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 Post subject: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:19 pm 
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Hi Scott,

when I received my Thinkpad T61 I replaced the bundled hard drive with a new WD Scorpio Black 7200RPM (http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products ... anguage=en) before doing a clean install of the OS.

Looking at the article here: http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Active_Protection_System it appears that not all hard drives are fully supportive of the Active Protection System functions (i.e. do not have the special IBM APS firmware)

There is a forum discussion here http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=63242 that is also concerned with this question.

I was wondering if this is still true and whether using the utility with the WD hard drive could cause any problems - disk corruption, OS issues, etc.

Thanks!
-Paul


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:44 pm 
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I'll bet Scott's delving into a dos program to dig down deep into the hard drive to find an answer for you...


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:21 pm 
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There is no "special IBM APS firmware", instead you are referring to the "Unload Feature" of the ATA IDLE IMMEDIATE command, which was incorporated into the ATA-7 interface standard back in Dec. 2003: http://www.t13.org/Documents/UploadedDo ... lume_1.pdf

Even though this is an optional feature, the web page you reference is quite old, and I believe that most if not all 2.5" drives produced in the last several years would support this feature. Unfortunately few drive manufacturers produce detailed enough documentation to confirm whether that feature is supported or not, however for a definitive answer for a specific drive, you can always just ask the drive directly. By that I mean sending an IDENTIFY DEVICE command to the drive and then interpreting the output, which will indicate whether the feature is supported or not. Issuing the IDENTIFY DEVICE command causes a drive to send 256 words (512 bytes) of data to the host. Of this data, word 87 bit 13 is specifically used to indicate whether the Unload Feature of IDLE IMMEDIATE is supported or not. If word 87 bit 13 is set to 1, then the Unload Feature is supported on that drive. I just checked this on the Toshiba MK2546GSX drive in my R60, and the Unload Feature is indeed supported.

Your mission: find out whether *your* drive supports the IDLE IMMEDIATE Unload Feature. To do this you can use the free ATADEMO program: http://ata-atapi.com/atademo.html

To use ATADEMO, create a bootable DOS floppy, copy the ATADEMO files to it, boot from it, and run the "ATADEMO PROMPT" command at the A:\> prompt.

The ATADEMO program will run and prompt you with a list of available controllers and devices to select from. Generally you will select the first one "A", and hit enter. Then enter the command "ID" to have the program send the IDENTIFY DEVICE command to the drive and interpret the output, which will scroll off the screen to rapidly to read. After the command finishes, you can use the PgUp key to scroll back through the data to find word 87. If the Unload Feature is supported, you should see that bit 13 of word 87 is 1, and ATADEMO interprets this as "IDLE IMMED unload supported enabled".

Note that for the ATADEMO program to be able to properly identify the controller and devices, the SATA host adapter cannot be in AHCI or RAID modes, and must be set to "Compatibility" (i.e. Legacy or IDE) mode instead. To do this, enter your BIOS Setup (F1), then choose Config, Serial ATA (SATA), and change the SATA Controller Mode Option to Compatibility mode. After you are done using the ATADEMO program, you can change it back to AHCI as desired. The ThinkPad T61 BIOS Simulator may be useful for reviewing your BIOS Setup menus: http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site. ... MIGR-69927

Bottom line: virtually all modern 2.5" drives support the IDLE IMMEDIATE Unload Feature, but if you are in doubt, just ask the drive. Let me know what *your* drive tells you. Scott.

PS: I can't say for sure, but I have to believe that the Active Protection software is smart enough to ask the drive whether the Unload Function is supported or not, and either issue a warning or more likely refuse to operate with the drive if it isn't...


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:24 pm 
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Thanks Scott, I will let you know what my drive indicates but unfortunately I don't have a floppy drive on this T61. Is there a way to run this test using some other device?

Thank you!!! :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 6:01 am 
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You could make a bootable usb dos flash drive.


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:20 am 
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A bootable USB flash drive will work, as long as it has DOS on it. However, as a tech I always have one or more known-good internal and external (USB) floppy drives at my disposal for diagnostics, testing, data recovery and OS loading:


Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:32 am 
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Thanks Scott, it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to get a USB floppy to have on hand anyway.

I tried to make a bootable flash drive last night using the instructions from http://www.weethet.nl/english/hardware_ ... bstick.php that used the MKBT tool but go an "I/O error" when trying to boot from it. Not sure what I did wrong. Although after Copying the bootsectors to the ThumbDrive I found I couldn't copy the DOS files to it without formatting the drive. I'm wondering if formatting removed the bootsectors somehow? :?

I think I'll order a USB floppy from Newegg, any recommendations or are they pretty much all the same?.


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:44 pm 
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You didn't read my post? I covered that fairly extensively in one of the links... <g> Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:48 pm 
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oops, yes, sorry about that :oops:


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:42 pm 
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If you want to see how to create a DOS bootable USB flash drive, see my tip here: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=774

Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:53 pm 
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Thank you Scott for that guide. BTW, is there any reason that the Scott's Tips forum has 'Print View' and 'e-mail friend' options disabled on the postings?

-Paul


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:42 pm 
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Paul,

i've fixed it. I don't know why it was like that, I have no recollection of changing that but who knows.

Mike.


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:21 pm 
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Scott, on a related note - the Active Protection System defaults to the maximum sensitivity, would you recommend lowering that setting? I mainly use the laptop on a desk rather than a lap so movement is kept to a minimum except when the machine is in sleep or hibernate mode.

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:42 pm 
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Since I don't use it at all personally, I guess that means I have mine set on minimum (as in zero) sensitivity. <g> However, if I went temporarily insane and decided to hand my laptop over to somebody else to borrow (yeah, right <g>), I'd install it beforehand and leave it on the default (maximum) setting.

BTW, any progress on your "mission"? <g> I'm curious to know what you found out about whether your Scorpio Black drive supports the IDLE IMMEDIATE Unload Feature or not...

Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:51 pm 
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Hi Scott,

Any particular reason you don't use TAPS?, are you especially careful <g> or maybe concerned about the performance impact of the background process (or both)?

Regarding the Hard Drive information. I have a USB floppy drive on order so I'll do the test and post the result here once I get it.

I just listened to the latest Computer America show (10/24/08) when you brought up this subject based on this topic. I always look forward to your podcast guest appearances and appreciate your willingness to share your expert knowledge for free with the general user community :)

-Paul


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:05 pm 
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Quote:
Any particular reason you don't use TAPS?, are you especially careful <g> or maybe concerned about the performance impact of the background process (or both)?

Both. I've always treated running drives very carefully. For example, as a rule I don't move my system with it running, I suspend or hibernate it during any location change. The APS was not designed for somebody like me.

Quote:
Regarding the Hard Drive information. I have a USB floppy drive on order so I'll do the test and post the result here once I get it.

Why not make a DOS bootable USB drive and test it? I wrote up the instructions here: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=774

Quote:
I just listened to the latest Computer America show (10/24/08) when you brought up this subject based on this topic. I always look forward to your podcast guest appearances and appreciate your willingness to share your expert knowledge for free with the general user community :)

Thanks! Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:18 pm 
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Quote:
Quote:
Why not make a DOS bootable USB drive and test it? I wrote up the instructions here: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=774


I was feeling lazy <g>. OK, I'll give it a shot tonight.


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:40 pm 
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Scott,

I just tested the drive using a bootable USB key and the result was that the IDLE IMMEDIATE UNLOAD option is listed as Supported.

Thanks for your help on this one :D The only things in your instructions that didn't match was that my USB key booted up as C: instead of A:

-Paul


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:29 pm 
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Quote:
The only things in your instructions that didn't match was that my USB key booted up as C: instead of A:

If you read them carefully, you'll see that my directions never said that. <g> Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:12 pm 
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yep, you got me again :oops:


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkVantage Active Protection System with new hard drive
 Post Posted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:43 am 
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Quote:
I just tested the drive using a bootable USB key and the result was that the IDLE IMMEDIATE UNLOAD option is listed as Supported.

Thanks for reporting. I believe you'd have a hard time finding a 2.5" form factor HDD made since 2005 that doesn't support that feature. Scott.


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