Diagnose and Replace a Defective Hard Drive (Windows Dedicated Server with Software RAID)

In this article, you will learn how to identify a defective hard drive on a Windows Dedicated Server Windows and how to prepare for a replacement.

Please Note

This article assumes that you have a basic knowledge of server administration with Microsoft Windows. If you have any questions or need assistance regarding the replacement of a defective hard drive, please contact 1&1 IONOS Customer Support.

To ensure the highest possible reliability, it is necessary that you monitor the software RAID of your Dedicated Servers. If you discover that a hard drive is defective or receive a notification email about a defective hard drive, you must contact customer service to arrange for the hard drive replacement. This requires that you identify the defective hard drive and prepare the server for the replacement.

Caution!

RAID systems enable greater reliability and/or higher speed. However, they are not a substitute for regular backups. To avoid data loss, we recommend that you back up your data regularly. Also, make sure that you back up your data before performing the steps below to ensure the security of your data.

Diagnosing Faults and Confirming Hard Drive Replacement is Necessary

In order to detect hard drive errors, please follow the steps below:

Install the Smartctl program. Smartctl is a command line program that can monitor volumes using SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) and check whether a hard drive is defective.

Please Note

Hard drive defects cannot always be detected through the smart values. Accordingly, we recommend that you always perform an additional analysis of the log files on your server.

Installing Smartctl

Follow the link below to find instructions for installing Smartmontools:

https://www.smartmontools.org/wiki/Download#InstalltheWindowspackage

Viewing Detailed Information for Troubleshooting

Smartctl behaves the same under Windows as under Linux. For this reason, you can use the same commands. To use Smartctl for troubleshooting, you must open the command prompt and change to the directory where the Smartmontools are located. You can then enter the Linux commands listed below to view detailed information for troubleshooting.

To view a list of hard drives, type the following command:

smartctl --scanExample:

C:\Program Files\smartmontools\bin>smartctl --scan

/dev/sda -d sat # /dev/sda [SAT], ATA device
/dev/sdb -d sat # /dev/sdb [SAT], ATA device
/dev/csmi0,2 -d ata # /dev/csmi0,2, ATA device
/dev/csmi0,3 -d ata # /dev/csmi0,3, ATA device

To view detailed information for troubleshooting, type the following command:

smartctl -iHAl error [NAMEOFTHEHARDDRIVE]
Example:
C:\Program Files\smartmontools\bin>smartctl -iHAl error /dev/sda

Fault Diagnosis

Analyze the detailed information you called using the smartctl -iHAl error [/dev/sd(a-z)] command. The first section lists information that you can use to identify the hard drive:

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Model Family:     Hitachi/HGST Ultrastar 7K2
Device Model:     HGST HUS722T1TALA604
Serial Number:    WMC6M0JAUEV8
LU WWN Device Id: 5 0014ee 00482c2ec
Firmware Version: RAGNWA07
User Capacity:    1,000,204,886,016 bytes [1.00 TB]
Sector Size:      512 bytes logical/physical
Rotation Rate:    7200 rpm
Form Factor:      3.5 inches
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   ACS-3 T13/2161-D revision 5
SATA Version is:  SATA 3.1, 6.0 Gb/s (current: 6.0 Gb/s)
Local Time is:    Thu Jan 17 06:17:05 2019 CAST
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

This section displays, among other things, the device model and serial number of the hard drive being tested.

In the second section, the current state of the hard drive is evaluated by Smartctl. If, for example, the value "Failed" or "UNKNOWN" is displayed instead of "PASSED", you should replace the hard drive as soon as possible.

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

In the third section, the SMART VALUES determined are listed in detail. Next to each current percentage value (VALUE), the worst ever measured value (WORST) and the respective limit value (THRESH) are listed. If the current percentage value (VALUE) or the worst ever measured value (WORST) exceeds the limit value (THRESH), a SMART warning is displayed in the WHEN_FAILED column (e.g. FAILING_NOW).

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x002f   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0027   141   140   021    Pre-fail  Always       -       3933
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       15
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   200   200   140    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x002e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       34
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0032   100   253   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
 11 Calibration_Retry_Count 0x0032   100   253   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       10
 16 Gas_Gauge               0x0022   000   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       1822115874
183 Runtime_Bad_Block       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       6
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       9
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   113   109   000    Old_age   Always       -       30
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0030   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x0008   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0

The following parameters can indicate an imminent hard drive failure before a SMART warning is displayed:

Reallocated_Sector_Ct: Specifies the number of sectors reassigned due to read errors. If a sector can no longer be read, written to or checked correctly, a replacement sector is automatically assigned to it. The faulty sector is permanently marked as unreadable. This is a clear warning sign for incipient surface problems. If this value is not equal to zero, a hard drive failure is often imminent. This value is the most important indicator for a hard drive replacement.

Current_Pending_Sector_Ct: Specifies the number of unstable sectors waiting for remapping. If a sector cannot be read and written correctly, it first receives the status Current Pending Sector. The sector is not reassigned in this state, since the data in the sector are unknown. Only after several unsuccessful read or write attempts is a replacement sector assigned and the faulty sector is permanently marked as unreadable. The value Current_Pending_Sector_Ct is an important indicator for a hard drive replacement. If this value is not equal to zero, a hard drive failure is often imminent.

Offline_Uncorrectable: Specifies the number of uncorrectable write and read sector errors.

The last section deals with the internal hard drive log. Errors are recorded here if the server's work orders have not been processed correctly by the hard drive. If the number of errors in this section is at least two digits, you should replace the hard drive as soon as possible.

SMART Error Log Version: 1
No Errors Logged

View Details Needed for Drive Replacement

The following information is required in order to replace the defective hard drive :

  • Name of the Hard Drive in the RAID

  • Serial Number

  • Model

  • Log (Optional)

Create SMART Log

To create a complete SMART log, type the following command:

smartctl -x [NAMEOFTHEHARDDRIVE]

Example:

C:\Program Files\smartmontools\bin>smartctl -x /dev/sda -x

Additional Information
  • If the SMART log was created as described above, it is sufficient information.

  • If you cannot view the serial number of the defective hard drive using Smartctl, you can alternatively provide Customer Service with the serial number of the working hard drive(s).

Scheduling Hard Drive Replacement

You can then have the defective hard drive replaced. To do so, please contact 1&1 IONOS Customer Support.

Steps to Take After Replacing the Hard Drive

After replacing the defective hard drive, it is necessary to rebuild the software RAID. For more information on how to rebuild a software RAID, click here:

Rebuild Software RAID (Windows)