Drobo

Drobo makes Windows hang

I have a Drobo S (2nd gen) and it constantly hangs my PC.
I have tried different cables, different computers, different power, USB2 port, USB3 port, it doesn’t matter, the Drobo will disappear from the drobo dashboard and the drive is no longer accessible. At the same time the whole machine becomes unusable.
The instant I unplug the drobo the machine comes back to life.

The only way I can make the drobo re-appearis to shutdown the drobo, unplug the power for 30 seconds, then boot it back up and it MIGHT re-appear. repeating this process will eventually make it re-appear and be usable.

This is not a Windows thing either, my daughter’s MAC exhibits the same issue when I plug it in there.

If I power down the unit, remove the drives and power it back on, then the drobo appears instantly to Windows. It’s only when the disks are inserted that I have this issue. I have two other Drobos attached (Drobo 1stgen and drobo 2nd gen) and they are fine.

the disks are formatted as a single 16GB volume.

Any ideas? Is it possible there is a bad disk that isn’t being detected?

Having the EXACT same issue with my Drobo 5d.

I’ve been googling before I came here and this doesn’t seem to be an isolated problem. it seems to have been around for years unfortunately.

Update, still having the issue. Tried on ESata and the volume show up in the BIOS, but windows never sees it. The unit is much more stable plugged into a USB2 port. It’ll stay available for a couple of hours before disappearing. When plugged into USB3 I get about 15 minutes.

I’m currently copying all the data(7TB) onto a couple of external 4TB drives.

The plan is to factory reset the drobo and recreate a new volume, but not using all the disks at once. I will start with 2 and see how it runs, then add the others slowly one at a time.

Is the drobo connected directly to power or through a surge protector/power strip type thing?

It doesn’t matter how its connected. I’ve tried direct to wall, through a power strip, through a UPS, in a different room(ie different circuit) and a different power supply (from a Drobo 5N(same power specs on the adaptor))

I really think this is related to the volume, almost like its become corrupted and eventually it makes Windows hang(or pause is a better word). As soon I unplug the USB cable from the PC, all the “queued” requests happen. Mouse clicks, keyboards can all be seen happening on screen. Then I plug it back in and the cycle starts again. I get a few hours and then it freezes again.

Things to check:
Are any of the drives SMR (Drobos don’t like SMR drives).
Are sleep & spin-down options enabled in dashboard, drives spinning down might play into this.
If the drive maker offers any utility to turn off such options in the drive firmware, then using it to disable such &/or any acoustic “quiet mode” settings are probably a good idea.

So here’s my update (for completeness and the full back story).

TL;DR - Drobos don’t like USB3 (or higher speed interfaces)

I bought my 1st Drobo 4-bay 2nd Gen many many years ago and it has been running fine ever since. Over the years I upgraded smaller disks for larger when needed. Exactly how this was supposed to be used. Last summer I started getting worried that if the drobo itself died that wouldn’t really help me since I would lose access to my data, so I looked on ebay and found a used 5N at a great price. I set it up and used some of the smaller disks I still had lying around and was able to have a copy of my important data on this other Drobo.

Earlier this year my original 2nd gen started making bad noises. It was the fan that was dying. Google showed my how to replace the fan, but I was worried that the unit may die, so back to ebay and found the Drobo S (with 5 2TB disks).

BTW, I should mention that last year I had bought 2 new 4TB drives for my 2nd Gen (which I now realise are SMR drives, but the Gen2 never complained and had been running fine all this time)

Back to the Drobo S. Reset it to factory default and plugged it into my computer(older machine with only USB2 ports) and all was fine. I then decided it was time to address my 2nd gen fan. I moved the disk pack from the 2nd gen to the S and everything came up fine and I thought the story was done.

Next upgrade was a new computer that had usb3 ports. Great I thought, I can finally take advantage of the faster USB on the drobo S :slight_smile: Got the new computer, plugged in the 2nd gen(with new fan) and the Drobo S and again everything was good and stable. Those SMR drives were now in the Drobo S, but as a whole, everything was fine.

Then the Windows 10 update for February applied and that’s when my Drobo S became unstable. They machine started hanging whenever the S was plugged in (see initial post for how it reacted). Uninstalling the windows update did not put everything back as it was. And any machine I plugged the S into became unstable.

At this point the S has been reset, using older smaller disks. It is completely unusable on USB3 and doesn’t show up in WIndows on e-Sata (but the BIOS sees it).

It now only works properly on USB2. I’ve read lots in the forums and reddit and realise this is not an isolated incident. It seems ALL Drobo units are hit and miss on USB3 and e-Sata(basically anything other than USB2)

I have resigned myself now to using this unit purely as a secondary backup device and only connected to a USB2 port.

Even if not actively transferring data (read OR write) this unit will hang Windows within 15 minutes of being connected if on USB3(and yes I’ve tried different USB cables, power adapters, power strips, electrical outlets, computers, non of it matters. If its connected USB3, its unusable)

Its just frustrating that the unit ran fine on the new machine on a USB3 port for a month. Is it possible that the windows update created some incompatibility that physically damaged unit’s capability to transfer at higher speed, or was I just extremely lucky for the first month and it was a time bomb just waiting to die?

Unfortunately, from everything I’m reading about how long this USB3 issue seems to have existed, the lack of a willingness from Drobo to acknowledge and address the issue, the lack of availability for Drobo hardware for the past year and no real future announced for the company, I believe my days of Drobo are done. I will eventually migrate the main unit (the 5N) to a Synology device(DS420+ or similar)

Thanks for reading and thanks Drobo for 10 years for data protection, but unfortunately your legacy for me will be a company that didn’t know how to use USB3 and ultimately let me down.