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How to format a 3TB GoFlex Home

Maybe you want to reformat the drive to start over or maybe you're upgrading to a larger drive, but the seagateshare web interface format option won’t work with 3TB drives and you can't use the USB adapter off a GoFlex Desk or Backup Plus, so how do you format a 3TB drive?

Seagate Support says they use “special software in the factory” to format these drives and maybe that’s true (I’ve never seen a 3TB GoFlex Home straight out of the box) but it’s not very helpful.
Then again, they say you have to use MBR partitioning without explaining just how you’re supposed do that on a 3TB drive with 512 byte sectors.

If you have desktop PC you can use the great tip from David Vielmetter http://davidvielmetter.com/tricks/seagate-goflex-home-disk-maintenance/ to hook up the drive with SATA and use Seagate’s DiskWizard to format the drive with a single 3TB GPT partition and format as NTFS.

But if, like me, you only have a laptop what are your options?

I had a 3TB Seagate Backup Plus v1 that I wanted to use on my GoFlex Home to replace the original 1Tb drive


Backup Plus 3TB

Why can't you use a GoFlex Desk USB adapter?

Using a GoFlex Desk base (or Backup Plus v1) works great for sub 2.2TB drives, but for 3TB drives the USB-SATA bridge changes the logical sector size to 4k.

I read a post where someone claims to have had gone ahead and partitioned using the GoFlex Desk base and it seemed to work. I don't know how they got NTFS to mount because the MFT created on a 4k sector partition would be in a different place on a 512 byte sector partition, but they say they did it.

The problem is that the partition table is set up assuming 4096 byte sectors, but when you put the drive back in the GoFlex Home it reverts to 512 byte sectors. So it's all good until you reach the 2TiB limit and then the OS runs out of addresses and starts writing over itself.

It's like trying to store numbers over 999 when you only have 3 digits. There's no problem until you get to 1000 and then it will look like 000.

MBR just doesn't have enough "digits" for numbers over 2,199,023,255,040. Then you start back at 0, writing over the boot sector and things get ugly. That's why the GUID Partitioning Table (GPT) was invented and fortunately the GoFlex Home's Linux OS handles GPT.

How to use the GoFlex Home Linux operating system to partition and format the drive.

Log in with SSH and become root. Then use the Linux parted command to partition and format the drive (the commands you enter are in blue).

bash-3.2# /sbin/parted /dev/sda
GNU Parted 1.8.1
Using /dev/sda
Welcome to GNU Parted! Type 'help' to view a list of commands.
(parted) mklabel gpt
(parted) unit TB
(parted) mkpart primary NTFS 0TB 3TB
(parted)
(parted) print

Model: Seagate ST3000DM001-1CH1 (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 3.00TB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: gpt

Number  Start   End     Size    File system  Name     Flags
 1      0.00TB  3.00TB  3.00TB               primary


Reboot the GoFlex Home to mount the filesystem and you're done.

3TB GPT NTFS mounted
3TB NTFS GPT partition mounted and ready to use
Note that it only reports 2.73TB, but there's no missing capacity because 3TB is 2.73 TiB. (1 TiB = 1.099511627776 TB)


 UPDATE: If you follow these instructions and find that the msftres flag is set and can't be cleared and the NTFS filesystem won't mount, then click the following link to find out how to reset the msftres flag and create an NTFS filesystem with mkfs
(note: only use this alternative method if  you have the msftres issue because it requires creating a second partition and you lose 100 MB of storage space)

33 comments:

  1. Hi, after the original 3TB drive failed on me, I've just replaced it with a WD 3TB drive (AV drive for 24hr use).

    Before I found this site - I set the drive up using a USB adapter to my laptop - Windows 7 let me set the new drive up with a single GPT partition - I left the cluster size as default initially and then started recovering the lost data to it... then i read your comment about cluster sizes and aborted the recover and tried your SSH guide - everything seemed to work ok (I got a lot of confirmation and warnings) BUT after the reboot I was back to it not recognising the HD??
    I dropped it back into the USB adapter and have used windows again and re done it with a cluster size of 512.

    the Goflex is finding it and all looks ok. do you see any issue with this approach?

    Many thanks.

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  2. Hi, Cluster size and Sector size aren't the same thing.
    The sector size is set by the hardware and cluster size (also called allocation unit size) is set by the filesystem (software).

    The default cluster size for NTFS is 4096 byte and setting a smaller cluster size is only useful if you have a lot of tiny (smaller than 4k) files. Each file will use at least one cluster so larger clusters just mean you might waste a bit of disk space.

    Sector size is more critical because
    a) you can't change it in software, it is set by the hardware and
    b) the physical location of data on the disk is calculated by sector.

    If you use the /sbin/parted /dev/sda command and then the print command and it shows a sector size of 512B then it is all good.

    WD's quick format tool interacts with their USB adapter to set the sector size (512B for factory default and 4096B for XP) so your WD drive might be set up OK.
    Seagate doesn't provide a similar tool for their USB adapters so they're stuck on 4096B and that's why the problems arise.

    see this link for info on the WD format tool if you haven't already, cheers http://support.wdc.com/KnowledgeBase/answer.aspx?ID=3868

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  3. Thanks for that... its been running over night now recovering data to the newHD - (via the Seagate NAS adapter) - so I hope its OK as it is - or I'll be re doing it fairly soon I guess!I'll let this section of recovery complete and check a little more thoroughly.

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  4. i have an issue here, can you help me ? when i complete steps, i am able to see HDD in the goflex home webpage : size NA, Free Space NA.

    Model: Seagate ST3000DM001-9YN1 (scsi)
    Disk /dev/sda: 3.00TB
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
    Partition Table: gpt

    Number Start End Size File system Name Flags
    1 0.00TB 3.00TB 3.00TB primary msftres

    ReplyDelete
  5. The Windows reserved partition flag is set. I don't know how or why this has happened; maybe the origin of the disk from a windows system?
    Apparently the parted Set command won't reset the msftres flag, but you could try that first.
    If you can't reset the msftres flag using Parted then you could try wiping the partition table and starting again with the dd command

    /bin/dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=512 count=1024

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  6. Hi, thanks for reply i tried wiping partition using above command,still no luck.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Update : wiped partition ( from windows) using EaseUS. then booted of PC using system rescue cd with hdd attached and all well now.

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  8. Great. And thanks for posting back with your solution.
    Hooking up to a Windows PC with SATA is always best as it gives you far more options. My post was really for anyone who doesn't have access to a PC with a SATA port and has to use the GoFlex Home Linux OS.
    cheers

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  9. I am really having trouble getting rid of that msftres flag. I have osx and access to the drive over ssh. Any ideas?

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  10. I have never come across this one and the suggestion I posted before, of wiping the partition table using the Linux dd command apparently didn't work.
    Another possible solution is to redo the partition mkpart step with the reiserfs filesystem instead of NTFS.
    mklabel gpt
    Unit TB
    mkpart primary reiserfs 0TB 3TB
    This is supposed to reset the mftres flag. You can then redo
    mklabel gpt
    Unit TB
    mkpart primary NTFS 0TB 3TB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay I tried that and I was able to clear the flag but then it came back when I formatted NTFS again?? Isn't that so strange? Thanks so much. Here is what happened:

      (parted) mklabel gpt
      Warning: The existing disk label on /dev/sda will be destroyed and all data on
      this disk will be lost. Do you want to continue?
      /sbin/parted: invalid token: gpt
      Yes/No? yes
      New disk label type? [gpt]? gpt
      (parted) Unit TB
      (parted) mkpart primary reiserfs 0TB 3TB
      (parted) print

      Model: Seagate ST3000DM001-1ER1 (scsi)
      Disk /dev/sda: 3.00TB
      Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
      Partition Table: gpt

      Number Start End Size File system Name Flags
      1 0.00TB 3.00TB 3.00TB primary


      Then I restarted and did this:

      Model: Seagate ST3000DM001-1ER1 (scsi)
      Disk /dev/sda: 3001GB
      Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
      Partition Table: gpt

      Number Start End Size File system Name Flags
      1 17.4kB 3001GB 3001GB primary

      (parted) mklabel gpt
      Warning: The existing disk label on /dev/sda will be destroyed and all data on
      this disk will be lost. Do you want to continue?
      /sbin/parted: invalid token: gpt
      Yes/No? yes
      New disk label type? [gpt]? gpt
      (parted) Unit TB
      (parted) mkpart primary NTFS 0TB 3TB
      (parted) print

      Model: Seagate ST3000DM001-1ER1 (scsi)
      Disk /dev/sda: 3.00TB
      Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
      Partition Table: gpt

      Number Start End Size File system Name Flags
      1 0.00TB 3.00TB 3.00TB primary msftres

      Delete
  11. Thanks for the post. Your drive is a newer firmware ST3000DM001-1ER1 than mine ST3000DM001-1CH1, but I don't know why that should make a difference.
    I was able to repartition and create a filesystem a slightly different way, using mkfs but because of the limited memory on the device you need to create swap space on the hard drive or you will get calloc error.
    What I did was;
    /sbin/parted /dev/sda
    (parted) mklabel gpt (parted) unit GB
    (parted) mkpart primary 0GB 2998GB
    (parted) mkpart swap 2998GB 3000GB
    quit parted. you now have an empty primary partition with no filesystem (or try the reiserfs if the mftres flag is still set) and a swap partition.

    /sbin/mkswap /dev/sda2
    /sbin/swapon /dev/sda2
    /sbin/mkfs.ntfs -Q /dev/sda1

    output of mkfs.ntfs :
    Cluster size has been automatically set to 4096 bytes.
    Creating NTFS volume structures.
    mkntfs completed successfully. Have a nice day

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you so much! That worked. I now have a working HD!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great! Thanks for the feedback.

      Delete
  13. Hi Kenji, Amazing gude, very straight forward, I followed all the procedure, message at end as folows:
    Welcome to GNU Parted! Type 'help' to view a list of commands.
    (parted) mklabel gpt
    Warning: The existing disk label on /dev/sda will be destroyed and all data on
    this disk will be lost. Do you want to continue?
    /sbin/parted: invalid token: gpt
    Yes/No? yes
    New disk label type? [gpt]? gpt
    (parted) unit TB
    (parted) mkpart primary 0TB 4TB
    (parted)
    (parted) print

    Model: Seagate ST4000VN000-1H41 (scsi)
    Disk /dev/sda: 4.00TB
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
    Partition Table: gpt

    Number Start End Size File system Name Flags
    1 0.00TB 4.00TB 4.00TB primary

    (parted)
    Broadcast message from root (Fri Sep 16 17:59:57 2016):

    The system is going down for reboot NOW!

    after reboot I just get a blinking orange led, any advice on this please. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  14. You haven't created a filesystem so there is nothing for the OS to mount. You need to include the NTFS part of the command to create the partition.
    mkpart primary NTFS 0TB 4TB

    ReplyDelete
  15. Kenji, while replacing the hard drive I wanted to upgrade the firmware to latest version but it doesn't work in the interface (some error that it can't find the site) Tried to follow this Seagate how to and use flash drive but it doesn't work. I ends with orange led and white led blinking. ( waited 30 minutes) Similar like people describing here http://www.openstora.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1938&sid=8b88a9ec15475bfb223f1e8861ac4d22.
    Any ideas? How do I check current FW version?

    ReplyDelete
  16. To check the current version you need the GoFlex Home connecting to the network (green LED) then in the web interface click About GoFlex Home in the bottom left corenr.
    But since your GoFlex Home won't boot properly and connect to the network you're a bit stuck.
    The flash procedure is pretty straightforward but it can occasionally fail because of the USB drive. Try it again with another USB thumb drive or just reset the drive with a 10 second reset.

    http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/How-to-reset-the-GoFlex-Home?language=en_US

    The firmware download and reflash instructions are still accessible from
    http://support.goflexhome.hipserv.com/en/reflash/

    so I'm not sure what the problem was in the OpenStora posts

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks, didn't see it there, shame on me :) (2.7.1-391)
    That's the link I followed for the FW upgrade and id doesn't work, re downloaded the file, tried different flash sticks (FAT32), no change :(

    ReplyDelete
  18. Actually I just downloaded the "latest" firmware from the Seagate site and noticed that it is a new version 2.7.2 dated March 2016.
    Maybe I just don't trust Seagate but I think it is strange that they suddenly provide an update in 2016 for a product they haven't supported in years and long after their partnership with Axentra who built the hipserv software ended.

    I'll be sticking with the 2.7.1-391 firmware that has been running in my GoFlex Home without any problems for the past 4 years

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks, I'll stay away from it as well :)
    THANKS!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Silly me! Looking closer, the firmware is hosted on the Axentra.com domain, so despite the Seagate branding on the page, Axentra is providing the firmware update.

    So it is probably OK, but I haven't been able to find any release notes to say what's changed in the new version.

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  21. Well, too bad it refuses to update anyways :(

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  22. I flashed the 2.7.2 firmware without any problems. Showing version 2.7.2-393 in the browser.
    I'll see how it goes, but I really didn't have any issues with the 2.7.1 version.

    ReplyDelete
  23. You clearly have magic touch :) Tried several times, every time the same orange LED and white blinking. How long you hold the reset button before you let it go when you power it on with the flash drive plugged in?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I turn the power on with the reset button pressed and as soon as the green LED stops flashing I release the reset

      Delete
  24. That's what I do as well, then the white LED flickers for couple minutes a then the orange turns on a white blinks. Hard drive removed while flashing. Did you get the orange LED on while it was upgrading the FW?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Actually to be exact upper orange steady on and lower white 4short blinks 1longer, over and over

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No orange light. The green light flashes steadily and I release the reset button the the green light goes out and the lower white light flashes rapidly for around 90 seconds while the firmware loads.
      Then the green light blinks for around 60 seconds as the Goflex completes the boot sequence and then stays steady indicating the process is complete and I can go to the web interface and complete registration and setup.

      So before you flash you should be able to see the content of the USB stick as External Storage either in Windows file explorer or the Seagateshare web interface , right?
      And it should show 3 files
      hipserv2_seagateplug-20160314.ubi 174.13MB
      initrd 3.23MB
      uImage 2.25MB

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  26. Looks like I do it the same way like you Kenji, yes I can see the drive in the Seagate interface and those files are there, Also now there is extra .tmp folder with bunch of subfolders that wasn't there before. What size of drive are you using? Mine is 2GB but will try with 16GB.

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  27. Same result :( Looks like it will access the Flash drive couple seconds after I release the pin since the LED on the drive blinks couple times but after that it will never access it again and minutes later it ends the procedure with orange LED on the unit.
    Perhaps I should try to reset it, and then try to upgrade the FW?

    ReplyDelete
  28. UPDATE: I did reset the unit (10sec) after set up it asked me if I want to upgrade the firmware and gave me option to download hbs-6081.udp after Apply and now it shows that version is 2.7.2 393. I'm glad I didn't brick it with all my experimenting :) Thanks Kenji!

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  29. Cool. I'm not sure the firmware update was worth the hassle since 2.7.1 worked fine for the most part and we don't know what's changed, but good that you got there in the end.

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