward into the case from the vent hole if that makes more sense).

    Third: This thing is F**king durable! I pried on the case for a long time, and didn’t break any part of it, not even the long LED which creates the orange glow, so don’t worry about being gentle.

    If anybody wants better pictures email me at [email protected].

    Good luck getting your porn (and other less important s**t) back everyone!

  • ucmbnko

    Thanks for the great information and follow-up notes

  • Dalboz

    I have a freeagent desktop, it won’t spin up when plugged into PC + Power, should i tear that sh*t apart?

  • thydzik

    tear it apart and RMA for warranty.

  • mdmsealman

    This is the way that I did it with out any problems. The clips are hard to get off, but take your time and don’t use enough force to bend the clips. If they bend you will have to rip them out, not good for the warranty.

    1. Remove the rubber feet
    2. remove the screws from where the rubber feet were.
    3. Remove the esata/usb base
    4. remove the lower plastic cover
    5. remove the tiny screws
    6. remove the metal shield
    7. remove the 3 base screws.
    8. stick a standard screw driver into the lower holes and twist. One side panel will move, one want. The removeable panel is the one with the logo on it. If you are looking at the drive from the back where the ports are, the panel is on the left.
    9. Stick the screwdriver between the plastic of the panel that moves. this panel has 4 clips holding it on very tightly but it can be pryed off.
    10. Once the panel is open, unplug the drive and remove it. It is in a metal free floating cage. Remove the rubber covers to reveal the screws.
    11. Pry the two cage panels apart and the drive is free. There is no permanent damage to the case, so you should be able to mount another drive in it.

  • Eric

    Wow…

    Now that I have ripped this thing apart, I am saddened by the fact that I just destroyed the most impressive piece of modern computer hardware I’ve seen. They just don’t make things like this anymore!

    Seriously, a metal cage around the HDD, mounted with 4 steel screws, suspended by rubber caps, wrapped in a plastic cover secured with inpenetrable metal clips, with everything wrapped in a sheet of alumunum and balanced on a pedestal that was secured with like 84 screws hidden beneath rubber caps.

    Phew…well, it’s in the trash now.

  • Pingback: Disassembling a Seagate Free Agent Desk 1TB « Gareth’s random Blog of fiddlings()

  • scotty2hottie

    OKAY! my only question is if i rip this chunk o crap apart, and the drive is okay….. can i plug it into my mobo (sata) and get to the information still inside or will i have to format????

  • thydzik

    scotty2hottie , yes, they are standard drives, formatted with the standard windows file system

  • Shaarris

    Hi, Eldon DeKay,
    I have just walked past my seagate st305004fda1e1-rk -500Gig external. I am looking for the case to one, as I broke the USB connection on the case and destroyed it. Anyone who has one for sale would be a great help. Hope I didnt put this in the wrong place.
    Shaarris

  • Shaarris
  • ckhk212
  • Chris

    I don’t know what it is about these clips but they just wouldn’t come out for me. I must have spent at least two hours pushing at them. I started by trying to be gentle like in the instructions, but that got me nowhere. I ended up getting the clips out using an extreme amount of force and two hours of effort.

    Part of the problem was that I wasn’t sure I was pushing in the right place or what the pushing was supposed to accomplish, so let me diagram it:

    |c|x|
    _|c|_|
    |b|c /wwwwwwwww
    |b|/
    |b|______________

    That’s a side-view of the clip (the parts filled with the letter ‘c’), plastic it hooks on to (filled with ‘x’) and the wire (‘w’) used to push at the clip.
    Yes, there is a piece of plastic coming up from the bottom of the case _behind_ the clip (‘b’) which makes it even harder to push back far enough that it can lift up past the edge it’s hooked on. I have a feeling that if you try to pry open the case at all, it only serves to compress the lip of the clip and make it even harder to push it back far enough, so don’t pry at the case. Instead, I think it’s best to try to use your wire to push the clip back and upwards.
    It’s very hard to get enough light and the wire in and see around the wire to see where to position it, but here’s a diagram of what you’ll see on the right side:

    |r|xx|r| |r|
    |r|xx|r| |r|
    |r|—|r| /
    |r|cc|r|
    |r|—|/
    |r|b /
    |r| /

    The vertical sections filled with ‘r’ are raised bars of plastic that are not movable and are connected to the bottom of the case. Sunk between the bars (and connected to them) is plastic that the clip hooks on to (‘x’), and below that is the head of the clip (‘c’) that you want to push back and up. You can actually see it move back a little when you push it. Be very careful not to push on ‘x’ because that may deform it enough that you can’t get the clip past, although the plastic there is strong so I think it would take a lot of force. There’s an open area beneath the clip (‘b’) which looks empty, but if you push the wire in there you’ll hit the plastic behind the clip. It shouldn’t hurt if you push there, but it won’t help either.

    So my advice is to push in and up at that clip with as much force as you can apply until the case starts to open. Since I wasn’t really sure if I was pushing in the correct place or what the pushing was supposed to accomplish, I ended up prying the case open from the sides and using an extreme amount of force to force the clip out, but I ended up with a lot of bent plastic, bent metal, and I’m surprised nothing was broken.

    Also, as one poster alluded to, there’s an inner shell of plastic (that the clips are part of) with an outer shell of aluminum simply glued to it. Part of the aluminum shell started to unglue from the plastic as I was going through the process, and I could have pried the aluminum completely free of the plastic which gives you a good view of the clips and what you’re doing. The only problem is this puts a lot of strain on the clips and no doubt makes them even more impossible to get out, so try pushing hard in and up with a wire or similar before you resort to tearing off the metal.

    One commenter said the clips were metal and one said they were tiny… they are neither. They’re plastic and thick and rather large and stupidly strong. After getting fed up with the final clip that just would not release I tried drilling off its head, hoping to break off the head or at least weaken it. All that ended up doing was putting a hole in the head and it still took extreme force to release. The raised ‘r’ bars of plastic mean you can’t see the full width of the head, so you can’t drill or cut it fully.

    Also, as others have mentioned, the two bottom clips release by just pulling them without too much force. I had both of them released before I could get the final top clip to let go.

  • Ase

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your detailed r,c,b,x,w descriptions but I really dont get it how to do this, anyone with more detailed pictures, film or so how to remove the “clips”?
    Tried to get a guide from Seagate, but with no sucess.
    Also tried to mail thydzik on his gmail twice but with no reply.

  • reber1b

    thydzik, have you seen or heard of any situation where the interface may be the cause of failure, or is it always the drive itself ? I had two 750gb FAP’s connected to Directv DVR’s, and they both failed in less than two years. Before this I had always considered Seagate/Maxtor to be very reliable. Both drives are 75% full of recorded programming, and if there is even a slight chance the drives are OK, I could remove them from their enclosures and put them in another eSATA enclosure. I know the chances of this are slim, but I thought I would at least ask.

    TIA, reber1b

  • reber1b,

    The interface (enclosure) failed on my Freeagent Pro so I would assume this to be your problem as well.
    The drives are standard drives, you would have a much better chance of recovery by removing it and connecting it to your motherboard.
    I believe SeaTools (Seagates HDD tools) can only be run this way.

    Travis

  • Deon

    The eSata connection point into the drive can cause real problems with the eSata cable – as standard, I had all sorts of problems with my 4 eSata FAP500s.
    >>> It is necessary to cut a small part off the top-front edge of the male connector so that it is not prevented from inserting completely and a good data/electrical connection can then be made.
    Since doing this I have not had any problem.
    Care must be taken with eSata cables.

    >>> I would not use these disks for direct recording, rather record to internal HD, then copy transfer to external – these externals are not rugged industrial storage units and must be treated so.

    I really like them, and have an assortment of 11 Freeagent externals totalling 6.25 TB collected since Oct ’07. They need looking after like a precious item. Not one of my disks has fallen over. I do not like to take them off-site, in a car I like to hold them in a bag so that they receive no jarring from speed-bumps etc.
    All still working, but it is true to say that I have started duplicating disks for safety with all the scare stories about.

    >>> Duplicating 500GB is a slow and laborious task especially thru USB connections of which I use 7. My technique is to do 20-30GB only per session, then disconnect and allow to cool – before resuming another session at some later time.
    Sometimes after a long copy session the source & destination Freeagent USB will not be disconnected when using the Green ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ icon at bottom right – in which case a Shutdown is required to switch them off. A tricky process that must be got right – listening/feeling for Freeagent disconnection/spin-down then removing USB lead gently, or Power Cable for eSata variety.

    I also use ‘HotSwap’ a similar free Disk Removal utility that also disconnects most types of drive (eSata etc.) Here is a link for an older version
    http://fileforum.betanews.com/detail/HotSwap/1201230987/1
    or here for newest available version:
    http://rapidshare.com/files/352645651/HotSwap__4.5.0.0.rar.html

    >>> My files (I have at least 500K) are videos, mp3s, ISO & RARs etc which I have collected into folders, each of only about 7.5GB in size. So as not to overburden the Freeagent when copying across 3-4 folders which is my quota per sitting. This needs administritive care like filing in an office.
    – I do not use any backup software.
    – I never boot-up with any external disk connected.
    – I use XP Pro SP2.

    >>> On receiving New Freeagent USB drives:-
    I make sure to turn off the power-saving mode in Seagate Manager and apply ‘Never’. I also switch off the yellow LED light.
    >>> The other very important switch is to make sure that write-caching is disabled in Control Panel>>System>>Device Manager>>Disk Drives>>Seagate Freeagent USB Device>>Policies (select ‘Optimize for quick removal’) – Apply OK, Restart.

    This essay may be a bit lengthy for here, but I can give free advice if requested.
    The Freeagent is not really suitable for a newbie PC user, which is why I believe there are so many complaints online. I have none with my 11, many are 2nd-hand from eBay.

    I will check back here.

  • Deon

    For people looking to cut eSata cables for eSata interface connectivity problems here is a link to a picture showing the before & after difference.

    http://img691.imageshack.us/img691/7500/esatacablecuts.jpg

    If these are not clear enough, I could post others – or provide technique details.

  • Deon

    If you also have a few external disks, with many files, you might find the free utility called ‘Disk Index’ quite useful.
    This utility will index all files contained on any disk, and store them in a labelled text file in the location of your choice. (I use a folder called Disk Indexes on C-drive)
    You can then use the Windows Search function to search for ‘word/phrase contained in a file’ – select the ‘Look-in/location’ as ‘Browse’ – select the folder where all your disk indexes are kept and Search.
    It certainly helps with my 11 externals.

    Here is the Disk Index website
    http://www.suncross.nl/

    or a download link for the latest Win-All version
    http://www.suncross.nl/downloads/DiskIndex.zip

  • reber1b

    thyzdik,

    Thanks for the answer, that is very encouraging to me. I guess I’ll go to work on my enclosure (s) using your technique.

    reber1b

  • reber1b

    Deon,

    Thanks for your info. If I find the drives themselves are OK, I’ll get a third party eSATA enclosure and connect it to the DVR that way. I’m restricted in what I can do since the drive has to be connected to the same DVR that was used to record the programming — thanks to High bandwidth Digital Copy Protection. I can connect the drive to a computer and, even though I can’t access any of the programming, I can at least tell if the drive is viable by checking for partitions.

    reber1b

  • Ase

    Hi thydzik & PhantomReality,

    You both write in your forum posts that if we would like more info and pictures we should email you.

    I have emailed you both, thydzik 3rd time, PhantomReality 1st time, but with no answer from you.

    Why do you ask us to email you for more info and pictures, when you dont bother to answer on those emails?

    //Ase

  • aklamo

    I just had to bust open a 750Gb FreeAgent Pro using these instructions.

    My FreeAgent Pro would stay connected to my MacBook Pro for only a short period of time (shorter if i was transferring large files) before it just disconnected itself. When I ran Disk Utility, the disk read clean, so I figured it was something to do with the external enclosure interface.

    It wasn’t a gentle affair, but I did get the HDD out of the FreeAgent case unscathed. I popped it into a Vantec external enclosure and my random disconnections stopped. I would even swear that my transfer speeds increased.

    Since I don’t really care about keeping the case, it didn’t bother me too much when i had to force it in a couple of spots. The two latches that you’re supposed to be able to push on using a coat hanger were bastards and i really had to pop them by wedging a flat head screwdriver in to the slit that i had opened up.

    Thanks and best of luck!

  • Damian

    Just had to open up FreeAgent Pro 1TB…
    Tried the push with coathanger technique… no go!!!
    Ended up ripping it open which didn’t really matter as was opening up to establish if casing had died or HD… lucky for us just the case…
    Yay for all the ancient jobs…

  • stamos

    i just saw this forum and i have the following question:
    (i have already taken the hard drive out of the case)
    what kind of cables will i need to connect the hard drive dirrectly to the motherboard?

  • stamos,
    You will need a stock-standard SATA cable.

  • joe daddi

    dis assemble went perfect!!!!! thnk you for the detailed instructions.. it was exactly what i was looking for.. got my HD out of its coffin an now time to bring it to life.. hope its still good =/ thnx again!!

  • dideuhoo

    My seagate freeagent does not turn on anymore. How can save the information on the discs to another external disc or USB device? Is this possible.

  • My FreeAgent Pro stopped being recognized by my computer a few weeks ago. I tried pretty much everything out there. It just wouldn’t work. I even tried it on another computer it didn’t work.

    I ended up buying a hard drive and a third party enclosure which seems to be working well so far. Of course that didn’t solve the problem of having all of my private data on a broken hard drive.

    I decided if I couldn’t get it to work might as well see if I can get the hard drive out so that led me here. If it works great, if it doesn’t at least I tried.

    You forgot to mention at the beginning of your instructions that there are little rubber pieces on the bottom of the base. Basically with your fingers you grab them wiggle them a little bit to loosen them and then you pull them off. That exposes the screws on the bottom.

    For getting the case off to expose the hard drive cage I used a flat head screwdriver. I basically ran the screwdriver all the way around lifting as much as I could. I couldn’t get the bottom clips off which you mentioned would be hard so I just pulled on the top section hard enough to break the bottom clips.

    Once that’s done it exposes a hard drive cage, that’s as simple as unscrewing some screws and then bending the metal cage to get the hard drive right out.

    I’ll be buying another enclosure to see if the drive works now since I can’t find my cables to run the hard drive.

    dideuhoo you can either buy another enclosure or you can buy a USB to SATA cable (with a power supply).

  • Andy

    I have the same problem. Once the hard drive is out of the enclosure, what type of enclosure do you buy to hook it up to and where are some reputable places to buy them?

    I only have notebook computers, but may have a 10 yr old desktop if I need to hook the drive directly to a motherboard. It is probably IDE.

  • Gillo

    Hi, I’m interested in the model-number of the harddisk, seagate built into the enclosure.
    At seagate they told me that the hdd inside the freeagent pro does not have a firmware error (busy error) I have read about on different forums.
    But with my freeagent it sounds and looks quite similar (to the error).
    Before openening I want to check out if it is worth it (instead of sending the disk back to seagate, but then losing the data).
    If you could post the model number of the inner hdd, you could help me with that.
    Thank you in advance! Gillo

  • molk

    My 750gb just failed this morning , I dont want to spend a shit ton on data recovery , and wondering if i could just try putting the dive from my old case into my still working one ?

    Also are there any precautions I need to be aware of with the drive i.e. is safe to touch without being grounded and all that. ?

    CHEERS

    M

  • Ok, it would have been easier to just buy a new drive…but I guess the thrill of DIY has to count for something. Not sure why I was determined to NOT break the clips, but I finally got the case cracked with out breaking the case. And I better understand what the challenge was. The pictures in this blog are pretty good considering. The key detail is a picture of an unbroken clip. With a better picture, it might help to not spend so long trying the wrong area.

    Indeed it is the side with the logo that opens up, but the clip is attached to that side and extends well to the other side. IOW, a part of the clip comes from the back side and extends all the way to the front cover (logo) and part of the clip from the front extends and clips behind the part coming from the back.

    There is little chance of a coat hanger working. You need a very skinny flat blade screw driver with a fairly long shaft. A cheap rat shack Jewlers screw driver was not long enough.

    And when you insert the screwdriver, I found it better to use the hole closest to the back side, not the middle hole.

    Now here is the catch. Only a very small portion of the clip from the front side extends past the clip portion from the back side. Use the flat part of the screwdriver turned side ways, perpendicular to the clip. With a really bright flashlight, you will see the channel of the backside clip…and just past the middle, closer to the backside of the case, you will just barely see the flat angled edge of the clip. So, from the front side, you will see the channel which does no good to push on. Then follow the channel toward the back…and you will see the clip edge. If you turn the screw driver parallel, the. It will slide off the clip. Turn it perpendicular to grab the edge of the clip to pushnon.

    Use the back side of a clothes pen, or something soft to pry open the case, and while pushing on e clip with the screwdriver, pry with the clothes pin.

    I will try to upload the photos to a site and put the link in another comment.

  • Here is a link to a few photos of a clip intact…start at about picture 34.

    http://loker.smugmug.com/Professional/Misc-Picts/4108674_ZNYmN

  • molk

    If you beak the clips whats the worst that can happen , I mean is there a chance you will damage the drive ?

  • molk

    I dont understand it , this guy just looks like hes suing a reg screwdriver , and hes obvioulsy not broken the clips either given hes put it back together , am I missing something ??? :(

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIs3Pz15OFU&feature=related

  • Doug

    I dropped my Seagate once, from my home office desk, and it would not want to work again. It turns on, makes an effort to boot-up and then I hear a repeated noise as if something is stuck inside. My guess is the needle/arm assembly somehow dislodged or bent out of shape.
    I have torn/disassembled my drive off the case. I won’t go into details about the clips, since I am sure YOU probably won’t care much, just like me, about the exterior, but more urgently what is in the interior.

    I will try to hook it up to another computer and see if it gets recognized. Otherwise I will continue on my quest and try to open the actual HD.
    I will report back on my entire experience.

  • MikeyD

    The ends of the clips are wedge shaped and clip on to the other half by the springy action of the plastic “hooking” the triangular end inside a rectangular receptacle. Think of the barbed end of a fish hook caught on the edge of a flat surface. The idea is to get the coat hanger to push the clip away from the near side of the rectangular receptacle until it clears the edge and releases. It is hit or miss to say the least but it does work.

  • Lisa

    I tried to use the method described in this write up to open the enclosure. The pictures you provided and described gave me great insight into how it should properly be opened. However, after trying with the clothes hanger and finding no other thin, long, sturdy shaft I decided ‘fine, if you don’t want to come unhooked I will use physical violence!’

    I began by prying apart the top portion of the case and making my way around the entire case. The top portion came off easily. I set the enclosure on its bottom and began slowly prying apart the case using the top portion as my leverage. I heard a click, the case came apart, and I waited to hear the clips fall to the ground in defeat..however, guess what? The whole thing came off perfectly. The bottom clips were not damaged at all!

    So, if it helps.. maybe slowly prying from the top will enable the bottom clips to dislodge without breaking? I assume that is how others did it as well, maybe it was just luck.

  • Allister

    Thanks for the info. I didn’t quite manage the clips as described, but the diagrams and descriptions helped with some carefully directed violence. My drive is now free and unscathed. The case, and one finger, a little the worse for wear. Watch the sharp metal edges inside the base!

  • Dwight

    Molk,

    By now, you probably realize that , in the youtube link you provided, that was not the same type casing as the one in this article. Your link concerns an earlier version, which as explained in this article, was probably easier to disassemble.

  • Mo

    ive tried this tutorial and have not got the clips to open. i dont wanna damage anything inside so i havent been poking inside the enclosure too much. is there a way someone could upload a step by step tutorial seeing as there is not one that is very detailed. this tutorial it is a little hard to see where the clips are located.

  • BT

    the Free Agent Pro comes with a 5 year warranty. You should check warranty status on Seagate’s website before cracking open the case. They will replace the drive as long as the enclosure hasn’t been opened / damaged. good luck

  • Drake

    5 years warranty, check.
    But what about the data ?

    Got this ‘pro’ drive for a relative a few years back so he can back-up his stuff and today he was complaining that it was ‘flakey’ the last time he fired it up so I get to check it out.
    We fired it before lunch, it sounded terrible.
    You know, like a tray of marbles rotating….
    I didn’t think much of it because of the low hours and it seems OK.
    So we left it running and went to lunch.
    When we came back it was in sleep mode and refused to wake up so we reboot and after about 10 minutes of use the thing started showing blank directories then hangs (still spinning but no data) and after rebooting it was showing just a blank drive ! NOT GOOD.
    On this drive there are thousands of photos and work docs that my relative had back up from his old PC and notebook before junking them.
    Can’t just send it to Seagate for a swap can I ?
    A few reboots later it was still showing me blank drive so this isn’t going to happen with the built in controller if it will at all.

    Yeah, I figured out the screws under the rubber feet and got the base off in about 5 minutes then wrestled the top part off in no time BUT that two bottom tabs wern’t going anywhere fast.

    Google brought me to this site and I must have spent an hour trying to ‘push’ on those hooks every which way with not much luck.
    Like, I even have this flat blade screwdriver that’s just the right size for the job – .093″ diameter and 3″ long blade, fits the vent slot openings perfectly – an Xcelite R3322.

    So I gave up and tried to brute force it open (without mangling the aluminum cover that is) not much luck there either, they did use good plastic, the bums.
    BUT that got the case apart far enough for me to peek inside and look at the back of the hooks, sure enough, the bottom hooks got KEEPER TABs behind them and they are meant to keep the hooks from popping out.
    (you can see this tab on the fourth picture up top)
    So I tried pushing a little harder, even whack the screw driver with my palm a few times, still no luck.

    Finally I got fed up and decided try to break the keeper tabs, or the hooks, or the lid – if that’s what it takes.
    So I positioned the screwdriver right on top of one of the hook, as far away from the tip of the hook as I can, then gave the screw driver a reasonably healthy whack with a larg pair of pliers, figure this should be enough to break some plastic piece or another.
    Well, what do you know? That hook popped right off.
    So gave the other hook another whack and it came right off as well.
    The hooks are a little gouged by the screwdriver but the keeper tabs, are without a scratch. Nothing broke and the case still look pristine.
    Why didn’t I tried this an hour and a half ago ?

    Oh, yeah, the drive.
    I put it on my trusty USB-ATA dongle and the drive came up but hung during chkdsk so I parked it in front of the AC and crank the temp way down. No error after an hour. Data seems to be all there, so far.

    Oh, lookey here.
    Somebody’s got a Samsung 500g pocket drive on sale for $52
    Hey, for less than what I paid for this brick I can buy TWO drives and get him to do redundant archives so I won’t have to go through this again.
    I’m off to the store…..

  • Rick B

    Travis-
    Thank you for your post. My FreeAgent Pro 750GB failed as well. Because of your post, I hoped the assessment of a failed interface unit was correct and that the drive and data could be salvaged. I was able to extract the standard SATA drive by following your instructions. The E: drive now lives again in my second HDD slot in my aging Dell Optiplex 4700. Cost to repair was one SATA data cable – $7.99, Thanks!

  • SM

    Travis, many thanks for putting this up. Only if had noticed this one a little earlier. First, I really hate this external HDD. Copying of big chunks of data e.g. 5 – 10 GB had failed many times for me. And, one day this was not recognized as a drive at all. I guessed that the USB/Firewire interface might have conked out. So, began my “expedition” to open up the casing and get the drive out and hook it up with a SATA – USB adapter. The bottom comes off in no time. But, whoever designed the casing didn’t want it to taken off by any Tom, Dick or Harry :) . I caught a lucky break when I pried open the top clip and realize that there were clips :(. However, I didn’t realize that the bottom two could be opened the way you described. I was too mad after struggling with the darn casing and ending up with a bleeding finger. I was lucky to retain 3 clips. I lost one. Now that the drive is finally out, I need to get that SATA-USB thing from the local computer accessory shop and check whether my HDD is ok. In fact I took pics in my cell phone after taking the cover off and was thinking of posting it somewhere. That’s when I noticed your blog entry in my Google search result. The earlier ones were mostly You Tube videos showing a different model.

  • Vin

    Travis, thanks for helping all of us out! I managed to free my Seagate 750 and am attempting to use it as an internal HD. I have it connected correctly, but my computer will not turn on, but when I disconnect the power cable from the Seagate my computer starts just fine. I’m certain that power is not an issue because I just purchased a new power supply that provides plenty of power. Any ideas to what the problem may be or how to fix it? Thanks

  • Mark Edington

    Either I’m just lucky or all this discussion about “releasing” clips is potentially misleading. After spending about 30 seconds trying to get to the clips with a piece of stiff wire I decided this was definitely not going to get the job done for me. Instead, I simply took a pair of needle nose pliers and inserted the tips into the slots at the bottom and PULLED the handles apart to create a prying action. This popped the clip closest to the bottom out without breaking it. Then I did the same thing on the other side of the enclosure. This left only the two clips nearest the top still holding the sides together. I just kept pulling with my hands (very hard), and those two finally released. The whole procedure took about two minutes and nothing was broken. I popped in a new 1TB drive and put everything back together.

  • Angus

    What a bunch of ******* that they wouldn’t just use screws like every other electronics manufacturer. Based on the number of seagate drives I have had fail (internal, external, firmware and non-firmware related) they have lost me as a customer as I now have one of these drives that isn’t working and I’m not dismantling it to fix it.

  • troy

    I was wondering if you had any images (or knew of any online) that detail how exactly the power button assembly works on this drive. I have to repair one, and there are a few wires disconnected that I’m not sure about. Even if there was an image of the bottom circuit board …that’d be helpful. Here’s an image of my drive and what I’m looking for….

    Thanks anyone in advance :)

    https://picasaweb.google.com/103719960317662421959/GeneralPhotos?authkey=Gv1sRgCK-glLjd0NLhLQ#5666760973884783042

  • Raj

    I tried for a good 30-45 minutes (possibly longer) to remove the casing clips with wire to no avail. I ended up just using a screw driver and peeling back the case, using brute strength to remove the top clips first and then rip off the bottom clips. My fingers hurt a lot as the casing is metal . However, despite all the knockings I gave the case, the drive maintained integrity and I was able to put it in another external enclosure with the drive fully intact and all files intact. Definitely, the failed drive was due to the enclosure and not the drive itself. I hate this particular Seagate FreeAgent Pro drive setup.

  • Alex Clark

    Hi Raj, I have a FreeAgent Pro that has just started making a clicking sound and won’t power up. I’m hoping it’s the enclosure and not the drive itself. What symptoms did your enclosure suffer and was the drive fine after you got it out? I am planning just to use brute force and break the case to get it open.

    Cheers

    Alex

  • Scottd

    Thank you!  almost scrapped my DVR backup drive thinking it was just dead and there was no way to get to it.  I would not want to put it back together, but the drive works in another enclosure just fine.

    I love the internet.

  • mike

    I had the same thing happen to my drive. Sorry to say, the clicking sound means your drive is dead. I wanted to use the enclosure over again. Due to the difficulty in removing the hard drive I don’t believe that is going to happen.

  • Hi… Have a freeagent pro 750 GB with me. the micro usb port is broken though the e-sata is intact… i am sure the sodering of contacts is broken….and no  other issue… can you help me disassemble  the interface adapter…. as i dont see an option to open it…. thanks in advance.

  • Cougar_df

     I have a 500GB version, but I have a different problem. The base the enclosure is attached to has no screws. I can’t even get the base off to access the actual casing. Do I just break off the base with force?

  • Dave

    Did you look under the little rubber feet?

  • Jimsworld

    My drive failed at 4 years 9 months. So I just sent in for warranty replacement.
    Luckily it was just a backup drive, and no actual real data was lost.

  • Got it done

    I spent two hours trying to get it open “Properly”. Finally i just wedged a small screwdriver into an opening and progressively used larger and larger drivers. Making my way around the entire enclosure until it was open, no broken clips.

  • Peter

    The metal side with the logo is gued to the plastic part with the clips. If like me you cannot get the clips to release with the wire then carefully but with a LOT of effort pry the sides apart. You will hear the glue slowly parting like velcro. If you take it slow and steady you willl get the metal side off. They used a lot of glue so it takes slow steady force to separate them without breaking them. Then unplug the led cable and put the metal part down. You will be able to use a flat head screwdriver to release the clips.

  • Morgan Freeman

    Seagate makes some seriously shitty products, this enclosure is proof of that. Impossible to open this damn enclosure.

  • geekasaurus

    Had a drive stop working that had 15 years worth of audio work backed up on it. I tried to unclip carefully with a series of screwdrivers but the glued down part was not letting me take it apart. After about a half hour of trying to be careful, I got a larger screwdriver and used brute force. It is even more difficult because it is a metal casing.
    Once the case is open – mangled or otherwise, the hard drive is completely enclosed in a metal cage. This is good because it protected it from all of the force it took to open the case. A small screwdriver can be used to pry open the folds of the metal cage to release the actual drive.
    Luckily, the hard drive was still good once hooked up to a computer as a normal internal drive.
    Truly the most ridiculous thing I have seen. This is meant to be a unit, not an enclosure…in my opinion if you need to get the information from the drive and want to rule out problems with the rest of it,,go ahead an mangle it if you have to.

  • jimrin

    Thanks for the tip. I also used the needle nose plier approach and it worked fairly quickly. The biggest problem I had was since this method of popping of the clips was non-destructive, the clips kept popping back into place. Anyway, only took me a few minutes to figure out the best way to get leverage with the needle nose pliers to pop it open.

  • JW

    Manju
    Did you ever figure out a way to solve this? I have the exact same problem

  • Jake

    In case anyone still reads this, that piece with the plastic clips is actually adhered to the bigger piece with adhesive. I think some heat would allow you to simply pull the Seagate logo piece away from it, then you would have much easier access to those clips

  • matchmade

    The base is made up of two sections clipped together. Push a thin flat-head screwdriver between the two sections and lever off the bottom one. This will expose three cross-headed screw heads, which you can undo to remove the bottom section. This will expose the underneath of the main structure, where there two even smaller cross-headed screws that hold the two halves of the main enclosure together.
    You will still need to lever apart the two main halves but this wasn’t too difficult.
    My problem remains that the socket part of the USB connector (above the power socket) has literally broken free from the hard drive, so I can’t connect the drive to my PC even once it is free of its enclose! Talk about cheap manufacture!
    And no, in case anyone asks, I haven’t been yanking my USB cable in and out of the drive: I leave it permanently attached and only connect the other end of the cable to my PC when it’s needed.

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