Seagate 2TB ST32000542AS CC35 Firmware upgrade

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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.

127 Responses to Seagate 2TB ST32000542AS CC35 Firmware upgrade

  1. Daniel says:

    I get the same error.

    Model ST3500412AS SN 6VV38XVK FW CC32 on Intel ICH7 Bus 0 Device 1
    Invalid data..1:00
    Download procedure failed

    Please press ‘c’ to go back to Windows/Linux OS.

    Is there any solution???

  2. Niall says:

    Hi tobi,

    Glad I could be of help to you. Our drives are currently at 180 days uptime in the Synology DS1010+ and its been running smooth for that time, no problem with data transfer. I can’t tell how noisy the disks might be as its in a air conditioned server room but yes, some of the SMART values are unusual and very large.

    I’m pretty sure that most of the damage was done when running in RAID5 with the CC34 firmware as we had so much instability in the early days and I remember the values increasing quickly with all the testing we did with the Synology support staff to see what the trouble was.

    Either way we have a offline backup of the array but the unit has been solid for the last 180 days, lets hope I’m not tempting fate by writing this! I think I’ll do a follow up blog post on the Synology and the disks at their 1 year anniversary.

  3. Niall says:

    Hi Daniel, Perhaps its motherboard related, I notice both you and Davide who commented earlier have an Intel southbridge controller for the SATA connections.

    It would be great if you could try this patch procedure on a different motherboard and see if that works, let us know if it does and good luck.


  4. Daniel says:

    Yikes! I was using the wrong command line!

    The one I needed for my hard drive was:

    FDL486A -m Hepburn -f HECC352H.LOD -s -x -b -v -a 20

    I didn’t know that I needed a different command line until I saw this page:

    It seems that different drives use different firmware files.

  5. Niall says:

    Excellent find Daniel!

    I’d advise people who have had problems to check out that link


  6. sllydderrr says:

    I have used this procedure on three 2TB drives. All of them needed to be forced from CC34 to CC35. So far these drives are working flawlessly in a WHS. I have two more drives to flash today. Thanks so much for your tutorial, it makes this procedure effortless!

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  8. I have 3 of those drives, they been dong the clicking thing once in a while. Today feb 25-2011 i flashed my 3 drives with the ‘forced” method. All worked fine. So far no issues i had these drives for over a year but regardless how they perform i have data backed up on my Hitachi 2tb drive that is just sitting unplugged with my data backed up.

  9. Niall says:

    I’m glad to see that this information is still useful to people. Nice to see somebody with a real backup too


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  11. jeremy says:

    I have Synology DS411j with 2x 2TB ST32000542AS diska CS34.. #5xxxx all. Had to Force them with command above and workd like a charm. No data loss or anything and I HOPE that the click-of-death is now gone… Thank you!!

  12. jeremy says:

    I have Synology DS411j with 2x 2TB ST32000542AS disks @CS34.. #5xxxx all. Had to Force them with command above and workd like a charm. No data loss or anything and I HOPE that the click-of-death is now gone… Thank you!!

  13. Niall says:

    Lets hope so, glad I could help you out.


  14. Josef Steindl says:

    Thanks a lot Niall, your page helped me a lot to update my ST32000542AS from CC34 to CC35.

    I used the BOOT-CD-Update + FDL486A ……; it was necessary to change the BIOS from AHCI to IDE.

    I don’t understand the guys from Seagate …

    They publish a new firmware but DON’T give any information on how to install it on the harddisc. Unbelievable! They have stolen more than 2 hours of my time …

    Once again thanks to you Niall 😉

    Kind regards

  15. Niall says:

    Glad you got your drive updated Josef.

    It astounds me too, Seagate make the disks, you think they would want to help customers with something as extreme as flashing the firmware on their hard disks!

    I’m happy I could help.


  16. Sam says:

    Thanks Niall for this page – had been searching around for a while and it was a great feeling when I discovered what looks to be the answer to the ticking issue 🙂

    Just want to check, with 2 x 2TB drives in the ReadyNas Duo do I power down and remove both, update firmware and replace together before powering back on? Or is there a particular order that things should happen in?

    Also I assume to try updating automatically first before ‘forcing’, that’s by using the Seagate Firmware update utility?

    Apologies for the basic questions.


  17. Niall says:

    Hi Sam,

    To update the disks in your ReadyNAS Duo I would make a full backup of your data then you can power down and do both disks at once. There is no particular order, just do whatever is easiest for you, but make sure the disks go back into the Duo in the same place or it might try and rebuild / verify the array.

    Yes you are correct, some disks will update automatically. Others despite being the correct make and model must be forced. Even though its a non destructive update please double check everything.

    If you follow the steps in the blog it shows the process if you need to force the update to any disks that require it.

    Any problems please post again so others can find the information in the future.

    Thanks, Niall


  18. Sam says:

    Thanks Niall,
    followed the instructions above and all worked perfectly.

    Removed the hard disk from my desktop machine and plugged in each of the NAS hard disks in turn. Booted from ISO cd and although the drives didn’t update automatically, the process was simple to follow in order to force the update.

    Drives are back in the NAS, with data unaffected, and no annoying clicking noises so far.

    Thank you very much!

  19. Niall says:

    Hi Sam, Great to know it worked for you.

    Thanks for letting people know the process is OK if you follow the steps.


  20. Egbert says:

    Hi Niall,

    Thanks for sorting this out. Backed up 8 TB of data and flashed 6 x 2TB disks to CC35 without a flaw. All data still available so no destructive impact. Had to force the update as wel as all the others.

    Rgrds, Egbert

  21. Niall says:

    Even though the process appears non destructive its pleasing to hear you managed to back up 8TB Egbert.

    Better safe than sorry. Glad you got the update applied OK


  22. Th0rules says:

    Tnx man really work !!!
    i use FDL486A -m Hepburn -f HECC358H.LOD -s -x -b -v -a 20

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  24. Steve says:

    Almost a year after your first post still helpful! Another set of ST32000542AS’s upgraded… Any room left Niall, for another thank you?

  25. Niall says:

    Hi Steve,

    I’m just pleased I have been able to help so many people with this tricky problem.

    Thanks for posting


  26. John says:

    Hello, i’ve tried to upgrade the firmware but i couldn’t i did exactly what you guys said, but it gives me an error, here is a picture.
    what can i do ?

    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 HECC352H.LOD -s -x -b -v -a 20

  27. Niall says:

    Hi John

    Daniel had the same problem see here:

    He interestingly found the solution here:

    See this follow-up post by him:

    Looking at your screenshot it looks like because your drive is a slightly different variation you need a different loader file. Using the HE-CC35.txt file we can work out from your drives model number that you need to use this loader file: HECC358H.LOD

    Please double check, but I think this is the command to try

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


  28. John says:

    Hi Nail and thank you for answer my question.
    that was the problem, thanks a lot !!

  29. fortyhands says:

    I just purchased 4 of these 2tb drives and it appears that they are all running CC32 – do you think there is any reason to update? I haven’t had too much time to do stress-testing yet. The server I put together is completely quiet and no clicking.

    The server doesn’t have a CD rom drive and I don’t have an external handy. Hopefully I will be able to create a bootable USB…

    Perhaps it was a problem with just the CC34 firmware.

    Anyway, thanks again for putting this tutorial together!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. Niall says:

    Manufactures will always suggest that you update to the latest firmware, but I know that interfering with kit that is working well is usually a disaster!

    I’d keep an eye on the S.M.A.R.T statistics to see what the readings are and update if you see anything worrying. Personally my drives have been OK since CC35 as have a lot of others who have posted comments here.


  31. Nick says:

    I want to verify with you that you are still running these in RAID 5 without issue, or have you changed to the desktop RAID you mentioned in your first post? I’m looking at purchasing 3 of these to run in RAID5 in an Intel NAS.


  32. Niall says:

    Hi Nick,

    Yes I can confirm we are still running RAID 5, we did loose one disk due to failure but swapped it out, new disk in and it rebuilt the array overnight.

    Overall I’ve had much less issues and the S.M.A.R.T stats look a lot better than people who are using the WD Green 2TB disks


  33. Vlada says:

    I have Seagate Barracuda LP 2TB st32000542AS… I’ve tried to upgrade the firmware with “FDL486A -m Hepburn -f HECC352H.LOD -s -x -b -v -a 20”,… upgrading stopped on 0:40… now shows ST__M13FQBL, instead of ST32000542AS. Help me to fix this problem.

  34. Niall says:

    Hi Vlada, it looks like you had the same problem as some others with the different versions of the disks.

    This file here shows the different loader commands needed for the variations of disk out there:

    From the information you posted about the st32000542AS version and the details in the HE-CC35.txt file we can work out from your drives model number that you need to use this loader file: HECC358H.LOD

    Please double check, but I think this is the command to try

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


  35. Dan says:

    Why would the disks care what RAID level you’re using? It would seem to me that Seagate is presuming someone running something like level 5 is in an environment where very high reliability is a requirement and thus recommending tougher drives. I can’t find any reason why these particular Seagate drives are a problem with level 5 in general.

  36. Niall says:

    Hi Dan,

    While the disks themselves don’t mind what RAID configuration they run in Seagate do not recommend them for RAID environments other than basic desktop RAID levels (RAID 0 or RAID 1). Synology however DO approve the disks for use in their systems. Who is right? Its all down to cost vs risk at the end of the day.

    As you say if you are bothered and NEED near 100% uptime then go for the enterprise approved Constellation ES disks. Our ‘regular’ disks have been running fine near 24/7 ever since the firmware update but are now out of warranty as we bought OEM disks.

    The Seagate disks, in my opinion, are way more preferable than the Western Digital ‘Green’ disks due to all their know issues and workarounds with the LCC counts and head start/stop issues.

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  38. Danno_AU says:

    Thanks so much for this post!!!!

    Fixed a 2TB ST32000542AS today after having to force it with the command in your post. Did not suffer any data loss. Without the clear instruction here I would have been at a loss.

    Will see how it goes, I do think the click is still there but way less frequent and definitely WAY quieter than before!!! It’s passing all tests in seatools ATM….

    Ive got a full backup of the drive on a new one and plenty of time left on warranty so I will be punishing this drive for a while.

    Many thanks again.

  39. chef says:

    Thanks for assembling this very helpful information. I’d been using a ST32000542AS with firmware CC32 in a D-Link NAS box (no RAID set). After about 6 mo I heard the dreaded clicks of death. The drive continued to operate but I replaced it with a WD just in case. I plan to update the FW to CC35 as soon as I can find a donor machine to access the SATA ports. I find it really annoying that Seagate hasn’t updated their FW upgrader to support USB-SATA enclosures. I have another Seagate 1TB that actually did go bad (lost data and failed SeaTools diag test) after less than a year. I took a chance on Seagate due to past reliability but they’ve really gone downhill the past couple years.

  40. Ajmal says:

    will this “force method” work if drive is not detected in BIOS?

  41. Niall says:

    Hi Ajmal

    I doubt very much doubt that attempting to ‘force’ the firmware upgrade onto a disk the computer cannot see in the BIOS will work.

    The ‘force’ option exists only to allow you to apply the firmware to a disk that the auto update function has failed to work with, perhaps if your disk has a serial number the auto update tool does not know about. (quite likely since its now 2 years old!)

    If you’re having trouble getting the disk to be recognised in the computers BIOS try plugging the disk in directly to the main SATA port on the motherboard, bypass any RAID or expansion controllers and check if you need to alter any jumpers on the disk if it needs to work in single disk mode.

    Good luck.


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  43. Regmont says:

    I am having issues with my system and believe my ST3320820AS is the root of the problem. however Checkdisk shows all is well. Even after re-install problem still exist. what bothers me here is that I don’t see my drive listed. Does that mean that I am unable to use this option?

  44. Niall says:

    Hi, Unfortunatly I don’t think the information here is right for your disk model number.

    If you suspect a problem with your drive I would recommend running Seagates own disk diagnostic test, Seatools, here

    The link has all the information you need to check the health of your disk.

    Now, searching online, it seems that there has not been an offical firmware update for your disk. There is information on Wikipedia about an un-official firmware for a specific issue here

    Additionally there is some older, but hopefully relavent information from a user who has the same model of disk as you and is suffering problems on the Seagate user forums.

    Good luck


  45. Regmont says:

    Thanks Niall. I’ll check these links.

  46. Loris says:

    Hi! Your fantastic post was very helpful for me. Now i’m issue with ST2000DL003-9VT166 model. Rumors say about a firmware release CC45 but latest available on seagates web site is cc32. I’m running cc3c firmware.
    Can you provide some information if any available??
    thank you very much!

  47. Niall says:

    Hi Loris,

    While I’m happy to help if I can I’d like to keep this specific post about the ST32000542AS CC35 firmware upgrades.

    For any other Seagate firware help my best reccomendation is their official forums.

    Saying that, it does look like ST2000DL003 disks manafactured after Feb 2011 seem to have the ‘newer’ CC45 firmware. It doesn’t look like the CC45 firmware is available. (It might never be if Seagate don’t think its a necessary upgrade, it may be there is a technical modification in the newer disks which required a change in the firmware and hence the new revision code)

    While it is a good idea to run the latest firmware, if your disk is working OK its up to you. If yo want it looks like there is a Windows based firmware update tool for your disk here

    Sorry I can’t be of more help, I don’t own any of these disks.


  48. gerrym says:


    Thanks SO much for taking the time to share and manage your process. It clearly works where Drive Detect and even the bootable iso sometimes cannot clearly see through a particular chipset. Seagate support has been good to me over the last 20 years with SCSI and SAS, but not so much on SATA or IDE. That makes info like yours here golden. Searching Seagate still points to CC35 as ‘the’ update, but newer posts on their forums have st32000542as drives with CC95 firmware with similar issues to CC34. Curious and troubling.


  49. Niall says:

    Thank you for your kind words gerry, I’m still quite surprised that this post has been so helpful for people and continues to help people but I’m glad to have helped.

    It is a worrying trend with Seagate and details around firmware for disks, thankfully the ST32000542AS disks in our Synology are still going strong after nearly 2 years of 24/7 running.


  50. Craig says:

    Just wanted to pass you a massive thank-you. Could not get this firmware to update on my 5XW starting model and was tearing my hair out, suffering random freezes that’d I’d finally figured out was related to the ticking noise from this hard drive. Force update, and its all good.

    Seagate can take a leap off a bridge, 2 years later and they never released a revised firmware that included all serial numbers?

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