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Western Digital NAS Drives Display "Too Old" Warning After 3 Years of Being Powered-On


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Desktop news?  Notebook news?  Depends on where you access your NAS from.

 

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2023/06/clearly-predatory-western-digital-sparks-panic-anger-for-age-shaming-hdds/

 

Quote

As users have reported online, including on Synology-focused and Synology's own forums, as well as on Reddit and YouTube, Western Digital drives using Western  Digital Device Analytics (WDDA) are getting a "warning" stamp in Synology DSM once their power-on hours count hits the three-year mark.

The recommended action says: "The drive has accumulated a large number of power on hours [throughout] the entire life of the drive. Please consider to replace the drive soon." There seem to be no discernible problems with the hard drives otherwise.
...

Further, you can't repair a pool with a drive marked with a warning label.

"Only drives with a healthy status can be used to repair or expand a storage pool," Synology's spokesperson said. "Users will need to first suppress the warning or disable WDDA to continue."

 

 

So... this seems like a planned obsolescence strategy to me.  If they can't make their hard drives poor enough quantity to drive replacements more quickly - if only because they'd fall way too far behind Seagate and Toshiba in Backblaze's statistics if they did - the next best things is telling users, "Your Western Digital hard drive is getting kind of old and might die soon, please buy another one."

 

I checked the only Western Digital drive I have in my desktop, and it's power-on hours is a bit over 75,000, or 8.62 years.  It's only just starting to show concerning signs that it might not be long for this world (suspiciously slow write speeds; the SMART stats are still okay).  I've got a Toshiba at 7.78 years and a Seagate at 4.09 years, albeit more lightly used than the two older drives, and they seem to be doing fine.  Even the spring chicken of the bunch, another Toshiba, is at 2.65 years.

 

So, if these were new-ish Western Digital Red, Red Plus, or Purple drives, all but the youngest would be saying they'd too old, and the youngest would not be far behind.  And if it were a Red, then like the Red that I use for external backup, it may have been a SMR drive that had been advertised as if it were a CMR drive.

 

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Level of concern?  I certainly find it annoying, and as I happen to be in the market to replace my 8.62-year-old Western Digital and perhaps that 7.78-year-old Toshiba, it makes me more likely to buy another brand, especially combined with SMR-gate.  The drives will probably still work just fine till 6+ years of power-on time, but it seems scummy to be trying to scare people like that when there are no actual signs that the drive might fail.

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It can be an issue if you want to use that drive in some sort of RAID or other "combination" setup; often you'll not be "allowed" to include a drive that is showing a SMART warning and you might have to jump through hoops to work around that.

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