Seagate 1.5 TB Windows Home Server Problems

As I mentioned previously, I added a Seagate 1.5 TB drive to my Windows Home Server just under two months ago. Things were fine until this week when my WHS began acting up. Problems were sporadic, it would either just stop communicating for a couple of minutes or in one case, until rebooted. Disk access was also excruciatingly slow at times. There were some disk time-outs logged in the event log but they didn’t specify the physical disk affected. There was even one case of apparent file corruption. I say “apparent” because any attempt to access the files or view their properties (or delete them) resulted in the server access problem. No error, just a complete lack of response. I eventually resolved that by deleting the directory that contained the files and restoring the known good files from backup.

I was eventually able to trace down that the problems occurred when the 1.5 TB drive was being used.

Now, it’s not that the drive has been dormant for these two months. What changed this week is that the Windows Home Server has been in almost constant use copying files back and forth along with streaming videos. Based on what’s currently on the drive this also seems to be the first week where most of the video I’ve been streaming is located on that drive. It’s the drive currently catching most new files and it’s the new files I’ve been streaming.

A Google search quickly turned up a problem with the Seagate 1.5 TB drives. Sure enough, my drive has the affected model number and firmware. So, as I sit here writing this post the WHS drive wizard is removing the drive. Hopefully it will run to completion. I’ll replace the drive with a spare Western Digital 1 TB drive while I figure out how to update the Seagate’s firmware. Apparently the firmware needs to be burned to CD, then the CD needs to be booted on a computer where the drive to be updated is the only one connected. Simple, if you have a desktop handy, but I’m not about to crack open my iMac to do it so it’ll take some time to find the desktop. I’m hoping I can create a bootable USB with the firmware and then use my WHS with the Seagate as the only connected HDD.

Some additional information on the problem:

Seagate announcement of the problem and instructions for getting the firmware are here.

That announcement is part of a long forum thread that starts here.

Here’s another forum post with a way to test for the problem. (I haven’t downloaded the utility or done the test. I may try it if I find a PC to hook the drive up to.)

Drobo has temporarily decertified the drives for their Drobo hardware which they announced here.

The announcement of the firmware update was made in early November so I’d be concerned that drives with the buggy firmware are still in stores. Seagate will verify model and firmware versions before giving you the firmware, but affected drives seem to be part numbers 9JU138-300, 336 with firmware revisions SD15, SD17, or SD18.