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Samsung Electronics, the No.1 manufacturer of memory and a promising maker of hard disk drives, plans to increase warranty on its HDDs to five years in an attempt to offer service inline with competing makers like Seagate and WD, who also extended warranties recently.

The move which details are to be finalized shortly, will allow Samsung customers to replace defective HDDs that were made after August, 2004. The replacement process is said to be conducted within 24 hours after the customer’s HDD is brought to a Samsung service center. Though, such details may vary depending on the region.

Samsung's officials did not comment on the story with details for extended warranties.

Virtually all makers of hard disk drives, except Samsung, have shrunk the warranty on HDDs intended to personal computers from three years to one since 2002. The majority of hard disks aimed at consumer PCs shipping today come with one year limited warranty, which does not satisfy some customers, who want to have more reliable storage for their data.

Manufacturers of storage devices cited the absence of necessity for three year warranties back in 2002 and 2003, claiming that potentially faulty hard disk drives would become malfunction throughout the first year of use. At the same time they said that shortened warranties are likely to reduce the support cost, which may have an effect on HDD pricing.

Three well-known companies – IBM, Quantum and Fujitsu – either sold or just suspended their HDD business in 2002. In the mid- and late-nineties a number of other companies, such as Conner, also either ceased to exist or shelved storage businesses.

Rapid technology development amid fierce competition in the field of storage are also among the most important factors that forced HDD makers to trim their warranty services earlier, it looks like with Seagate’s announcement the trend reverses and manufacturers of storage products for consumers will offer HDDs with longer support.

Seagate Technology has already announced the initiative to offer 5-year warranty with its hard disk drives, Maxtor Corp. is likely to follow with extension shortly.

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