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.
This entry was posted in Backups, Firmware, Hardware, Servers. Bookmark the permalink.

123 Responses to Seagate 2TB ST32000542AS CC35 Firmware upgrade

  1. Tommaso says:

    Hi Niall,
    does the CC35 update solved the clicking problem??
    Have your drives stopped clicking every 20 secs?
    Have you tried disabling APM?

  2. ultrasound technician says:

    nice post. thanks.

  3. Niall says:

    Hi Tommaso, not all our drives suffered the ‘click’ but we were advised to upgrade them all as a precaution, however it does seem to have cured the problem. We had no need to disable APM settings when running the drives in the Synology DS1010+

  4. Tommaso says:

    Thanks Niall!
    I’ve read it’s related to the vibration occurred in a multi drives setup like raid…
    Maybe the CC35 firmware changes the heads re-calibration process…

  5. Hi,

    thanks for the Blog post and to Google which lists it pretty much on top when you search for the model and firmware numbers. I hope my troubles are gone now – I can understand that Seagate did not recommend to use the disks in a raid array, and I doubt that the ‘vibrations’ are the reason for that: Raids simply fail when a disk does this clicking dance with their heads. Otherwise they were always working fine, until I’ve used smart and the funny clicking noise started, ending up with a completely messed up raid array after two drives failed.

    Fingers crossed that it will work now…



  6. Niall says:


    Thanks for commenting. I’m glad after all the worrying I did about the data and fighting with the format procedure I’ve been able to help other people out.

    Fingers crossed for all of us with these drives.


  7. Juruy says:

    Hi, Niall! Thanks for tutorial, but i have an one of Barracuda LP ST31500541AS drive. And I have a trouble with update firmware to CC35 (firmware mismatch). What do I need to type in command line?

  8. Niall says:

    Hi Juruy

    While I haven’t applied the firmware to the 1.5TB drive you have Seagate claim the firmware is the same for all drives. You get the firmware mismatch error using the standard upgrade procedure.

    If you follow the steps 1-8 above using the ISO image (here) you can “Force” the CC35 firmware on your drive.

    Please be careful, make sure you have a backup of your data before attempting this, if your unsure ask a friend who knows about computers to double check you understand what your doing.

    Thanks for commenting, good luck.

  9. Juruy says:

    Thanks for a detailed explanation. The firmware updating to CC35 has passed normally. 🙂

  10. Niall says:

    Great, glad it worked OK.

  11. Nathan says:

    Worked for me too. Thanks Niall!

  12. Niall says:

    Hi Nathan, really glad I could help you out.

    Thanks for the comment.

  13. Davide says:


    i also have 3 ST32000542AS drives. Two of the drives have firmware CC34 and the other one (bought last week) has firmware CC37.

    At least one of the drives has the “clicking” problem, i’m not sure which one. I can not find the CC37 firmware anywhere on the Seagate site. I wonder if it will become available in the future.

    For now i’ll start by updating the firmware of the 2 CC34 drives to CC35….

  14. Niall says:

    Hello Davide

    I agree with you that its best to upgrade the two drives you have from CC34 to CC35, in my case that fixed the issue for me.
    I’ve not seen the CC37 firmware either, it may be that CC37 is a slight improvement on CC35 but not critical enough to rush onto the website. It may be available in due course depending on how Seagate feel about he newer firmware.

    I hope that the CC35 firmware resolves your problems, good luck.


  15. ytw says:

    thanks! it worked!

  16. spankit says:

    This worked great!

    Thanks for this!

  17. Niall says:

    Glad I could help out

  18. Christian Sonnemans says:

    Hello Niall,
    Thanks for helping us out, i have 4 of those drives and dit not noticed the clicking so far.
    But liked to upgrade, 2 of them without any problem but 2 of them i had to force, with your procedure. It worked fine, without data loss.
    All the drives are running in a Qnap TS 459. Hopefully don’t have problems with this combination.
    Thanks and greetings Christian.

  19. Christian Sonnemans says:

    Worked great.

  20. Niall says:

    Hi Christian,

    I’m glad you got it all working. I know it seems strange why some disks need the firmware to be ‘Forced’ on and others just work.
    I’ve heard good things about the Qnap TS 459 so hope you’ll have reliable disks from now on


  21. toeringsandthong says:

    Thats stupid, why waste a disk? i just updated my firmware right though windows 7 works perfect,no need to burn anything !!!!so simple a monkey can do it !

  22. Niall says:

    I’m glad you were able to update the firmware of your disk using the Windows tool, its by far the easiest way to do it.

    But, some people myself included had disks that we’re eligible for the updated firmware and required it but for whatever reason the Windows flash tool refused to accept the disk. In these cases you need to boot into a disk flashing environment outside of Windows to force the firmware onto the disk, the simplest way of doing this is to burn the Seagate .iso image to a cheap CD-R.

    If you wanted I’m sure you could boot to the iso image from a USB drive if you didn’t have a CD-R.

  23. Sjaak de Groot says:

    I think there are more disks incompatibel wit a NAS than you think.
    Feb. 2010 I bought a QNAP TS210 with 2 x WD Caviar Green 1.5 TB. Disks were clicking, so I changed them for 2 x Seagate ST31500541AS. After a week the clickin’ noise started so I forced CC35 on the disks…clicking was gone and my big smile was back 🙂
    Since a week the clicks are back!!! And no CC36 or 37 on the Seagate-site. Disks are half-full now, clicking disks are not reliable so guess I bouht me a lemon.
    Maybe there is a bug in the QNAP TS210-firmware? Or maybe “broken bitje” in that TS210?
    Kind regards, Sjaak

  24. Niall says:

    Hi Sjaak, thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that the firmware update has not successfully cured the click. We’ve had no more issues thankfully since I flash our disks here so as you said perhaps you got the worst of a bad batch.

    It’s interesting what you say about incompatible disks and modern Linux powered NAS devices, I think you are right. I don’t have any hard evidence yet but reading around it seems that quite a few people are having problems. I’m planning a new RAID5 NAS and I’ll be looking at all the major disk manufactures to see if these new green power, smart hard disks are actually suitable for these NAS devices.


  25. Steve says:

    How long does the firmware flash typically take? A little worried mine has been going for over 30mins now

  26. Niall says:

    Hi Steve, it took about 3-4 minutes per disk when I did all four of mine.

    Did it ever finish? I suspect even if it fails you’ll be able to try again, let us know if you got it sorted.

  27. Steve says:

    Hi Niall,
    Thanks for the reply. I let it run for 2 hours and then I stopped it because I was using a friends PC (I couldn’t get my esata port to work on my laptop). I won’t be able to try until next week but I’ll let you know how it goes.

  28. Steve says:

    Hi Niall,
    Even though the flash never returned to the prompt the flash to CC35 worked a treat. I didn’t think it had finished because the led on the external enclosure was flashing very quickly and you could hear the hard drive working away. Cheers!

  29. Niall says:

    Hi Steve, Glad it all worked out and you got the drive flashed OK in the end

    Thanks for letting us know how you got on.


  30. Pingback: Anyone else pick up a couple of the 2TB HDs from Newegg? by Saulitary - TribalWar Forums

  31. Massimo says:

    Hello Niall,

    The 2 tb drive just bought, put into an usb box and plugged to my wd tv live. Works fine, but I read about the new firmware and I confess I was afraid of future troubles… to cut it short, I had to use the “brutal” system you described here, and it did work. Thanks!

    Massimo (Milano, ITALY)

  32. Niall says:

    Hello Massimo,

    I’m glad the upgrade worked for you, I’m surprised disks with the CC34 firmware are still turning up in retail! Your right about the process of patching the firmware, “brutal” really is the right term for what we have to do. The WD tv live is an awesome unit isn’t it 🙂

  33. Massimo says:

    Hi Niall,

    Yep, I do confirm wd tv live(*) is really outstanding, with a great value (available for about 110/130 euro street price in Italy) . What I really needed was a COOL and HUGE and CHEAP and RELIABLE hdd for all my mkvs 720p & 1080p to be seen with my full-hd plasma screen… I confess I can’t stand fans noise, so the low temperature was a must. Well, I have to say I’m really satisfied with it: I put into an aluminum usb box (fanless!), it does its job and in 2 weeks it never got more than a little warmer. I am going to but one more soon… you know, mkvs are so huge 🙂

    (*) firmware updated some days ago, it’s better than ever…

  34. sergei says:

    having trouble to update mine. “invalid data… download procedure failed”

  35. Niall says:

    Hi Sergei, I’ve not experienced that error message before, all I can suggest is trying the procedure again and following all the steps exactly.

    Perhaps try searching on-line for the exact error message to see if somebody on a forum has solved the issue, good luck.

  36. andrew says:

    Hey mates, i FINALLY found a sorta PERMANENT FIX for the clicking noise coming out of the seagate 2tb drives. i have RMA’d it twice and no to avail. its related to an idle thing, doesnt happen when your accessing it,. well im SURE you all didnt buy a 2tb drive just for games,im sure you download TORRENTS…so what you got to do is the follow :
    1) Download any torrent client and install it
    2) Set the SAVE path of your torrent files to the 2TB drive
    3) SILENCE! 😀
    This is because the downloads use the disk and thus it never goes idle, its only a 5900rpm and will not affect it with heat or heavy power draw.
    well the CC35 is no help here,looks like a technical manufacturing fault

    If you dont download anything, just download a very small program and let it seed, so even the upload counts as disk activity and you will have no more noise.
    contact me if you need any further clarifications.

    bon chance~ !

  37. Niall says:

    Hi Andrew,
    Its certainly a novel idea to cause constant disk activity, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

    For people out there choosing a new 2TB disk who are bothered about disk noise the best option is to get something else or invest in case soundproofing.

    Still, thanks for letting us know your own solution 🙂


  38. Tofol says:

    Hi there!

    Thank’s for your post. It helped me to upgrade FW to CC35. I had 4 drives in a ReadyNas NV+ with some clicking. All of them with CC34 version. I upgraded to CC35 by force mode (automaticly doesn’t upgrade any of them). No problem with RAID volume or data losing, everything is OK. But they still clicking, even very much often than before 🙁

    I think that maybe automatic upgrade failure isn’t really a bug. Maybe the Seatools software knows that it’s really not recommended to upgrade these drives…

    I hope this issue isn’t going to mean that drives will fail in the future.

    Greetings Niall.

  39. Niall says:

    Hi Tofol,

    I’m glad you managed to get the firmware upgraded. I know the CC35 firmware does not fix the click issue, something many people are upset with but looking at the SMART statistics over the last four months my five disks (RAID5 running 24×7) have settled down and I expect them to last a good few years. Of course you can never expect a disk to be 100% reliable.

    If things continue in computing as they have I reckon we will see 4TB disks in 2012 and I’ll be upgrading at that point anyway, hopefully before any of mine fail

    Thanks for the comments


  40. Stijn says:

    I had 4 of these drives. Neither of them i was able to update the normal way. 3 of them i was able to update using this force method. But there’s 1 disk that just won’t do anything. It’s the right model, SN is in same range as the others. Current firmware is CC34. Yet if I enter the commands above, it immediatly goes back to the prompt screen ((Seagate boot) C:\>).

    Any other things i could try?

  41. Niall says:

    Hi Stijn,

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve had trouble with the one disk, all I can suggest is that you give it another go, perhaps on a different machine if possible?

    I had a nervous 20 minutes when I flashed all five of my disks making sure I typed everything correctly and double checking before executing the commands.

    Good luck


  42. Stijn says:

    Ok, i’ll try on another machines. Tried and retried many times using different SATA ports on the same machine, without success. But 20 minutes? The flashing of the other ones took only a few seconds for me. And when looking with the windows tool, it correctly says CC35 now so i guess it worked. My disks were completely empty though. Might be the reason it went so fast.

  43. Niall says:

    Hi there,

    When I flashed mine it took seconds, even with about 1TB of data on each disk as its only writing to the flash firmware of the disk.

    I know a couple of others had individual disks that took more than a couple of minutes to flash but I think everyone has made it to CC35 in the end.

    I’m glad you’ve got it to CC35 firmware now too.


  44. sigpaw says:

    Hi Niall,

    I currently own 14 of the Seagate 2TB 5900 RPM drives and 24 of their 1TB 7200 RPM drives. I have struggled “a bit” with the clicking on all of my 2TB drives. The clicking appears to be caused by more than one source.

    Problem 1
    One of my computers has a pair of 2TB drives stacked on top of one other in a removable aluminum tray. The drives are mounted flat in the tray and the tray has an adjustable speed cooling fan bolted to one end. If I crank the fan speed up past about 3500 RPM *BOTH* of the drives chatter and click incessantly. I returned the original drives for replacements TWICE with no change. I flipped the drives end for end in the tray thinking there might be some sort of electrical interference with no improvement. I finally realized it was the VIBRATION from the fan being transferred through the aluminum frame (into the drive frame) causing the problem. Excessive vibration causes a “dithering effect” on the head arm. The actuator on the drive head arm assy simply can’t overcome the effects of strong vibration, which causes head alignment to be off enough to cause the drive to re-seek in an attempt to regain proper alignment.

    Problem 2:
    ALL of my 12 drives plus several others I returned for exchange (because of clicking and slow data xfer while clicking) have a hard time operating properly if they are mounted on their edge, or mounted vertically on one end. HOWEVER the moment they are laid down FLAT they settle down, become quite and xfer data at 90mb/sec or better (while clicking they often transfer data as slowly as 20mb/sec). I own an Antec Fusion Black media center case that has a spot up front for mounting two SATA drives up on edge side by side. I found that if I lay my new drives down flat and perform a full LONG format prior to mounting them up on edge they will function properly mounted up on edge for about 2 months of continuous use. Then they each (within minutes of one another) will begin to click and chatter. The clicking continues until I open the case, remove the drives, lay them flat and access each sector once while it is laying flat. They will then work quietly for another 2 months or so. Each time this has happened (3 times so far) the clicking stops IMMEDIATELY after they are laid flat.

    I finally purchased a pair of WD 2TB drives to use in my Antec case (they seem to be quite happy mounted on their edge).

    Conclusion: 😉
    These drives are squeezing 500GB of data on each 3 ½ platter surface! Most folk have no comprehension of the incredible tolerances these drives must be capable of maintaining; in spite of changing temperature, vibration, and drift due to repeated erase/write operations, etc. Fact is, these little drives are very “intelligent” with more smarts than any of the original micro computers of a couple decades ago.
    They monitor a number of factors and automatically recalibrate themselves to remain reliable over time. I suspect that “nasty Mister Gravity” (in the case of edge mounting) or “nasty Mister Momentum” (in the case of vibration) is causing 90% of these clicking problems we are seeing. Fact is these are very sensitive precision devices.

    BTW in spite of all these “anomalies” I remain an AVID Seagate fan and still continue to purchase (and plan to continue to purchase) their products (2TB drives included). These Seagate drives never fail to xfer data (when they are mounted and “treated properly”) in excess of 85mb/sec. Some even peak above 110mb/sec on the inner tracks. The fastest I have ever seen a WD drive xfer is somewhere in the 65mb/sec range. The Seagates ARE reliable over time and have a 5 year warranty to boot. Their biggest shortcoming has been in NOT educating their customer base about some of these issues. Super high density storage DOES come with a few caveats it seems…


  45. Niall says:

    Hi Sig
    Thanks for your comments on this issue, I almost did a whole blog update on your post it was so detailed.

    I think you are spot on; these disks are precision instruments of data storage and need to be treated well to work. As you said perhaps some manufactures drives can take more abuse and still work but not at the same levels of performance.

    I’ve never really had an issue with the ‘click’ problem a lot of users report, all our disks are located in an air conditioned server room so I can’t hear them anyway.

    We use them primarily for backups and have reasonable performance from the RAID 5 array, somewhere around 120MB/s with the drives mounted in the Synology DS1010+ vertically. So far we’ve had them running 24/7 for 8 months without hiccup since the CC35 firmware patch.

    I think a lot of people who are still coming across these drives with the old CC34 firmware would do well to read your comments to get the best from these drives.


  46. bob says:

    I have 4 ST32000542AS 2TB seagate drives in a ReadyNAS NV+ RAID. They have been running without any problems for 4-5 months now using the CC34 firmware, but I figured I should upgrade them at some point. Finally got around to it today. No real difference so far. I didn’t notice clicking before, probably won’t notice it after.

  47. Niall says:

    Hi bob,

    I’m happy that your not having any issues with your Seagate disks. I know I haven’t personally had any issues with the ‘click’ but its best to have the disks running on the latest firmware CC35. I’m also really impressed with the Netgear ReadyNAS devices, I picked one up recently too.

    Thanks for reporting how you’ve got on.


  48. Davide says:

    After successfully updating 2 drives to CC35 I know have a drive with firmware CC34 that i can’t get updated.

    After following the exact procedure as described here i get the following message:

    Model ST32000542AS SN 5XW27WLH FW CC34 on Intel ICH5 Bus 0 Device 0
    Invalid data…
    Download procedure failed

    Press ‘c’ to go back to Windows/Linux OS.

    Bugger :s

  49. Niall says:

    Hi Davide,

    A few others have commented before that one disk out of a set would refuse to patch correctly, I can imagine it’s very irritating.

    Can you try the firmware update procedure in a different PC perhaps?

    Good luck getting the last disk patched.

  50. Tobi says:

    Hi Niall

    thanks for your post. Big help!
    I have four of those 2TB drives in my Diskstation 408 running as RAID5. From beginning I had strange SMART values on all four drives. There was no problem with read/write on the raid, just those suspicious SMART values.
    Then I decided to build the RAID again from scratch and write every disk full of zeros to make it easier for the RAID software to sort out bad sectors. In the middle of doing so I found your post here and I did the firmware update first. Had to use the force method but it seem to be working properly.
    I just wonder about your RAID experience with those drives in a diskstation before I setup the raid again. Do your drives work fine in RAID5 now? No troubles or strange SMART values?
    I’m just scared a little to build the raid again and having same strange values as before again.

    Thanks again for your post and cheers

    tobi (Switzerland)

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