In this Issue:


STB Suite v8.8 is out!

Fixes to STB Original Mode

New Features in STB Original Mode

Fixes to DMM (Disk Manufacturing Module)

New Features in DMM

Fixes to DTB (Developers Toolbox API)

New Features in DTB

Fixes & New Features in Install

View the full 8.8 Release notes with screenshots here.



Ask Dr. SCSI - Scanning for bad Sectors

Q: “We've been getting RMA's from end users buying SATA drives saying they have "bad sectors." I don't know what test they use to determine this, but they pass a DST and SMART test when I plug them in. I was just wondering what else I can do to test for for bad sectors on SATA drives so that I can start doing that before shipping them out.


A: Hello... some further questions...

Are you wanting to test that every sector on a drive can be written and read back correctly, as in writing a pattern then reading with data compare, failing if the compares don’t compare?
If so use a simple DMM test sequence of:

  1. Sequential write, entire drive (-1 blocks), any data pattern
  2. Sequential read, entire drive, same data pattern as #1, check the “Compare on Reads” box
    This will test every block on the drive to ensure you that they all can be reliably written, read, and don’t have any data errors. 

Or are you trying to determine if a drive is having problems but is getting past them using ECC or retries?
In this case you’ll need to look at the drives history, using View Log Pages for SAS/SCSI/FC,or View SMART Data for SATA.
Or are you trying to determine if a drive has had data errors in the past?
 Same as above, you need to see the drives history of what error correction it’s had to do.



I think it would be pretty rare to not have any reallocated sectors on a drive…

SATA Drives

You can see how many reallocated sectors a SATA drive has by looking at its SMART data.
Go to STB original mode->ATA/SATA->Commands-View SMART Data and select your drive.
SMART attribute 5 is the reallocated sector count – here’s one of my drives –


If you want to screen for these errors, in DMM you’d choose the SMART test step then define your criterion like this –

Add this test step into your test sequence. Then when you test any SATA drive that has more reallocated sectors than you defined will fail and the info will all be logged.

SAS/SCSI/FC drives

You can see how many reallocated sectors a SAS/SCSI/FC drive has by looking at its Log Page data.
Go to STB original mode  and select your drive.
Right-click on the drive and choose View Log Pages -

This example shows a drive that has done 4 error corrections on Writes since the last time the log pages were reset. An “error corrected with possible delays” is most likely an error that required either a re-seek, or an error that required remapping the destination LBA.

You can also double-click on a drive, then select the Error Data tab

To see the drives error history.

If you want to screen for these errors in DMM click on the Test Thresholds tab and either use the Re-Reads or Re-Writes fields, or you can explicitly specify a Log Page/Log Paramemer/Value



Restoring Full Capacity in DMM

Restoring Full Capacity in DMM


Many times drives will have been “short-stroked” for various reasons. Short-stroking means to set the capacity to be less than the full factory capacity. This might be done in a high-performance server environment to limit the amount of surface used in the drive in order to minimize what the worse-case seek time would be. Or, perhaps a particular computer system requires a certain sized drive - short-stroking can allow a newer larger drive to be used in this type of older system.


You may need to restore the drive to its full capacity, perhaps to resell/repurpose the drive. Or you just may want to test the entire drive, not just a smaller part of full. In these cases you need to restore the drive back to it’s original, full, from-the-factory capacity.

DMM Pre-Test Actions

Click on the Pre-Test Actions tab in the DMM menu. Pre-test actions, as their name implies, are actions done to all selected drives before a test sequence is run. There are several things you can do here, for instance:

  1. Screen for particular drive manufacture/model/firmware version
  2. Check for and possibly change the block size
  3. Screen for defects before testing
  4. Clear all Log Pages, and
  5. Change the capacity of the drive.

In this article we’re going to do a special variation of changing the capacity of the drives under test.

Normal Change Capacity

Normally you would specify the exact capacity, in number of blocks, that you want the drive to be set to. But you may not know what the original full capacity of your drives are. Or you may be testing several different sized drives at the same time

Special Change Capacity to FULL

In this case instead of entering a specific number of blocks, you simply enter the word FULL in the capacity field. Now when you start your DMM test, DMM will execute the Pre-Test Action of restoring full capacity to each selected drive, then it will go on to run your test sequence. Here’s a picture of how to set this up -


That’s all to it! As we mentioned, you are able to mix drives of differing capacities - DMM will take care of restoring each drive to its individual full from-the-factory capacity.


This functionality is only available for SAS/SCSI/FC drives, not SATA.
The reason for this is that SATA drives,unlike SAS/SCSI/FC, require a power-cycle after their capacity has been changed. This does not work well in an automated environment such as DMM. But stay tuned, we are working on a workable real-world solution for this problem.





DMM Add-in External Tests

Performa Emails We've included Add-in Test Executables that you can use with your DMM sequences. Each of the addons have their own set of instructions or examples.

In general, to use these DMM Add-In tests you need to:

  1. Copy the .exe file to the root folder (C:\) of your test system
  2. In the DMM Test Setup tab, click on the "External Program" test type.
  3. A window will open giving you the option to enter command-line arguements. If your particular test uses these (DMMSATASetFeatures for example) enter them here. Otherwise click "OK"
  4. Use the Browse button next to the "Download File/External Program Executable" edit box and select your .exe file which you have previously copied to your test system C:\ folder.
  5. Click "Add This Test to Test Sequence" to add your DMM Add-on test to your test sequence


Receiving your Performa upgrade emails?

Performa EmailsTo make sure you are running the latest version of the STB Suite and are notified ASAP on the new releases be sure to follow the outline below.

  1. Purchase the STB Suite, it comes with one year of Performa
  2. Maintain the license with the Performa program
    1. Be sure to keep your Technical Contact information updated with STB so you receive the latest emails regarding new releases.
      1. Email - This is very important and we would recommend using a technical support distribution email address so it is visible by more than one person to avoid accidental deletions, junk mail filtering, or just missing the "Official Performa" emails.
      2. Name
      3. Company
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  3. Have your testing teams or technical co-workers sign-up for the STB Suite Monthly newsletter so they can see what's coming, what's new and not miss out on any special promotions or announcements for the STB Suite. Please note if you sign-up for the newsletter you will receive a follow-up email that requires a confirmation. If you don't receive that email then your company mail server is blocking and/or

If you're not sure who your technical contact is for your license(s) or have any questions contact STB today!







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