Seagate Technology, the top-ranked manufacturer of hard disk drives, said that it would soon begin offering some models of its Barracuda drive family with the English version of the LindowsOS operating system preinstalled.

The software, which is based on the open-source Linux operating system and produced by Lindows.com, will be loaded on some 40GB Barracuda 7200.7 drives and they will initially be available between October and December this year, Seagate said in a statement.

The drives cost no more than Seagate's conventional drives and will mean personal computer makers won't have to spend time installing the operating system because the drives and software will automatically detect hardware and configure the system for optimal performance without any interaction, said Seagate. The time saved by using the drives could be worth up to US$100 per computer for white-box manufacturers, according to Seagate's estimate.

The drive being offered is a 7,200 rpm (revolutions per minute) model with an ATA interface, 8.5 millisecond seek time and 711M bps (bits per second) maximum internal transfer rate.

Seagate is the number one manufacturer of hard disk drives. It shipped 65 million hard disk drives in 2002 and had a 29.4 percent share of the worldwide market, according to an estimate from market research company IDC. That put it ahead of Maxtor, which had a 23.4 percent share, Western Digital at 15.9 percent and IBM Corp. at 13.1 percent. IBM has since sold its hard disk drive operations to Japan's Hitachi Ltd., which had a 3.7 percent share in 2002.