Windows 7 X64 Lessons Learned

Have had 2 v2 Drobos running on Vista 32 for a long time. Over the weekend updated to Windows 7 Ultimate x64 RTM. Below is the list of issues I ran into with the Drobo and the solutions / work arounds I have found to get things working. This post is here only to help those who may have similar issues.

System Specs: Dashboard at 1.5.1 and firmware at 1.3.5 pre-install of Win 7. FW card is SIIG FireWire 800 3-Port PCIe Card, NN-E38012-S3. (This worked fine for me in Vista 32, around 20-25 MBs with Windows native drivers.)

Post Win 7 and dashboard install: Both Drobo’s detected fine by dashboard, all lights look normal. Explorer does not see folder structure on the Drobo’s and only shows a Root folder and setup file. Joy!
Solution: Run chkdsk /F command on both Drobo’s. It fixes file system errors and replaces orphaned directories. Win 7 now sees everything that was on the Drobo’s pre-install. (No clue why the folder structure was not there to begin with, but at least chkdsk can fix it…)

Next…Fun with transfer speeds: Test copy 4GB iso file from local HD to Drobo. Top speed is 2.5 MBs… I think you can guess my reaction. This was using the drivers installed by Win 7. Device manager showed everything installed and working properly.
Solution: Installed UniBrain ubCore FW drivers for x64. Reboot and test again produces 30-35 MBs transfer speed. Better than I was getting in Vista 32.

Drobo Standby and file fun: After some time of inactivity the Drobo’s power down completely. All lights off, nobody home. Note: Win 7 is NOT asleep or hybernating and all power settings have been changed so that the only thing that turns off automatically is the monitor after 120 minutes. Accessing the drive letter wakes the Drobo, normal 15-30 seconds for drives to spin up and lights to come on. Check the drive in explorer and lo and behold all my folders are gone again and I have a root directory and setup file… Run chkdsk again and it recovers orphaned directories and files on both Drobo’s. Dashboard and lights never indicate a problem. Rebooting or resetting the Drobo’s does not cause any data loss and everything works fine. I only experience the problem when the Drobo goes into Stanby for power saving. Of course there is no way to change this setting in the dashboard, that would make too much sense.
Solution (actually workaround): Found a program called HDrive Awake. Designed to keep external drives from sleeping. This works for me and keeps both Drobo’s from going into Standby. http://www.canelasoftware.com/freeware/hdriveawake/HDriveAwake.html
Didn’t like that you could not minimize the program so found another freeware ap that will hide any open application while keeping the process running. Program is called Verschwindibus. Just Google it. I have been running this setup for almost a week now without any drive access issues or file system problems.

I realize this is not an ideal or green solution but I wanted to post just to give people who may be having similar issues a place to start. Hopefully Drobo will come out with an ‘officially’ supported Win 7 firmware update, but for now at least all my data is accessible and transfer speeds are good.


I’m not going to question any of the problems you’ve described but just wanted to say I didn’t experience any of these issues on my Windows 7 x64 installation. Don’t you think it could possibly have something to do with the FireWire card or its drivers? Have you tried connecting via USB2.0? My Drobo (v2) is connected through onboard FW400 and everything works fine (well, there is one glitch with never-ending chkdsk in /f mode). After inactivity timeout, my unit only takes a nap, by spinning the drives down. Goes to sleep (orange LED) only during a reboot and after PC shutdown/standby.

I had none of these problems until 2 days ago… there were a bunch of Windows updates released between 10/13-15, including a big “stability” update. Since installing these Windows Updates I’m seeing the drive going to sleep, all lights off (just the orange power one), won’t wake up issue in Windows 7 Enterprise x64 with the ubCore 64-bit drivers. At first I thought it was the new 5.63 drivers, which I also installed yesterday, but that’s not it as I’ve reverted back to 5.62, which I was using for months without issues, and I still have the problem.

I’m going to try the HDrive Awake program I guess, but I hate that it won’t spin down the drives anymore (previously it would spin down the drives, but the lights would all stay on).

Well, still not the case for me, at least for now… I’ve also installed all of these recent Windows updates but the Drobo seems to behave just like before. Must be something with ubCore drivers, I guess. Did you guys try with default MS drivers for FireWire? Maybe there’s no need to install ubCore under W7? But on the second thought, I can see that FW drivers in W7 are still marked as released back in 2006 so I guess still no luck with FW800 with the default ones…

My drives had just spun down, all lights on.

[quote=“Zbig, post:4, topic:602”]
Did you guys try with default MS drivers for FireWire? Maybe there’s no need to install ubCore under W7? But on the second thought, I can see that FW drivers in W7 are still marked as released back in 2006 so I guess still no luck with FW800 with the default ones…[/quote]
Performance with the MS ones are TERRIBLE… about 8 - 10 MB/s transfers.

About 20-25MB/s here.