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WDTLER to Disable TLER on Western Digital Red

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November 8, 2012 1:30:26 PM

I was wondering if anyone has tried using the old WDTLER utility to keep TLER disabled persistently. I've read that it doesn't work on new drives, but I wonder if it just doesn't work for enabling on drives that do not come with TLER.

I'm using a WD Red 3TB as a single storage drive in my computer, and I would like to have TLER disabled even after shutdown/sleep. Currently, I disable TLER with smartctl, but anytime my HTPC goes to sleep and wakes up, it's set to 7 seconds again.

I know I can use task scheduler to disable it every time windows boots or wakes, but a persistent change would be great!

Any help is appreciated. Thanks!
a c 87 G Storage
November 8, 2012 1:55:52 PM

Why would you want to disable TLER? The only time that TLER becomes problematic is if you're using a wonky RAID setup
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November 8, 2012 3:15:42 PM

Because I'm using it as a stand alone drive. I'm not using it in a RAID setup.
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a c 87 G Storage
November 8, 2012 3:28:52 PM

assplats said:
Because I'm using it as a stand alone drive. I'm not using it in a RAID setup.


Then disabling TLER does nothing for you
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November 8, 2012 3:37:39 PM

I might be misunderstanding the way this works then. Here is what I've come to understand:

TLER tells the hard drive to give up trying to recover a sector after a few seconds (default on Red drive is 7 seconds). This is good for RAID because some RAID controllers will drop the disk if it is hung for 8 seconds or more. This is bad for regular standalone usage because your hard drive gives up too easily when trying to recover from a bad sector. Since in standalone, you do not have mirroring (or any redundancy), you will just lose the data without the drive giving it a good attempt.

With that understanding, I would want to disable TLER so my drive functions like a standard standalone drive. The reason I went with a Red over the green is because it's faster, runs cool and very quiet, and has a longer warranty. It's a very good drive for my needs, it would just be icing on the cake if I could permanently disable TLER.
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November 8, 2012 6:51:39 PM

Could it hurt to just run the WDTLER util and try to disable it? Anyone know? The Wikipedia page said that WD warns that it can break a drive.

Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Error_recovery_control:

Western Digital now claims that using the WDTLER.EXE tool on newer drives can damage the firmware and make the disk unusable. The WDTLER.EXE tool is no longer available from Western Digital, and new disks will not be able to have the TLER setting changed. RE disks are only suitable for RAID arrays and Caviar are only suitable for non-RAID use. The utility still works for older disks.


I haven't found any custom firmware or anything else that has a chance of making the TLER permanently disabled.
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a c 87 G Storage
November 8, 2012 8:41:56 PM

assplats said:
I might be misunderstanding the way this works then. Here is what I've come to understand:

TLER tells the hard drive to give up trying to recover a sector after a few seconds (default on Red drive is 7 seconds). This is good for RAID because some RAID controllers will drop the disk if it is hung for 8 seconds or more. This is bad for regular standalone usage because your hard drive gives up too easily when trying to recover from a bad sector. Since in standalone, you do not have mirroring (or any redundancy), you will just lose the data without the drive giving it a good attempt.

With that understanding, I would want to disable TLER so my drive functions like a standard standalone drive. The reason I went with a Red over the green is because it's faster, runs cool and very quiet, and has a longer warranty. It's a very good drive for my needs, it would just be icing on the cake if I could permanently disable TLER.


Your understanding is correct. However, if your drive cannot read a sector then your drive needs to be replaced immediately. Reading a sector incorrectly will result in a CRC failure, this happens quite often and the drive will simply try to read it again. Failure to read a sector at all as a result of mechanical failure, electrical failure, or repeated CRC failures is what triggers TLER. Some drives can remap bad sectors, which provides some degree of fault tolerance, but the data that was there will still be lost.

Drive operations are measured in milliseconds, if your drive gets into a situation where it cannot read anything for 7 seconds then something is very wrong and disabling TLER won't help.

TLER is a standard hard drive feature, it is not something specific to the WD Red lineup.
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November 8, 2012 8:51:25 PM

That's a good point. I suppose then the only good thing about having TLER disabled is that your computer will hang for a long time while the drive tries to remap the sector, triggering an alarm in your head. At 7 seconds, I might think, "What's going on?" At 30 seconds I'll be really wondering... but I could probably just check smart data every now and then. Do you know which smart data I should look for for failed read/writes? I can look that up.

Also, are you sure that the success rate of moving data off a bad sector is pretty much 0%?

Thanks for all the help (and moral support)!
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November 8, 2012 8:52:55 PM

^^^^ i was thinking that while reading from the top, lol. I'm curious as to how/why you came about the conclusion that turning TLER off permanently was a good idea? Did you have problems with it when TLER was on? I think you are over analyzing this, if your HDD works, without problems, just sit back, relax, and enjoy a movie on your HTPC.
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Best solution

a c 87 G Storage
November 8, 2012 10:11:42 PM

assplats said:
That's a good point. I suppose then the only good thing about having TLER disabled is that your computer will hang for a long time while the drive tries to remap the sector, triggering an alarm in your head. At 7 seconds, I might think, "What's going on?" At 30 seconds I'll be really wondering... but I could probably just check smart data every now and then. Do you know which smart data I should look for for failed read/writes? I can look that up.

Also, are you sure that the success rate of moving data off a bad sector is pretty much 0%?

Thanks for all the help (and moral support)!


The success rate of reliably moving data off of a bad sector is zero. The R/W head will read whatever it reads, but it will most likely fail on the CRC. If the data from a bad sector can be read successfully then it can be remapped to another sector and the data transposed. However, data corruption is always a possibility
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November 8, 2012 10:19:10 PM

Haha, yeah I do tend to over analyze. But, I did read in a few spots that you should disable it for standard dekstop use. I'll stop worrying about it, though!

For anyone reading this thread, WDTLER util does NOT work with these drives. The only way I know to disable is to run smartctl every time your computer wakes or boots. But, doesn't sound like it should be a concern.
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November 8, 2012 10:19:22 PM

Best answer selected by assplats.
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November 8, 2012 10:19:58 PM

Thanks again for the help.
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November 11, 2012 10:05:24 AM

Hi all sorry to ask but i have a HTPC as well and want to use these drives as single drives would a red be better or a green ?

there are a couple of questions

would a green respond faster than a red when waking up from sleep ? would it hang a littile on the reds more than the green or would it be no different .I use my htpc in sleep mode alot and weh it comes out of sleep its strigh onto the desktop as my htpc has samsung f4 in there.

another question is the greens have a reported problem of having head parking problems and can reduce the life of the drive and thast also the same on the new green 1tb per platter. is this true ? as the reds dont have head parking.

thansk for any help

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February 23, 2013 11:21:04 AM

Pinhedd said:
Your understanding is correct. However, if your drive cannot read a sector then your drive needs to be replaced immediately. Reading a sector incorrectly will result in a CRC failure, this happens quite often and the drive will simply try to read it again. Failure to read a sector at all as a result of mechanical failure, electrical failure, or repeated CRC failures is what triggers TLER. Some drives can remap bad sectors, which provides some degree of fault tolerance, but the data that was there will still be lost.

Drive operations are measured in milliseconds, if your drive gets into a situation where it cannot read anything for 7 seconds then something is very wrong and disabling TLER won't help.

TLER is a standard hard drive feature, it is not something specific to the WD Red lineup.


HI Pinnhed. If reading a bad sector repeatedly is futile after the first few tries. Then why do manufacturers even bother implementing more rereads intheir firmware then?
You should get into the harddisk programming bussines bc you have all the hd wisdom one should ever need!

WD set their TLER to OFF on their desktop drives ( both read/write). My my WD must be on drugs then. They don't know what they're doing! Implementing useless features.? Wew!

Some over-analyze. And ofcourse some others like you simply never give a sh*t
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a c 87 G Storage
February 23, 2013 5:23:01 PM

Nexus4k said:
HI Pinnhed. If reading a bad sector repeatedly is futile after the first few tries. Then why do manufacturers even bother implementing more rereads intheir firmware then?
You should get into the harddisk programming bussines bc you have all the hd wisdom one should ever need!

WD set their TLER to OFF on their desktop drives ( both read/write). My my WD must be on drugs then. They don't know what they're doing! Implementing useless features.? Wew!

Some over-analyze. And ofcourse some others like you simply never give a sh*t


You are confusing a bad sector with a failed read. There are mechanical reasons why a hard drive may fail to read a good sector on the first try, or even the second or third try. Moving parts aren't perfect. However, a wholly unreadable sector will be unreadable after any number of tries.
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May 3, 2013 8:03:22 AM

Yup, obviously a wholly unreadable sector will be unreadable, that's why it's unreadable. There is still good reason to have TLER disabled on a desktop drive though, and your logic seems to run in circles avoiding actually saying anything. Example:

"The success rate of reliably moving data off of a bad sector is zero."
[...]
"If the data from a bad sector can be read successfully"

What do you mean "If"?! You've already established that the chance is zero? Either that or you are speculating a lot under the guise of an authority on the subject while shutting down assplats who actually happens to look at this question scientifically and objectively. Not cool IMHO.
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