Firmware upgrades

This post concerns a firmware upgrade on a WD My Book Live (single 2TB disk)

… help me recover the data I had on a “TWO MONTH OLD MY BOOK LIVE”. I [upgraded] the Firmware to the last version … [and now] my NAS could not be seen/found on the network anymore. … open the casing and recover the data. Attempting to do that under Windows 7 64Bit [you guess, the filesystems are not compatible]

Downloaded and installed UBUNTU 64Bit and … cannot be mounted, … something about a “bad block” … Gparted … shows clearly that there is data on the partition and that is EXT4 as format, but does not allow any data recovery when you try to do an “Attempt Data Restore” … the hard drive has also a specific partitioning, this new GPT used to replace the old MBR and its limitations over 2TB.

The post is dated sometime 2012, and GPT was hardly new even back then. And while Linux folk can sometimes lag behind the times, they usually keep up with trends in storage. So the problem does not look like Ubuntu’s fault. Gparted is the partition editor, not the data recovery software really.

Firmware updates on a NAS can sometime screw up the partitions and/or RAIDs big time. I’m not quite sure how this happens, because firmware upgrades do not routinely do massive changes. Filesystem upgrades with new firmware happen, but that’s more of an exception. Anyhow, this way or other, it is now broken behind the standard driver capabilities.

Single disk, most any data recovery software, starting obviously with Home NAS Recovery, should give you data back in no time. The failures associated with firmware reflashes do not usually much damage.



QNAP and firmware problems

This topic on the QNAP forum provides multiple cases of the NAS failing after either a reboot, or a firmware upgrade. Some users hint to the firmware problem of some kind, but generally the descriptions are as follows

TS-409 lost configuration after reboot

I have a TS-409 (2.1.0 Build 0904T firmware) with 2x WD10EACS drives in RAID1. Following a reboot the device has dropped is showing as an unconfigured device. The drives are showing as ‘Invalid’…

I think that [updating firmware] may have caused this.

I have encountered similar problem with TS-409 QNAP version 2.1.0 (0624T) with 4 1 TB Seagate drives in RAID 5 configuration. All my settings are lost and the message says the server is not configured yet.

And then there is another topic on a similar, if not the same, issue

Suddenly TS-219P reports “Hard Drive Missing”, “Install and format at least one hard drive before using the NAS…”

Yesterday we installed an upgrade of the system software and added a user…

We don’t have any Linux computers, only Windows.

First of all, the basic sysadmin rule is if it is not broken, do not fix it. Once the NAS unit is assembled, configured, and filled with data, there is little, if any, need for firmware upgrades. Firmware upgrade in a NAS often involves rewrite of the entire operating system inside and migration of old settings to their corresponding last version equivalents. This does not always go smooth, so they warn you every time you’d better have backup before updating firmware.

If your unit has automatic firmware update, turn it off once you complete the initial setup.

However, once things start crashing around, we can still recover data with our Home NAS Recovery. Firmware update does not usually go around trashing actual file content on the disks. The configuration is lost, but this is something our software can handle.