Jump to content
Covecube Inc.
  • 0
Bjur

A couple of newbie questions before buying:

Question

I've just installed the scanner but have a couple of questions before buying it:

 

1. Is it not possible to have the system monitored 24/7 or how does it work, since I had to press "Start" to have it check harddrives? I would like to be notified realtime when a drive is failing and thought it monitored them 24/7.

 

2. Can external drives also be scanned like internal drives? It checked all my internal drives but not my external.

 

3. Should I be aware of anything special on Samsung HD204UI drives, since there has been problems if FW was not updated on them (My fw is updated)?

 

4. Last question. Can you look at the screenshot link below and see if I should be scared of drive failure, since it warns me?

 

Smart.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

  • 0

You will be notified of issues in real time. I get them all the time because it appears I do not have sufficient cooling in my server rig. 

 

I'm not familiar with that drive, but I am having similar issues with a different Samsung drive. When I tried to take the drives out of the pool to perform a full format, they both gave me CRC errors. So I ran an fdisk g: (or your drive letter) /f /B and solved the issues. I took the drives out and ran full format on them. They are appearing healthy now.

 

I do think my issue was firmware related.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Bjur, I'm sorry for the delay in answering you! (Family stuff)

 

  1. Actually, StableBit Scanner runs in the background as a system service. That means that it is ALWAYS running.
    By default, it's always grabbing SMART data, so that's always up to date.
    However, the default profile just determines when the scan window is. If you want it to scan anytime, then select the "desktop" option. Or you can manually configure this in the "Scanner settings".
    However, you can manually kick off a scan if you want, Just remember to re-enable the "Start/stop automatically" option.
  2. Yes. But by default, it will only scan USB hard drives that have been plugged in for at least an hour.
     
  3. No. By default, we avoid doing anything that could risk the integrity of your data. We are aware of the firmware issue with the drive in question (and a few others), and we actively DO NOT send the commands that can cause the corruption.
    However, this means that we don't get as much data about these drives. If you want to override the safety behavior, then add the model to the "GoodIdentifyOverride" setting.
    http://wiki.covecube.com/StableBit_Scanner_Advanced_Settings
     
  4. As for the Recalibration Retries, if that is the only SMART error you're seeing, then the drive may be okay. 
    If you're seeing other SMART errors or damaged sectors on the disk during the surface scan, then RMA it or replace it.

 

You will be notified of issues in real time. I get them all the time because it appears I do not have sufficient cooling in my server rig. 

 

I'm not familiar with that drive, but I am having similar issues with a different Samsung drive. When I tried to take the drives out of the pool to perform a full format, they both gave me CRC errors. So I ran an fdisk g: (or your drive letter) /f /B and solved the issues. I took the drives out and ran full format on them. They are appearing healthy now.

 

I do think my issue was firmware related.

Specifically, there is an issue with this and a couple of other similar drives that can cause corruption if you send the "Identify" command to the disk while it's writing. Even worse, the firmware update DOES NOT step up the version number, so there is no good way to tell if the firmware has been updated (aside from physically marking the disk with a sharpie or something). 

 

If you're having issues, then it may be a good idea to check for an updated firmware and run it.. Just remember, any time you flash firmware, you risk bricking the device.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

 

Hi Christopher. Thanks for an very elaborating answer. Very appreciated. I have just 2 follow up questions.

 

1. If it runs all the time does it mean that both internal and external drives will not go into standby/sleep after 20 minutes as I has set them to earlier? The reason I'm asking is because I am worried of the extra tearing and that it will end of life the drives earlier if they don't spin down. So I'm hoping I still can do that somehow with stablebit scanner also.

 

2. My external drives are always plugged in so I'm surprised the didn't get scanned after I pressed start scan option in the menu.

 

Again thanks for the help much appreciated and also thanks to RobbieH for the input.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

You are very welcome. We would rather provide too much info than not enough.

 

  1. Yes and no. 
    The SMART query may keep the drives awake, but you can reduce the frequency of queries. 
    Open up the "Scanner settings". You can set a work window on the "General" tab.
    On the SMART tab, you can throttle the frequency of queries, or allow them ONLY during the work window. 
    This should help keep the disks asleep.
     
  2. As for the externals, they may need to be plugged in for more than an hour to be scanned. Depending on the settings (eg the work window), and .... well the stability for the USB chipset in your system, ... It could be preventing that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Thanks again. Last questions:) So for my need if I don't want them running all the time what would this be you recommendation:

 

1.

General tab: Only perform work between 03:00-06:00

SMART TAB: Only query during the work window or if scanning.

 

And what about Throttle Queries. Should I also activate that option + the settings below to be sure they are not spun up all the time?

 

2. Regarding the USB hard drives it shows as not checked. Should I in scanner options choose:

check or uncheck: Do not automatically scan removable media/hard drives?

IF I want them scanned but not spun up all the time?

 

3. Should start/stop automatically be enabled when I want to do the things above or is manually the correct option so I should not worry about spin up?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

  1. If you enable the "only query during the work window or if scanning" option, then the drives will only be woken then. This should be good enough to prevent StableBit Scanner from waking the disks all the time. And 3am to 6am sounds like a good window. 

    You can set the "throttle queries" option as well. The default is 60 minutes (once an hour) but you can set this higher, if you want. However, keep in mind that this will cause the SMART data to not be updated as often.

     

  2. As for the USB options, it will follow the other rules in StableBit Scanner. So it will only be scanned during the work window (if you set that) and the same with the SMART queries.

     

  3. Yes, you want the "Sart/stop automatically" option enabled, otherwise it won't scan unless you manually start it. Meaning that it won't scan during the work window.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Thanks Christopher. And last and final question.

 

- I thought the drives was only active in the work window, but why should it then be nessesary to enable the "Throttle queries"? Is the drives not in sleep mode all the time except 03:00-06:00 so I should only set that option or what do I exactly gain by "Throttle" option if the drives are already a sleep.

 

Does it mean that the drives are "online (not sleeping)" all the time to get the SMART data and only scanned in the work window or does it get SMART without waking the drives? How does it work.

 

Sorry for the start questions, I just don't want to tear the drives unnessary and want it "kind of like" before but still want to monitor them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

The surface scan is only active during the work window.

By default, StableBit Scanner queries for SMART data every couple of minutes.

By enabling the  "only query during the work window or if scanning" means that StableBit Scanner will ONLY query for SMART data during the work window. If something changes in the SMART data outside of this window, we won't pick it up until the next work window. 

Enabling the "Throttle"  option means that it queries once every "X" minutes instead of every couple of minutes.

 

Enabling both options means that it will only query a couple of times during the work window, instead of every few minutes. This may be the best option if you want to avoid waking the disks unless absolutely necessary. 

 

 

As for wear and tear, .... I had a bunch of ST3000DM001 disks... these disks seem to have a high failure rate... Most of mine were 2-3 years old before they started developing issues. And that was with them on 24/7. I have a couple that still work just fine, though. No issues at all. 

 

My point? Either option should allow you to get much more mileage out of your disks. And enabling both options will definitely. But, it may not be necessary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

A couple of quick questions.

1. I have changed work interval to 16.00-19.00, since the disks are already in use there, but that should be no problem multitasking/CPU wise correct?

2. Can I see through a command or portable program see if my disks are sleeping correctly, since earlier it took some time to access the sleeping disks but after installing Stablebit Scanner and enabling the work window I can access the disks fast, which makes me think they are not sleeping?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

A couple of quick questions.

1. I have changed work interval to 16.00-19.00, since the disks are already in use there, but that should be no problem multitasking/CPU wise correct?

2. Can I see through a command or portable program see if my disks are sleeping correctly, since earlier it took some time to access the sleeping disks but after installing Stablebit Scanner and enabling the work window I can access the disks fast, which makes me think they are not sleeping?

No, there should be no problem with multitasking. Scanner uses very little CPU or memory even when scanning. 

 

As for seeing if the disk is sleeping... it's a catch 22... The only way to see if the disk is sleeping is to query it. Querying it will cause the drive to wake up if it was sleeping. :(

The "Power" column does indicate the state, as best we can determine though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I enabled the Power Column but all my disks are active all the time. How do I change that, because before I installed Stablebit Scanner my harddrives did spin down, and when I accessed them I could hear them spin up, but after installing stablebit scanner they are not spinning down.

 

I have a work windows 3 hours a day, I have sat throttle to 60 minutes but what more should I do?

 

should I set "Query power mode directly from disk is set". Will that help and how do I know it will spin down after 20 minutes which I would like to do?

In stablebit drivepool I have Balance Immediately but not more often than every 12 hours.

 

Thanks for your help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Sorry, it appears that I missed the post.

 

The power state will only change if you use the "Put into Standby" in StableBit Scanner. 

Unfortunately, it's impossible to tell the state after that, without waking the disks.

 

The "Query power mode directly from the disk" option will most likely cause the disks to wake up when they are queried, which is pretty much what you don't want.

 

And the only real way to know if the disk has spun down is to measure the power consumption. 

 

 

 

And as you may see, this entire topic is a very tricky and complicated one. And hard drive manufacturers don't make it easy at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

hmm thanks a shame, but if I have only query when scanning and query every 60 minutes within that interval, wouldn't it be the best call for me to use "Query power mode directly from the disk" then?

 

I can't see the status in power management but if it works?

 

And if I enable "Query power mode directly from the disk" will it only wake up the disks when quering and accessing disk?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Sorry, I swear I had answered, but apparently not.

 

As for the "query power mode directly from the disk"... this will wake up the disk.

I'm not sure how often we query, but this could keep the disk away continually.

 

So it really depends on what you want. If you want better power management... thendon't enable this option and just let windows handle it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Hi again no problem:)

 

I really try to understand this, but if I enable "query power mode directly from the disk" then if I have enabled work schedule and enabled only query in that interval.

 

Then as I understand it will still only query in that work window correct if "query power mode directly from the disk" is enabled correct?

 

The other solution with letting Windows handle standby doesn't work anymore after installing stablebit scanner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I'm not entirely sure.

 

I hate to do this, but I'm going to defer answering, so that Alex (the developer) can weigh in.

I want to make sure you get a correct and complete answer here, as this is a complicated and touchy subject.

 

 

I suspect that you are correct, but I'm not sure. And a correct answer is more important here.

 

 

 

As for Windows not handling the sleep/idling of the disk, that could be because of the SMART queries. Since Scanner queries often, that could be the cause. Setting StableBit Scanner to only query during a work window or scan should help curb that behavior.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Hi Bjur,

 

(for tl;dr see the 2 point at the end)

 

Getting the correct power state of the disk is a little tricky. There are really 2 separate mechanisms that control whether a disk has spun down or not, the OS and the disk's firmware.

 

Here are the tricky parts:

  • The disk's firmware can spin a drive down at any time without the OS's knowledge. But this is typically disabled on new drives. This behavior can be modified under Disk Control in the StableBit Scanner.
  • In order to get the actual power state of the drive we can query it directly, instead of asking Windows. The problem here is that, to Windows, this appears as disk access and it will prevent the OS from ever spinning down the drive.

What the StableBit Scanner does by default is it always asks the OS and it never queries the drive directly. This ensures that the OS will spin the drive down correctly. even though we're querying it for the power state. But the issue here is that just because the OS thinks that the drive is active doesn't mean that it's actually spun up. If the disk's firmware has spun down the drive, the OS has no way to know that. The StableBit Scanner deals with this by reporting in the UI that the drive is Standby or Active. Since we can't attempt to query the drive directly without your explicit permission (this will upset Windows' power management), this is the best answer we can give you.

 

The Query power mode directly from disk option, which is found in Disk Settings, is there to work around this shortcoming. When enabled, the StableBit Scanner will attempt to query the power mode directly from the disk. Keep in mind that this can fail if it can't establish Direct I/O to the disk, in which case we fall beck to relying on the OS.

 

The way it works is like this:

  • Query the OS.
    • If the disk has spun down then this must be the case. The disk is in Standby.
    • If the disk is Active (spun up) then we can't trust the OS because the disk firmware could have spun it down.
      • If the user has not explicitly allowed us to query the power mode from the disk, we must assume Standby or Active.
      • If the user has allowed us to query the power mode from the disk, query the power mode.
        • If the query succeeds, set the mode to Active or to Standby (not both, because we know the power state for sure).
        • If the query fails, fall back to the OS and set the mode to Standby or Active.

So when should you enable Query power mode directly from disk?

 

When you don't want to use the OS's power management features to spin the disk down. Why would you do this?

 

Pros:

  • You can control the spin down on a per disk basis.
  • You get exact disk power states being reported in the StableBit Scanner with no ambiguity.
  • Avoid disk spin up issues when querying SMART (I will explain below).

Cons:

  • Requires Direct I/O to the disk.
  • To the OS (and to any other program that queries the OS) the disk will appear to be always spun up.
  • When the OS spins down a disk it flushes the file system cache prior to spinning it down. This ensures that the disk is not spun up very quickly after that because it needs to write some additional data to it from the cache. When the firmware spins a disk down, this does not happen and there is a chance that the disk will be spun up very quickly after that to perform another write. From my experience, this is not common in practice.

What about S.M.A.R.T. queries?

 

In the StableBit Scanner, by default, SMART is queried from WMI first. If Direct I/O is not available then all the SMART data has to come from WMI. Typically this would not spin up a disk.

 

If Direct I/O is possible to the disk then at least some additional SMART data will come from Direct I/O (and if WMI doesn't have the SMART data then all of the SMART data comes from Direct I/O). One potential problem here is that Windows considers any communication with the disk, disk activity. So if you're communicating with the disk to retrieve SMART every couple of minutes then Windows will not spin the disk down.

 

You can avoid this problem in 2 ways:

  1. Don't let Windows control your disk spin down and set up a Standby timer in Disk Control (this has the pros and cons as outlined above).
  2. Set Throttle queries in Settings -> Scanner Settings -> SMART -> Throttle queries. Set the throttle minutes to something higher than the Windows disk spin down time (which can be examined in Power Options under the Windows Control Panel).

The option Only query during the work window or if scanning controls SMART queries and has no effect on power queries. Again, by default power queries do not spin up a disk unless you've manually enabled Query power mode directly from disk (in which case you are effectively saying that you don't want the OS to ever spin down a disk).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Hi Alex. Thanks for the very elaborating answer. My trial license is now expired and I would like to buy it, but I have to get to standby sorted somehow. I don't think I have "disk control" option on these drives because of firmware issues with them earlier. No matter what I try I can't get the to spin up/down like before after I installed Stablebit scanner.

I can understand that query doesn't affect spinup/spindown (power) on the disks.

What do you suggest in my specific case, when I can't get them to sleep?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Bjur - I can't give you an exact setup but thought I'd chime in as just a month ago I went through the same thing. 

 

I've given up on worrying about HDD spin down.  I have Scanner on both my HTPC (SSD & 1 WD Black Spinner) and my WHS2011 server (mix of 5 all Spinning HDDs).

 

I gave a shot at doing spin down with settings on the firmware (set from Scanner; none of mine had Adv Power management avaiilable either) for 1.5 hrs (so watching a show or something on one HDD in pool wouldn't spin down other disks, etc...)   I wasn't happy (seemed unsure of how things were working) doing this.  I didn't like how my media playing software (using share on Pool) would behave with some drives spinning down, and some not, that are in the Pool while playing shows.  (I'm guessing this is what happened)

 

I've gone ahead and unchecked and set firmware back to unchecked for all individual HDDs to not spindown.  Setup both machines to HDD spin down as NEVER (Win OS).  HTPC sleeps (entire OS) according to usage state and the WHS2011 is 24/7 on (it was always OS on but default spin down of HDDs..

 

Things seems to be working nicely like this.  I've decided to live with the added heat and electricity of not having the server HDDs spin down.  Been watching HDDs temperatures and feel it acceptable at 35C max (in my environment for Server box).  Also ok with extra electricity for drives spinning as I was selective in building rest of the server as low power.

 

I feel that the benefit of the Scanner on these machine outweights this change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Hi Alex. Thanks for the very elaborating answer. My trial license is now expired and I would like to buy it, but I have to get to standby sorted somehow. I don't think I have "disk control" option on these drives because of firmware issues with them earlier. No matter what I try I can't get the to spin up/down like before after I installed Stablebit scanner.

I can understand that query doesn't affect spinup/spindown (power) on the disks.

What do you suggest in my specific case, when I can't get them to sleep?

I've sent you a trial extension, so that you can continue to test out things to get it working.

 

 

Another question, are you using DrivePool as well? If so, try stopping the StableBit Scanner service. 

If that doesn't help, then something is accessing the pool and keeping the drives awake.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Answer this question...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...