> Noisy NAS Drives > Dual 4K Displays > Update Failures
I have a question regarding the Seagate IronWolf drives you’ve reviewed, and which are now in my Netgear NAS appliance. I have tried two different sets of these disks, so I’m fairly confident that I’m not having issues with defective hardware.
Did you test the drives in a network-attached system or a desktop PC? During idle periods, the disks make brief clunking noises followed by what sounds like writing to the platters every minute or so. This happens over and over, indefinitely. They don’t make the noise when powered up in a drive dock.
I found one vendor that said the issue is caused by EPC (Extended Power Conditions). Seagate has a Windows-based utility that allows you to turn EPC off. However, pulling drives from a NAS and booting them up on a desktop doesn’t sound like a good idea.
Did you run into the same situation, and do you have a suggestion for solving it? For now, my NAS is banished to the basement. It’s just too loud for my study. –Bill THE DOCTOR RESPONDS: While the Doc doesn’t have any IronWolf drives in his testing Seagate’s IronWolf drives are designed for NAS applications, but still require optimization. facility, there are some general steps he recommends to help troubleshoot your noisy NAS.
First, consider physical remedies. You no doubt know that it’s normal for disks to click and whir during reads and writes. But if they aren’t secured properly, harmless sounds may be amplified as a result of vibration. Rubber grommets between the drives and trays go a long way to isolate each mechanical device.
Rattling metal doesn’t seem to be the root cause of your conundrum, though, particularly since a number of forums have IronWolf owners discussing similar symptoms. Seagate’s own troubleshooting guide calls out hard clicks as a normal part of the drive heads parking. However, it’s possible that they shouldn’t be parking so often, or so abruptly.
Fortunately, the timing of this behavior can be altered. Seagate previously made the software needed to tinker with its drives available to select customers (it’s command linebased and a bit complicated, after all). But now its complete SeaChest suite is accessible on its site, along with a detailed instruction manual. That’s the diagnostic package you were referring to for disabling Extended Power Conditions. Only, it may not be necessary to disable EPC altogether. Seagate’s PowerChoice Technology is tiered into successively more aggressive capabilities, so try turning off the top-level features first to avoid losing all power-saving functionality underneath.
Because standalone Linux and Windows versions come packaged in the same download, it may be possible to run the SeaChest utilities directly on your NAS, without relocating drives to your PC. Incidentally, the same software is used to update the IronWolf’s firmware. Navigate to http:// seagate.com/support, click the “Software Downloads” link up top, then type in your drives’ serial numbers to search for a newer build. At the same time, hit Netgear’s site for any updates that might be available for your NAS. With improved support from both manufacturers for each other’s hardware, it should be possible to dampen acoustic issues.
Hi Doc, Do you have any recommendations for a graphics card that I can drop into an older Z77-based motherboard and add support for two 4K displays at 60Hz? Cost is more important than performance; I only do some light-duty strategy gaming, and this is mainly a productivity rig. –Dan THE DOCTOR RESPONDS: Driving a pair of 4K monitors at 60Hz isn’t a problem for most modern add-in graphics cards. However, if you plan to do any gaming on even a single 4K display, the Doc would recommend an affordable model with 4GB of onboard memory. AMD’s Radeon RX 560 is one option priced around $160, or a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti sells for roughly $180.
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Hi Doc! When someone has two storage devices in their PC, and one of them is a solid-state drive, what is the advantage of using it for storage in lieu of a mechanical disk? I recently purchased a new laptop configured with two drives: one standard 1TB hard drive (configured as C:) and a 3TB SSD (set up as D:). My C: drive quickly filled up, and the laptop started running slower. So, I replaced the 1TB disk with 2TB of storage.
This got me wondering why the laptop manufacturer configured the SSD for storage. Shouldn’t it have been the secondary drive for faster boot-up? There’s no advantage to having the SSD if it’s not the C: drive, right?
If a solid-state drive is more durable, more efficient, and faster than a standard hard drive, why are computer manufacturers still outfitting new laptops with a standard hard drive and SSD, with the operating system running on the HDD? –Bob McElwain THE DOCTOR RESPONDS: Something about that configuration doesn’t sound right. Although 3TB SSDs do exist, they cost thousands of dollars, and wouldn’t typically be found in a laptop. Moreover, a mobile device with that much solid-state storage doesn’t really need a 1TB mechanical disk for user files.
It all comes down to dollars. Ultra-fast SSDs cost a lot more per gigabyte than hard drives. So, you fill their limited capacity with data that stands to benefit most from high performance. Meanwhile, movies, music, pictures, and documents can live on spinning disks, as they gain nothing from faster transfer rates or lower latency.
Now, between the OS files you want on your SSD and the multimedia library stored on mechanical storage, there are applications that can go either way. Games, for example, usually aren’t bottlenecked by disk I/O. Rather, they spend most of their time waiting on your graphics card or CPU. But a game on an SSD still loads textures and switches between levels faster than one on a hard drive. As a result, the Doc puts his games on solid-state drives whenever capacity permits.
Expect SSDs and mechanical disks to coexist for years to come. While advances in NAND flash tech make larger, lower-cost SSDs possible, our appetites for more space mean big hard drives are important in the storage hierarchy.
Windows Update Fail
Hi Doc, I don’t know if you’ve addressed this issue before, but it has to be one of the worst I’ve ever seen. As a retired IBM software engineer, I am appalled at the problems related to the forced automatic update of Windows 10. How can it be acceptable to perform a two-hour installation, only to have the process roll back without any indication of what went wrong? Additionally, after failing, it repeats the same update attempt with the same results a week or two later.
Why isn’t Microsoft able to definitively pinpoint the problem so it can be corrected? Googling the return code, 0x8007042b, provides no clue except to state that if disconnecting USB devices fails to correct the issue, you must perform a clean install of Windows 10. Even a full backup/restore isn’t guaranteed to work; again, the problem repeats itself over and over.
Do Microsoft’s engineers have any idea how many wasted hours go into reinstalling their operating system and everything else on top of it? IBM had a manual called “Messages and Codes” that fully detailed every error, along with its meaning and corrective action. So, now it appears I’m forced to disable all updates. What can I do to pressure Microsoft to get its act together?
– AF Donato, retired SE
THE DOCTOR RESPONDS: In Microsoft’s defense, its own repository of Windows documentation concedes that System Error Codes are broad, and can occur in many hundreds of locations. This means their descriptions cannot be very specific. But there’s a couple of steps you might want to try, other than disconnecting USB devices, or completely reinstalling Windows.
First, try running Windows Update after performing a clean boot, which loads up a limited number of software drivers and startup apps to minimize the chances of a conflict. Bear in mind that you must be logged in as an administrator. Assuming you’re running Windows 10, type “msconfig” into Cortana’s search box, and click on “System Configuration.” Switch to the “Services” tab, select the “Hide all Microsoft services” checkbox, and click “Disable all.” Now move over to the “Startup” tab and “Open Task Manager.” Under that window’s “Startup” tab, select each item, and click “Disable.” Close the Task Manager, return to the System Configuration window, and click “OK.” Restart your system before trying to reinstall the update.
Microsoft also publishes a Windows Update Troubleshooter. If you’re using Windows 10, visit https:// aka.ms/wudiag to grab the diagnostic cabinet file. Follow the wizard’s prompts to clear up any outstanding issues preventing Windows Update from completing successfully.
If all else fails, there’s always the option to speak up with your wallet.
Doc, If anyone can answer this question, it’s you. My installation of Windows 10 has decided to stop loading Edge, along with several other standard apps like 3D Builder, Microsoft Store, Phone, and Print 3D. Is there a way to reinstall/repair Windows 10 without losing my programs, shortcuts, settings, or data? I’d like to end up with the same system, except fixed. I’d hate to start from scratch. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi! –TPK THE DOCTOR RESPONDS: Microsoft offers a few ways to restore the functionality and performance of a fresh Windows 10 install, including the reset (open Windows Settings, click “Update & Security,” and select the Recovery pane) and Fresh Start (open Windows Defender Security Center, click “Device performance & health,” and select “Additional info” under the Fresh Start description). With a reset, you lose your apps, though. A fresh start preserves personal files and some settings, but also sacrifices most apps.
Alternatively, perform a repair upgrade. Download the Media Creation Tool from Microsoft’s website, which you can use to grab the .ISO corresponding to your copy of Windows. Mount that file by double-clicking it, then run the setup file within. Follow the wizard, and you basically install Windows 10 over your existing copy, preserving apps, settings, and files in the process.
For under $200, a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB offers plentyof 4K- capable outputs.