back to article Want to use WD diagnostics? Buy Windows

A Windows host must be used to run Western Digital disk drive diagnostic software, forcing Linux, Unix and other O/S users to buy a Windows system if they want to use it. This was the message given to Keith Edmunds of Tiger Computing, a company specialising in Linux, who suspected he had a problem with a pair of Caviar Green …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. eugene

    BartPE? W7 trial?

    Can't they just use Vista/W7's 30-day "trial"? No licence key needed.

    Does BartPE need a windows key?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      And waste a day or two installing that crap whenever a disk is having a fit? How "just" is that?

      1. eugene

        It's a liveCD.

        BartPE is a livecd.

        1. moylan

          not really the point

          yes, the end user could use bartpe.

          but when you have a sick intermittent system the last thing you need is to download bartpe and then work out how to install some crappy win app onto a livecd which can be tricky when they require a reboot.

          if wd had a downloadable iso with their tools installed it might be a bit more acceptable. the end user should not have to jump through these hoops just to test their drive.

          so will have to add wd to list of hardware manufacturers who i won't buy from. even for my windows customers as i may have to bring a drive back to test on my linux systems.

          their loss.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Yeh.. and....

          ... it is next to useless. i trued to use it in order to upgrade a BIOS on a netbok (because of much the same issue, Toshiba BIOS update software only works on Linux) and it wouldn't run the update program.

          Short Tosh bio story long ... the NB200 comes in various flavours. If you go to tehir site to download the floppy version, you're met with about ten to fifteen "model numbers" which aren't present on the machine. Tech support directed me to an executable that will only work under Windows. I wouldn't mind if they just produced the BIOS update on an ISO image that I could burn to a bootable CD and then throw away

          ... and WD could do the same here, that way it wouldn't matter what OS the customer was running and they could still focus on one solution rather than taking multiple OS's in to account.

          But this news means I won't be buying any WD drives in future. There's plenty of competition so my feet have voted.

        3. cmaurand

          Bart PE requires a license

          Bart PE still requires a license.

    2. Adam Salisbury
      Thumb Down

      >Point< ............. Missed

      Assuming you're hard disk's dead or dying how much effort is it going to be getting another OS on there, if you can manage it at all

  2. beezly


    Just use smartmon. It runs the embedded SMART diagnostics on the drive, which is usually all the manufacturers own tools do anyway.

    I've never known a drive manufacturer not accept a drive for RMA if you tell them that it is failing SMART (after all, it is just running their own embedded diagnostics in the drive firmware).

    1. Adam Williamson 1 Silver badge

      Agreed, sorta

      I've RMAed drives before with smartctl output attached and never had trouble. (Even though it, er, transpired later that the problem was the port on the SATA controller, but never mind). It sure sounds like WD is telling the guy they won't accept that, though.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes but

      "Just use smartmon."

      Yes, but smartmon/hdparm doesn't come with free advertising.

      Not knowing about the standard tools, especially with most distros having the GUI (Palimpsomething) that will pop-up alerts if a disk is dying, well it does kind of ruin the claim that they're "a company specialising in Linux."

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I had one of the RE2-GP drives fail. Never even bothered with WD's software. Just sent an RMA ticket saying that the SMART test said the drive was failing and they sent a replacement, no questions asked. Never bothered to mention that I was running smartmon on FreeBSD.

      On a seperate note, it's always kinda funny to see a Linux fanboi complaining that someone doesn't actively support Linux. Part of the "fun" of Linux is that you get to do everything yourself. Or "have to" depending on who you ask.

  3. Pat 3


    No support at all for WD green drives under linux. They have an especially nasty issue where they park if idle for 10 seconds and this can't be reconfigured. Caching under linux means you hit this very often whereas windows talks to the drive more frequently and keeps it active. After some very light use my drive at home as 50,000 Load Cycle Count. Apparently this is a green 'feature.

    1. Edwin

      Head parking

      can be reconfigured using one of the WD DOS tools (forget which). A compatible freeware bootable DOS USB stick is also available on the interwebs.

      All in all it's a shame though - the WD helldesk gave me more or less the same story, and their software (and the head parking issue) is hurting what is otherwise quite a nice drive.

  4. Aidan Samuel

    I know I'm missing the point,

    ...but couldn't he use wine?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I think they are using a varient.

      Called whine

  5. Shady

    "HW manufacturer only supports Windows"

    Is this news?

  6. djack

    What's wrong with using smartmon/smartctl?

    "However there are Linux native tools a customer can use to test the drive, like hdparm or smartmon, which checks the SMART values of our disks, just like our software, but we don’t give any support with that."

    That seems an admission that their tools are just a bloated wrapper around access to the standard SMART services and monitors. Smartctl will do that in a consistent fashion across all drives that support SMART (all of them nowadays?)

    1. informavorette

      While smartctl is a good tool, it has its limitations.

      I just happen to have a failing external WD HDD on my desk right now. The Ubuntu disk management tool reads its SMART data and tells me that it has 893 bad sectors. smartctl cannot tell me anything, as for some reason it cannot read the SMART of an external drive connected over USB. So obviously, it doesn't always work. And not all Linux distributions use the same disk utility as Ubuntu. So what should I have done if I was on, say, Arch?

  7. gimbal

    Sounds like quite a professional exchange

    I'm an avid Linux user, and I feel I can associate with the concerns addressed in this article. By the sound of the reporting about the person's own exchanges with WD, however, I'd like to offer my kudos to WD customer support, in the foremost. It sounds like they must be quite a professional organization.

    As far as the technical matters, I don't know if WD's Windows-based diag. software would offer anything in addition to the regular SMART diagnostic facilities. If not, the customer support representative's response is completely legitimate, and I can't see any reason for being concerned about it. Linux offers us those SMART-diagnostic and hardware-adjustment tools, indeed.

    Mine's the one with the PT Barnum biography in the pocket - just because the real PT Barnum was a genuine businessman.

    1. Dave Bell

      Second paragraph

      It's that "if" which matters. If the WD software is just regular SMART diagnostics (hopefully making good use of Windows Help), then this isn't a big problem. As long as the information in the Windows help files is available in another format.

      If the WD software does something extra special, maybe using proprietary diagnostic calls, I would be very wary of using their products.

      If you're working in a Linux shop, it might be worth setting up a cheap test-box with Windows, though if you have to do that sort of work you need to be wary of viruses, etc. A linux LiveCD is one obvious answer to that. Being able to load a new image of Windows is another, but it seems dreadfully inefficient.

      That's maybe where WD are going wrong. It's much easier to make a safe and secure Linux-based test box. With Windows, you're risking malicious code/data on the drive being spread via the testing process.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Reply to post: Second paragraph

        IIRC all SMART hard drives have to support a number of features. However there is some discrepancy between the formatting of data returned in some cases. Also drives occasionally have extra features tossed in to make it work nicer. The manufacturer would know about the formatting and all the extra bits and pieces that they've tossed in there, and their software could potentially work more efficiently than one that only uses generic SMART commands.

      2. Black Betty

        Yes and no. Simple enough to use Ghost...

        ...or similar to ensure a machine starts clean and in a known state each time.

        And I'm sure there is some kind of hack to the Windows hibernate function that allows booting from a saved image.

  8. Martin Dunn

    Linux Specialist?

    Surely a company 'specialising in Linux' would use the standard command line tools instead.

    Failing that, modern distros such as Ubuntu have GUI tools installed as standard that do everything the WD software does.

    Maybe I'm in the wrong job.

  9. Cameron Colley

    I kind of understand their position.

    While they could, no doubt, knock something together for Linux if they only use Windows on their machines and only develop for Windows then I don't actually blame them for not supporting Linux.

    As the representative stated, there are plenty of Linux tools out there for this kind of thing so you can still monitor your drive and, or course, if the drive fails they'll replace it if it's under warranty regardless of your OS.

    I only run Linux at home, and I love it when manufacturers support Linux by making drivers available and the like -- but I can see why they wouldn't want to employ someone to ensure that all their utilities work on Linux also.


      So much for industry standards.

      This is a storage vendor.

      The idea that they only expect to deal with Windows is a bit absurd.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        "The idea that they only expect to deal with Windows is a bit absurd."

        Nah, they just know that real OSs provide these tools out of the box.

        Terminator, to protect me from the angry Windows users.

      2. sisk

        Not unexpected

        WD has been pretty low on my list for a while. In my book they sit about a step and a half above Maxtor. With such a low end company it comes as no suprise whatsoever that they only support Windows. Still you're right. Expected or not it's still absurd.

        1. Mark 65

          Not entirely true

          They only develop for windows eh? So the My Book I bought for my Mac didn't come preformatted for the Mac and with software to use if so wished? I can understand why they may not want to rewrite their utilities for other OSes but it's probably best not to tell porkies.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Don't call me Shirley

        Yes, - like you are the World's leading authority on the subject. Did you consider that they may have weighed all this up before-hand in an internal business analysis and drawn a conclusion not to develop for Lunix?

        No. You didn't.

        Post up your contact details. They may want to get in contact with you to discuss your insightful thinking and business logic.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Is Keith a mate of yours?

    Got some free publicity there, didn't he?

  11. Rob Beard

    Oh well

    I'll keep buying Seagate then.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge

      Oh well

      The only HD series I have ever had issues with are WD. Seagate are still my faves, with Fujitsu as an alternate if there are no Seagate's in stock and time is pressing.

      Manufacturers that do not support all OS's will lose business. Glad to see WD is making so much cash on the Windows platform that they can turn business away. Their shareholders will be ecstatic I am sure.

  12. Uwe Dippel

    Simple answer:

    I bought my last hard drive from WD, because of its 'green'ness.

    Anyone else with a green drive, and I did buy my last drive from WD. Over.

    Either they repent, or I will add my tiny, tiny, tiny, little, small, piece of 2 sen to get them into bankruptcy. Serious. And not because I'm a Linux user, or OpenBSD user. Because I would do likewise the other way round.

    No, doesn't have to be 'Linux'. If they offer a .tar.gz and .exe that produce a nice little FreeDOS drive to run the diagnostics, I'll be fine just as well. Vendor-neutrality is what is on the cards; at least for me.

  13. William Boyle

    Just say no!

    I have given up on any device or software that doesn't support Linux, or at least runs well in the Wine environment. Fidelity is about to lose my brokerage business and 401K account because of this. Sparx Enterprise Architect is a UML modeling and design application I use for significant software engineering purposes which while Windows-only at least it runs well with Wine, so it will stay on my list of acceptable tools.

    As for hardware diagnostics, the bare minimum of acceptable tools will have at least the ability to boot and run from CD or USB thumb drive. Seagate does this for their drives, as does Intel for its motherboards.

  14. Kurgan


    Esay solution is not to use WD disks. I stay with Hitachi for now.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      Deathstars? Why? You do know how flakey Hitachis are, don't you?

      As for WD disks not working with Linux, well, they _do_. Just that you don't get support if they go wrong. Which is surprising when I hear of news that they do, since all my life, I've had Seagates, Maxtors and recently a Hitachi die on me (ok, the Hitachi was actually my sister's, and the Seagates and Maxtors was my Aunt's, who was running the computer in an heavy industry environment (a printing press) without any form of surge/voltage protection whatsoever. Never had any of my own Seagate drives die on me either, tho I did lose one Maxtor drive to the AntiCMOS virus due to McAfee's flakey detection), but I have never had an issue with WD drives.

  15. dannymc


    Aren't the ones who would be complaining about the lack of OEM software support on Linux the same ones who would be turning up their nose at using any closed-source OEM software? So where exactly is the issue?

  16. Neil 7

    Surely they just need to update their DOS utiltity?

    DOS is freely available - support that, and everyone is happy.

    Dropping support for DOS and placing a dependency on Windows is utterly idiotic.

    There is no need to support Linux, or Windows, or Mac - just support DOS, as WD did previously. Almost everyone has an x86 machine available somewhere.

  17. ratfox

    That is honest

    I understand that a company would want to simplify drastically their support to windows only, it undoubtedly saves a lot of money. They also lose customers, but they probably decided it was not worth the investment and effort. AND they are honest and straightforward about it.

  18. Number6

    Another one down

    I guess I've bought my last WD drive then if they can't provide support if you're not running Windows. They can join Fujitsu on my list of hard disk suppliers to avoid.

  19. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    Linux or not...

    it's a shame that WD no longer provides a DOS-based version of their tools, which was handy when the drives went titsup and wouldn't boot. If you've only got one drive and it's dead, how are you going to boot into Windows to check the drive? If memory serves, WD required the error code from their diagnostic tool before they would RMA a drive. But then, it's been 12 years since I wasted any money on their crap drives - as a white-box builder back in the 90's, I got bitten badly by their horrid drives back then and never bought another one.

  20. Ty Cobb

    Seagate it is then

    I have to go with the others that mention bootable CDs and thumb drive applications

  21. serviceWithASmile
    Dead Vulture

    this is a non story

    A device manufacturer not supporting bundled and unneccesary software on linux.

    what exactly about this is news?

    While I appluad Mr Edmunds for furthering public awareness of Linux, and personally I would like ALL hardware manufacturers to support Linux, he's just whining because he can.

    There are PLENTY of disk monitoring tools available for Linux, as every tech worth his salt knows.

    Not only that, but WD were quite honest and upfront about the state of affairs, and polite enough. Why do they need mud flung at them?

    Not trolling, just my opinion.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "Not trolling, just my opinion."

      A good and true opinion too, well said.

  22. johnpeach

    No WD then

    Good to know that; I'll be sure not to buy WD.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Thats just a pathetic reason

      <adanoids>Well if they wont support linux orange super monkey spasm version 3 then they wont get my money</adanoids>

      As the joint largest hard disk supplier in the world I don't think that WD give two shits about a handful of none customers anyway. You don't see BMW designing cars specifically for midgets, so why should WD design their support software for an equally small section of the community? Ayyyy thank you.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        If a Linux user requests diagnostic tools from WD

        this at least to me would mean they actually purchased and are using WD products, don't you think ? So why to you believe they are non (I know that's what you intended to write) customers ?

      2. Ole Juul

        A handful?

        Linux may have a relatively small amount of home users, but I don't think that number is important. What matters to WD is the number of hard drives - after all that is what they're selling isn't it? I bet the number of individual drives with Linux is pretty high when you include servers.

        Anyway, like someone said up above, there's plenty of tools out there and it is just possible that Linux users are not particularly envious (or even aware) of the Windows diagnostic which WD supplies.

  23. Anonymous Coward


    Is it me or does it strike anyone else as a little odd that a linux 'specialist' doesn't have a copy of Windows kicking around for a test environment?

    Or was it a quick bit of PR for Tiger?

    /colour me sceptical

    1. Ole Juul

      I'm sceptical too

      But I don't think it is odd that a linux 'specialist' wouldn't have a copy of Windows kicking about. It's odd that he would give it a second thought. Yep, PR.

  24. jason 7
    Thumb Up

    Fickle folks.

    I'll keep buying them.

    Great products and honest support.

    Did a great job replacing my Raptor.

    Getting in a tizzy because they dont offer a (duplication of whats already available) piddling diagnostic tool to essentially a group of supposed "tech experts" is quite pathetic.

    Says more about linux users than WD support.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      All the girls are out, today aren't they. Lunix users don't pay for anything anyway. Cheap. The lot of them.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    My WD15EARS drives work fine under the DOS tool, they are also fine with the SMART deamon under CentOS. In fact when one of them started to fail it was smartd that told me that the drive was having problems.

    I actually have only good things to say about WD, sure one of their drives started to fail, but they supplied me with a replacement promptly and even (with taking an impression of a credit card) sent me the replacement disk before I sent them the failing disk.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The REAL problem...

    ... is in details like being required to run such a windows-only tool before they'll accept a drive as faulty and issue an RMA. As such, possibly poor journo hackery failing to connect the dots.

    And yes, (re: is this news), I do expect hard drive makers to not run a monoculture support shop. Unless they actively advertise that the hardware is only to be used with windows _only_. Which would still be about as stupid as trying to figleaf hardware design problems with claiming your hard drives are to be used for at most eight hours per day (hi there, IBM). So for the time being WD is going to be a "non-preferred hardware partner" here, as I don't run any windows in my shop. So thanks for the heads-up.

  27. Scott A. Brown

    No surprise

    The reason I don't have Ubuntu as my main OS is because the library of programs I've gathered over the years don't work on Linux. Can't really see why because it's an HDD diagnostic program that it's notable.

  28. leeph

    This is not the primary reason to avoid WD

    The WD software is surplus to requirements for Linux users since we (should) be running smartd (smartmontools) anyway. Lack of diagnostics tools for Linux is not the reason to avoid WD - the fact that their drives are complete cack - is.

    I've got a Hitachi that has done 60,000 hours non-stop. In the same time period, I've had 5 WD drives fail at less than 20,000 hours. Gash.

    1. Neoc

      Non issue for me

      I have standardised to WD drives across all my home PCs a long time ago (1 XP file server, 1 Ubuntu mail server, 1 Ubuntu web server, 2x XP desktops). The oldest one is just reaching the 10yo mark (that'd be roughly 87,000 hours allowing for downtime when I fiddle with the OS/packages) without a hitch. I had *one* drive fail within 24 hours, shop took it back without a raised eyebrow and gave me a replacement drive.

      Having said that - the lack of DOS-based, self-booting software is pants.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Surely Linux users...

    ... would be easily competent enough to write the diagnostics themselves. They seem quite happy multiply reinventing the wheel by compiling everything themselves.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      You are right,

      Linux users would be more than happy to do it and maybe they'll do a better job than WD devs but can you arrange with WD to provide them with technical specs, APIs and all that stuff without requiring parts of your body in exchange ?

      Avoiding hardware and software vendor abuse was and still is the main reason the Linux world is reinventing the wheel and this makes those people really happy.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      ... write the diagnostics themselves

      Fine, as long as there is a spec to write to. As has been mentioned already, if WD will just confirm that there's nothing beyond the SMART stuff, then the job is done already.

      So go on WD. I realise that your support budget for Linux is limited, but can't you at least manage a definitive "yes or no" answer to this query?

  30. BackSeat
    Thumb Down

    Not asking for Linux tools

    The issue is that WD insist that Windows be used rather than providing a standalone .iso as they have done previously. As others have pointed out, there are many Linux tools that can monitor and test drives, but the ability to boot a standalone diagnostic - and thus eliminate a large number of variables - is very valuable.

  31. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


    Don't insane numbers of consumer hard drives go into low-cost datacenter network storage racks? They're definitely NOT running Windows there and, even if they did, nobody can run a software tool on each of a few thousand hard drives to configure them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The SATA drives used in volume/cheapo/'low' performance arrays are not really the sort of drive that you would really call consumer hardware. They're closer to consumer than say FC or SAS drives, but still rather a lot better.

      As for not running Windows in datacentres, rest assured: Windows is used in staggering volume in datacentres.

  32. The Light of the Silvery Moon

    Ha Ha Ha

    Who's laughing now you *nix freetards

    1. blah 5

      Google? Amazon? the NY stock exchange? NASA? DoD?

      Yeah, those Linux loving freetards must be laughing all right as they buy drives built by someone who has a clue.

      What? You think the IT world begins and ends at your desktop?

    Thumb Down

    use windows instead of linux

    why cant linux users just use windows instead of linux as its a waste of space anyway hardly supports drivers and theres fanboys out there that claim linux is better than windows. why dont they introduce the facts first before bragging about it firstly linux isnt better than windows sure its free but it has more issues than its worth. sure its open source but its missing alot of things like games and loads of applications like windows has.linux sucks just like apple

    if you dont like my messages i dont give a shit

    1. Chemist

      Re : use windows instead of linux

      DEAD4EVER - at least you're inconsistent !

      "microsoft yet again shows it cant get nothing right constant bugs and flaws all over either in the operating system or browser jeese"

      From one of your earlier posts. Do you remember ?

    2. david bates
      Thumb Down

      You may well be right...

      ...but most Linux machines offer the full gamut of punctuation and capitalisation options.

      Mind you, so does Windows, OSX, hell, even DOS and pretty much any mobile. They even offer autocaps and dictionaries.

      With than in mind whats your excuse?

  34. Discoverlinux

    WD are big enough to support all OS's

    The point is you buy a drive for storing data, not to run a particular OS. Therefore they should provide an OS independent bootable CD like Seagate do. It is very stupid of WD to assume you have access to Windoz just to tell them what the fault is. Smartmon can do that and it wouldn't take them long to provide what smartmon output they need. I recently has my Seagate drive running Linux replaced and did include the smartmon output. The solution is to not buy WD drives and see how long before WD falling sales makes them wake up to the increasing numbers of non Windoz users.

    1. david bates

      Good point

      Presumably WD drives are also NOT suitable to use in NAS units, PVRs and the like either, as they tend not to run Windows

  35. This post has been deleted by its author

  36. Paul Stimpson

    It's not about being a fanboi

    I run Linux and WIndows and I'm quite happy with the diagnostic tools I have. I'm not asking any hard drive manufacturer to produce a specific utility for "my" OS. I don't think Keith was either.

    The problem I have here is that WD are choosing not to make an OS-independent bootable disc that can do low level diagnostics on a drive and tell me whether it's sick or not. I don't care what the codebase of such a disc is as long as it's consistent and reliable. I'd rather not have to have a machine with any OS on it as a prerequisite of doing a test.

    So are WD saying I need to buy another drive so I can install an OS on it in order to run the diagnostics on this one? If a machine is new are we supposed to waste time building an OS on it then run the utilty only to find out the drive is suspect and we need to do it all again? Isn't boot CD, test, pass then install the OS more sensible?

    I won't be buying WD again until they provide me with the means to test the drive I buy on a new machine before using it. I can't think of another manufacturer that doesn't give me this.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    I smell a fuss!

    I support Linux and yes it's sad, but somehow I get the feeling that as a Linux system supplier this guy is making a mountain out of a molehill to get some attention.

    Loads of stuff is Windows only, but we don't all go around making a fuss, maybe we should and then get a reputation as a load of whingers!

    Just run SMARTmon and stop making a fuss!

  38. Joe User

    Lazy and/or cheap manufacturer

    Is it asking too much for Western Digital to simply update the DOS-based diagnostic tool to include their new drives?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It probably is too much to ask of *them*, yes.

      They could even use FreeDOS as the underlying OS. And perhaps post the source too, just to be sure, though with a modicum of care they wouldn't even need to post the source of their diagnostics program, since it's not linked. Be that as it may, it's not unlikely the guy that used to do all that quit/got promoted/went to another division/whatever and the new guy only learned to do windows, or wanted to impress the PHB by "modernising" the thing by upping the requirements to windows 2000 and over, or something to that tune. Apparently no hardbitten sysadmins in the department to insist on something that'll run without windows too.

      The reasons often come down to fundamental incompetencies due to shoddy people management like that. Still, to run your department you have to make do with what you have and good management is hard, so we only put tech-illiterate boobs in those slots. That's where big corporations quite amazingly resemble bureaucracies again. Coincidence?

      Had they had a clue they likely would've managed to get us a good, usable tool that didn't require people to shell out for the micros~1 tax, and do all that for less cost than they'll find in red before the bottom line this year. But alas, they clearly don't have that vital little thing called clue.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    The 1% up in arms....

    over WD instructing Linuxhead to "pound salt". Poor clod, a specialist no less. Linux tools unavailable, eh?

    By the way, even having used the diagnostic crap, WD reports that the majority of drives returned are just fine.

    1% argues "falling sales" will teach the bastards. WD declared "stupid". Drives not purchased for OS but for storage. OS is on its own.

    If the drive is suspect, bag it up, get an RMA by telling WD it appears dead and ship it to WD. Although, with cheap drives like the one mentioned, it is simpler to toss them and replace with a quality drive.

    If Smartmon couldn't tell you anything valuable, perhaps it is time that you offered Windows to folk. Selling servers on the cheap isn't the brightest thing. Let's see some hotswaps on hand and redundancy upon redundancy. What "support" was he looking for - the held hand, the subtle breath in the ear?

    By the way, if the HD isn't made out of vegetable matter - it ain't green. And that particular drive is not a server drive, but a PC unit. The server model is warranted for 5 years. And costs about 2 and 1/2 times more. And then there is SCSI - the real thing.

    Servers should have drives that are rated for server usage.

    The WD response was temperate and cordial.

    Sent via Slackware 13.1 residing on - you guessed it - a WD HD.

  40. peter collard

    WD are a load of rubbish anyway.

    I had a problem with a WD 500gb green drive and a particular motherboard (AMD 780G), reproduced it in both Linux and Windows XP and 7, proving it was doing blocking ios, and WD didn't care less. Bought a Samsung disk and problems went away. Don't buy WD!

  41. Sailfish

    Much Ado ...

    What a bunch of Whingers!

    I imagine most of you would be the one group of people in a westward-ho wagon train to the complain that there are not livery stables along the way.

    Trailblazers have issues.

  42. ZenCoder

    WD doesn't require anything for RMA's

    WD needed to update their boot utility BEFORE releasing their Advanced Format Drives. I had a similar problem with a new Samsung External. They had one (windows only utility) that supported the drive and it was buggy and would freeze 90% through the test unless I disconnected my USB card reader.

    However WD doesn't require you to jump through any hoops to get an RMA on a hard drive. You just request a (free) advance replacement, put just about anything in the 40 character "reason" section of the form, wait for the replacement, ship the old drive in the replacement's packaging, pay return shipping.

  43. 1990 nerd

    seagate only

    WD have always had crap drives I have always used seagate trusted and reliable, I use windows and Linux and to all the windows fan boys get over it, windows is only good for gaming and malware and viruses and hacks. So when microsoft go cloud are you going to by a terminal or start using linux may be you just buy a ps3 lol.

  44. Herby

    Somebody needs to get their act together!

    The drive industry NEEDS to get a good specification of all the silly features that they use in diagnostics and let everyone know what is going on.

    Look, people like WD (Hitachi, Segate, etc..) need to understand they their business is to SELL DRIVES. If you need to waste time in their support it is WASTED $$$, and if they have good tools they should be nice and available on as MANY platforms as possible. Most drives (from whatever vendor) are commodity items, and users/buyers probably could care less as long as they work. So drive vendor SELL DRIVES and tell us all how to service them so that you won't have to. It will SAVE you money in the long run, and let you make more for your shareholders!!

  45. Anonymous Coward

    A strange story

    I don't see how it's not supported, given that WD's website clearly listed said WD Green drives as supporting the DLG5.04f software.

    Maybe it's his drive controllers configuration that is unsupported. Having one pair of the drives indicates that there's a huge chance that he's running a RAID configuration. Of course, we all know how well DOS supports RAID (meaning: practically no support).

    Plug the drives into one of the first 4 SATA ports on the motherboard instead (if board has 6 SATA ports or if using an add-on card), and flip the controller mode over to IDE Emulation. The reason here being that DOS does not support AHCI either, and most motherboards with more than 6 SATA ports disable ports 5 and 6 in IDE Emulation mode. I got a drive as recent as a WD Blue to work with said DLG5.04f. All it took was to do the above: Drive plugged into one of the first 4 SATA ports of the mobo and have SATA mode set to IDE emulation.

    Of course, back up first. You'll never know what will happen when you muck around with a RAID config (specifically, break the config, muck with the disks individually, and reattach them).

  46. Sharky

    Mad as a hat ful of Frogs.

    This is almost as barking mad as the need for a Windows PC to update the firmware of a Linux (Android) phone. Until manufacturers come out of their OS bubble this kind of thing will continue to happen.

    Well done Western Digital, I take it you don't care about Apple customers either, they don't use Windows either funnily enough.

  47. Dick Emery

    OS independent

    Every drive manu should be OS independent and provide an ISO to make a boot CD for testing. If they do not they are complete twats and should be avoided at all costs!

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I've just been to Western Digital's support site - The DOS floppy and CD iso are clearly shown as supporting the WD20EARS drive.

    The only possible confusion that could have arisen is that the DOS boot software is described as only being supported under Windows - clearly a mistake on the web page.

    The only thing that is windows only is the XP advanced format tool for aligning the 4k sectors. This shouldn't be needed by any OS more modern than XP. (Having said that I did it manually under linux just to be sure.)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Correct, but

      That guy said that he tried the DOS images and it didn't work.

      I suspect that it's more of an unsupported chipset/configuration than an unsupported drive tho.

  49. Anonymous Coward

    WD Freetards?

    Are Western Digital involved in the same case as Westinghouse?

    I.e. too dumb to say 'contact us for source code' on their websites, even after its been pointed out to them that they need to.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Western Digital Dia-gnostix?

    Their software is crap - it just creates the illusion of useful and fixed, just to drag as many shit drives as they can past the wrong side of "under warranty"...

    Western Digital Diagnostic software - It's all smoke and mirrors.

    Sleazeware at best.

  51. pollock

    Not asking for Linux tools

    " but the ability to boot a standalone diagnostic - and thus eliminate a large number of variables - is very valuable.'

    most Linux Live CDs already have the tools included.

  52. pollock

    Western Digital Support

    i have read the article & i find that at least WD admits in their response that there are tools available built in to Linux, & even names them. that tells me that the tech support person was not clueless. after all, if there are tools (hdparm) that WD know about, why should they waste time & development for software that most seasoned Linux users may not use anyway. you gotta remember that Microsoft products are severely lacking in useful diagnostic tools, that is one reason why they have to write a diagnostics program for Windows.

    most of the disk utilities for Linux are included in most Live Linux CDs, so that should be no problem if the hard drive is dead.

    however, if WD needs diagnostic codes when doing a RMA, & if the code cannot be found in the terminal output of hdparm, that definetly changes things as well as showing proof that Western Digital is illegally in collusion with Microsoft.

  53. Jeff 11


    Why should WD waste time producing software for their *consumer grade* drives on an OS that has zero penetration in the consumer market, just because someone from a "company specialising in Linux" couldn't be bothered to read the man page for smartctl?

  54. W3ird_N3rd

    Just want a bootable ISO.

    "most Linux Live CDs already have the tools included."

    I still like to have something that boots standalone and tests the disk, and nothing else. Just to eliminate any other factors. Being able to select "run full scan", see it "working" for a few hours followed by a message saying it's OK (or not) is pretty satisfying. Being sure no other process could have tried to access the disk during the test.

    What I don't understand is why the hard drive manufacturers don't co-operate to make a single tool (bootable ISO) that can test any brand of drive and make the tool open source. That way it'll run on any system and they won't have to spend much time on developing such tools anymore.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      there's a problem with Linux tho

      I just realized a question: how do you low-level format (zero-fill) a hard disk?

      does cat /dev/zero > /dev/hd<n> work?

  55. cmaurand

    Buy a Seagate next time

    Seagate all the way . Lower failure rate.

  56. Anonymous Coward

    @there's a problem with Linux tho

    No, but dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hd<n> does.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like