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Reset SMART log - new WDC drive

Posted on 2015-01-14
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We had a customer with a failing WD Black notebook drive.  Performance was slow, system had trouble booting, SMART errors were detected.  We managed to get the drive bootable by remapping sectors, and then imaged the drive using True Image 11.5 (backup MBR and Volumes, NOT sector-by-sector).  

We RMA'd the drive, installed the new drive in the laptop, and restored the image (time was of the essence to getting the laptop back to the customer).  The system booted great, diagnostics passed, we defragged the drive, and ran chkdsk /r.  Everything looked good.

We re-ran the WD Data Lifeguard Utility.  The drive passed, but when we looked at the SMART data, all of the values from the OLD drive were in the table.  We tried uninstalling the utility, deleting all remnants from the drive and registry, rebooted, and ran the utility again, getting the same results.

So, three questions:
1)  Is it possible that Acronis backed up and recovered the SMART data from the old drive?  
2)  Is there a way to reset the SMART values so the drive begins tracking actual values for the new drive?
3)  If I wanted to spend the time, would writing 0's to the drive, reinstalling Windows and software, and restoring data files only get rid of the SMART values, or do I need to get another replacement drive from WD?

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
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Question by:shapv
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Dr. Klahn earned 2000 total points
ID: 40549687
1) SMART data can't be backed up by a backup utility.  It resides in the drive's own flash/EPROM which is not a file structure accessible by a backup utility.

2) Did you possibly get the same drive back?  If so, it still has the same SMART data in it.  There's no way I know of to clear SMART data in the field.  The manufacturers can clearly do it but the method would involve non-standard commands.

3) The SMART data does not reside on the platters.  It resides in the drive's own flash/EPROM.  Zeroing the drive has no effect on the SMART data.

Drives swapped out on RMA are generally repaired drives, not new ones.  It is possible that you got back a drive with a failure history similar to the one you sent in.  If so, it would still have the SMART data in it from prevous failures.

I suggest:  Download a copy of the freeware Passmark Disk Checkup and see if it confirms what the WD software is saying.  Then you know whether the SMART data is actually identical, or whether the WD software has squirreled it away somewhere and is showing old data.
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by:shapv
ID: 40550321
Good catch.  I suspected that the WDC software was displaying old data, but despite best efforts to get rid of it, it kept coming up the same.  Then, when I called WDC level 2 support, they told me (incorrectly) that Acronis could clone the SMART attributes, and that writing 0's would probably reset it.  None of this made sense, which is why I posted.

Passmark showed different data for the new drive, all within thresholds.

Thank you.
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