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I did it! I am so grateful to Gradius and this board. I ultimately followed the guide here: http://sites.google.com/site/seagatefix/Home which was created by Brad Garcia with the help of this forum. This three-month old HP computer belongs to an elderly couple. They were heartbroken about their data loss--pictures of the grandkids, medical records, etc. A couple of hours of research led me to the Seagate brick problem and ultimately, here. HP Support was absolutely appalling, as I expected. They denied knowledge of the problem, even though it is well documented on their site. Why they did not at least contact their larger vendors and at least offer a firmware upgrade is beyond me. These computers were sold knowingly with time-bomb hard drives. I followed the procedure in the above link almost exactly, with one exception: after entering the F3 1>N1 command, I entered F3 1>/ and then the partition code: F3 T>m0,2,2,0,0,0,0,22 (enter). Without that extra step, it kept getting stuck at the end. I never got the "User Partition Format Successful" message, even after waiting for more than 20 minutes and trying a few times. That one bit of code I found here saved the day. It seems like some who are trying to use USB-type connections are having scattered success. I used the RS232 to TTL adapter from AllDav, and actually soldered. I was scared to death. I have never soldered before. Believe me, if I can do it, anyone can. I managed to burn my finger, but it worked perfectly. Luckily I had an old PIII sitting in the closet to cannibalize wires and such. I did not use a battery. I used molex to SATA for power on the drive and it worked fine. I cannibalized a hard drive enclosure to get power to the RS232 to TTL adapter. I know nothing about electricity, and I had my fingers crossed big time when I turned it all on. I used Putty instead of Hyperterminal. It worked great. Again, thanks so much. It felt really good to be able to help these people. Their computer is up and running perfectly!