How do we decipher Seagate's "Date Code"?

  Simple question, but not obvious on their website, or in any of the various manuals I DL from there.  I have two Seagate drives on my desk, that the owner believes are less than two years old.  Seagate's online warranty page says the warranty has expired for both, which I can accept, but I'd like to know (and report back to the owner) exactly how old the drives are.
   The two codes, as printed on the drive labels, are "04142" and "04234".  I expect that this is as simple as "two digit year and three digit day", but I can't find anything to use as a reference and I'm not going to just assume that.  Besides, I thought that their drives came with a 3-year warranty.

   I have been able to establish that one of the two, labeled "OEM", was sold with a very limited Seagate warranty, so that one probably won't get replaced, but the other one was bought over the counter, so it should be new enough....
Who is Participating?
Apparently I am mistaken.  The way I described is the way it was when I was working with SG drives.  Apparently things are different now.  Please read below and excuse my attitude above.
Julian date.    the first 2 digits are the year, the last 3 are the numerical value assigned to the actual day in the year.  Picture a calendar except that instead of 30 days there are 365 or 366.  Heres a link with more info than you need on Julian calendars.

TPFLSandyAuthor Commented:
from talkinsmak:
> Julian date.

Thank you.

Yes, I described a "Julian Date"; I know what that is but I didn't consider it a common term so I simply described that encoding scheme.  I may not have been clear on my request, so I'll try again.

   I understood from your post that you are agreeing with me that this five-digit string appears to be two digits of year and three digits of date.  However, is it really Julian Date (number of days since December 31 of previous year), or number of days their factory was open, or number of 8-hour shifts, or something different that _looks_ like a Julian Date?
   Does anyone _know_ (rather than agreeing with me on what it looks like) what Seagate means by "Date Code" on their Hard Drive labels?  Is it, in fact, simply a Julian Date?  Is that actually written anywhere, on their website, in a HD owner's manual, or in some of their diagnostic software?
   I'm looking for an answer, that I can refer to, in the form of "Seagate's website says it is (FITB).  Here is the URL." or "I used to work for them.  It's something completely different, and they don't want it talked about" or even "It's Julian, but it's not written down anywhere."
Ultimate Tool Kit for Technology Solution Provider

Broken down into practical pointers and step-by-step instructions, the IT Service Excellence Tool Kit delivers expert advice for technology solution providers. Get your free copy now.

I used to be an authorized reseller for seagate.  I would look up a drive to check warranty status.  When i did this it would give me a date that the warranty expired.  If you look at the date code (04142 for example), you will notice that it coincides with the date that the drive was manufactured or warranty expires, i cant remember which.  

Now if you take that 1 step further and look at a julian calendar for year 2004 you will see that your drive was manufactured on 5/21/2004 and your warranty expiration will probably be 1, 2, 3 or 5 years from that date depending on the drive you purchased.

Check your warranty here:

View your julian calendar for 2004 here.

Get it????????????????????????????????????

>>>>>"Does anyone _know_ (rather than agreeing with me on what it looks like) what Seagate means by "Date Code" on their Hard Drive labels?"

I didnt agree with you.  I have working knowledge of this.  Consider yourself schooled!

Way too much work for 50 points.


TPFLSandyAuthor Commented:
Thanks for that link (which is an archived email which includes a quote from an apparent email from Seagate).

It says (as well as giving us a second link, which says the same thing)...

Date Code Shape: YYWD or YYWWD
  YY: fiscal year, beginning on the 1st Saturday of July YY-1
  W[1-9] or WW[10-52]: fiscal weeks from 1st Saturday of July YY-1
  D: days from the beginning of week WW (weeks run from Saturday to Friday)

...which can be used to laboriously construct a usable date, if it's really needed, but it's not very easy.  Ya know, some manufacturers that use obscure codes put a decoder on their website, so that people can tell how old their kit is.  Some even put human-readable dates on their kit.  This, IMHO, is senseless bafflegab and can only turn people away from their product.  There's no good reason to do this.

   My client's two drives, OEM "04142" and retail "04234", were built on the 2nd day of the 14th week and the 4th day of the 23rd week respectively of "FY04", which for them started July 3rd, 2003, which the US Military would call Julian Date 03184.
   So, adding 13 weeks (you start at 0411, in Seagate's system) and 1 day you get 184 + (13*7) + 1 = Julian Date 03276, or October 3rd, 2003 for the OEM one with basically no warranty, and 184 + (22*7) + 3 = Julian Date 03341, or December 7th, 2003 for the retail drive which would still be under warranty if it had been the 3-year version.

   Thank you for digging until we got an answer!
TPFLSandyAuthor Commented:
Oh, yeah, for any lurkers or future viewers:

   Get yer US Government-style Julian Calendar here:

   It simply assigns a number to each day of the year, starting with January 1 as "1" and ending with December 31 as "365" (of course, every 4th year is different, so keep track of that!).

   If Seagate wants to start their "Fiscal Year" on the "First Saturday of July in the previous year", then you've gotta look at a real calendar to figure out what that date was, and look at a Julian Date converter (above link) for the Julian Date.  In 2003, that was July 3rd, which was the 184th day of the year.  Once you've got _that_, it's a simple matter of subtracting 1 from the "WW" code, since they start in week "1" instead of week "0", and multiplying by 7.  Add that number to the Julian Date that you got above, add the day of the week "D" code (subtracting 1 again since they start with 1), and take the resulting sum back to your Julian Calendar for conversion back to a human-readable date.  Note that if you get a number greater than 365 (or 366 in a leap year), it means sometime in the following calendar year.  Subtract 365 (or 366) and look up the remainder as the following year.
   I think I'll start buying from their competitors.  This is just stupid.
TPFLSandyAuthor Commented:
  To follow up on this, I just installed a new Seagate drive in that machine, with date code "07161" - clearly NOT a standard "Julian Date", as we are not yet in 2007 and certainly haven't yet reached the 161st day of that year.
   Following the above instructions, however, decodes this to October 12, 2006 as a manufacturing date.  Now, this is entirely reasonable for a drive made somewhere on the Pacific Rim, shipped to the US, and held by a wholesaler for a couple of weeks before being sold to a retailer (me) on November 22.  I think that we can safely conclude that we understand Seagate's idiotic coding system.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.