Do you guys test your harddrives before putting them to use? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 43 Old 04-06-2013, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Don't want any badblocks or mechanical problems in my new drive. How do you guys test your drives?
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post #2 of 43 Old 04-06-2013, 08:43 AM
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I dont test anything. I just install and use it.

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post #3 of 43 Old 04-06-2013, 09:35 AM
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Never tested an hdd, I also just install it and use it like Mfusick

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post #4 of 43 Old 04-06-2013, 11:54 AM
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Ditto
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post #5 of 43 Old 04-06-2013, 12:32 PM
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If you have the patience for it, I've always been recommended to do a full format on new drives because it will check for bad sectors. It's the same thing as doing a quick format and then using CHKDSK /R
Alternatively, a quick search turned up this tool which seemed to be well regarded, but I haven't tried it myself.
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post #6 of 43 Old 04-06-2013, 02:06 PM
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I test internal HDDs before first use (i.e. prior to setting MBR/GPT, partitioning, formatting) using extended SMART test with full block/surface scan. I try to use the manufacturer's dedicated tool to test their HDD product, such as Seagate SeaTools, Hitachi Drive Fitness Test, WD Data Lifeguard, etc.

In the case of external HDDs... I just use those right away, since they've already been formatted from the factory.

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post #7 of 43 Old 04-06-2013, 04:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Stress testing HDDs before usage is a good practice IMO. It can separate drives which will die in a few months from drives which will function for years. As for using tools from manufacturers, I hear they are mainly to reduce warranty claims and aren't to be trusted as viable testing tool. I found a neat little post over at hardforum on how to thoroughly test drives before deploying them to production. It requires a bit of command line work.

http://hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1039465768&postcount=14
Quote:
I just did a bunch of reading and I found out that, and I quote, "The badblocks -wvs command will run four wipes on the drive, writing the patterns 0xaa, 0x55, 0xff, and 0x00 across the entire disk, respectively. It also performs a read test after each full write." It looks like my 1TB HDD will take 6 to 8 hours to complete that test. Meanwhile, you can choose what DBAN does, from a totally unreasonable 35-pass paranoia test that will take days to complete, to just a single pass of writing zeroes which will finish relatively quickly.

The man page for badblocks is here.

I also found this page, in which it is suggested to run badblocks and then the SMART long (extended) test. I did find occasional posts complaining that badblocks found bad sectors while SMART long test didn't, and vice versa, so it would seem to make sense to run both on a new drive.

So the process I'm working through now is:

1. Make a Parted Magic boot disk, and boot your PC with it.
2. Double-click "Disk Health", which opens GSmartControl, and it will be made as clear as it can be which drive is which. In my example, the drive on which I want to run read/write tests (which destroys all data!) is /dev/sdb, while the drives that have data that I don't want to lose are /dev/sda and /dev/sdc.
3. While still in GSmartControl, double-click the drive you want to test, then select the Attributes tab. Make note of the raw values of "Reallocated Sector Count" and "Current Pending Sector Count" (both are zero in my example).
4. Close GSmartControl and click the ROXTerm icon on the taskbar on the bottom to get a command line. Type
lshw -C disk
and you will get a list of the disks with info about each one, where you can confirm that you know which drive you want to do the test on by looking at the logical name.
5. Now for the badblocks command, which will take many hours. If you want to do a destructive read/write test on a new (or blank) drive with no data on (for example) the /dev/sdb drive, type
badblocks -wvs /dev/sdb
If you want to do a non-destructive read/write test on (for example) the /dev/sdc drive with data you don't want to lose, type
badblocks -nvs /dev/sdc
6. When it's done, go back to Drive Health (GSmartControl), double-click the drive you just ran badblocks on, select the Attributes tab and check the raw values of "Reallocated Sector Count" and "Current Pending Sector Count" to see if they have changed from before.
7. Click the Perform Tests tab and choose to perform the Extended Self-test, which should take several hours, and again check the Attributes to see if they have changed.

This will scan for bad blocks by writing some patterns (0xaa, 0x55, 0xff, 0x00) on every block of the device, reading every block and comparing the contents to make sure the data matches what was written. This gives the mechanics of a drive a good work out too.
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post #8 of 43 Old 04-06-2013, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amarshonarbangla View Post

Don't want any badblocks or mechanical problems in my new drive. How do you guys test your drives?

It takes a long time

I use 2Tb Hitachi Consumer Deskstars, it takes about 30hours to test and analyze every sector on that drive. After that I low level format that drive using the manufacture's tool (DFT), that takes about 4 hours.
Norton used to have a very good diskdiag tool but they scrapped it about 5 years ago, I use SpeedTools on a Mac today which the closest, Gibson's Spinrite on windows is another alternative.

Out of a batch of 12 new drives, 4 failed this test and had to be RMAed, it was easy in my case as I bought it locally. This test is very useful to get the early failures, this batch has been running about 3 years with no failures, the server it is on has SMART and weekly scrub of the media.
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post #9 of 43 Old 04-06-2013, 07:56 PM
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I've had few enough problems on enough HDDs to not bother worry .


It's rare you get a bad drive .

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post #10 of 43 Old 04-06-2013, 08:03 PM
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I just built an unRAID server and it's taking all the patience I have to run the recommended 3 preclear cycles for new drives (3x3TB WD Reds) before I start my array. I'm in the 3rd cycle now and each of the first 2 taking about 45 hours.

I'm not nearly technical enough to assess the merits of this. I just figure with hard drives being far and away my biggest investment in this it doesn't hurt to wait a week and follow the recommended testing before playing with my new toy.
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post #11 of 43 Old 04-06-2013, 09:57 PM
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Funny this thread is new. I've got a 1TB WD Green in my HTPC, from a My Book World, that's slowly been dying the past few months. About a week ago it started to really act up, so today I went to Big Blue and bought a 2TB Green to replace it. It's currently formatting as I type this. But first thing I did, was run a full WD Lifeguard diagnostics on it. Once it's done formatting, I'm going to run a a CHKDSK /R.

The drive it's replacing has been a headache since about 6 months after I got the MyBook. About 1 and a half years after buying it (the My Book), it crashed craptastically and I couldn't access it at all. I ripped the drive out of the NAS and I used UFS Explorer to mount and recover 99% of my data in a Windows environment (since the MyBook was partitioned as EXT3 or XFS, don't remember). I ran HD Tune Pro on the problem drive tonight. Get this, in the 21,993 hours of being powered, the drive has a load cycle count of 129,339! That means the heads have been parked and unparked an average of 142 times a day for the last 3 years!!!!!! No wonder the drive is dying (1462 bad sectors). I'll be running WDIDLE and changing the autopark time for the heads from 8 seconds to 5 minutes.

I just discovered this "autopark" feature on the WD Green drives a couple days ago. General consensus is that it leads to premature drive failure. Especially when used in a RAID, NAS, HTPC type setting. WD says otherwise of course. My advice is this, if you use the WD Green drives, use WDIDLE to change the timing on this so called feature. I've read some things saying that some of the Black series drives have this "feature" enabled as well.
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post #12 of 43 Old 04-07-2013, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zagnutty View Post

Funny this thread is new. I've got a 1TB WD Green in my HTPC, from a My Book World, that's slowly been dying the past few months. About a week ago it started to really act up, so today I went to Big Blue and bought a 2TB Green to replace it. It's currently formatting as I type this. But first thing I did, was run a full WD Lifeguard diagnostics on it. Once it's done formatting, I'm going to run a a CHKDSK /R.

The drive it's replacing has been a headache since about 6 months after I got the MyBook. About 1 and a half years after buying it (the My Book), it crashed craptastically and I couldn't access it at all. I ripped the drive out of the NAS and I used UFS Explorer to mount and recover 99% of my data in a Windows environment (since the MyBook was partitioned as EXT3 or XFS, don't remember). I ran HD Tune Pro on the problem drive tonight. Get this, in the 21,993 hours of being powered, the drive has a load cycle count of 129,339! That means the heads have been parked and unparked an average of 142 times a day for the last 3 years!!!!!! No wonder the drive is dying (1462 bad sectors). I'll be running WDIDLE and changing the autopark time for the heads from 8 seconds to 5 minutes.

I just discovered this "autopark" feature on the WD Green drives a couple days ago. General consensus is that it leads to premature drive failure. Especially when used in a RAID, NAS, HTPC type setting. WD says otherwise of course. My advice is this, if you use the WD Green drives, use WDIDLE to change the timing on this so called feature. I've read some things saying that some of the Black series drives have this "feature" enabled as well.

I have been wanting to run WDIDLE on my green drives but scared it will mess something up. I presume it's a pretty safe operation?
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post #13 of 43 Old 04-07-2013, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amarshonarbangla View Post

I have been wanting to run WDIDLE on my green drives but scared it will mess something up. I presume it's a pretty safe operation?

I've done it on countless WD greens I have with never a problem for exactly this reason; the load cycle count skyrockets with an 8 second spin down time. Personally I just disable it completely. Good to do it on a system where you boot from a thumb drive and the green drive is the only one physically attached to the board or powered up though. Impossible to make a mistake that way. Kind of makes buying a Green drive pointless though.
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post #14 of 43 Old 04-07-2013, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amarshonarbangla View Post

I have been wanting to run WDIDLE on my green drives but scared it will mess something up. I presume it's a pretty safe operation?

There's always a chance something can go wrong when doing something like this. But I've yet to read an instance of someone losing data. Glorpsd mentioned disabling it completely. And while many people have, there have been reports of people running into problems by disabling it completely. Most seem to opt for a 5 minute (300 second) park time.

I haven't changed mine yet, but will be in a bit before I start recovering data off the failing drive.

**EDIT**
Just changed mine. Took all of 2 minutes.

Here's simple instructions on how to do it:

Step 1: Download ISO: http://www.readynas.com/contributed/CommanderQ/FreeDOS%20WDIDLE3.iso
Step 2: Use this tool and 'burn' the ISO to a USB drive: http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/
Step 3: Make sure you have all the HDDs ready
Step 4: Unplug your existing PC HDDs, plug in as many WD Greens as you can into the PC
Step 5: Boot, go into BIOS and set it to boot off the USB (sometimes this means turning off AHCI and setting SATA to IDE mode. I didn't have to. YMMV)
Step 6: Boot from USB, select BootCD (option 2)
Step 7: Type WDIDLE3 /R
It will tell you that the IDLE is set to 8seconds, default
Step 8: Type WDIDLE3 /S300
This sets the idle to 5mins (300seconds).
Step 9: Type WDIDLE3 /R (again, to make sure its changed to 300 seconds from 8 seconds)
Done!

On a final note, some people choose to only plug one drive in at a time. This requires rebooting for each drive. This is how I did it. This can also be done by burning the ISO and making a boot cd. I chose the USB option because it's faster.

I also chose to format the new drive using 64k allocation unit size since dealing with mostly large file sizes.
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post #15 of 43 Old 04-07-2013, 12:17 PM
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I remember when I got flamed hard for suggesting such about green drives.. and explaining head parking. Nice to see I was not crazy.
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post #16 of 43 Old 04-07-2013, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I remember when I got flamed hard for suggesting such about green drives.. and explaining head parking. Nice to see I was not crazy.

Not at all. There has to be a reason why so many of these drives fail to live more than 2 years. The fact that WD continues to say this isn't an issue is total BS IMO. If that's the case, then there is a serious design flaw somewhere that nobody is aware of. And if that were the case, then they wouldn't have put out a utility that allows modifying the head park time. This is the first HDD I've had fail on me in less than 2 years time in my 20 years of building PC's.
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post #17 of 43 Old 04-07-2013, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by zagnutty View Post

Glorpsd mentioned disabling it completely. And while many people have, there have been reports of people running into problems by disabling it completely. Most seem to opt for a 5 minute (300 second) park time.

Here's simple instructions on how to do it:

In my case they are all in a WHS which, for whatever reason, seems to constantly poll the disks and spin them up as soon as they spin down. I watched the load cycle count over several days to get a feel for that. It's probably WHS' disk status polling so it can report drive failures.

Anyway I figured if I go to 5 mins, that's 288 cycles/day, ~105,000 per year, 300,000+/ 3 years which pretty much equals the design spec for load cycle. So I just decided to disable it. Other's mileage may vary particularly if not in a WHS.

Your procedure is exactly what I did too except one drive at a time so's I could stop if I broke one smile.gif
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post #18 of 43 Old 04-07-2013, 12:58 PM
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Geez, I didn't do the math and didn't realize it was still 288 cycles a day. And for some reason I was thinking were designed for about 600k cycles in a lifetime. I might just try disabling it on mine after all.
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post #19 of 43 Old 04-07-2013, 01:14 PM
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If you've got them set at 5 min I'd just monitor them in use with SMART and see how fast the load cycle count increases for a while to get a sense of what to expect. If it's maxing out per day then you might want to go back and disable otherwise probably fine.
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post #20 of 43 Old 04-07-2013, 01:30 PM
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Thanks for this, I was not aware that they were parking the head after 8 seconds of being idle! At least I don't let my drives spin down. (well, I'm debating between that, and letting them spin down after an hour or so of being idle)
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post #21 of 43 Old 04-07-2013, 02:22 PM
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True or false: WD is the only drive manufacturer to use head parking.

(Some of you who are railing against head parking but are for other products without knowing this answer or what is happening inside your non-WD drive may be pretty surprised.)


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post #22 of 43 Old 04-07-2013, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by assassin View Post

True or false: WD is the only drive manufacturer to use head parking.

(Some of you who are railing against head parking but are for other products without knowing this answer or what is happening inside your non-WD drive may be pretty surprised.)

False.

Samsung F3/F4 drives do at a much slower parking time, non-adjustable.

Seagate I dunno. I don't use them but I would assume so since the point of being green is to stop the big ol' drive motor from spinning when not in use.
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post #23 of 43 Old 04-07-2013, 03:21 PM
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Most drive manufacturers park heads as far as I know. But at 8 seconds for the WD Green drives (and as I said before, Black series are confirmed to as well and can be adjusted with WDIDLE), that's just crazy. Not sure what kind of timing other manufacturers use.

That's 1080 parks in a day, if parked every 8 seconds. At that rate, the life expectancy of 300k cycles is reached in just 278 days. Not even one year of life expectancy. Surprised they have a 2yr warranty with that to be honest.
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post #24 of 43 Old 04-07-2013, 04:01 PM
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Most drive manufacturers park heads as far as I know. But at 8 seconds for the WD Green drives (and as I said before, Black series are confirmed to as well and can be adjusted with WDIDLE), that's just crazy. Not sure what kind of timing other manufacturers use.

That's 1080 parks in a day, if parked every 8 seconds. At that rate, the life expectancy of 300k cycles is reached in just 278 days. Not even one year of life expectancy. Surprised they have a 2yr warranty with that to be honest.

I don't buy it. Neither do a lot of other people. If your theory is correct then my multiple 3+ year old green drives are made from magic pixie dust.

There are just so many inaccuracies and blind faith assumptions when discussing this subject its maddening. The fact that others can't report the head drive parking schema of other manufacturers yet hold them as vastly superior is further proof.

Much more important things are internal parts, firmware revisions, facility where they were made, etc. Since no one can report these either its just additional proof that its all a crap shoot.

Put another way a Q1 wd 2tb green drive may be an entirely different beast than a Q2 wd 2tb green.

Just my opinion of course.


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post #25 of 43 Old 04-07-2013, 05:34 PM
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This is just speculation - but could it also be that because I would think us and even average Joe buy more HDDs than any other computer component - that they are more mass produced - and then just on odds alone you're bound to find more/come across more defective HDD's than other components?
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post #26 of 43 Old 04-07-2013, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zagnutty View Post

Not at all. There has to be a reason why so many of these drives fail to live more than 2 years. The fact that WD continues to say this isn't an issue is total BS IMO. If that's the case, then there is a serious design flaw somewhere that nobody is aware of. And if that were the case, then they wouldn't have put out a utility that allows modifying the head park time. This is the first HDD I've had fail on me in less than 2 years time in my 20 years of building PC's.
You do realise that the failure of a single drive has no statistical significance whatsoever, right?

I've been seeing this "problem" reported over and over again ever since the WD Greens were released, but I've yet to see any evidence (with meaningful sample sizes) that their overall failure rate is higher than any others. If it were such a major issue, you'd think by now WD would have simply tweaked the firmware to save on all those warranty claims...
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post #27 of 43 Old 04-08-2013, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by zagnutty View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I remember when I got flamed hard for suggesting such about green drives.. and explaining head parking. Nice to see I was not crazy.

Not at all. There has to be a reason why so many of these drives fail to live more than 2 years. The fact that WD continues to say this isn't an issue is total BS IMO. If that's the case, then there is a serious design flaw somewhere that nobody is aware of. And if that were the case, then they wouldn't have put out a utility that allows modifying the head park time. This is the first HDD I've had fail on me in less than 2 years time in my 20 years of building PC's.


I've owned 50 HDDS and never has as consistently poor luck as with the WD greens.

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post #28 of 43 Old 04-08-2013, 06:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zagnutty View Post

Not at all. There has to be a reason why so many of these drives fail to live more than 2 years. The fact that WD continues to say this isn't an issue is total BS IMO. If that's the case, then there is a serious design flaw somewhere that nobody is aware of. And if that were the case, then they wouldn't have put out a utility that allows modifying the head park time. This is the first HDD I've had fail on me in less than 2 years time in my 20 years of building PC's.
You do realise that the failure of a single drive has no statistical significance whatsoever, right?

I've been seeing this "problem" reported over and over again ever since the WD Greens were released, but I've yet to see any evidence (with meaningful sample sizes) that their overall failure rate is higher than any others. If it were such a major issue, you'd think by now WD would have simply tweaked the firmware to save on all those warranty claims...

I'm batting at almost 100%.

7 greens of various size and model with 6 RMA swap outs for failure. All purchased different times.

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post #29 of 43 Old 04-08-2013, 06:27 AM
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It's not a matter if all HDDs use head parking.

It's a matter about WD green being the least reliable and lowest endurance in general. Assuming there is no serious discount for them then they are certainly a very bad choice overall for use in media server.

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post #30 of 43 Old 04-08-2013, 07:27 AM
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I am also batting 100%. All original wd green drives fully operational.

We have used green, black and red drives. No real issues with any of them to be honest. Purchase the best bang for the buck regardless of color.


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