Why is this Important?
During a forensic examination, establishing a timeline of events is usually an important aspect in the analytical process. This may involve you having to identify when a hard disk was manufactured. If you are a data recovery engineer, this information can also be useful when trying to identify donor drives and components for a head swap. If the hard disk is an older Seagate, you will be faced with the prospect of trying to decipher the cryptic Seagate Date Code. Don’t worry, we have a solution.
What is a Seagate Date Code?
The timestamp is encoded using a 4 or 5 digit numeric code which relates to the date of manufacture of the hard disk. Many hard disks have the date of manufacture printed directly on the label; however, older Seagate disks use a numeric date code.
The image below shows a label from a Seagate Barracuda hard disk. The Date Code shown is 13395.
Seagate Date Code Format
So how do we decode this number? 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).
Free Decoding Tool
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 box, enter the Seagate Date Code. We have selected the Date Output Pattern to match a long date pattern which includes the day of the week. As we can see from the image below, our hard disk with the Date Code 13395 was manufactured on Wednesday 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. For more information, please visit: DCode™ – Timestamp Decoder.