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Smartmon, Seagate, and the Load Cycle Count

Something's really berserk somewhere.


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AlphaMack's had his share of Apple hardware woes. Put this way: if he got back the $$$ he's wasted on replacement Apple components over the years he wouldn't have to be seeking further funding for his PhD research.

Today he mostly runs open source systems on IBM hardware. But the odd Mac lingers on. And even though none of them officially have the notorious Seagate drives some seem to have them unofficially.

Seagate

AppleInsider reported on the bum Seagates a year ago.

The issue, reported earlier this month by UK-based Retrodata and subsequently covered by AppleInsider, is confined to Seagate 2.5 inch SATA drives manufactured in China and loaded with firmware Version 7.01.

Apple were criticised as being 'utterly irresponsible' for their response to the issues.

The read/write heads namely appear to fail mechanically, start scratching the platters, thus rendering the drives (and your data) practically unrecoverable.

Got your attention now?

Smartmon Tools

The smartmontools at SourceForge contain two utility programs - smartctl and smartd - to control and monitor storage systems using the 'SMART' (self monitoring analysis and reporting technology) already built into most ATA and SCSI hard drives.

You can use Fink, MacPorts, or Porticus to install smartmontools.

The Tests

The first thing to do is test the hardware you have - regardless of what official press releases say about your not being on those recall lists. Here's a report on a 160 GB Seagate Momentus inside an Apple MacBook - a supposedly 'healthy' HDD.

smartctl version 5.38 [i386-apple-darwin8.11.1] Copyright (C) 2002-8 Bruce Allen
Home page is http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Model Family:     Seagate Momentus 5400.3
Device Model:     ST9160821AS
Serial Number:    5MA132BE
Firmware Version: 3.CAE
User Capacity:    160,041,885,696 bytes
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   7
ATA Standard is:  Exact ATA specification draft version not indicated
Local Time is:    Tue Oct 28 10:32:02 2008 PDT
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status:  (0x82) Offline data collection activity
                                        was completed without error.
                                        Auto Offline Data Collection: Enabled.
Self-test execution status:      (   0) The previous self-test routine completed
                                        without error or no self-test has ever
                                        been run.
Total time to complete Offline
data collection:                 (  60) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities:                    (0x5b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
                                        Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
                                        Suspend Offline collection upon new
                                        command.
                                        Offline surface scan supported.
                                        Self-test supported.
                                        No Conveyance Self-test supported.
                                        Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities:            (0x0003) Saves SMART data before entering
                                        power-saving mode.
                                        Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability:        (0x01) Error logging supported.
                                        No General Purpose Logging support.
Short self-test routine
recommended polling time:        (   1) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time:        ( 111) minutes.
SCT capabilities:              (0x0001) SCT Status supported.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 10
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000e   100   253   006    Old_age   Always       -       0
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0003   099   099   000    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   100   100   020    Old_age   Always       -       624
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   100   100   036    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000f   077   060   030    Pre-fail  Always       -       4347417193
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   096   096   000    Old_age   Always       -       3912
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   100   034    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   020    Old_age   Always       -       555
187 Reported_Uncorrect      0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
189 High_Fly_Writes         0x003a   086   086   000    Old_age   Always       -       14
190 Airflow_Temperature_Cel 0x0022   064   051   045    Old_age   Always       -       36 (Lifetime Min/Max 24/36)
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       30
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   001   001   000    Old_age   Always       -       406764
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   036   049   000    Old_age   Always       -       36 (0 17 0 0)
195 Hardware_ECC_Recovered  0x001a   074   064   000    Old_age   Always       -       52100177
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   100   100   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x0000   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
202 TA_Increase_Count       0x0032   100   253   000    Old_age   Always       -       0

SMART Error Log Version: 1
No Errors Logged

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num  Test_Description    Status                  Remaining  LifeTime(hours)  LBA_of_first_error
# 1  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      2358         -

SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
SPAN  MIN_LBA  MAX_LBA  CURRENT_TEST_STATUS
    1        0        0  Not_testing
    2        0        0  Not_testing
    3        0        0  Not_testing
    4        0        0  Not_testing
    5        0        0  Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
  After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.

The most eye catching part occurs in the middle. Check the 'Seek_Error_Rate'.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 10
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000e   100   253   006    Old_age   Always       -       0
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0003   099   099   000    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   100   100   020    Old_age   Always       -       624
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   100   100   036    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000f   077   060   030    Pre-fail  Always       -       4347417193
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   096   096   000    Old_age   Always       -       3912
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   100   034    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   020    Old_age   Always       -       555
187 Reported_Uncorrect      0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
189 High_Fly_Writes         0x003a   086   086   000    Old_age   Always       -       14
190 Airflow_Temperature_Cel 0x0022   064   051   045    Old_age   Always       -       36 (Lifetime Min/Max 24/36)
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       30
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   001   001   000    Old_age   Always       -       406764
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   036   049   000    Old_age   Always       -       36 (0 17 0 0)
195 Hardware_ECC_Recovered  0x001a   074   064   000    Old_age   Always       -       52100177
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   100   100   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x0000   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
202 TA_Increase_Count       0x0032   100   253   000    Old_age   Always       -       0

That's 4347417193 seek errors. Four billion plus seek errors. Wow. And that's a fairly new HDD, AlphaMack points out.

And check the 'Load_Cycle_Count'. 406764. Already. Hard drives are normally able to handle 600000 cycles at most. And this is a young hard drive - just over one year old.

Here are the comparable numbers from a six month old IBM ThinkPad.

smartctl version 5.38 [i686-pc-linux-gnu] Copyright (C) 2002-8 Bruce Allen
Home page is http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Model Family:     Western Digital Scorpio family
Device Model:     WDC WD1600BEVS-08RST2
Serial Number:    WD-WXE208HE1713
Firmware Version: 08.01G08
User Capacity:    160,041,885,696 bytes
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   7
ATA Standard is:  Exact ATA specification draft version not indicated
Local Time is:    Tue Oct 28 10:37:19 2008 PDT
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status:  (0x00)   Offline data collection activity
               was never started.
               Auto Offline Data Collection: Disabled.
Self-test execution status:      (   0)   The previous self-test routine completed
               without error or no self-test has ever
               been run.
Total time to complete Offline
data collection:        (6780) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities:           (0x7b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
               Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
               Suspend Offline collection upon new
               command.
               Offline surface scan supported.
               Self-test supported.
               Conveyance Self-test supported.
               Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities:            (0x0003)   Saves SMART data before entering
               power-saving mode.
               Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability:        (0x01)   Error logging supported.
               General Purpose Logging supported.
Short self-test routine
recommended polling time:     (   2) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time:     (  87) minutes.
Conveyance self-test routine
recommended polling time:     (   6) minutes.
SCT capabilities:           (0x103f)   SCT Status supported.
               SCT Feature Control supported.
               SCT Data Table supported.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000f   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0003   190   186   021    Pre-fail  Always       -       1466
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       959
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   200   200   140    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000f   100   253   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   094   094   000    Old_age   Always       -       4746
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   100   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 11 Calibration_Retry_Count 0x0012   100   100   051    Old_age   Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       185
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       49
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   191   191   000    Old_age   Always       -       28228
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   114   099   000    Old_age   Always       -       33
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x0009   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Offline      -       0

SMART Error Log Version: 1
No Errors Logged

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num  Test_Description    Status                  Remaining  LifeTime(hours)  LBA_of_first_error
# 1  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      4734         -
# 2  Extended offline    Completed without error       00%      3880         -
# 3  Extended offline    Completed without error       00%      2993         -
# 4  Extended offline    Completed without error       00%      2488         -
# 5  Extended offline    Aborted by host               90%      2487         -
# 6  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      1647         -
# 7  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      1628         -
# 8  Short offline       Completed without error       00%       549         -
# 9  Extended offline    Completed without error       00%       502         -
#10  Extended offline    Interrupted (host reset)      70%       350         -
#11  Short offline       Completed without error       00%       349         -
#12  Short offline       Completed without error       00%       340         -

SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
SPAN  MIN_LBA  MAX_LBA  CURRENT_TEST_STATUS
    1        0        0  Not_testing
    2        0        0  Not_testing
    3        0        0  Not_testing
    4        0        0  Not_testing
    5        0        0  Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
  After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.

Again check the eye catching part in the middle.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000f   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0003   190   186   021    Pre-fail  Always       -       1466
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       959
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   200   200   140    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000f   100   253   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   094   094   000    Old_age   Always       -       4746
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   100   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 11 Calibration_Retry_Count 0x0012   100   100   051    Old_age   Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       185
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       49
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   191   191   000    Old_age   Always       -       28228
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   114   099   000    Old_age   Always       -       33
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x0009   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Offline      -       0

Note the power-on hours on the ThinkPad are slightly more than on the MacBook. Note as well the 'Load_Cycle_Count' - a mere 28228. This is essentially a healthy disk.

AlphaMack says he was blown away by the 'Seek_Error_Rate' on the MacBook, convinced something wasn't right - until he read the Apple threads about the Seagates. And he wonders if perhaps there's some kind of 'busy' Apple power management behind it all.

Fujitsu!

At which time sc68cal came in with stats from his own MacBook Pro. It too has a 160 GB drive - but this time it's a Fujitsu.

smartctl version 5.38 [i386-apple-darwin9.5.0] Copyright (C) 2002-8 Bruce Allen
Home page is http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Device Model:     FUJITSU MHW2160BHPL
Serial Number:    K11GT7729S56
Firmware Version: 0081001C
User Capacity:    160,041,885,696 bytes
Device is:        Not in smartctl database [for details use: -P showall]
ATA Version is:   8
ATA Standard is:  ATA-8-ACS revision 3b
Local Time is:    Tue Oct 28 16:43:40 2008 EDT
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status:  (0x00)   Offline data collection activity
               was never started.
               Auto Offline Data Collection: Disabled.
Self-test execution status:      (  32)   The self-test routine was interrupted
               by the host with a hard or soft reset.
Total time to complete Offline
data collection:        ( 649) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities:           (0x7b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
               Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
               Suspend Offline collection upon new
               command.
               Offline surface scan supported.
               Self-test supported.
               Conveyance Self-test supported.
               Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities:            (0x0003)   Saves SMART data before entering
               power-saving mode.
               Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability:        (0x01)   Error logging supported.
               General Purpose Logging supported.
Short self-test routine
recommended polling time:     (   2) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time:     (  92) minutes.
Conveyance self-test routine
recommended polling time:     (   2) minutes.
SCT capabilities:           (0x003d)   SCT Status supported.
               SCT Feature Control supported.
               SCT Data Table supported.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000f   100   100   046    Pre-fail  Always       -       108301
  2 Throughput_Performance  0x0005   100   100   030    Pre-fail  Offline      -       38862848
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0003   100   100   025    Pre-fail  Always       -       1
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   099   099   000    Old_age   Always       -       3275
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   100   100   024    Pre-fail  Always       -       8589934592000
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000f   100   100   047    Pre-fail  Always       -       1356
  8 Seek_Time_Performance   0x0005   100   100   019    Pre-fail  Offline      -       0
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   090   090   000    Old_age   Always       -       5056
10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   100   020    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       2332
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       200
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   091   091   000    Old_age   Always       -       196639
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       36 (Lifetime Min/Max 16/53)
195 Hardware_ECC_Recovered  0x001a   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       48
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       444334080
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   100   100   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x000f   100   100   060    Pre-fail  Always       -       881
203 Run_Out_Cancel          0x0002   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       2632796013014
240 Head_Flying_Hours       0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0

SMART Error Log Version: 1
No Errors Logged

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num  Test_Description    Status                  Remaining  LifeTime(hours)  LBA_of_first_error
# 1  Short offline       Aborted by host               90%      1487         -
# 2  Short offline       Aborted by host               90%      1485         -
# 3  Short offline       Aborted by host               90%      1464         -
# 4  Short offline       Aborted by host               90%      1408         -
# 5  Short offline       Aborted by host               90%      1385         -
# 6  Short offline       Aborted by host               90%      1385         -
# 7  Short offline       Aborted by host               90%      1385         -
# 8  Short offline       Aborted by host               90%      1368         -
# 9  Short offline       Aborted by host               90%      1335         -
#10  Short offline       Aborted by host               90%      1333         -
#11  Short offline       Aborted by host               90%      1332         -
#12  Short offline       Aborted by host               90%      1318         -
#13  Short offline       Aborted by host               90%      1317         -
#14  Short offline       Aborted by host               90%      1317         -
#15  Short offline       Aborted by host               90%      1312         -
#16  Short offline       Aborted by host               90%      1306         -
#17  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      1298         -
#18  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      1297         -
#19  Short offline       Aborted by host               90%      1212         -
#20  Short offline       Aborted by host               90%      1211         -
#21  Short offline       Aborted by host               90%      1211         -

SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
SPAN  MIN_LBA  MAX_LBA  CURRENT_TEST_STATUS
    1        0        0  Not_testing
    2        0        0  Not_testing
    3        0        0  Not_testing
    4        0        0  Not_testing
    5        0        0  Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
  After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.

Again the eye catchers in the middle.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000f   100   100   046    Pre-fail  Always       -       108301
  2 Throughput_Performance  0x0005   100   100   030    Pre-fail  Offline      -       38862848
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0003   100   100   025    Pre-fail  Always       -       1
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   099   099   000    Old_age   Always       -       3275
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   100   100   024    Pre-fail  Always       -       8589934592000
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000f   100   100   047    Pre-fail  Always       -       1356
  8 Seek_Time_Performance   0x0005   100   100   019    Pre-fail  Offline      -       0
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   090   090   000    Old_age   Always       -       5056
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   100   020    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       2332
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       200
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   091   091   000    Old_age   Always       -       196639
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       36 (Lifetime Min/Max 16/53)
195 Hardware_ECC_Recovered  0x001a   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       48
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       444334080
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   100   100   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x000f   100   100   060    Pre-fail  Always       -       881
203 Run_Out_Cancel          0x0002   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       2632796013014
240 Head_Flying_Hours       0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0

The 'Reallocated_Sector_Ct' is obviously bonkers. The 'Load_Cycle_Count' is relatively high. There are a number of strange things going on.

The Apple Genius Is In — Sort Of…

AlphaMack tells the story.

We unsuccessfully tried to make a visit to a nearby Apple Store after making an appointment online. Thanks to unexpected traffic, we were about 5 min late and unceremoniously turned away by the 'concierge' with the excuse that they had to keep 15 minute appointment blocks. Moreover, we would have been given only 5 minutes to explain our problem to a 'genius'. We had the option of being placed on 'standby' and wait for an hour in the store or to try again another day.

And the genius bar? There were a few empty stools. The stools that were occupied? Not a single one of those customers had a Mac with them. The Apple Store resembles more of an iPod/iPhone service center than all things Apple.

Bottom line:

- OS X frequently beach balls; DiskWarrior can't fix whatever is wrong. (We already know what is wrong but try telling that to the 'geniuses'.) Startups and shutdowns take forever.

- The system is slow even when doing the most mundane of tasks. It progressively gets slower. No wizard of OS X will fix that.

- We have two printouts of the smartmontools health assessments for both the MacBook and ThinkPad as a reference in case they don't believe the seek error rate and load cycle count against the time the HDD has been on. Besides, we doubt that the Apple Store geniuses will have a clue what they're looking at.

- What is interesting to note is that the MacBook continually runs in the neighborhood of 60C and the fans kick on frequently.

- Even with the evidence of impending HDD failure, Apple won't do shit unless they see a dead HDD. Apple still exercises their 'fuck 'em' policy even when confronted with mobs of angry MB owners with dying HDDs.

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=4782134

And now the most important part, printed in a bigger font so people take notice.

- This problem doesn't seem to be limited to Seagate drives; there must be something causing the heads to continually park/unpark. Even worse, there could be a design flaw of some sort (see Apple discussions thread). Not that it matters, because they already have all new models, so now whatever ends up being the penultimate solution is null and void since everyone is back to square one again.

Caviar

Here's one of AlphaMack's old boxes with an 80 GB Western Digital HDD.

smartctl version 5.38 [i686-pc-linux-gnu] Copyright (C) 2002-8 Bruce Allen
Home page is http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Model Family:     Western Digital Caviar family
Device Model:     WDC WD800BB-00JHC0
Serial Number:    WD-WCAM9S293961
Firmware Version: 05.01C05
User Capacity:    80,026,361,856 bytes
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   6
ATA Standard is:  Exact ATA specification draft version not indicated
Local Time is:    Wed Oct 29 15:16:07 2008 PDT
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status:  (0x84)   Offline data collection activity
               was suspended by an interrupting command from host.
               Auto Offline Data Collection: Enabled.
Self-test execution status:      (   0)   The previous self-test routine completed
               without error or no self-test has ever
               been run.
Total time to complete Offline
data collection:        (2460) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities:           (0x7b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
               Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
               Suspend Offline collection upon new
               command.
               Offline surface scan supported.
               Self-test supported.
               Conveyance Self-test supported.
               Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities:            (0x0003)   Saves SMART data before entering
               power-saving mode.
               Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability:        (0x01)   Error logging supported.
               No General Purpose Logging support.
Short self-test routine
recommended polling time:     (   2) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time:     (  35) minutes.
Conveyance self-test routine
recommended polling time:     (   5) minutes.
SCT capabilities:           (0x003f)   SCT Status supported.
               SCT Feature Control supported.
               SCT Data Table supported.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000f   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0003   165   162   021    Pre-fail  Always       -       2725
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       193
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   200   200   140    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000f   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   089   089   000    Old_age   Always       -       8647
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   100   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 11 Calibration_Retry_Count 0x0012   100   100   051    Old_age   Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       193
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   099   083   000    Old_age   Always       -       44
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   200   200   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x0009   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Offline      -       0

SMART Error Log Version: 1
No Errors Logged

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num  Test_Description    Status                  Remaining  LifeTime(hours)  LBA_of_first_error
# 1  Extended offline    Completed without error       00%      7747         -

SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
SPAN  MIN_LBA  MAX_LBA  CURRENT_TEST_STATUS
    1        0        0  Not_testing
    2        0        0  Not_testing
    3        0        0  Not_testing
    4        0        0  Not_testing
    5        0        0  Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
  After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.

And again the eye-catching middle.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000f   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0003   165   162   021    Pre-fail  Always       -       2725
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       193
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   200   200   140    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000f   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   089   089   000    Old_age   Always       -       8647
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   100   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 11 Calibration_Retry_Count 0x0012   100   100   051    Old_age   Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       193
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   099   083   000    Old_age   Always       -       44
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   200   200   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x0009   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Offline      -       0

Nothing even in five digits - and this non-Apple computer is over two years old. This hard drive is so healthy it's almost frightening - considering what's been seen on the others, Apple or no.

iMac G4

By way of comparison yet another of AlphaMack's acquisitions - a four year old Apple desktop.

smartctl version 5.37 [powerpc-apple-darwin8.11.0] Copyright (C) 2002-6 Bruce Allen
Home page is http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Model Family:     Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 and 7200.7 Plus family
Device Model:     ST380011A
Serial Number:    3JV6XHB1
Firmware Version: 3.06
User Capacity:    80,026,361,856 bytes
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   6
ATA Standard is:  ATA/ATAPI-6 T13 1410D revision 2
Local Time is:    Wed Oct 29 16:01:53 2008 PDT
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED
See vendor-specific Attribute list for marginal Attributes.

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status:  (0x82) Offline data collection activity
                                        was completed without error.
                                        Auto Offline Data Collection: Enabled.
Self-test execution status:      (   0) The previous self-test routine completed
                                        without error or no self-test has ever
                                        been run.
Total time to complete Offline
data collection:                 (   0) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities:                    (0x5b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
                                        Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
                                        Suspend Offline collection upon new
                                        command.
                                        Offline surface scan supported.
                                        Self-test supported.
                                        No Conveyance Self-test supported.
                                        Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities:            (0x0003) Saves SMART data before entering
                                        power-saving mode.
                                        Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability:        (0x01) Error logging supported.
                                        No General Purpose Logging support.
Short self-test routine
recommended polling time:        (   1) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time:        (  58) minutes.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 10
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000f   063   062   006    Pre-fail  Always       -       18278561
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0003   099   098   000    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   013   013   020    Old_age   Always   FAILING_NOW 89203
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   100   100   036    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000f   078   060   030    Pre-fail  Always       -       70375003
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   067   067   000    Old_age   Always       -       29256
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   100   097    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   099   099   020    Old_age   Always       -       1783
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   043   051   000    Old_age   Always       -       43
195 Hardware_ECC_Recovered  0x001a   063   061   000    Old_age   Always       -       18278561
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   100   100   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x0000   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
202 TA_Increase_Count       0x0032   100   253   000    Old_age   Always       -       0

SMART Error Log Version: 1
No Errors Logged

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num  Test_Description    Status                  Remaining  LifeTime(hours)  LBA_of_first_error
# 1  Extended offline    Completed without error       00%     27367         -
# 2  Extended offline    Completed without error       00%     19440         -
# 3  Extended offline    Completed without error       00%     16584         -
# 4  Short offline       Completed without error       00%     16582         -
# 5  Short offline       Completed without error       00%     16582         -

SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
SPAN  MIN_LBA  MAX_LBA  CURRENT_TEST_STATUS
    1        0        0  Not_testing
    2        0        0  Not_testing
    3        0        0  Not_testing
    4        0        0  Not_testing
    5        0        0  Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
  After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.

This time the eye-catching part in the middle is worse than ever. Folks, this Apple computer is failing now.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 10
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000f   063   062   006    Pre-fail  Always       -       18278561
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0003   099   098   000    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   013   013   020    Old_age   Always   FAILING_NOW 89203
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   100   100   036    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000f   078   060   030    Pre-fail  Always       -       70375003
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   067   067   000    Old_age   Always       -       29256
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   100   097    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   099   099   020    Old_age   Always       -       1783
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   043   051   000    Old_age   Always       -       43
195 Hardware_ECC_Recovered  0x001a   063   061   000    Old_age   Always       -       18278561
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   100   100   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x0000   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
202 TA_Increase_Count       0x0032   100   253   000    Old_age   Always       -       0

Dead Drives Society

Diem refers people to the Seagate forums.

Seagate Forums: High Start/Stop count and Load/Unload cycle count
Seagate Forums: How do I interpret SMART diagnostic utilities results?

Today's disc drives are constantly monitoring and analyzing their own performance, integrity and environment. The current state of this technology is the result of more than 20 years of innovative Seagate engineering focused on self-testing.

With the backing of personal computer manufacturers, the disc drive industry adopted an analysis system in the 1990's called Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology, or SMART. The idea then and today is to predict a failure before it happens. Various attributes are being monitored and measured against certain threshold limits. If any one attribute exceeds a threshold then a general SMART Status test will change from Pass to Fail.

Many computers check SMART Status when they start up which is when most people become aware of the issue. If still under warranty, then SMART Status FAIL is a valid condition for warranty replacement.

When a SMART Status test has a FAIL it is extremely important that you back up all of your important data. SMART Status FAIL is a near-term prediction of drive failure and the drive usually functions like normal. Unfortunately, there is no way to specifically predict when the failure will occur, so your best response is to back up your data as soon as possible.

Seagate uses the SeaTools Diagnostic software to test the SMART Status of the drive. SeaTools does not analyze attributes or thresholds. As a practical matter, the technology supporting SMART is constantly being improved. Each new design incorporates improvements that increase the accuracy of the SMART prediction. As a matter of policy, Seagate does not publish attributes and thresholds.

The SMART values that might be read out by third-party SMART software are not based on how the values may be used within the Seagate hard drives. Seagate does not provide support for software programs that claim to read individual SMART attributes and thresholds. There may be some historical correctness on older drives, but new drives, no doubt, will have incorporated newer solutions, attributes and thresholds.

Seagate uses the general SMART Status, pass or fail. The individual attributes and threshold values are proprietary and we do not offer a utility that will read out the values. If the values that you are seeing with a third party SMART utility are not displaying properly or seem to be false, please contact your software vendor for further explanation of the values.

If you wish to test the drive for physical integrity, please use our SeaTools Diagnostic software.

Not all are sold on that official statement.

Hi,

I have the same problem (high load/unload cycle rate), with about 60 clicks per hour on average. I have over 100k cycles in less than 3 months, out of 600k until the drive could start to fail.

This rate of wear/tear is definitely not acceptable, and moreover, the constant noise from the head parking gets really annoying through hours of work. I know that this behaviour is easily controlled/fixed in linux, however my notebook came with Vista preinstalled and I could not find a tool that does this in Vista.

So it seems that my hard drive is set for a quick suicide mission.

Nondisclosure?

It gets better, AlphaMack points out, citing from the above quote.

The individual attributes and threshold values are proprietary and we do not offer a utility that will read out the values.

'What good does it do to know exactly how the HDD is doing without the raw numbers?' he asks.

'Proprietary? SMART is a standard. Period. There's nothing proprietary about it.'

Seagate's Own

Seagate do have their 'SeaTools' of course. But guess what?

They only work with Microsoft Windows, MS-DOS, and Linux.

That sound you hear is Seagate Corporation being flushed down the BBB toilet.

Perhaps it's best if you run Smartmon on your box before your data goes the same way.

See Also
SourceForge: Smartmontools

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