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      Getting Help   11/07/17

      If you're experiencing problems with the software, the best way to get ahold of us is to head to https://stablebit.com/Contact, especially if this is a licensing issue.    Issues submitted there are checked first, and handled more aggressively. So, especially if the problem is urgent, please head over there first. 
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matthew.austin

Load Cycle Count on Seagate Backup Plus 5TB

Question

Hi Folks, I have a Seagate Backup Plus 5TB external drive I picked up on Black Friday 2014, so it's only about 8 months old.  When I bought it, I immediately added it to my pool and set it to never sleep in SeaTools. Additionally, I have windows set to never sleep the hard drives as well in the advanced power settings.  

 

The other day, Stablebit Scanner throws me a warning, saying I've now exceeded 300,000 "load cycles".  Three days later, that number has jumped by 1,400 and is growing steadily and quickly.  

 

I don't think the drive is actually parking that often, but what I'm wondering is twofold threefold:  

 

1) How can I tell for sure?   Is it possible that the SMART data is reporting incorrectly? Is that a likely scenario?

2) Is there a setting I could have missed for sleep or something?  When I set up my pool, I told windows power settings not to ever put the disks to sleep, and on every drive I add, I make sure to tell it not to put the drive to sleep in the Firmware.  I thought I had my bases covered.  

3) But even if it were parking the head routinely, it shouldn't be able to accumulate 1,400+ in just three days, right?  

 

I ran a full sector scan and everything came back perfect. Would I be able to RMA this with seagate even though Seatools checks out okay when I scan it with that?  Should I be worried?  All other SMART parameters seem just fine. The load cycle count is the only one throwing errors or causing concern with Scanner. 

 

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give!

 

-Matt

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I know this topic is a little bit old, but there is some misinformation above.

Seagate DOES have a tool Tools are available that work something similar to WDIDLE3.

Instructions can be found here:  http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=68760

It works, although I couldn't get Win32 to boot on my computer, so I used RUFUS to create the bootable USB drive and just copied HDAT2 onto it.

I don't know how important the LCC count is. I have 5 WD Green drives with counts over 1 million and 1 drive over 2 million.

Also, I have 5 Seagate drives with counts well over 1 million. None of them have failed.

I didn't know I had a problem until I recently built a WHS2011 server and put Stablebit Scanner on it.

I had a WHS V1 server for the last 7 years and the SMART scanner on it never indicated there was a problem.

 

 

Edit by Christopher (Drashna): 

In theory, the "Disk Control" option in StableBit Scanner is capable of doing this as well, and persistent after reboot. 

To do so:

  1. Right click on the disk in question
  2. Select "Disk Control"
  3. Uncheck "Advanced Power Management" 
  4. Hit "Set". 

This should configure the drive to turn off the power management.  However, please do keep in mind that the drive may report that it is still active, after closing and re-opening the window. 

The best way to confirm is to check to see if the head parking has quieted down. 

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Unfortunately, sleep and parking the heads is a completely different thing. :(

 

  1. This is most likely accurate. YOu should be able to check with the SeaTools utility, I believe (if it reports SMART data). And that should be accurate.
     
  2. For the Seagate Drives? nope, not really. There is no Seagate equivalent to the WDIDLE3 tool which configures this, so there isn't really anything that can be done here.  
     
  3. This depends on the activity, really.  It's entirely possible based on the drive's usage, and it's firmware, unfortunately. 

Worst case here, do check with SeaTools.  If it does report the SMART data here, and it is off, then please do let us know.

And in this case, select the drive in StableBit Scanner, click on the "SMART details", and check the "Submit to BitFlock" option at the bottom of the window.  It may take a couple of minutes to generate an ID, but once it does, post that here.

 

 

However, if everything else is coming back fine, then the drive may be just fine.  If you start seeing other SMART errors, then you may definitely have a problem.

Also, if you're using this in StableBit DrivePool, you could use the balancer options (specifically the "Drive Usage Limiter"  balancer) to only place duplicated data on the drive.  That would make sure that if the drive does fail unexpectedly, you won't lose anything.

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Thanks for the reply. I'm a little embarrassed that I didn't know the difference considering I manage an IT help desk for a living!  But we'll just move past that.  :)  

 

And SeaTools is interesting.  The drive shows up as ready to test, but if I go to Basic Tasks > Drive Information it says that SMART is "Not Supported", so I can't read the values with SeaTools.  For funsies, here's the bitflock ID from the Scanner software: B6X6QLOS

 

I use my drive pool for usenet downloading with Sonarr (so it usually grabs a few files a night automatically) and SabNZBD+ and to share out my media collection via Plex Media Server.  There's usually one or two users per night connecting to stream content for a couple of hours.  

 

Since anything I have that I would be worried about losing is already duplicated, I'm not terribly worried about data loss, but just surprised to see a drive hitting a "wear out" level on one of the SMART parameters in less than 9 months. 

 

I think I'll keep my eyes open on amazon's Prime Day next wednesday, and see if i can nab a WD drive instead.  SeaTools scans show the drive as fine.  

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Matthew,

 

It's not a problem. If you're not familiar with the storage stuff. IT is a very large category, and there is a LOT there!

 

As for the SeaTools, it has issues with "nonstandard" connections. So that it's in a USB enclosure may be "too much" for it.

 

As for the SMART data, it looks fine.  So it may be a case of the USB firmware being overzealous. 

However, it's is a lot, and the average per day is nearly 30 times the other drive you have. So watch out for any other issues with this drive.

 

As for replacing the drive, .... well, I'd replace that ST3000DM001 drive you have. It's got a high uncorrectable sector count, and high reallocated sector count. I've .... had too many of these drives, and that's pretty much a sure sign that it's having mechanical issues.

 

 

 

And WD, Seagate, they both have issues.  So it may not matter what brand.  But if you see a good deal on Amazon's Prime Day, definitely grab a few..

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The ST3000DM001 was removed from the pool some time ago, actually, it's failure is why I got my 5TB drive last year.  However, I did use its enclosure to make a Hitachi DeskStar 5k3000 into an external drive, so maybe that's what it's seeing?  Or perhaps it's storing cached info from before.  Right now all I have is the 5TB and two of the 3TB deskstars.  

 

My 5TB backup plus is in its original Seagate USB enclosure, connected via this USB 3.0 card:  http://amzn.com/B00E6EBSAM

 

If I need to replace the card for a recommended model, I'll gladly do that.  While I'm not too concerned with data loss, I definitely don't want my system chewing through HDDs every 8-12 months either!

Thanks,

 

Matt

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Ah, okay. It may be old data then. :)

 

And it definitely was a seagate drive that it showed (that's how I knew the model).

 

If I need to replace the card for a recommended model, I'll gladly do that.  While I'm not too concerned with data loss, I definitely don't want my system chewing through HDDs every 8-12 months either!

Definitely not. that's not a good thing. But that's also what the warranty is for. ;)

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Use Keepalive HD, as it not the drive, but the controller in the enclosure that's turning the drive off, and I'm assuming Scanner is waking it up to get the SMART statics's  Over and over again.  the worst part of USB drives, the crummy controller, what's really funky,  you may see a 5tb partition now, but if you ever pull the drive from the enclosure, and connect directly to your PC via a sata cable, you will see multiple partitions.

 

https://keepalivehd.codeplex.com/ 

 

Small correction, while I still believe the controller is the primary problem, I have a few newer seagate desktop grade drives, 4TB's and 1 6TB, and the load cycle counts on these are higher than they should be.  IE. my newest drive 6tb ST6000nm0024, which was a retail drive, after 52 days, the loadcycle counts are at 2540, but at that rate, I won't hit 300000 cycles for many years, but I have a Desktop grade Hitach cool spin,  and the load cycle count is only 3124 after 2.5 years.  

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I was going to update this today, I think I got a handle on things finally.  Using a utility called hdparm, which as I understand things, disables APM at every reboot.  here's my counts from the last couple of days:  

 

7/19/15 - 12:45 AM:306,452
7/20/15 - 8:29 AM: 307,488
          3:11 PM: 307,489
7/21/15 - 9:37 AM: 307,490

Can you spot where I ran hdparm?  

 

I need to read more about the hdparm tool because I'm not 100% sure whether it's disabling APM altogether or just setting high performance values there, and I need to see what's going to be healthiest for the drive in the long-term.  

 

I did order a Samsung D3 Station 5TB drive on newegg for $119 shipped which will get here tomorrow. It has the same ST5000DM000-1FK178 inside that my Backup Plus has, except has a three-year warranty, which impressed me, especially for the price.  Here's hoping it runs a little cooler than my backup plus did as well.  I plan to RMA the 5TB just to get a fresh one, then set the APM settings to optimal levels to hopefully get more life out of it and quit the aggressive head parking.  

 

If anybody has recomended APM settings for it, I'm all ears.  Should I disable it entirely, or set some sort of optimal value?  Is there a better utility than hdparm?

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For both of you, one thing that may help, is throttling the SMART queries. We do run these pretty often, as it usually shouldn't be an issue. But for some drives/controller combinations, it can cause issues. 

 

http://stablebit.com/Support/Scanner/2.X/Manual?Section=SMART

You can throttle how often the queries occur, or set them to only occur during the work/scanning window.  That may help with the LCC increasing.

 

 

except has a three-year warranty, which impressed me, especially for the price.  

This has become the most important aspect when purchasing drives for me. How long they are covered for is more important than any other aspect, IMO.

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It's interesting to compare the Seagate to my Hitachi Deskstar 5k3000 3TB external connected to the other USB 3.0 port on the controller card:  with 362 days of total power on time, the LCC is only 1454, compared to >307K for 280 days of power-on time.   So that tells me it's not necessarily that stablebit is querying it too frequently, or that the controller card is at fault necessarily, but something unique to the seagate is causing it.  

 

Is it wise to mess with the APM settings / Disable APM to prevent the head parks, since this is a desktop drive that is never moved?  Or would I be doing myself a disservice by messing with those values with hdparm or other similar software?   

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It's interesting to compare the Seagate to my Hitachi Deskstar 5k3000 3TB external connected to the other USB 3.0 port on the controller card:  with 362 days of total power on time, the LCC is only 1454, compared to >307K for 280 days of power-on time.   So that tells me it's not necessarily that stablebit is querying it too frequently, or that the controller card is at fault necessarily, but something unique to the seagate is causing it.  

 

Is it wise to mess with the APM settings / Disable APM to prevent the head parks, since this is a desktop drive that is never moved?  Or would I be doing myself a disservice by messing with those values with hdparm or other similar software?   

 

Most likely the firmware, but messing with the throttling may help prevent StableBit Scanner from triggering the issue, which may help.

 

As for messing with the APM settings, I'm not sure. I don't think it should have any lasting impact, but I'm not sure.

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I know this topic is a little bit old, but there is some misinformation above.

Seagate DOES have a tool that works something similar to WDIDLE3.

Instructions can be found here:  http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=68760

It works, although I couldn't get Win32 to boot on my computer, so I used RUFUS to create the bootable USB drive and just copied HDAT2 onto it.

I don't know how important the LCC count is. I have 5 WD Green drives with counts over 1 million and 1 drive over 2 million.

Also, I have 5 Seagate drives with counts well over 1 million. None of them have failed.

I didn't know I had a problem until I recently built a WHS2011 server and put Stablebit Scanner on it.

I had a WHS V1 server for the last 7 years and the SMART scanner on it never indicated there was a problem.

 

 

The major difference here, is that WDIDLE3 is a WDC utility, whereas HDAT looks to be a 3rd party utility.

 

Why is that different? Because it's "blindly" modifying firmware and hoping it's doing it right. You're putting the drive at much more risk by doing so. 

 

 

That said, the LCC in the "aggressively parking" drives isn't as critical, due to how rapidly it does increase.  Generally, unless you're seeing issues with the disk, or other SMART warnings, you can safely ignore the value. 

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Yes, you are correct in pointing out that it is not a Seagate tool. (corrected post above)

Do you have knowledge concerning numbers of drives where the count exceeds 1,000,000?

Do you think taking steps to disable the advanced power management is a waste of time?

I have 7 WD EARX Greens and 5 Seagate DM001 drives. All over 1,000,000

 

Also, to add information to my posting;

The Seagate drives still increment the LCC count by 1 each time power is cycled even after disabling the advanced power management head parking "feature"

WD drives don't seem to exhibit this behavior. The LCC count remains the same value regardless of server power down/up.

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If the drive isn't experiencing any other issues, and all of the other SMART values are "within specs", no, the LCC count may not be indicative of failure, or an issue. 

 

However, the manufacturer specs do list the limits, and we do want to make sure that we listen to these limits, regardless. 

 

 

As for the parking the head during power down, that may be normal for the device's firmware. Again, it's hard to know, as the firmware is a black box. But increasing once for each power cycle isn't that much. 

That, and it may be that the WD drive is hard coded to ignore the shutdown parking, as it's normal behavior. And that could absolutely explain the discrepancy. 

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My two ST5000DM000-1FK178's are going strong but they do that annoying cruch/chirp sound that I posted about months ago all the freaking time, it's driving me up the walls.  

 

Dave, did you get the HDAT2 software to work on a 5TB seagate?  I can go in and disable the APM, but when I go into the DCO menu in step 11, all five items there are red, and when I select modify per step twelve, it just chirps and says command aborted.  So I got nowhere because that's the hack that makes the APM setting stick.  
 

I'm so sick of these Seagates, if I had the money I'd toss them and get greens, at least you can control them.  I'm also a little ticked that apparently these are SMR / Shingled drives and I could find nowhere in the product documentation that mentions that.  I thought they sucked performance-wise, and I guess that's the answer. 

 

when the seagates are internal to my computer, I can use CrystalDiskinfo to disable the APM, but when they're in my Mediasonic Probox eSATA enclosure where they belong, the commands using CDI or StableBit Scanner are not honored.  And I should add, that using HDAT2 I had it hooked up internally. 

 

Sorry if I sound grumpy, I just spent the better part of the last two hours dinking around with this, the thread got it back into my head again that I should finally mess with it, I thought I had hope, and my hopes were, alas, dashed.  

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Ah, that makes sense then.  

 

Here's a recording I made of the sounds:  https://soundcloud.com/matt-austin-42/5tb-drive

 

The chirp is at the 5 second mark and chatter is at the 23 second mark.  

 

Part of this is due to stablebit scanner--the chirp/chatter cycle happens once per minute, and pretty much stops when I tell Stablebit Scanner to throttle SMART queries to once every 60 minutes.  But I don't like this because then I don't get timely notifications if things are overheating, etc, but I suppose it's still good enough to detect failures and evacuate the drive if necessary, so I'll continue to live with it.  

 

I actually RMA'd my first 5TB seagate because I thought there was something wrong with it, and again, the LCC was through the roof, but at one cycle per minute, that adds up big-time:  60 per hour, times 24 hours = 1440 per day x 365 and bam, a half-million cycles racked up in a year.  I did 300,000 in about 8 months, so it works out about right.  

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@matthew,  Well, you can specify any amount of time for the query throttling. Like 10 minutes.  At least it wouldn't be as frequent. 

 

 

Though, I've not heard the chirping sounds from the 8TB SMR drives, but that's probably because the case fans drown out the noise. 

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