2011-04-04

Samsung HD204UI hard drive firmware update

I recently bought a Samsung HD204UI 2TB hard drive. I found out after I acquired it that there is a severe bug in the firmware, where under some situations it fails to write a block to the hard drive, and no error is reported. There is a firmware update from Samsung. However installing the firmware update is rather a pain since it requires running it from a bootable DOS instance. It's been years since the last time I booted DOS.

The steps I used to update the firmware (the short version, that omits all the paths that didn't work and other problems):

  1. Install a floppy drive into a machine (if you don't already have one...many machines don't, and some motherboards don't even have a controller any more, so you may have to find a machine that does for this to work).
  2. Boot into Windows XP/Vista/7.
  3. Put a blank floppy into the floppy drive.
  4. From Windows Explorer, right click on the floppy drive and select Format.
  5. Check the checkbox to make the drive a DOS bootable floppy.
  6. Download the firmware update from http://www.samsung.com/global/business/hdd/faqView.do?b2b_bbs_msg_id=386
  7. Copy the file F4EG.EXE onto the floppy.
  8. Reboot the machine, enter the BIOS and change the boot priority so that the floppy is the first boot device. Save the changes.
  9. Shut down the the machine and connect the SATA and power connector to the HD204UI drive.
  10. Boot the machine. This time it should boot from the floppy into DOS.
  11. Run F4EG.EXE from the floppy.
  12. When it completes, shut down the machine...do not warm boot it.
  13. Reverse all the connections that you have done to the hardware and boot order
  14. Update is now complete.

Notes: The version number of the firmware does not change! It will still say 1AQ10001 both before and after the update. There is no way to confirm that the update took, other than trying to force the errors before and after the firmware update.

The firmware update should not mess with the data on the drive. You should make a backup anyway before doing this operation.

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