BartPE? W7 trial?
Can't they just use Vista/W7's 30-day "trial"? No licence key needed.
Does BartPE need a windows key?
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 …
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.
... 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.
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).
"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."
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.
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.
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.
"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?)
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
<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.
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.
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.
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.
... 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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).
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.
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.)
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.
"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.
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