Being a part time photographer, it was only a matter of time when I would run out of storage space again thanks to the massive number of RAW files in my archive. So, over the weekend, I made an attempt to replace the four Western Digital 2TB Green drives (WDC WD20EARS-00S8B1 80.0) in my TS-459 Pro with four Hitachi 3TB drives (Hitachi HDS723030ALA640 MKAO). The drives were running in RAID-5 configuration meaning that I would end up with 9TB of usable space, up from 6TB.
Strangely though, after swapping a WD drive for the Hitachi one (after selecting the Expand Capacity option and clicking the Change button on one of the drives), my NAS would not recognize the 3TB drive and kept prompting me to “insert a disk”. Luckily, there is a solution thanks to this post on the QNAP forums.
For me, I didn’t have to run the Hitachi GPT Disk Manager at all. These are the steps that worked for me. Note that I’m running Windows 7 64-bit with all the latest patches.
- Plug Hitachi 3TB drive into an external drive bay connected to my main PC via eSATA. Note: I’m sure this would work too if you connected the drive via internal SATA.
- Go to the Disk Management tool.
- Upon loading, a pop-up will appear prompting you to initialize the disk. Choose the GPT (GUID Partition Table) option.
- Once done, create a New Simple Volume on the drive and do a quick NTFS format as part of the process.
- After formatting, you can plug the 3TB HDD into the NAS. Wait for a few seconds and it will be recognised and the RAID array would start rebuilding.
I hope this post helps whoever is upgrading the drives in their NAS too.
As an aside, I happen to be one of the lucky ones who never had problems with the WD Green drives in my QNAP at all.
Update 27 Sep 2011: Ok, it looks like the above only worked with Bays 2, 3 and 4. Bay 1 just refuses to detect my 3TB drive no matter what. I have contacted QNAP via their online support form so let’s see how long they take to reply and what they say. Not feeling very optimistic now…
Update 29 Sep 2011: I totally take back what I said during my earlier update. The very next day after filling out the support form, a QNAP engineer contacted me and offered to remote desktop into my PC to troubleshoot the problem. So that’s what we did today morning using tools like TeamViewer (for remote desktop) and PuTTY (for SSH into the NAS). After running a number of commands, swapping in and out the 3TB drive, reboots, he finally managed to resolve the issue (some corruption with the partition table). The NAS has spent the whole day rebuilding the RAID, and subsequently extending the total space from 6TB to 9TB which took around 10 hours in total. Double thumbs up to the QNAP folks for their excellent level of service, technical knowledge (it’s a BIG difference getting an engineer to look into your issue vs some customer service rep over the phone who knows ziltch about the internals of their products) and quick turnaround. I know which brand I’m sticking to when I need to upgrade my NAS! 🙂