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.
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127 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 .

  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.


  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!


  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…


  16. Mr. Best, thank you for your information, it’s greatly appreciated. I put up screen captures of this procedure at Kind regards,
    Daniel Villarreal

  17. T says:

    I am having the clicking on my 1.5 tb hard drive ST31500541AS and want to update the firmware. The warning says that you should not do this on RAID systems. I am not sure where to check if I am running RAID or ATA. Is this shown in BIOS?

  18. Jamie says:

    Just another thank you. I was also interested to read the link on the forum, but it is dead (and actually the Seagate forum seems to be gone too). But I managed to find an archive:

  19. I have 16 of these drives in a server (well 12 of them now) as 4 of them have failed over the last 7 years that this server has been running. I guess I just need to keep phasing these out as they age because from the looks of it I am lucky that they have lasted this long.

    I noticed that you have an oil platform on your sites banner. I used to work offshore on those as a production operator in the gulf of mexico.. really caught my eye.

  20. Niall says:

    That is good going! I’m trying to replace the last two here but questions over the Seagate Ironwolf and the shortage of Western Digital Red Pro disks isn’t making it easy.

    That platform is actually in the Mediterranean Sea, I’m thinking I should update it with some more recent travels.

  21. Thanks Niall for your help, after many year of trial I could finally install my 2TB seagate inside my desktop after it’s external enclosure failed and the manipulated firmware made impossible for my motherboard and my system to fully see my disk, after this firmware upgrade it’s working as it should.

  22. Delano says:

    Hey Niall, Thanks for posting years ago!

    I got 4 of those Seagate ST32000542S preparing to work in a Synology DS412+ (because I don’t have money to buy new disks now).
    Had trouble with them in 2010 when used in a DS409+ (keep losing a raid 5 configuration) seems they al Run the CC34 Firmware, is it still smart to update the firmware to those drives before putting them in the synology? (there not really used)
    , what is the CC35 Firmware improving on the disks?

    I also discover synology had working on this “APM fix” issue.

    Hope you can help me out on this!

  23. Niall says:

    Hi Delano

    It is always good practice to update to the latest firmware for a device.
    Personally if I was moving to a new NAS enclosure I would probably update to CC35 firmware as part of the move and rebuild a new array.

    CC35 offers improvement against the “click of death” behaviour that affected these disks in a NAS environment.


  24. Anthony Clarke says:

    Hi Niall.
    Thanks for your blog posting on this firmware update issue.
    I have a D-Link DNS 343 NAS with four of the Seagate 2TB ST32000542AS hard drives that have CC34 firmware.
    There had been a persistent problem that developed after a few years of service, with one of the drives failing to be detected in the NAS. I tried erasing the defective drive using the DOS fdisk in an old computer and then re-formatted it in the NAS, but the problem persisted. The drive would work normally in a computer but would fail to be detected after several reboots in the NAS.
    I fixed the problem by replacing the defective drive with another and left the other three in the NAS since they were functioning normally, but with noticeable clicking during service. These drives have been working without any problems for years.
    Recently I searched for similar problems with this drive and came across your blog posting. Following your procedure, I re-flashed the drive that was not detected in the NAS, from firmware CC34 to CC35, successfully.
    I’m happy to report that this has remedied the problem of the drive not being detected. I intend to re-flash the other three drives to firmware CC35. Thanks again for your very informative blog posting and comments by others.
    Regards Anthony.

  25. Guilherme says:

    Hello Niall

    Thank you for you post about the force firmware update on the Seagate ST3200.

    I was creating a Unraid server using old parts and checking the health of these parts (No one want to put 2Tb of data in a server just to find out that this drive was dying) and the unraid kept nagging me to update the firmware.

    The first problem that I ran into was how to even boot the firmware update tool… The only desktop that I had was the server running unraid, The tool does not recognize the disk drive under a USB dock, Seagate does not offer a comprehensive way to update older drives under linux and it does not offer the LOD file to download (or even tell what is the LOD file to use it, if you have the means to extract from the ISO – IMA)

    And then there it has the optical drive / Optical media… in 2020 who even has a optical drive? and one that you can boot into FreeDOS… And RUFUS and Etcher didn’t recognize the ISO as a bootable ISO, so it didn’t worked either.

    I ended using RUFUS to create a FreeDOS bootable disk without any ISO, then copied all the contents of the ISO (and the contents of the IMA too, but I don’t think that it was necessary) to the pendrive, overwrited the and booted from this pendrive. It recognized the pendrive, the disk but the update failed (it said that the firmware wasn’t compatible). rebooted and made the forced update and it worked all right.

    Did a full disk read test on the Unraid and a SMART full test and it seem to be working 100%, didn’t lose any data and didn’t move anything that would impact the parity of the array.

    Thank you very much. Your post from 2010 kept helping people even in 2020.

  26. Niall says:

    Thanks for letting me know that this helped, all these years later!

    I’m pleased to hear that some of these disks are still running and providing use to people

  27. Andrey says:

    Thanks! I did it all right

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