Cannot enable write cache on WD RED 4TB (WD40EFRX-68WT0N0)

Hello,

I’m currently stuck with not beeing able to activate the write-cache of any of my 6 WD40EFRX-68WT0N0.

Se also for a similar (still unsolved) problem: http://community.wd.com/t5/Desktop-Mobile-Drives/unable-to-enable-write-cache-on-1-out-of-7-WDC-WD40EFRX-68WT0N0/m-p/847601#M18631

My drives previously had write cache enabled in windows for roughly one year now, I know for sure! But just recently I realized very slow write performance (up to only 20-25 MB/s) and found the write cache being disabled on all of these disks. It is not clear why or when this happend. But It is NOT possible to enable the write cache from windows device manager any more. Every try is just giving a error message, that write cache of those disks is not supported!?

SMART info with HD Sentinel and CrystalDiskInfo shows:

  • Drive is HEALTHY, no SMART errors at all
  • Write-cache supported, but DISABLED
  • Write-Read-Verify DISABLED

A quick test with WD LifeGuard Diagnostics first of all only detects 5 of my 6 drives. But it did not reveal any problems (Not tested for bad sectors, as this takes too long and I do not assume that all 6 drives have gotten bad sectors at the same time while SMART does not show anything)

Now I first thought it might be a Windows problem, but it is not. Booted with current Ubuntu linux 14.04 and checked status wtih hdparm and smartctl. And the result is again:

  • Drive is HEALTHY, no SMART errors at all
  • Write-cache supported, but DISABLED
  • Write-Read-Verify DISABLED

Now the funny thing is if I use hdparm to try to enable the drive’s write cache I get the following:

hdparm -W1 /dev/sda

/dev/sda: setting drive write-caching to 1 (on)
write-caching = 0 (off)

I’ve even already tried different controllers (onboard/extension):

  • Intel ICH7
  • Marvell 92xx
  • Marvell 94xx
  • Asmedia 106x
    The problem is identical for all types! So I strongly assume it has nothing to do with the controller.

What is going on here? Any ideas? Is it necessary to contact WD support?

Thanks in advance for any kind of help.

Best, Pascal

Please allow me one additional remark:

It also does’nt seem to be mainboard/BIOS related in general as I have two quite old WD GREEN 2TB (WD20EACS-11BHUB0) which have write cache enabled. For those two green’s it is also still possible to enable/disable write cache within device manager as often as I want and without any problems.

Also in linux those two WD GREEN 2TB show write cache enabled.

Is it possible, that something corrupted the firmware/settings of all 6 of my WD RED 4TB drives!?

If that was possible - does anybody know a tool to completely reflash/reset the firmware/settings of the WD RED 4TB?

And finally:

It’s not a matter of bad/defective cables.

I’ve tried 4 different SATA cables and a SAS-8087 cable, too. No change at all…

Hi there and welcome to the WD community.

Try to see if it could be a driver issue on the controllers side, perhaps if you update the drivers for the SATA controllers the performance of the drives could improve. I would also like to know if you have a specific type of RAID setup with the drives.

@pasbec, I, too, suspect that these drives may have a firmware problem. Clearly it’s not a driver or OS issue, since you have tried both Linux and Windows.

Fortunately you are in a position to determine where in the firmware this setting is stored. To this end I would dump the firmware resources for your WD20EACS-11BHUB0 drive before and after write caching is enabled/disabled, and then compare the two sets of resources. My suspicion is that module #02 stores this setting.

You could use a tool such as SeDiv:

http://sediv2008.narod.ru/Easy3.9Password01234567890.rar
http://sediv2008.narod.ru/Settings.rar

SeDiv WD Read ROM & Modules:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UgFfhkkAwY

You may also find more useful information at the HDD Oracle forum:

http://www.alexsoft.org

Hi there,

first of all thank you very much for your kind introduction.

I promise to use the Kudos-star as much as possible and as soon as this is topic solved it will be marked as “solved” without delay! :wink:.

Now to your suggestion:

Try to see if it could be a driver issue on the controllers side, perhaps if you update the drivers for the SATA controllers the performance of the drives could improve. I would also like to know if you have a specific type of RAID setup with the drives.

As I mentioned above between the lines - I’d completely exclude any driver issues.

Let me explain a little bit more in detail: Every single disk is used individually. There no RAID (onboard RAID is turned off) involved at all. The 6 drives are just simple single devices, normally running in AHCI mode. Thus, I can simply connect them to any kind of controller and use them with “any” operating system.

Now in order to find the problem I decided to just pick one of the 6 dics and do extensive tests on different hardware. So far I analysed the write cache status on different controllers (Intel ICH7, Marvell 92xx, Marvell 94xx, ASM106xx) with different controller modes (IDE, AHCI, RAID on Intel ICH7):

  • even with different drivers in Windows 7, 8.1

  • in Ubuntu 14.04

  • in Ubuntu  9.10

  • in Knoppix

  • gparted-live

  • HDAT2 / Windows 98 / DOS ( http://www.hdat2.com/))

And EVERYWHERE the write cache is disabled and it is not possible to change the write cache setting of the disc to “enabled” using hdparm HDAT2 and Windows Device Manager.

-> To cunclude: It must be a problem on the devices firmeware/settings level. For sure!

Now the question is how can fix that? Is it possible to reflash the firmware of a WD RED hard drive?

I’ve already tried to use the tool “wd5741.exe” because I thought it might flash a firmware, but it refused to apply because there is no need to.

Thanks again for any help!

@fzabkar, thanks for all the links!

I will definitely read and dive into the matter a little bit and report back if I find anything useful.

But I didn’t get your idea completely. If I understood you correctly you suggest using my (healthy) WD GREEN (WD20EACS-11BHUB0) to find the part where the write cache settings are stored in their firmware?

But how can I then fix the WD RED drives with this information?

Best,

Pascal

If the write cache setting is stored within the Green drive’s Identity module (firmware module 02), as I suspect, then the appropriate byte(s) will probably be located within the same section of your Red drive.

Analysis of Western Digital ROYL firmware MOD 02:
http://www.alexsoft.org/viewtopic.php?f=59&t=821

BTW, WD’s “wd5741.exe” tool appears to modify one or more bytes in MOD 02. It does not update the firmware, per se. In fact WD’s firmware is modular. Some modules are stored in flash memory (aka “ROM”) on the PCB, while the bulk of the firmware is stored in a hidden System Area (SA) on the platters. A firmware update generally only targets a few of these modules.