During a forensic examination, establishing a timeline of events is usually an important aspect of the analytical process; this may include establishing the manufactured date of a hard disk drive. In a data recovery scenario, this information may be relevant when attempting to identify donor drives for a head swap.
Many hard disks have this information directly on the label; however, older Seagate disks use a 4 or 5 digit numeric code (called a Date Code) which relates to the date of manufacture. The label below shows a Seagate Barracuda hard disk with a Date Code of 13395.
The format is simple enough, YYWD or YYWWD where Y is the year, W is the week number and D is the day number.
Seagate uses a fiscal year for their calculation which starts on the first Saturday in July (week 1), with the days of the week running from Saturday (day 1) through to Friday (day 7).
For example, the fiscal year 2021 starts on Saturday 4th July 2020 (Date Code 2111) and ends on Friday 2nd July 2021 (Date Code 21527).
To make it easier for you to decipher Seagate Date Codes, we have added decoding to our timestamp tool DCode™. With the Time Decoding tab selected, change the Value Input Format to Text. In the Value text box, enter the Seagate Date Code value. We have selected the Date Output Pattern to match just the date, without the time pattern. As we can see from the image below, our hard disk with the Date Code 13395 was manufactured on 3rd April 2013 (fiscal year 2013, week 39, day 5).
Our FREE DCode™ application can be downloaded below. DCode™ is capable of converting a large number of encoded timestamps into human-readable date/time values.