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Using Western Digital EARS and EADS Drives in Windows Home Server RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm hoping someone knowledgeable would be willing to lend advice specific to my situation.  I am trying to find out how to make best use of the Western Digital Caviar Green Drives I have available for my WHS. I've been reading the dozens of posts and articles about alignment and head parking issues with these green drives. And at this point, I am completely confused somewhat scared about what to do.

    My current plans are to keep an existing production Windows Home Server and to add a new WHS-Vail server for testing. And other than the disks, the two computers are identical.

    Now when I set up my WHS production server, I knew nothing about either the drive alignment nor the head parking issues. So the disks were basically dumped in and the server installed. And it seems to work well except for some occasional major slowdowns. It sounds like the slowdowns may be due the lack of alignment of the drives. The WHS server has (1) WD10EADS, (1) WD15EADS, and (2) WD15EARS. I *believe* the system partition was created on the WD10EADS and the rest was used for the data pool.

    I have enough free space that I should be able to dismount any one of the drives. Can I just remove a drive, set the jumper, and re-add it to the server? And can I repeat this one by one, including the system drive, until all the drives have the jumper set? From what I've read, most people recommend using the jumper over the WD Align software. Does that sound right? Are there any special considerations I should be aware of?

    Also I am also very concerned about the head parking issues causing premature drive failure on the EADS drives. I've heard the newer EARS models no longer park heads every 8 seconds, but the EADS files need to have a WDIDLE3 file run against them to extend the park time. But again, there is all sorts of confusing information about whether this should be applicable to my WD10EADS and WD15EADS disks. Do I need to be concerned about this? And if so, what are the steps to take to prevent it?

    In addition, are there any other hard disk related settings or issues I should be aware of to gain maximum life and reliability or to improve performance from these drives? I read something information about the bios settings to use but the information seemed to be contradictory.

    And the last question, which is separate and hopefully not an issue at all, are about my plans for the Vail server. I plan to use (2) new WD20EARS that have never been installed.  This one sounds like a piece of cake because from everything I have read WHS-Vail is based on Microsoft Server 2008 so it should have no problems using these drives. There should be no need to set jumpers or use the WD align software. Can anyone comment about that? It sounds too good to be true.

    I am open to changing which drives are used in which machines and for what. While I would prefer not to have to recreate my WHS, I would if it would provide better performance and reliability. I also don't want to replace any of the drives but would if it makes sense to do so.

    Thanks in advance for taking the time to read all of this and for any help you can provide.

    • Moved by Ken WarrenModerator Friday, July 30, 2010 5:00 PM hardware question (From:Windows Home Server Software)
    Friday, July 30, 2010 3:15 PM

All replies

  • I'm hoping someone knowledgeable would be willing to lend advice specific to my situation.  I am trying to find out how to make best use of the Western Digital Caviar Green Drives I have available for my WHS. I've been reading the dozens of posts and articles about alignment and head parking issues with these green drives. And at this point, I am completely confused somewhat scared about what to do.

    My current plans are to keep an existing production Windows Home Server and to add a new WHS-Vail server for testing. And other than the disks, the two computers are identical.

    Now when I set up my WHS production server, I knew nothing about either the drive alignment nor the head parking issues. So the disks were basically dumped in and the server installed. And it seems to work well except for some occasional major slowdowns. It sounds like the slowdowns may be due the lack of alignment of the drives. The WHS server has (1) WD10EADS, (1) WD15EADS, and (2) WD15EARS. I *believe* the system partition was created on the WD10EADS and the rest was used for the data pool. 

    As far as I know, only the EARS drives (not the EADS drives) use 4K sector Advanced Formatting (so those are the ones you should be concerned about).  You should not use an EARS drive as the primary drive at all.  You can use the EARS drives as secondary drives as long as you set the jumpers on them.

    I have enough free space that I should be able to dismount any one of the drives. Can I just remove a drive, set the jumper, and re-add it to the server?  
    If by "remove" you mean remove from the storage pool through the Console (plus the additional steps necessary), that should be ok.  (If, however, you mean just physically remove the drive from the server, I don't think I would try that.)

    And can I repeat this one by one, including the system drive, until all the drives have the jumper set?

    You cannot "remove" the primary drive from the storage pool, but since you think it's an EADS drive, you shouldn't need to worry about it anyway.

    From what I've read, most people recommend using the jumper over the WD Align software. Does that sound right? 
    Yes.

    Are there any special considerations I should be aware of?

    Also I am also very concerned about the head parking issues causing premature drive failure on the EADS drives. I've heard the newer EARS models no longer park heads every 8 seconds, but the EADS files need to have a WDIDLE3 file run against them to extend the park time. But again, there is all sorts of confusing information about whether this should be applicable to my WD10EADS and WD15EADS disks. Do I need to be concerned about this? And if so, what are the steps to take to prevent it? 

    In addition, are there any other hard disk related settings or issues I should be aware of to gain maximum life and reliability or to improve performance from these drives?  I read something information about the bios settings to use but the information seemed to be contradictory.

    And the last question, which is separate and hopefully not an issue at all, are about my plans for the Vail server. I plan to use (2) new WD20EARS that have never been installed.  This one sounds like a piece of cake because from everything I have read WHS-Vail is based on Microsoft Server 2008 so it should have no problems using these drives. There should be no need to set jumpers or use the WD align software. Can anyone comment about that? It sounds too good to be true.

    It is true.  Vista and newer OSes work well with the 4K sector drives.

    I am open to changing which drives are used in which machines and for what. While I would prefer not to have to recreate my WHS, I would if it would provide better performance and reliability. I also don't want to replace any of the drives but would if it makes sense to do so.

    Thanks in advance for taking the time to read all of this and for any help you can provide.


    Friday, July 30, 2010 4:33 PM
    Moderator
  • Only EARS drives use 4k sectors. I would remove them from the storage pool, then use diskpart to "clean" the drives. This will wipe the partition table. Then you should be okay to install the jumper. This is only needed for Windows Home Server V1; Vail will use the EARS drives as secondary drives "as is" without the jumper. However, Microsoft has cautioned against using an advanced format drive as the system drive for Vail at this time. That will change in a future build, but who knows when that will be? :)
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, July 30, 2010 5:00 PM
    Moderator
  • As far as I know, only the EARS drives (not the EADS drives) use 4K sector Advanced Formatting (so those are the ones you should be concerned about).  You should not use an EARS drive as the primary drive at all.  You can use the EARS drives as secondary drives as long as you set the jumpers on them.
    If by "remove" you mean remove from the storage pool through the Console (plus the additional steps necessary), that should be ok.  (If, however, you mean just physically remove the drive from the server, I don't think I would try that.)

    Thank you very much for taking the time to read through all that and reply.

    Because I am really concerned about premature drive failure due to head parking issues on EADS drives, I was thinking I should pull this from the WHS and replace it with another drive that is neither EADS or EARS. But I had read something about making sure the system drive is large enough to because of the way it caches files during copies. Do you think a 250gb or 500gb drive would be large enough? And any suggestions or pointers to good documentation about how to replace the system drive?

    And I did mean removing the drive using the console. But beyond hitting remove and then letting it do its thing, are there other additional steps needed? I was thinking after I removed it I would simply attach it to a Win7 PC via USB to reformat before attempting to set the jumper and re-add it to the pool.

     

    Saturday, July 31, 2010 11:17 AM
  • And thank you as well. I had seen, but forgotten I had seen that warning, while reading through the documentation.  Given I plan to use two WD20EARS drives for the data pool, do you have any recommendations about what would be a good primary drive to use? Thank you again.
    Saturday, July 31, 2010 11:21 AM
  • Thank you very much for taking the time to read through all that and reply.

    Because I am really concerned about premature drive failure due to head parking issues on EADS drives, I was thinking I should pull this from the WHS and replace it with another drive that is neither EADS or EARS. But I had read something about making sure the system drive is large enough to because of the way it caches files during copies. 

    The problem used to be that you could only copy files to the server if there was enough free space on the primary drive.  However, that is no longer the case (now copies look at the free space of the entire server).  
    Do you think a 250gb or 500gb drive would be large enough?

    It doesn't matter (see my note above). 

    And any suggestions or pointers to good documentation about how to replace the system drive?

    There are posts all over this forum (as well as other websites) for that.  :)  Try searching for Server Reinstallation (or Server Recovery).

    And I did mean removing the drive using the console. But beyond hitting remove and then letting it do its thing, are there other additional steps needed? I was thinking after I removed it I would simply attach it to a Win7 PC via USB to reformat before attempting to set the jumper and re-add it to the pool.

     


    Saturday, July 31, 2010 2:57 PM
    Moderator
  • And thank you again. I will look elsewhere for information about replacing the system drive. 

    And for what it's worth, I wasn't trying to be lazy by asking that question here, honestly. It's just that there is so much out of date information I was hoping someone might be able to point to a good, current source. Your first answer kind of demonstrates that because I still find lots of postings stating you have to have a large primary drive to avoid problems.

    Saturday, July 31, 2010 4:36 PM
  • And thank you again. I will look elsewhere for information about replacing the system drive. 

    And for what it's worth, I wasn't trying to be lazy by asking that question here, honestly. It's just that there is so much out of date information I was hoping someone might be able to point to a good, current source. Your first answer kind of demonstrates that because I still find lots of postings stating you have to have a large primary drive to avoid problems.

    As I recall, there is a post in the FAQ section for it.  In any event, the reinstall method hasn't changed since WHS RTM so any of the posts should work fine.
    Saturday, July 31, 2010 6:28 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken/Kariya21,

     

    I have a WHS with a bunch of different hard drives in it.  I want to expand the storage and cut down on power/noise/heat and would like to use one of the WD Green drives.  This will not system drive.  The system drive will remain intact, this is just an additional drive in my pool.

    Does it matter which one I get?  Can I use either the EARS or EADS?  Will there be any difference?

     

    Thanks

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010 7:56 PM
  • Don't use an Advanced Format drive as the system drive, and if you use it in the storage pool, you are much better off just installing the jumper. That's for V1.

    Microsoft has said in the Vail forum that AF drives will be fully supported by Vail, but there's an issue right now with using one as the system drive. So don't do that, either. :)

    Edit: Whoops! replied to the wrong message in the thread. :)


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, October 27, 2010 8:11 PM
    Moderator
  • Bugger.

     

    I just came here to ask a question about something else and saw this post.  I have 2 eads drive in my system and was just about to add a third.  I havn't really noticed any problems, is there a way to sort out whatever this issue is without removing them from the system?  (It is going to be a nightmare trying to remove them)

    EDIT:

    is there a problem with drives over a certain size? I just added a 2tb samsung

     

    Sunday, October 31, 2010 10:09 AM
  • I recently installed a Western Digital WD10EARS in my WHS V1 as a system drive. I did a "Server Reinstall" and all went well. Server works fine and shows added storage as expected. I did not jumper or use the WD software fix for AF.

    Should I now remove this drive and format as described above? Or has this issue been addressed? Should I expect trouble in the future with this drive or should it be ok since it is working fine now?

    Sunday, October 31, 2010 9:38 PM
  • can anyone help me or Ron?
    Sunday, November 7, 2010 7:08 AM
  • I was able to run the WG Align tool on my WD10EARS drive and it fixed the alignment issue. There is a rather lengthy thread here,

     

    http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php/topic/11681-wd-green-2tb-drives-should-we-use-wd-align/page__p__69039__fromsearch__1#entry69039

     

    I followed that thread and ran the fixed Alignment Tool mentioned on page 2 of that thread. Fixed the issue and very easy to do.

     

    Good Luck,

    Ron

    • Proposed as answer by RonRock Sunday, November 7, 2010 1:36 PM
    Sunday, November 7, 2010 1:36 PM