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.

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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108 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


  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.


  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 .

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