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Posts Tagged ‘firmware’

Hard Disk Drive Firmware Search Engineer

April 26th, 2010 Comments off

Hard Disk Drive Firmware Search Engineer As we know, firmware damage is the main reason which causes the hard disk data lose. When we encounter this problem, we should rebuild the firmware first. By this time, we need some professional tools, such as PC3000. (About the PC3000 tool). With the professional tools, we also need to find the matching firmware, so I made this searching tool as below:

You just need to input your firmware model number, for example: input ‘HitachiHTS541616J9AT00’, then you can find the firmware which you are looking for. Although this searching tool is not perfect, its accuracy rating is good.

These firmware data which are used for the searching tool are from http://files.hddguru.com and http://www.firmwarebase.com.

Firmware Search Engineer Code(Copy this code to your website):

<form action=”http://www.google.com/cse” id=”cse-search-box”>
<div>
<input type=”hidden” name=”cx” value=”016304681005895250528:a7qpcruki2s” />
<input type=”hidden” name=”ie” value=”UTF-8″ />
<input type=”text” name=”q” size=”31″ />
<input type=”submit” name=”sa” value=”Search” />
</div>
</form>
<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://www.google.com/cse/brand?form=cse-search-box&lang=en”></script>

If you know any other hard drive firmware download websites, please do not hesitate to share them with me. With your helping, I can make this search tool better. Thanks!

How to Upgrade Hard Drive Firmware?

January 22nd, 2010 Comments off

Upgrade Hard Drive Firmware Firmware is a type of software stored directly inside hardware components, such as hard disk drives or motherboards, that tells the hardware how to interact with your computer’s operating system. You would typically only need to upgrade your hard drive’s firmware if you installed a new motherboard or upgraded to a new operating system that the drive was not originally intended to interact with. Firmware upgrades are meant to be administered through a floppy disk, but with some extra work you can also apply them with a standard CD as well.

Note: Save a backup copy of each of your important files to an external source before attempting to update the firmware of your hard drive. If you stop the upgrade process before its finished or accidentally install the wrong version of the firmware, your hard drive may stop functioning properly and you could lose all of your data.

  1. Open your web browser and navigate to the website for the manufacturer of your hard drive (see “Resources” below). Access the support or downloads section and search for the model number of your computer or the hard drive itself.
  2. Click on the download link to download the firmware upgrade. Insert a 3.5 inch floppy disk into your computer’s floppy disk drive if it has one or instead insert a rewritable CD into the computer’s CD drive. Transfer the firmware upgrade file to the floppy disk.
  3. Return to your web browser if you are using a rewritable CD instead of a floppy disk. Navigate to a website that offers ISO software such as “MagicISO” or “PowerISO” (see “Resources” below). Access the downloads section of the website and download the program’s installation file.
  4. Double-click on the file you downloaded and follow the instructions on the screen to install the ISO program. Open the program once it’s installed and follow its ISO burning procedures to burn a copy of the firmware upgrade to the rewritable CD.
  5. Leave the CD or floppy disk in the appropriate disk drive and re-start the computer. Wait for a new menu screen to appear and scroll down through the options using the arrow keys on the keyboard. Highlight the hard disk drive you need to update and hit the “Enter” key.
  6. Wait for the operating system to finish loading and then open the “My Computer” icon on the desktop. Navigate to the floppy disk drive or CD-RW drive. Double-click the executable file saved on the disk and then follow the instructions that will appear on the screen to upgrade the hard disk drive’s firmware.

Useful Links:

  • IBM Hard Drive Firmware Downloads
  • HP Hard Drive Firmware Downloads
  • Download MagicISO
  • Western Digital Firmware Downloads
  • Download PowerISO

Data Recovery Glossary (Letter F)

January 19th, 2010 Comments off

FAT (File Allocation Table)
A data table stored at the beginning of each partition on the disk that is used by the operating system to determine which sectors are allocated to each file and in what order.

Fdisk
A software utility used to partition a hard drive. This utility is included with DOS and Windows 95 operating systems.

Fetch
The process of retrieving data.

Fibre Channel (FC)
The general name given to an integrated set of standards being developed by an ANSI-approved X3 group. This set of standards defines new protocols for flexible information transfer. Fibre channel supports three topologies: point-to-point, arbitrated loop, and fabric.

Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop (FC-AL)
A subset of fibre channel network systems interconnection. A serial storage interface designed to meet the needs of high-end applications.

Firmware
Permanent instructions and data programmed directly into the circuitry of read-onlymemory for controlling the operation of the computer.

Firewire
FireWire (also referred to as IEEE1394 High Performance Serial Bus) is a very fast external bus that supports data transfer rates of up to 800 Mbps. It is similar to USB. It preceded the development of USB when it was originally created in 1995 by Apple. FireWire devices can be connected and disconnected any time, even with the power on. When a new FireWire device is connected to a computer, the operating system automatically detects it and prompts for the driver disk.

FIT (Functional Integrity Testing)
A suite of tests on hard drive products to ensure compatibility with different hosts, operating systems, adapters, application programs, and peripherals. This testing must be performed before the product can be released to manufacturing.

Flow Control
In PIO transfers, the ability of an EIDE drive to control the speed at which the host transfers data to or from the drive by using the IORDY signal. The host temporarily stops transferring data whenever the drive deasserts the IORDY signal. When the drive reasserts the IORDY signal, the host continues the data transfer.

Format
A process that prepares a hard drive to store data. Low-level formatting sets up the locations of sectors so user data can be stored in them. Most hard drives are low-level formatted at the factory and therefore do not need to be low-level formatted by the end user. You need to perform a high-level format (with EZ-Drive or the Format command) on your new hard drive before you can use it. Formatting erases all the information on a hard drive and it sets up the file system needed for storing and retrieving files.

Formatted Capacity
The actual capacity available to store data in a mass storage device. The formatted capacity is the gross capacity minus the capacity taken up by the overhead data required for formatting the media.

Form Factor
The industry standard that defines the physical and external dimensions of a particular device.

Full-Duplex
A communication protocol that permits simultaneous transmission in both directions.

Does Your Hard Drive Need A Firmware Update?

July 12th, 2009 Comments off

Firmware Update Many thousands of hard drives enter the market with any given version of firmware in common.

Thousands of drives have the same firmware version when they are sold.
External, SATA, and ATA drives that are used in PCs and for personal storage pass through extensive testing before they leave the factory.  Therefore, they are not designed for firmware updates in the field.

Firmware updates

Performing a firmware update can be risky by itself even in the best of situations.  For example, a power outage during a firmware update carries a very good possibility of ruining the drive.  External, Serial ATA, and ATA drives are not designed for field firmware updates by end users.

Very often, system or device driver issues cause symptoms that are incorrectly called “firmware problems.”

What is firmware?

Firmware is defined as a computer program that is hard-coded into the hard drive and contains its basic operational storage programming.  Another way to think of it is that firmware is a software middleman that allows your hardware to talk to software (i.e., Windows operating systems, etc).  For a hard drive, firmware is a program that governs the behavior and factory settings, even the identity, of that drive.  Any drive that comes out of the factory and is in use in a computer or server has firmware installed on it from the factory.

What is the relationship between firmware and drivers?

Drivers tell the operating system how to behave. Firmware tells the drive how to behave. Seagate provides no drivers for most products in any modern Windows or MacOS operating system – the drivers must come from Microsoft, Apple, or the motherboard.

Why not just put firmware updates online with public links?

There are four main reasons:

  1. Field support for firmware updates involves robust and compatible tools, backwards compatibility and data safety.  These features are designed into Enterprise class SAS, Fibre Channel and SAS interface disc drives.Desktop and Mobile SATA and PATA drives are not designed for firmware updates in the field in the vast majority of cases.  Very often what looks like a newer version of firmware, by the number, may actually be incompatible with previous versions.  If incompatible firmware is copied to an earlier version of the same model, data loss or drive ruin will result.  Performing a firmware update can be risky by itself even in the best of situations.  For example, a power outage during a firmware update carries a very good possibility of ruining the drive.  This is why Seagate uses a warranty exchange process, if necessary, to update SATA and PATA drive firmware.
  2. In most cases, when a hard drive is thought to be malfunctioning, it is an operating system (i.e. Windows) issue or a problem with a software program.  Firmware is easy to blame when a hard drive does not perform as a user expects, when its installation does not proceed exactly as expected, or a myriad of other situations, or even when a drive diagnostic reports bad sectors.  In order to protect the user, Seagate restricts access to firmware updates.
  3. Some drives that still bear the Seagate name on the label but are actually the property of an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) (such as Dell or Hewlett-Packard [HP]) might have unique firmware on them.  OEMs purchase large amounts of bare drives from Seagate and put their own firmware on them, at which point the drive is sold as part of a larger piece of equipment, such as a server or a personal or notebook computer.  Often the OEMs load specialized firmware in order to be able to build in performance enhancements that are specific to their product.However, sometimes these servers or computers are disassembled and the hard drives end up being sold separately from a third-party technology reseller or even on eBay, and because these drives have “Seagate” on the label and sometimes even the same model number (the “ST” number) as standard drives sold in a retail store, it can be easy to confuse the two.  The specialized firmware on some of these drives sometimes works outside of their original equipment and sometimes does not.  In very many cases, performing a firmware update with “standard” firmware would violate Seagate’s legal agreements with the OEM, thus voiding both the OEM and Seagate warranty, and carries a good possibility of ruining the OEM drive.
  4. Very seldom does a firmware update increase the drive’s performance. Most firmware updates are made available in order to solve a problem with timing, in order to synchronize with the timing of the system’s communication lines.

In summary, it is always best to seek other avenues of troubleshooting the hard drive and the surrounding system before resorting to questions of firmware.  If you suspect a drive may be defective, test it using Seatools.

Basic Information of Hard Disk Drive (Part II)

May 5th, 2009 Comments off

If a drive has damaged data in the SA, for example in the firmware code module, it might become unusable. To repair these disks, the HDD can be switched to a so called ‘safe mode’, by setting specific jumpers on the drive. If the drive is operating in safe mode, it bypasses its own firmware. Instead, it wants the user to upload firmware to its ram. If the user uploads a correct ‘temporary’ firmware to RAM, it starts executing that firmware. If this uploaded RAM code (the ‘loader’) starts operating, the user can then start to issue ATA commands to the drive to modify the damaged modules.

Firmware files that you can find on a site like this contain a lot of files. First, there is the ‘loader’ file (*.LDR). This file is the ‘temporary’ firmware code, that’s being uploaded to the RAM (so, it’s not being written to disk). Then, there are a lot of ‘*.RPM’ files. These files represent the different modules, which can be written to the SA. The filenames consist of 8 numbers. The first 4 numbers specify the (hex) UBA and the second 4 numbers represent the hexadecimal module size in sectors (each sector normally contains 512 bytes, so for example, if a filename ends in 0002, then that module is 1024 bytes long). So, in short, after uploading the loader to RAM, the user can start replacing damaged modules by overwriting them with correct ones.

BTW, please note that the term ‘firmware’ for the packages on this site is not very well chosen, since these packages contain all needed modules to repair a HDD and not just the firmware (=code) module.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a specific firmware module, you can do 3 things:

1) rip the firmware modules from the SA of an identical HDD
2) get these modules from a friend (or for example, from the files section on this site: www.firmwarebase.com)
3) use a firmware update program from the vendor.

About this last option: firmware updates from vendors are pretty rare, since firmware code almost never needs to be replaced. However, Maxtor for example, had some problems with the firmware code on some Diamondmax HDD models. So, they issued a firmware update. This update consists of 2 files:

1) the executable file that issues the ATA ‘download microcode’ command to upload the firmware files to the HDD
2) The firmware code, consisting of the ‘main’ firmware code and ‘overlay’ code modules.