Western Digital disk diagnostic tools are Windows only

Western Digital disk diagnostic tools are Windows only

Summary: Here's something for all you to consider when buying your next hard drive - Western Digital's disk diagnostic tools only work on Windows.

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Here's something for all you to consider when buying your next hard drive - Western Digital's disk diagnostic tools only work on Windows.

The Register recounts the tale of Keith Edmunds of Tiger Computing, a company specializing in Linux, who was having problems with a couple of Caviar Green WD20EARS drives. He contacted Western Digital looking for updates diagnostic tools to run on Linux and was told to go buy a copy of Windows:

Western Digital technical support only provides jumper configuration and physical installation support for hard drives used in systems running the Linux/Unix operating systems. In order to run the test using the DLG software, you must install the drive on the Windows computer first because it is not compatible with Linux OS. For setup questions beyond physical installation of your Western Digital hard drive, please contact the vendor of your Linux/Unix operating system.

Edmunds pressed further, and was told the following:

Unfortunately, the drive is question can be tested on Windows only. We manufacture our hard drives, build our software and test them on Windows operating systems only. Therefore, when other operating systems come to play, our technical support is strictly limited. It may not sound fair to you, but I am being honest and I thank you in advance for your understanding.

Something for all you Linux users to bear in mind when next buying a new drive.

Topics: Hardware, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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20 comments
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  • RE: Western Digital disk diagnostic tools are Windows only

    Simple solution, do not buy WD drives.
    mrlinux
    • Shouldn't the mighty FOSS write their own ...

      diagnosis tool rather than rely on the evil proprietary companies to provide it? If I were on Linux platform, I'd thank WD for offering FOSS such a great opportunity to be a man of his own words and take the matter in own hands.
      LBiege
      • RE: Western Digital disk diagnostic tools are Windows only

        @LBiege
        We have diagnostic tools which are every bit as good as the proprietary ones- the question is will WD accept a Smartmon output for warranty replacement.
        My tools say:
        Raw Read Error Rate 229
        Spin Up Time 1350
        Start Stop Count 1257
        Reallocated Sector Ct 96
        Seek Error Rate 0
        Power On Hours 15879
        Spin Retry Count 0
        Calibration Retry Count 0
        Power Cycle Count 1237
        Airflow Temperature Cel 41
        Temperature Celsius 41
        Reallocated Event Count 8
        Current Pending Sector 1
        Offline Uncorrectable 1
        Multi Zone Error Rate 0
        Even though I have errors (which don't instill much confidence) , WD says it's fine :(
        chris@...
  • RE: Western Digital disk diagnostic tools are Windows only

    The "EARS" drives use the new 4096 bytes(or is that Kb?) blocks, which means they're a pain on anything other than Windows and even pre-Vista Windows OS (there's a hack for XP but it's not perfect.)
    MikeR666
  • Hopefully it's DOS mode and not win32/64 native

    Being unfamiliar w/ DLG, any diag software *should* run under MS-DOS mode and not under win32 / 64 that is a lot of unnecessary overhead don't you think? If in MS-DOS mode then the freedos should suffice and you could get away with a free boot disk (i.e. bootdisk.com) or the like.

    I recall several BIOS upgrade installers that ran under win32 (I think it was ASUS?) and the unsuspecting user thought he was upgrading his BIOS to support new CPU, instead it was a 90%+ chance of bricking your motherboard. (one reason I now stay away from ASUS they did not pull the software it is still available).

    And what if your new drive is your C: drive? How are you supposed to troubleshoot it via DLG when you can't even install windows? That is a perfect example of poor developers. Shame on WD for this.
    ~doolittle~
  • So, I guess that WD automatically ...

    ... provides you with a Windows 7 product code for that hard drive so you can run diagnostics on it if you need to. Just tell me where I can find it, WD! Ya got a web site where I can simply plug in the S/N for the drive and get the code?
    OButterball
  • Neither does Seagate

    Seagate does not offer their Seatools in a Linux package either.

    However, both companies offer a Dos based version of their software and WD even goes as far as making it available in an iso package for CDs that is self booting once burned to CD.
    Brooks Fancher
    • RE: Western Digital disk diagnostic tools are Windows only

      @Brooks Fancher: the latest version of the WD DOS tools do not support the WD20EARS drive. The only way of testing them is to install an operating system, and if you want to use WD tools then that OS needs to be Windows.
      BackSeat
  • RE: Western Digital disk diagnostic tools are Windows only

    I don't see what the problem is. They shouldn't be running linux to begin with.
    Loverock Davidson
    • There's not a problem

      @Loverock Davidson <br><br>Because most that run linux not only can usually handle diagnosing a HD, but they also no doubt have an assortment of tools that provide the same (or more) functionality as WD's DLG. But as others have mentioned, it's also possible to create a bootable with DLG that uses dos.<br><br>However, Loverock, if one was running linux "to begin with", they're less apt to have HD failures in the first place - due to the lack of wear and tear that comes from constantly having to defrag, registry bloat, inefficient file system...you know the drill
      SonofaSailor
      • RE: Western Digital disk diagnostic tools are Windows only

        @SonofaSailor <br>The old "defrag" argument is nil. I have checked many times over the past year and my Win7 partition has never been more than .1% fragged. <br><br>For some anecdotal evidence, having worked in IT at CHQ for a global organization for a few years, the Linux/UNIX systems were dropping drives just as often as the Windows systems and the HP3000's. My old 10GB(?) WD drive I bought in 1999/2000 is still working fine, my 9 year old daughter now uses that computer. And that system went through OS2/Warp, Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, Redhat), Win98, WinME, Win2000, WinXP, WinVista, AND Win7 all those years... Many times dual-booting or triple-booting. Hardly an arguing point of fragmentation and over-use of the disk. AND my system was left on 24/7 for at least 9.5 of those years and still is to this day, not even sleep mode or power-save. I would say environmental is the most probable drive killer.
        ryanstrassburg
  • Any version of Windows in particular?

    After all, it's not as if all versions of Windows are mutually compatible.
    Zogg
    • RE: Western Digital disk diagnostic tools are Windows only

      @Zogg <br>Supports WinXP, Vista, and 7 for TrueImage software: <a href="http://support.wdc.com/product/downloaddetail.asp?swid=119&wdc_lang=en" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://support.wdc.com/product/downloaddetail.asp?swid=119&wdc_lang=en</a><br><br>And XP only for "Advanced Format Software": <a href="http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=608&lang=en" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=608&lang=en</a><br><br>And Data Life Guard is available for DOS as floppy, CD, or for Windows (XP/Vista/7).
      ryanstrassburg
      • Ah, DOS support.

        @ryanstrassburg

        If it's available for DOS then it probably works with FreeDOS too. (It's not as if MS-DOS is a moving target!)

        But then, the reports on this forum would suggest that Linux's native diagnostic tools are more accurate anyway ;-).
        Zogg
  • RE: Western Digital disk diagnostic tools are Windows only

    I'm in a pretty good position to talk about this issue. I recently purchased a WD laptop drive (320 GB Caviar Black) to use with Linux. The drive did have problems, and I eventually RMA'd it to WD. (The replacement drive works fine, by the way.)<br><br>Anyhow, as part of my diagnostic process, I needed to use the DLG software, which is Windows-only.<br><br>WD offers a complete ISO for DLG that uses DR DOS, and I burned and booted that to do the test. It worked fine. I didn't need Windows at all.<br><br>By the way, DLG said my loudly clicking drive was fine. It stopped working completely soon thereafter.

    As I say above, the replacement WD Caviar Black drive is running fine - no loud clicking, no I/O errors.
    Steven Rosenberg
    • Does WD require you (anyone) to use the DLG before they will RMA?

      @Steven Rosenberg

      just curious
      SonofaSailor
  • Re: WD Disk Diagnostic Tools -- Windows or DOS?

    Actually, WD does offer a DOS version of its DLG diagnostics that can be run from a floppy, CD, or bootable USB stick, and works for most internal WD drives and any installed OS, including Linux. They also offer a WD version of Acronis True Image for some drives, but have not [yet] posted any software tools for 1 or 2 drives.
    dcwest
  • what's in a testpig?

    well, look, beyond all the jahid and holey wars, what's the harm of using an old but reliable clunker windows box to check the suspected drives on? It is inconvenient yes..
    opcom
  • RE: Western Digital disk diagnostic tools are Windows only

    This is a point I had not considered before, I will now only actively buy hard drives where the test/format software is available for both systems as I use both systems.
    Unplugging/plugging just to test or format is not an option that I want to take.
    So, no more WD drives for me, ever......though hardware wise, they seem as good as any other that I have tried and far far better than IBM/Hitachi that I once used and had great problems with.....
    I recently needed to fix a problem on a Seagate drive, it only has windows or DOS test tools. (It was an XP Laptop!) So no more Seagate either!!!
    I will start having to look around to see what my future options are in this area.....thanks for the "Heads up"!
    Regards
    Andy
    der_fisherman
  • Western Digital Diagnostic tools

    I don't even bother with Western Digital Diagnostic tools anymore. I create a CD from the Gnome Partition Editor .iso file. GPE creates partitions, resizes, sets the boot flag and formats to a variety of Linux and non-Linux formats including NTFS.
    intj-astral@...