Seagate 2TB ST32000542AS CC35 Firmware upgrade

We have a Synology DS1010+ diskstation that has been having trouble maintaining a iSCSI link to a server here at work.  While Synology issued us a patch that seems to have resolved the issue they highlighted that our disks, Seagate 2TB model ST32000542AS firmware CC34, were not running the latest version.

We initially chose these particular Seagate disks as they are on Synology’s approved disk list plus offer low power, low heat output suitable, so we thought, for nearline storage.  This turns out to be incorrect.  Seagate do not recommend these drives in anything other than “Desktop RAID”, meaning RAID 1 or 0 between two disks only.  It is unfortunate then that we are running a five disk RAID 5 array.  Seagate instead recommend their Constellation ES hard disk for higher RAID levels.

There seems to be a lot of confusion out there on the Internet about the firmware upgrade procedure.  The new firmware is advised for all customers with drives which have the following model numbers ST3500412AS, ST31000520AS, ST31500541AS and ST32000542AS, see here.  However, all drive serial numbers within the family product range are not detected as requiring the firmware upgrade by the tool.  Seagate suggest that customers can use the “Force” method to upgrade their disks.

Upgrade procedure

First download the ISO upgrade image here

You need to connect the disk to a native SATA controller; I used an older desktop machine, removed the main hard disk and plugged in our ST32000542AS drive.

You may also need to change the BIOS settings to ATA mode if it is set to RAID or AHCI

First you may attempt to upgrade the disk automatically, simply follow the onscreen instructions.  If not successful you will have to “Force” it.

To “Force” an upgrade

1.Boot from ISO CD.
2.Read disclaimer, press ESC once read.
3.On the option screen (where you can try an auto upgrade) press [Ctrl] + [C] to break to the command line.
4.Press [Y] on the keyboard to confirm
5.Type the following, then press enter:

FDL486A -m Hepburn -f HECC358H.LOD -s -x -b -v -a 20



6.The firmware flash process will begin.  Once successful you will see the prompt.
7.Power down the machine
8.repeat steps 1 to 7 for each additional disk.

For a full rundown of how I discerned that a) the firmware update wasn’t data destructive and b) that you should indeed “force” the firmware see this very full and informative post between another  ST32000542AS user and Seagate.

http://stx.lithium.com/t5/Barracuda-XT-Barracuda-and/Idle-clicking-of-Seagate-Barracuda-LP-HDs-and-DOA-issues/m-p/55298#M20418

Note: In my experience this process is not data or RAID destructive, but may be in your situation.  If your data is valuable to you please back it up first.  Only attempt this firmware upgrade if you feel competent, I will not be held responsible for your actions are a result of this post.
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115 Responses to Seagate 2TB ST32000542AS CC35 Firmware upgrade

  1. Pingback: Synology DS1812 review in real life | Niall Best's Blog

  2. Pingback: Firmware update for 1TB Seagate ST31000520AS not executed?!?

  3. Dimi Pana says:

    Three and a half years(!) after the date of initial posting of this article, I -too- have followed your advice and flashed my two ST32000542AS , saving myself the grief of trying to figure out something -usually- simple that Seagate has -alas- chosen to make a pain in the …you know where! Thank you, you are succinct and to the point. I had failed using the .exe and rebooting method so then I tried the .iso version but -again- failed with the ridiculous explanation that “the hard drive’s model is a match but the f/w is not compatible”. WTF? I mean who ever project-managed this CC35 upgrade at Seagate must be very st*pid. At least they did think to include the -f switch (yeah they got that right!) so we could force-flash our HDs from the command line. Again, thumbs down to Seagate for screwing this up and a gigantic THANK YOU to you Niall, you are indeed the Best!

  4. Niall says:

    I’m so pleased the the post is still helping people. Thank you for your kind comments

    Niall

  5. Steve H says:

    Want a good laugh? Just got a Seagate “Certified Repair” for a warranty replacement and it came with the old CC34 firmware and according to the firmware update webpage no updated firmware is available.

  6. Niall says:

    Oh dear, that’s pretty bad.

    Thankfully only one of mine has failed and I replaced with a Western Digital Red rather than warranty replacement.

    Niall

  7. Dan says:

    Steve H,

    Same thing happened to me, I returned a failed ST32000542AS with firmware CC95 back in December 2013, I received a ST32000542AS (serial 5XW…) with CC34 as “certified repaired” replacement from Seagate. I did NOT force upgrade the firmware, and guess what, just 2 months later, the drive is failing. So I did an advance replacement with Seagate, they sent me yet another CC34 “certified repaired” (serial 5XW…). But this time, I will force the upgrade for sure and cross my fingers that it will not die in 2 months.

  8. Niall says:

    That is terrible that Seagate are still not sending out drives with the latest firmware. As you found CC35 is essential for the drives life expectancy.
    I guess Seagate are hoping that over time the warranty returns will just drop off .

  9. Artyom says:

    Couple years I use ST32000542AS with CC34 firmware version, sometimes heard scary HDD heads sound. But yesterday that sound appears too frequent (about every 20 minutes). I move all data to other HDD, and start firmware upgrade. Burn BarracudaLP-ALL-CC35.iso to CD, boot from it with ST32000542AS connected only, and got “the hard drive’s model is a match but the f/w is not compatible” message. Well than, I use forced method, press enter after the magic string, watch firmware upgrade process, and power down the machine when command line appers again. However when I turn on this machine, BIOS was unable to found my ST32000542AS. Slight HDD vibration tells me that it’s definitely power on and spinning, but that’s all it can do. Finaly I assume that my ST32000542AS is dead now, although all my firmware upgrade steps looks correct.
    Seems to be those “who ever project-managed this CC35 upgrade at Seagate” must be not so st*pid. People, please don’t do this force firmware upgrade if you have not strong reason for it. I saved my precious data but lost my 2TB HDD. It still a little sad.

  10. stian says:

    @niall! Just wanted to thank you, your writeup worked a treat. I first tried the runnable .exe posted on seagates support page but to no avail. So I ended up here which enabled me to update a ST32000542AS with CC34 to CC35 via your link to the bootable iso image. The automatic option didnt do it but your ‘forced update’ procedure did. I really cant thank you enough – you saved me hours of mocking about. The updated drive will now live (happily i assume) in a synology DS213j .
    I also would like to add that, to my surprise, i did Not lose data or partitions after the firmware update (all NTFS). Thanks mate, I owe you a beer.

  11. Niall says:

    Hey Stian, I’m really pleased to hear that things worked out for you in the end and that my post was helpful.

    4 of the 5 disks I upgraded to CC35 via the method described are still running (in a Synology DS1010+!) many years later and are still OK.

    Thanks for your comment, beer greatly appreciated :)

  12. Bullvine says:

    Hello Niall,

    Stumbled across this by accident, just looking for your opinion if possible. I have one of these drives contained inside an external caddy case and used to backup a good chunk of data about one month ago. I went to recheck it last week and the drive wouldn’t show up. I get a clicking noise when its turned on, then stops after about 10 seconds. It hasn’t been dropped or anything. Seems odd that its no longer visible or available at all even if I use any drive utilities I can’t find any trace of it. Do you think this could be connected to the firmware upgrade?

    Any advice is much appreciated.

    Thanks,

  13. Niall says:

    Hey Bullvine

    It doesn’t sound good by your explanation. If you haven’t updated the firmware yet and the drive is compatible I would plug it directly into a PC and run the update as described.

    If you haven’t applied the updated firmware then the drive could be dead, they are quite old disks now and without the firmware update they do tend to burn themselves out over time.

    Good luck getting it sorted, if you are using it the disk to store backups you might have better peace of mind purchasing a new disk to use, just to be sure, its your backups after all!

    Niall

  14. Bullvine says:

    Thanks for the advice, I tried the Firmware with not luck, I will try a few other options, best regards,

  15. Kalli says:

    Over the last month I have repeatedly experienced one of my Thecus raid boxes (4200ECO – 4 drives – 3 drives are ST32000542AS with CC34) report I/O error on a couple of the hard drives, one several times while the other only once – so far. I’ve had the drive with repeated errors out of the box and run tests on it – all of which came out negative… no problem found. In the last few days the box didn’t want to do anything with that drive at all…. just I/O error all the time.
    Then I stumbled across this site – one principle I stick to is that if I have a problem then others will most likely have had similar problems.
    I have just performed the forced firmware upgrade on one similar spare drive I had around and then on the troublesome drive from the box. After reinserting that drive in the box it was immediately recognized and the system is now rebuilding the raid. Once that has finished I’m gonna give the two remaining CC34 drives the same cure and hope it will give me some peace of mind.. :o))))

    Thank you very much for the solution…

    Kalli

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