SMART warning and then no warning?


C

Charles C.

Hi,

I am trying to figure out if a drive (two drives) can be flagged as
failing and then be unflagged.

The drives in question are new IDE Seagates (purchased in last 4-5 months).
First drive Seagate 200GB (made in China).
Second drive Seagate 320GB (made somewhere else, bought as a quick
replacement for the first one).
Motherboard Supermicro dual PIII (possibly P3TDL3 or P3TDLE)
OS = Linux.

My questions and then feel free to read on.
Does SMART flag a drive as bad and the flag is written on the drive?
If yes, does the drive (can it) unflag itself?
Can a smart failure be caused by something external to the drive
(controller, cable, power other ...)?

The story.

First drive was in cool position, connected with a long(er) IDE round
cable and run for about a couple of months. On a reboot we got SMART
warning which stayed on.

Second drive was put in the system and was connected with a shorter flat
cable (may have run hotter because of different location). It run for
maybe one month then big crash (caused by something relating to activity
on the disk) and after that we got SMART failure. It was left in system
(as it was not doing anything) and was connected with a different short
round cable. SMART failure stayed on.

Seagate's Seatools probably said the drive was "flagged" by SMART as
failing. Seatools reported the drive in a similar manner irrespective
of the bios' SMART settings. Eventually the drive was removed from the box.

Now (a month later) wanting to pursue the warranty I test both drives
(on the same box, and as the last short cable is not handy ... I used an
identical brand new one). Both drives show no failure and no SMART
"flag" comment by seatools.

Any help appreciated.

TIA
Charles
 
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R

Rod Speed

Charles C. said:
I am trying to figure out if a drive (two drives)
can be flagged as failing and then be unflagged.

Depends on what is doing the flagging.
The drives in question are new IDE Seagates (purchased in
last 4-5 months). First drive Seagate 200GB (made in China).
Second drive Seagate 320GB (made somewhere else,
bought as a quick replacement for the first one).
Motherboard Supermicro dual PIII (possibly P3TDL3 or P3TDLE)
OS = Linux.
My questions and then feel free to read on.
Does SMART flag a drive as bad

It isnt as black and white as that. The drive does report a threshold
and whether its been exceeded. That isnt necessarily the same thing
as failing because the threshold can be exceeded for reasons other
than a failing drive, most obviously with a power supply going bad etc.
and the flag is written on the drive?

No, there isnt a single flag that is written to the drive in that sense.
If yes, does the drive (can it) unflag itself?

A drive can certainly decide that it wasnt actually evidence of a failing drive.
Can a smart failure be caused by something external
to the drive (controller, cable, power other ...)?

Yes, particularly with power and temperature of the drive.
The story.
First drive was in cool position, connected with a long(er)
IDE round cable and run for about a couple of months.
On a reboot we got SMART warning which stayed on.

You should have checked what SMART data had exceeded
the threshold using smartctl and done a smart scan etc.
Second drive was put in the system and was connected with a shorter
flat cable (may have run hotter because of different location). It
run for maybe one month then big crash (caused by something relating
to activity on the disk) and after that we got SMART failure. It was
left in system (as it was not doing anything) and was connected with
a different short round cable. SMART failure stayed on.
Seagate's Seatools probably said the
drive was "flagged" by SMART as failing.
Seatools reported the drive in a similar manner
irrespective of the bios' SMART settings.

The bios SMART setting just specifys whether to
report the SMART status to the user at boot time etc.
Eventually the drive was removed from the box.
Now (a month later) wanting to pursue the warranty I test both
drives (on the same box, and as the last short cable is not handy ...
I used an identical brand new one). Both drives show no failure
and no SMART "flag" comment by seatools.

Post the smartctl report.
 
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A

Arno Wagner

Previously Charles C. said:
I am trying to figure out if a drive (two drives) can be flagged as
failing and then be unflagged.
The drives in question are new IDE Seagates (purchased in last 4-5 months).
First drive Seagate 200GB (made in China).
Second drive Seagate 320GB (made somewhere else, bought as a quick
replacement for the first one).
Motherboard Supermicro dual PIII (possibly P3TDL3 or P3TDLE)
OS = Linux.
My questions and then feel free to read on.
Does SMART flag a drive as bad and the flag is written on the drive?

The attributes are stored on the drive.
If yes, does the drive (can it) unflag itself?

Yes. I have seen it happen in an older Maxtor. It had failed SMART
status due to excessice reallocated secors (a very bad sign). Got
the error code and RMA from Maxtor. Then I blanked the drive
and suddenly the SMART status is fine again. Veru bad design.
Interestingly Maxtor replaced it without comment.
Can a smart failure be caused by something external to the drive
(controller, cable, power other ...)?

Yes, but that is highly unlikely, since the thresholds are
fairly generous in most cases.
The story.
First drive was in cool position, connected with a long(er) IDE round
cable and run for about a couple of months. On a reboot we got SMART
warning which stayed on.
Second drive was put in the system and was connected with a shorter flat
cable (may have run hotter because of different location). It run for
maybe one month then big crash (caused by something relating to activity
on the disk) and after that we got SMART failure. It was left in system
(as it was not doing anything) and was connected with a different short
round cable. SMART failure stayed on.
Seagate's Seatools probably said the drive was "flagged" by SMART as
failing. Seatools reported the drive in a similar manner irrespective
of the bios' SMART settings. Eventually the drive was removed from the box.
Now (a month later) wanting to pursue the warranty I test both drives
(on the same box, and as the last short cable is not handy ... I used an
identical brand new one). Both drives show no failure and no SMART
"flag" comment by seatools.

Be very suspicious. There likely is a real problem. Seagate just
thinks that maybe it will turn out ok, and they will not have to
replace the drive. Since they are not liable for your data, no matter
how stupid their set-up from a reliability POV is, this makes perfect
sense for them. It also makes perfect sense for you to discard the
drives or try to return them for warranty replacement.

Arno
 

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