Upgrade Seagate 2TB ST32000542AS firmware to CC35

These days, we are relying more and more on electronic files for everyday things, such as pictures, videos, bills, and mail.  Because of this, the need to store these e-files is ever increasing.  These 1-2TB drives are becoming the rave of data storage addicts because of the cheap cost-to-GB ratio.  So I decided to take a look for myself.

I populated a D-Link DNS-343 NAS box with 4x Seagate 2TB (ST32000542AS) green drives I ordered online.  They came with CC34 firmware, and having read numerous posts and discussions, I realized that it is important to check on whether or not I need to upgrade the firmware before popping them in.  It was not easy, but it was not too difficult either… if you know what you’re doing, or if you have the proper guide.  I will show you how I did it with relative ease.

According to Seagate, the new firmware (CC35) is advised for these drives:

ST3500412AS
ST31000520AS
ST31500541AS
ST32000542AS

However, the firmware upgrade tool does not recognize all drive serial numbers within the family product range as requiring an upgrade.  If this is the case, and the drive firmware is CC34 or older, Seagate created an upgrade utility to “Force” the upgrade on their disks.

Automatic Upgrade:

1.  First, get the upgrade utility ISO image at the Seagate site.

2.  Make sure the Seagate SATA drive is connected to a native SATA controller.

3. Check that the BIOS is set to ATA (and not AHCI). I found out that this was necessary for a few older computers I was setting up with these Seagate green drives.

4.  Boot from ISO CD.

5.  Follow the prompts that will lead you through the automatic upgrade.

6.  The firmware flash process will begin.  Once successful you will see the prompt.

7.  Power Down.

If not successful, try to force the upgrade.

How to force an upgrade:

1.  Boot from ISO CD.

2.  On the option screen (where you can try an auto upgrade) break the command line ([Ctrl] + [C]).

3.  Press [Y] on the keyboard to confirm

4.  Type the following

FDL486A -m Hepburn -f HECC358H.LOD -s -x -b -v -a 20

…then press enter:

5.  The firmware flash process will begin.  Once successful you will see the prompt.

6.  Power down the machine

7.  Repeat for each additional disk.

If you still have problems, it’s possible that your drive is not recognized. Try this alternate loader file:

FDL486A -m Hepburn -f HECC352H.LOD -s -x -b -v -a 20

This method worked for the drives that were not recognized by the [HECC358H] version.

After the upgrade, I’ve tried RAID0, RAID1, and RAID5 with these Seagate drives in the DNS-343, and I ultimately configured them in RAID1 (for the redundancy feature).  I have the power saving feature disabled for the NAS box, and no issues so far.  I have seen a few of my friends’ DNS-343 boxes give them problems, but I checked that the power saving feature was enabled.  Once I disabled this feature, no more problems.  Yes, it defeats the purpose of having a green drive, but it is a temporary fix for this problem.

I have another box I am running RAID0 loaded with 4x Seagate Constellation ES drives.  These drives work fine.

Good luck!  And make sure you backup any data on these drives.  The process is not supposed to be data destructive, but you never know.

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About Ask Conrad
I am a University Professor. A Neuroscientist by trade, and a technophile/geek on the side. My work and research is heavily dependent on computers and state-of-the-art technology. I like Jazz and Bossa Nova. I play the piano, guitar, and ukulele.

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