Archive for the ‘Hard Disk FAQs’ Category

How to find drive’s serial number & model number in MacOS X

March 24th, 2015 Comments off
  1. Choose the Apple from the menu.
  2. Choose About this Mac.
  3. Choose More Info…
  4. Choose the drive type: Serial ATA
  5. Highlight the appropriate drive listed under the bus.
  6. Below you will see the model and serial number of the highlighted drive.

How to find drive’s serial number & model number in MacOS X

Frequently asked questions:

Can I update the firmware on my hard drive if it is installed in a Mac?

Yes. However, it must be an Intel-based Mac (i.e. MacPro and iMac – with Intel inside). There are other models of Macs that have Intel processors such as the MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks as well as the Mac Mini, but these drives have notebook (2.5-inch) drives which are not affected.

I have a PowerMac.  Can I update the firmware on my hard drive?

Older Macs that are PowerPC-based (PowerMac G3, G4, G5 and iMac G3, G4, and G5) are incompatible with the FreeDOS operating system which is required to perform the update.

Procedure for firmware update via bootable CD (Mac)

  1. Provides specific instructions for updating firmware in MacOS X.
    Instructions for updating firmware on an Intel based Mac
  2. Download and burn the firmware .iso image from its download page.
  3. Burn the .iso image to a CD. Click here for Apple’s instructions on this procedure.
  4. Insert the freshly burned CD back in to your Mac’s CD drive.
  5. Reboot the Mac.
  6. After the chime, press and hold the Option key on the keyboard.
  7. Once you see the Apple with the spinning gear beneath, release the Option key.
  8. At this point, the system will display a screen with images of hard drives and a CD. The CD should be named Seagate.
  9. Click on the CD.
  10. Click on the arrow pointing to the right.
  11. At this point FreeDOS will boot.

Note: If your keyboard does not respond within FreeDOS, use a wired rather than a wireless keyboard

Set drive size with SeaTools for DOS

March 17th, 2015 Comments off

Some motherboard BIOSes limit your internal drive’s capacity. SeaTools for DOS can reset the capacity.

The ability to "Set Capacity" is a feature in SeaTools for DOS that will instruct the selected hard drive to report a size smaller than its true capacity during boot. The feature allows older systems with a BIOS limitation to boot with the drive in the system instead of locking up or freezing during the boot process.  Please be aware that the "Set Hard Drive Size" feature is no longer available in the current versions of MaxBlast and DiscWizard, so you will have to use SeaTools for DOS instead to set the hard drive’s capacity.  

Following this procedure will allow you to access your hard drive; however you won’t be able to use the full capacity.  Instead, it is highly recommended you either update your system’s BIOS or purchase an ATA PCI controller card to bypass your system’s BIOS.

This procedure applies only to ATA drives connected directly to the motherboard.  If you are using an add-on ATA PCI adapter card, do not use this utility. The BIOS on the ATA PCI card should recognize the full capacity of the drive.  If you are using a SATA drive, you do not need to change what capacity is reported to the BIOS, as the specifications for SATA controllers were designed with larger-capacity drives in mind.  Because of this, the Set Capacity feature will not work on any SATA hard drive.

If your hard drive is seen in the BIOS as 137GB and you are installing Windows 2000 with Service Pack 3 or greater, Windows XP with Service Pack 1 or greater, or Windows Vista, you shouldn’t need to set the hard drive size, as the current versions of those operating systems should bypass any BIOS limitations on the drive.

Do not try to resize a drive that has data on it. Changing a drive size to a smaller capacity is a data-destructive process.  If there is data on the drive, please format the drive or use SeaTools for DOS’ Zero-Fill utility.

Follow the steps below to ensure that the Set Capacity operation is properly run:

  1. Disconnect the drive from the computer.
  2. Restart the system and enter the BIOS.
  3. Set the BIOS parameters (example: Primary Master, Primary Slave, Secondary Master, or Secondary Slave) to where the drive is connected from Auto-Detect to None or Not-Installed.
  4. Save the settings and exit.
  5. Power off the computer. This will tell the BIOS that there is no device or drive attached to the port.
  6. Reconnect the drive to the port that is configured as None or Not-Installed.
  7. Power on and boot directly to the SeaTools for DOS CD or floppy diskette. When the system boots to the SeaTools program, select the drive you want to change the size of, and press C to set the drive capacity.
  8. If you don’t know the maximum capacity drive your system’s BIOS can handle, press S to set the maximum to 32GB, which is a common limit on older systems. If you do know the maximum, you can press M to set the limit manually.
  9. Once you have changed the capacity for the drive and SeaTools for DOS accepts it, power off the system. This is critical in order for the changes to take effect to the drive.
  10. Restart the system and enter the BIOS.
  11. Change the BIOS parameters from "None" to "Auto-Detect".
  12. Save settings and exit.
  13. Boot to your operating system installation CD / DVD and begin the installation of your operating system.

Warning: You may need a BIOS upgrade or ATA PCI controller card if the system continues to freeze, hang, or lockup during startup. Check with your motherboard or system manufacturer.

To reset the drive to its full capacity, run SeaTools’ Set Capacity feature and select R to reset the drive to its maximum capacity.

Large Cluster Sizes Waste Disk Space

March 12th, 2015 Comments off

Cluster, cluster size, and slack

Large Cluster Sizes Waste Disk SpaceThe filesystem does not keep track of the disk space allocation (what space is used for which file and what is free) down to the byte level. That would require too much maintenance. Instead, the disk space divided into equal blocks called clusters. The filesystem then allocates disk space cluster-by-cluster.

This reduces the amount of overhead involved in tracking what is where, but also creates a side effect. If the file size is less than a cluster size, the filesystem still allocates a full cluster to store the file. The unused space in the cluster is thus wasted. For any file which size is not an integral multiple of a cluster size, there will be some unoccupied space in the last cluster.

This unoccupied space is called “slack” and it cannot be used for any other file. On average, half the cluster size is wasted for every file stored on the volume.

Typical volume holding a Windows Vista installation and also some installed applications contains approximately 150,000 files occupying about 150 GB. Given a cluster size of 4096 bytes, the amount of disk space lost is about 300 MB, or 0.2% overhead, which is negligible for all practical purposes.

Why Large Cluster Sizes Waste Disk Space?

Larger hard drive clusters waste disk space because data is saved to favor substantial data-access performance boosts by sacrificing minimal amounts of storage capacity. Clusters designate where file segments can start and end: any unused spaced in between is wasted. Slack can be measured by comparing file size and file size on disk — size on disk includes the unused space from cluster limitations.

Clusters and Sectors
Clusters divide the hard drive into manageable storage segments. They consist of several sectors, or the smallest addressable data segments on the storage device. Files can be spread over many clusters and whatever space is not used in the final cluster is left unused. Within the cluster system, large files do not have to occupy a contiguous section of the hard drive and can be split up over separate hard drive sections.

Slack is the unused space in a file’s final cluster. Slack works a lot like a partially used page at the end of a book chapter. If chapter 4 ends half-way through a page, chapter 5 may not start until the next page: used cluster data space works the same way. Each new file is the start of a new chapter and needs to start on a new page, so any unused space on the page can’t be used. Larger hard drive clusters increase the potential for unused space because the increased cluster size leaves more possible empty space if the file ends earlier in the cluster. If a file creates 3KB of slack when it uses 1KB of a 4KB cluster whereas it creates 7KB of slack if it only uses 1KB of space in a 8KB cluster.

Like Books
Hard drive data storage works a lot like a book. Individual letters are the smallest unit of information in a book while a computer uses binary digits. Letters usually don’t mean much on their own and are divided into words. Hard drives group binary digits into sectors, which are the smallest data unit that has any meaning. Hard drive clusters are like pages in a book: they store groups of sectors and words in a single, identifiable unit. Computer files are a lot like chapters in books: they contain a designated grouping of related content. Chapters can be of varying lengths and somehow need to be divided. Clusters on a hard drive work like page numbers on a book’s table of contents: they identify where content starts and ends.

Hard drive clusters alleviate the workload involved in locating saved data. Instead of storing all data in a continuous flow and monitoring each data bit for file starting and ending point, clusters break up the storage device in a way that reduces the total number of starting and ending points. Instead of scanning for a file through the entire hard drive, it uses cluster information stored in the file allocation table to go straight to the file. Using clusters is like using page numbers to find content in a book as opposed to finding it through word count.

What is the best cluster size to use?

Use the default setting for a cluster size. It provides the best results in almost all cases. In cases where the default value is not the same as the optimum value, you would not see the difference anyway. The ability to specify a cluster size is itself a legacy from the days of floppy drives.

On NTFS, it is not recommended to select a cluster size larger than 4096 bytes (4KB) for general use, because NTFS only supports compression for clusters up to 4096 bytes.

Hard Drive Clone

March 8th, 2015 Comments off

How do I clone my drive so that the new drive works 100% exactly like the old one?
I have never learned anything on the HDD besides using it. Some people say I have to reinstall windows if I disk clone, some people say it’ll work exactly like my old HDD. Can anyone explain in detail how to clone?

hard_drive_cloneBacking up your data is a great way to safeguard against potential hardware failure. Cloning a hard drive creates an identical copy of everything on that drive. With a cloned hard drive you can restore your computer to its previous state or build a new computer with a setup identical to your existing one. Windows 8 has a backup and restoration tool called, strangely enough, Windows 7 File Recovery, that is designed for this purpose.

Hard Drive Clone Instructions

1 Press “Windows-W” on your keyboard to load the Search Settings pane. Enter “Windows 7 File” without quotation marks in the Search box.

2 Click “Windows 7 File Recovery” in the search results to load the Windows 7 File Recovery screen.

3. Click “Create a system image.”

4 Select where you want to save your hard drive clone data. Options include another hard drive, USB key, DVD or a network location.

If you want to save to another hard drive or USB key, click the “On a hard disk” radio button, click the associated pull-down menu and select your drive or USB key. If you want to save to DVD, click the “On one or more DVDs” radio button and select the name of the DVD burner you want to use. If you want to save to a network location, click the “On a network location,” click the “Select” button, and then browse to the location where you want to create the hard drive clone.

5 Click “Next” to apply your settings and initiate the cloning process.

Tips: Information in this article applies to computers running the Windows 8 operating system. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.

The Problems With Hard Drive Clone

Cloning a hard drive may present some problems for the novice computer user. The task involves advanced skills and may require extra hardware.

Programs for Cloning Vary in Quality
You can find cloning software that is free, but many of the programs can be confusing or require previous knowledge. The most user-friendly programs are expensive.

Copy Area in Use
Copying files is normally done by the operating system of your hard drive. In order to copy your hard drive, you must copy areas that would normally be in use during the copy process. To get around this you will need a bootable disc and a device to run it.

Attaching Devices for Copying
You will need to know how to hook up an additional hard drive to your device. Towers have room to install a second drive. Laptops and some desktops have limited internal space, and may require the use of an external hard drive.

Copyright and Cloning
You may not have the right to copy everything that is on your hard drive. Cloning makes a pixel-by-pixel image of your files, and does not differentiate between what is legal to copy and what is not. You will need to develop strategies to avoid accidental copyright infringement.

Backing up your entire drive: Cloning vs. imaging

Both cloning and imaging create an exact record of your drive or partition. I’m not just talking about the files, but the master boot record, allocation table, and everything else needed to boot and run your operating system.

This isn’t necessary for protecting your data–a simple file backup will handle that job just fine. But should your hard drive crash or Windows become hopelessly corrupt, a clone or image backup can quickly get you back to work.

When you clone a drive, you copy everything on it onto another drive, so that the two are effectively identical. Normally, you would clone to an internal drive made external via a SATA/USB adapter or enclosure.

But imaging a drive is more like creating a great big .zip file (without the .zip extension). Image backup software copies everything on the drive into a single, compressed, but still very large file. You would probably save the image onto an external hard drive.

So what are the advantages of each?

Should your primary hard drive crash, a clone will get you up and running quickly. All you have to do is swap the drives.

On the other hand, if your drive crashes and you’ve backed it up to an image, you’d have to buy and install a new internal hard drive, boot from your backup program’s emergency boot disc, and restore the drive’s contents from the backup.

So why image? An image backup provides greater versatility when backing up. You can save several images onto one sufficiently large external hard drive, making it easier and more economical to save multiple versions of the same disk or back up multiple computers.

You can find several programs that can do these chores, including the backup tools in Windows 7 and 8. But I recommend Macrium Reflect Free, which is free for personal use. It’s easy to use, can clone and image, and in my experience, is extremely reliable.

How to Upgrade a Laptop HDD with Solid State Hybrid Drive (SSHD) Technology

May 14th, 2013 Comments off

upgradelaptopdriveDo you have a late model laptop computer that is either out of space or doesn’t seem to deliver the performance you’re looking for? You can breathe new life into your computer and increase your performance without having to purchase a brand new laptop. A relatively new and exciting storage technology has come to market which will solve space/performance issues. It’s called Solid State Hybrid Drive technology or SSHD.

What is Solid State Hybrid Drive technology (SSHD)

The ultimate solution to meeting improved storage performance and capacity needs within the budget constraints of IT organizations is a blend of solid state drive (SSD) and hard disk drive (HDD) technology. Solid state hybrid drives (SSHD) effectively merge these technologies, providing storage devices that are compatible with traditional HDD modules, while delivering one of the most compelling value propositions the storage market has seen in years: SSD–like performance and hard drive capacity.

SSD HDD = SSHD and innovation

SSHDs combine a small, fast and affordable amount of NAND flash memory with a traditional hard drive. SSHD, the best of both worlds:

  • Uses SSD for blazing speed
  • Integrates HDD high–capacity and reliability
  • Introduces Adaptive Memory™ technology, the secret sauce

High performance cost savings = SSHD

    SSHDs have been tested in comparison with both traditional HDDs and SSDs using both laptop boot times and application launches. Both approaches effectively demonstrate the linkage between retrieving data from mass storage and delivering this data to the CPU.

Solid State Hybrid Drive technology is best for laptop upgrades for faster application boot time, combining HDD capacity and SSD performance at a good value.

Three reasons to upgrade your laptop with a SSHD:

  1. Instant on, high-performance.
  2. Store more without compromise.
  3. Best value for your money.

This new hybrid storage category uses just a small amount of solid state storage and integrates it with a traditional hard drive. The result delivers exceptionally fast performance, big capacity points like a hard drive and a price that is very affordable. You can get performance you never thought possible and the extra capacity to store your digital life.

Sound complicated? It’s actually quite simple. Replacing the hard drive in your laptop computer is much easier than you might think.

Three steps to upgrading the HDD in your laptop computer:

  1. Buy the correct replacement drive to fit your computer.You will want to verify the physical size of your current HDD.
  2. Copy (or clone) all the information from your existing drive to the new model.
  3. Remove the old drive and replacement it with the new one.

Now that you know it’s relatively simple to tackle your own upgrade.

Two key tools you’ll need to upgrade your laptop drive:

  1. A cable to connect your new drive to your laptop,which enables you to make an exact duplicate of the data on your current drive.
  2. A software application that automates this data duplication process.

Laptop Upgrade Bundle

You will need to purchase: a Seagate Laptop SSHD, the appropriate cable for your laptop, and the free DiscWizard™ software application.

For Mac users, you will need the 750GB Solid State Hybrid Drive with Firewire 800 Upgrade Cable as seen on the Laptop SSHD Accessories tab.

For PC users, purchase the 750GB Solid State Hybrid Drive with USB 3.0 Upgrade Cable as seen on the Laptop SSHD Accessories tab.

Seagate provides a free download of DiscWizard software, which includes a feature to automate the data duplication process or clone your installed hard drive.

There is no need to be afraid to tackle this simple but effective way to boost the performance in your aging laptop while simultaneously getting a bunch of needed capacity. You’ll be up and running in no time. Don’t be surprised when you start to think you’ve purchased a brand new system!