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WD20EARS set up questions

Grant B

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Greetings everyone,


Back in 2010, I purchased a WD20EARS 2TB drive and put it into my HP Mediasmart EX490 server. I was having streaming issues and after reading the you can't / shouldn't use these drives in the WHS v1 box, I removed the drive and put in a 2TB Caviar Black. Had no issues after that so I thought they were correct. I shoved the drive into an external enclosure, reformatted it and started using it for backups.


Now I am in the position that I want / need to increase drive space on my server. Haing read that these green drives perform fine in the WHS v1 boxes if "set up properly", I am reviewing my options. This is what I am considering...


I would like to set up the WD20EARS drive to work in the WHS v1 box and purcchase a 4TB external drive for backups (my least expensive solution). If I feel ambitious, I want to take the 2TB caviar black drive and make it my system drive - moving the original 1TB Seagate drive to the drivepool (mostly in case it starts to crap out - I don't lose the system as a frind of mine has). Then the server would be dirve 1 - 2TB WD Caviar Black, 2- 2TB WD20EARS and 3 - 1TB Seagate drive.


As I had performance issues with regards to streaming to my PS3, I am wondering if the green drive has the performance to handle it's role in the drive pool once it is set up properly. Will it?


As far as the green drive has been formatted i Win7 - several times... what is the best way to set it up for the best performance in the WHS v1 box - WDalign or jumper? I am looking for the best option, not the easiest. If aligning the drive is the best way to go, that's what I want to do. If WDalign is the best solution, what is the best way to run the align software? Does it have to be done in the server? Attached to my desktop as a secondary drive? Can it be performed via the external enclosure it is in right now? If jumpering the drive is the proper solution, Would I just jumper it an install it into the server? Would I need to clear it, reformat it or erase the partition before installing it?


In the end, it is the least expensive solution to put the drive in the box. I will need to purchase a larger external drive anyway but I'd like to use the WD20EARS instead of purchasing another Black or Red drive.


Any insight is immensely appreciated.




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  • Grant B


  • ikon


  • Joe_Miner


  • revengineer


I would first use DiskPart to Clean the drive, which should wipe out the partitions. It's fine to connect the drive to the system externally. I always jumpered Green drives before putting them into my old WHSv1. It worked fine.

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I, too, always just used the 7-8 jumper method when using the EARS/EARX drives with WHS v1. After you clean and install jumper, you likely need to re-format the drive in v1.

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If it's the System Drive you have to use the WD-Alignment Tool (made by Acronis) if it's a data drive you should use the jumper on 7-8


check out the thread starting here (Message #13)


And read TechVet's article here

Edited by Joe_Miner
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Ikon, Joe Miner,


Thanks for the quick responses. They created a few more questions...


Ikon - Diskpart? Do you mean that I should remove any partitions that have been made on the drive prior to inserting it into the server? Can this be done from the extermal enclosure or does the drive need to be put into my desktop to do this? Can the procedure be accomplished in Disk Management? I am more familiar with that.


Joe Miner - Interesting article... The first thing he mentions is to disable Intellipark by running the wdidle utility as the drives are currently set to 8 seconds of disc inactivity before parking. When I went to the WD site from the link he provided, it states:


This firmware modifies the behavior of the drive to wait longer before positioning the heads in their park position and turning off unnecessary electronics. This utility is designed to upgrade the firmware of the following hard drives: WD1000FYPS-01ZKB0, WD7500AYPS-01ZKB0, WD7501AYPS-01ZKB0.

CAUTION: Do not attempt to run this software on any hard drives other than what is listed above. Please make sure that the computer system is not turned off during the firmware upgrade. Doing so may damage the hard drive beyond repair and your data may be lost.


I have a 2TB version - WD20EARS. It is not on that list. Has anyone had to run this before?? or does jumpering the drive disable this automatically?


Am I correct in assuming that there is no performance difference between jumpering the 7/8 pins and running the WDalign? if not, then you both recommend that I use the jumper meathod as I am going to use it as a pool drive? If I decide to utilize it as a system drive, then I would run the WDalign at a later date after removing the jumper?


If I were to decide in the future to utilize this drive as a system drive and to run the WDalign software, what is the best way to do it?


My biggest concern is that I will install the drive into the WHS and start having performance issues - especially when it comes to streaming video to my PS3 and WDlive boxes. Have you had any issues in that respect?


Finally, the original Seagate 1TB drive has been in there since day one and I have not recovered or restored the server since it purchase in Feb 2010. Would you recommend leaving it as is and only moving discs around it I start to experience issues or whould you recommend using the 2TB caviar black drive as the system drive and relegating the 1TB seagate to the third drive slot? Would the black offer better performance as a system drive? I have heard that you should not use too big a drive as a system drive... would a 2TB drive be considered too big? and finally... do you know what the largest drive size the EX490 can use?


Thanks again for all the help. The more I learn about these machines the better!




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DiskPart is a command line utility. You need to open CMD prompt window with Run As Administrator. Basically, you:

  1. open the CMD prompt window with admin privileges
  2. type DiskPart
  3. type List Disk
  4. identify the disk you want Clean
  5. type Select Disk <number of disk>
  6. type Clean
  7. type Exit

Yes, you can do this with the drive connected externally.


I am almost certain I used the WDIdle utility on a WD20EARS drive.

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The first thing he mentions is to disable Intellipark by running the wdidle utility

think in the thread I stated I didn’t use the “wdidle utility” -- I had checked the head activity on drives that had been in my EX-487 for a couple of years and they didn’t show the head activity that approached the design life so I 

didn’t feel it was necessary or worth the effort.  – I installed StableBit Scanner instead.  YMMV


Am I correct in assuming that there is no performance difference between jumpering the 7/8 pins and running the WDalign?

When I used WDalign on a DATA DRIVE and added it to WHS-V1 then V1 would format the drive before adding it to the pool – afterwards Acronis could not tell me if the alignment was good or not – I chose the jumpering of 7-8 to make sure.  Performance has been excellent on my V1.  YMMV.

if not, then you both recommend that I use the jumper meathod as I am going to use it as a pool drive?

I’m telling you what worked for me and what has performed reliably for the past1.5 years (see my signature line below).  Feel free to read my thread of my experience as well as TechVet’s article.

do you know what the largest drive size the EX490 can use?


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Ikon & Joe


Thanks so much for continuing to answer my questions.


From your responses and links to articles, I seems that even if you ran the WDalign software, it would be negated once you tried to install the drive to the drive pool. Once the drive has been installed and WHS v1 has re-formatted the drive, it is not recommended to try and run WDalign on it. In the end, even if a drive has been aligned with WDalign, that alignment would be lost once it is installed to the drive pool. Looks to me that the only sensible option would be the 7-8 jumpers.


As for preparing the drive, here is what I am thinking of doing.


1. Run the WDidle app to disable the Intellipark feature (assuming that you are correct Ikon and you ran it on your 2TB drive).

2. Run DiskPart and use the clean function (am I correct that this will remove any partitions on the drive and it would be the same as it was when it came from the factory?)

3. Put the jumper onto pins 7-8

4. Put the drive into slot 3 of the HP Mediasmart EX490.

5. Add the drive to the drive pool.

6. Enjoy the increased storage capacity.


Can either of you see a flaw in this?




Edited by Grant B
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