What firmware version is my WD disk?


#1

Hi!

I would like to know what firmware version I have in my WD Black disk. I would like to check this for all or any of the WD disks, be it Black, Red, or Green. How can I check this? Is this impossible? I can’t find this info by using the WD DLGDIAG software for Windows. Is it printed on the drive itself? Can’t it be read inside some software tool on the computer?

Thanks in advance!


#2

Hi @samirg

honest answer: there is no need for it - you cannot update it anyway.


#3

And why is that?


#4

Because HDDs are not intended to be used this way. Offering an update possibility would also open a backdoor into the device. Therefore, no update possibility, no backdoor.


#5

That’s an interesting point of view. But then how are they serviced when firmware related problems are found? Throw it in the recycling bin and get a new one? Or maybe WD never makes mistakes with their firmware?

How come that there are plenty of firmware update offers for the external WD models? What are those for? Do those apply to the disks or the surrounding hardware?


#6

Regarding hard disks: correct, there are no firmware issues. A hard disk “firmware” is not comparable to any other goods.

Again correct, these updates apply to additional software packages like backup software or other programs.


#7

So what you’re saying is that WD never has any firmware issues?

I’m not sure I understand what that means. Please define “goods”.

I am looking at this page right now:
http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/wdsmartwareupdate/firmware.asp?id=wdfGeneric&os=win

How does Western Digital define terms like “Firmware update” and “Drive Firmware”?

The downloadable archive file contains an executable called WDFirmwareUpdater.exe. By running this program, the following is displayed.

Firmware contains low-level instructions that control drive performance. Before starting this firmware update, it is recommended that you back up your drive data and clsoe all applications accessing the drive. Do not disconnect drive power or the USB cable during the update.

It does mention USB interface, so it applies to one or several external models. But if firmware can be updated over USB, then it might as well be updated over SATA interface for the internal drives.

Updating the drive firmware
The WD Firmware Updater utility updates the firmware on your My Book or My Passport drive.
Click Continue to Update to start the firmware update process.

So what is this then? Firmware update or “additional software”?

I realize that there are other kinds of downloads available for WD products, including, but not limited to Debian packages. But the term “firmware” cannot mean package updates for some Linux based embedded OS? Firmware is firmware, always has been, always will be. It’s not an opinion, it’s a matter of fact. I find it bizarre that WD is using the term “firmware” to mean something else.

Besides, Seagate has firmware updates for their internal drives. They don’t seem to be bothered by any backdoors? Of course, all drives may not have firmware updates available, unless some problem has been discovered in the firmware and Seagate publishes an updated version. That may include patching up any security vulnerability, and thereby preventing any backdoor! That’s another reason why I think it’s important to be able to update the firmware. More importantly, Seagate software allows you to display the current firmware version on any of their drives. While with WD, you can’t even see what version it is. That’s very strange to me.


#8

Let me just add in that I have found the firmware versions of my WD drives simply by using my system BIOS. It’s a pity that WD didn’t implement a function that would read the firmware version and display it in the WD DLGDIAG in Windows. But it is what it is. We have to use what we have here and BIOS does the task just fine.

However, in order to update it we would of course first need a utility program for that, and of course a need to do it. I was mostly checking in to see why there was no such tool readily available from the WD downlaods section. At least not for any internal drives. None that I could find anyway. From the looks of it, it’s as if WD only has problems with their external drives, and the new consumer class NAS devices. You can get that idea just by looking at the number of downloads they have for these products and what kind of downloads they offer.

Well of course not… I’m not a moron. They are intended to be used to store data. I would not update the firmware unless there was a need for that.

What would you say about Windows updates then? By this logic, the safest Windows operating system is one that receives no updates. Stop all updates and you close all back doors… for some reason, I find that hard to believe.

Besides, why would someone go through the trouble of accessing a backdoor in the hard drive firmware at a low level when they can use much more accessible security holes in the operating system at a higher level and take control of your entire computer?..

They would probably need physical access to the computer or the hard drive in order to inject it with some funny code. The firmware update tool doesn’t necessarily need to be a Windows program, it can easily be a DOS program, and that way it doesn’t have Internet access so they can’t do it remotely. But it seems WD doesn’t have such tool, or at least not for its current line of internal drive products. Not even a Windows equivalent. Yet they do seem to have one for their external product line.

Anyway! I think I know the answer to my own question now.

  1. WD does not offer firmware updates for internal drive products.
  2. Therefore, WD does not offer any firmware updates or images for its internal drive products.
  3. Thus, there is no firmware update utility program available for these products.

But the arguments given are not valid. By acknowledging that the external products (such as the My Book series), may have problems relating to firmware from time to time also confirms that the internal drives can and do have firmware problems every now and then. This can be deduced from the simple fact that external drives are internal drives inside an external drive enclosure using a different bus, such as USB, as opposed to the drive native SATA bus, and a dedicated logic board to convert the commands between the two.

Just denying or ignoring that WD internal drives ever have any firmware related problems does not help anyone. I guess I will just have to stick by WD and keep using their drives, hope for the best, and once a firmware related problem arises, see how WD responds to it. I hope they will not just tell me to do an RMA or smash the drive if it can be easily fixed with a firmware update.


#9

I have googled and read this post but I still would need an answer to how to upgrade the firmware if
it is of another version than 80.00A80 (read more below).

I’m about to buy a Synology DS216+II NAS and two 4TB WD RED WD40EFRX.
When I look on Synology’s site for a compatible WD disk for the NAS I see that I must use:
Model number: WD40EFRX - 68WT0N0
Firmware: 80.00A80
See this link-> Synology Products Compatibility List

I understand from “samirg’s” answer, that can see the firmware in BIOS but
if the firmware is another version than 80.00A80, how can I update it so that the WD Red
drives I’m about to purchase works without problems in my Synology DS216+II NAS?

I must know how to do this before I buy my NAS + WD RED’s.
Does anyone know from what manufacturing date the firmware version
is 80.00A80 on the WD40EFRX - 68WT0N0? Then I could look on the
disk to find out the firmware version (just a thought).

Thanks to everyone that can help me with this.


#10

I totally understand your situation! But WD doesn’t seem to be so understanding or they simply don’t care about you and your needs. Getting a release date of WD drive firmware? Yeah right… good luck with that! Unless users start reporting in and building their own database of such level of product details you will never find that out. User groups have done similar things in the past. That was a different time, in a time when users didn’t have their heads high up in the “cloud”.

Unless you can get the firmware readout directly in your NAS, what you might want to consider is temporarily connecting your new drives to a regular PC and read the firmware numbers in BIOS. You probably won’t be able to send them back if it turns out that they use the wrong version that’s not tested or not optimized for your new NAS device. You might try to persuade the retailer / e-tailer to that for you before you buy… but yeah… good luck with that too! I have had great experienced with some e-tailers that have done similar things for me. But such great stores are hard to come by.

Gone are the days when you could just pick a series of disk drives, look at a table on a web page or in a PDF datasheet and find out what firmware is on board. Supposedly because “the new drives are so safe and sound and stable they don’t need any updates to firmware ever” or something along those lines. Despite the fact that drives now have higher complexity and higher failure rate then ever.

This dumbifying treatment of customers and users is not unique to WD though! This is a trend that can be seen all over the IT landscape. Big companies are doing their best to ensure that users have no proper technical information about the products they buy. They would not risk “boring the user with such unnecessary details”. They also make sure the users have no choice, no privacy, no input or say, etc. Users are now only good for their money without any real power or control over the things they buy in return. When you buy a tech gadget today you essentially subscribe to a product as a service and an ideology.


#11

That’s true! We don’t have info about anything! With external drives it’s a roulette! They even ship NON-WD drives!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26OEIjagmM4

I’ve read Here (answered from someone at WD, or so it seems!): https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/determine-model-number-of-drive-inside-external-my-book-wd-4tb-desktop-drives.2553481/

P.S. We did some changes to simplify the drive selection by consolidating our mainstream PC product line to only the WD Blue family. This means that we no longer have the WD Green brand as you know it - all current Green capacity, cache and form-factor configurations will remain available through their lifecycle, but under the WD Blue brand. For more information, you should check the WD Blue’s product page and more specifically the ‘Green to Blue details’ here: http://products.wdc.com/support/kb.ashx?id=nbF4PV

well, at least it seems to be true: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcS_W6-LTxI