Fixing a drive with red status indicator

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DO NOT USE!!! Page is not ready, a work in progress!

This page describes how to fix a drive with a red status indicator

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  • Any other reason you can think of

The procedure

If you are running a very old version of unRAID, such as v5 or v4.7 or older, skip down to the next sections.

What do I do if I get a red ball next to a hard disk?

Note: until unRAID v6.0, the drive status indicator was always a red ball. As of v6.0, it has been changed to a red X, to assist those with red/green color blindness. Be aware that the red X is still often referred to as a red ball, by many of the veteran users and much of the documentation.
[For v4 only] If you have moved your drives around (or sometimes even if you haven't), unRAID can get confused about what drive is assigned to what slot. It will NOT START the array, and some drives may have red balls next to them. You will also see italicized drive serial numbers. You need to go to the Devices page and re-assign the right drives to the right slots. (The italicized serial numbers on the main page will guide you to assign the right drive to the right slot.) You can then safely start the array.
If you see a red ball next to a drive, and the array is started, that disk has been taken out of service because an attempt to write to it has failed. unRAID does not take a disk out of service casually, but if a disk experiences a write failure, it will do exactly that, it will take the disk out of service. A write failure is serious. A single write failure will take a disk out of service and unRAID will then show a red indicator next to it in the management interface.
Many things can cause such a failure that have nothing to do with the drive. Cables can (and do) go bad or wiggle loose. SATA cables in particular are notorious for slipping off their connectors, if they aren't the locking type. PSU's (power supplies) can do weird things and induce failures. Disk controllers can go bad. Motherboards can go bad. At a minimum, it is worth a little time to recheck all of the connections, to make sure something hasn't come loose. Whenever the computer case is opened, especially just before closing it up, cabling can shift and cause a connection to a drive to fail. When checking for loose connections, take care not to disturb connections to other drives, complicating your failure.
Because there are many causes, more information is needed, to know which fix to apply. The two sources of drive error information are the syslog and the SMART report for the drive.
  • [For v6] Go to Tools -> Diagnostics and download the zip file. It contains the syslog and SMART reports for all drives. You can also obtain the syslog from Tools -> Syslog, and the SMART report and info by clicking on the drive on the Main screen. Important! Check whether the SMART report is available or not! Is the right SMART report in the Diagnostics zip?
  • [For v4 and v5] See the Capturing your syslog section above to obtain your syslog. See the section below to obtain the SMART report for the drive.
  • [All versions] If the drive has truly failed, or there was a port or controller failure or other reason, and the drive has been disabled by the kernel, then you will not be able to obtain the SMART report until after rebooting. Just remember that you MUST obtain the syslog or diagnostics now, BEFORE you reboot. If after rebooting, the SMART report still cannot be obtained, then that is a clue in itself.
  • Try connecting drive to a different port known to be working, such as a motherboard port. If a SMART report still cannot be obtained, then the drive is dead, needs to be replaced, see Replacing a Data Drive.
  • If multiple drives are having trouble, determine if they are on the same disk controller. If they are, then the controller is defective. One good thing though, the drives are fine! It was the controllers fault they could not be accessed!
incomplete, work in progress, will probably move to separate wiki page
[For v4 only (old note)] Drives are self-monitoring through their SMART features. There is a very nice utility called smartctl that is included by unRAID (click this LINK if using pre 4.3 final version of unRAID). Here are some instructions on using it from Tom. Also see unRAID Addons and UnRAID Topical Index, SMART for more Smartctl links. If when trying the smartctl commands below, you get an error about a missing library, then see this post for instructions for installing it.

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The procedure for unRAID v5

This section is only for unRAID v5. If you are running v6 of unRAID, then go back to the previous section.
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The procedure for unRAID v4

This section is only for old versions of unRAID, such as v4.7 or older. If you are running v5 or v6 of unRAID, then go back to the previous section.
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