Managing Multiple Hard Drives with Multiple PNAs

This document discusses the steps involved in maintaining multiple hard drives for use with one PNA, or managing a spare hard drive (or multiple spares) for use with multiple PNAs.
For clarity in this document, all PNAs are divided into three categories; OLDER and NEWER PNAs, and Windows 7 PNAs (Win7 also implies newer.) The procedures below vary slightly depending upon version.
  • OLDER PNAs include all E836xA, E835xA, N338xA, E880xA and N5230A/C   (i.e. all PNAs with the smaller display)
  • NEWER PNAs include all models starting with N524xA, N522xA, N523xA (but not N5230), and N5264A   (i.e. all PNAs with the larger 10.4-inch display)
  • NEWER PNAs with Windows 7 as the OS. The only reason this matters is because the directory paths are slightly different from XP. These paths will be listed in purple
While the term HDD is used to refer to the Hard Disk Drive, newer PNAs actually use an SSD (Solid State Drive.) The procedures are identical and one can use mechanical or solid state drives interchangeably.

There are a couple of scenarios where hard drive maintenance is a bit out of the ordinary. This document is intended to explain how to handle these situations with a minimum of problems. These two cases are:

  • Maintaining multiple hard drives for a single PNA. Typically this will occur in high security areas where a group must share the PNA with others, but also require privacy and security. This way, each group can have their own private drive.
  • Maintaining a spare hard drive (or drives) for more than one PNA. This could commonly occur in a rental company or any company that has multiple PNAs where they need a spare drive to ensure continuous up-time.

Both situations require slightly different techniques which are explained below. First, one needs to understand some background information.

All PNA models use a single hard drive as shipped from Keysight, assuming they all have the same CPU. At the time of this writing, there have been eight different CPU assemblies.

  • A 266 MHz CPU (ver. 1) - (no longer supported.)
  • A 500 MHz CPU (ver. 2)
  • A 1.1 GHz CPU (ver. 3) - Used on all PNAs with small screen since mid 2006.
  • A 1.6 GHz CPU (ver. 4) - Used on all PNAs with large screen shipped before 10/2009.
  • A 2.0 GHz CPU (ver. 5) - Used on all PNAs with large screen shipped from 10/2009 to 10/2011.
  • A 2.0 GHz i7 CPU (ver. 6.0) - Used on most PNAs with large screen shipped after 11/2011.
  • A 1.87 GHz Celeron CPU (ver. 6.1) - Used on all N5231A thru N5239A models.
  • A 2.2 GHz Celeron CPU (ver. 7) - Used on all PNAs shipped after 12/2015.

Each one requires its own version of hard drive in order to function. Using the wrong HDD usually results in a blue-screen! The seven CPUs can be identified by looking at the rear panel and comparing them to this web page. Assuming the same CPU is used, it does not matter if the PNA is a 3 GHz RF model or a 67 GHz model; they both can use the same hard drive. However, once an HDD is first used on any specific PNA, it becomes "married" to that specific PNA and cannot be used on another PNA without undergoing a "divorce" procedure (described below.)

It is also helpful to know what information is unique for each instrument. Below is a list of all unique information on the PNA, as shipped from the factory. Of course, logins, passwords, cal sets, saved files, and installed programs that have been added after delivery are not included here.

  • gen.lic file - Provides the PNA with its model number and installed options. A backup of this data is stored in EEPROM (which is not on the CPU) and is automatically regenerated when a new, virgin HDD is used. It is located in C:\Program Files\Agilent\Network Analyzer (C:\Program Files (x86)\Agilent\Network Analyzer)
  • mxcal files - For older PNAs. Provides correction factors for the receiver; may consist of 2-6 files. It is located in the same directory as above.
  • eebudat.dat - Backup file of EEPROM information; used only for service. It is located in D:\Calfiles. This is automatically generated if missing.
  • eebudat.bak - Another backup file of EEPROM information; used only for service. It is located in D:\Calfiles. This is automatically generated if missing.
  • TSMBBackup - For newer PNAs. A backup directory of Flash data. It is located in D:\Calfiles. This is automatically generated if missing.
  • TSMBOrig - For newer PNAs. Another backup directory of Flash data; same location as above. This is automatically generated if missing.
  • Computer Name - A randomly generated name in the form "AGILENT-XXXXXXX", or "A-N5232A-01234" for more recent units where 01234 is the last 4 or 5 digits of the serial number.
  • Agilent account password - A unique password that depends upon the serial number of the PNA. This account is not normally used, but can be useful for Agilent service personnel. This is not used in Win 7.
  • Global Delta Match CalSet.pcs - This file normally only exists on the N5231A, N5232A, and N5239A. It is only needed for certain types of calibrations. The file is located in C:\Program Files\Agilent\Network Analyzer\UserCalSets. If lost, it can be recreated easily by the user in about 5 minutes. In this document, it is refered to as the GDM file.

As shipped, spare drives provided by Keysight have none of the above information, except for a defaulted, non-unique Keysight account password. The rest of the files are either automatically generated the first time the PNA is started, or must be manually generated. The following steps will help ensure the PNA is properly set up regardless of your configuration.

Note: Older PNAs require that you have a copy of the current mxcal files from the original hard drive that was shipped with your PNA. All files start with "mxcalfile_" and are located in C:\Program Files\Agilent\Network Analyzer. Copy all files to a floppy disk or flash drive and label the media with the model and serial number of the PNA. Do this for EACH older PNA you own! If lost or missing, performing the Receiver Adjustment will recreate them.
With the exception of the GDM file used in the N5231A, N5232A, and N5239A, newer PNAs do not need any data saved.

Maintaining Multiple Hard Drives for a Single PNA

In this case we will assume you want to have several hard drives that will be installed on a single PNA. This is the simpler of the two scenarios. We will also assume that you have obtained the hard drives from Agilent.

  1. First, make sure you have backup copies of any unique file as decribed above.
  2. Remove the original hard drive and install the spare drive. Apply power. After some initialization and one or more reboots, the PNA screen will appear. Some older replacement hard drive images may ask you to manually enter the model and serial number; this is used to generate the computer name and Agilent password. Newer HDD images can automatically find the model number and serial number. At this point all the above files will have already been created with the exception of the mxcalfiles (for older PNAs) and the GDM file (for certain newer models only.)
  3. For older PNAs, close the application and copy all the corresponding mxcalfiles to the directory C:\Program Files\Agilent\Network Analyzer\   and to   D:\Calfiles\.
  4. For the N5231A, N5232A, and N5239A, copy the GDM file to
    For   XP:    C:\Program Files\Agilent\Network Analyzer\UserCalSets   and to   D:\Calfiles\
    For Win 7: C:\ProgramData\Agilent\Network Analyzer\UserCalSets   and to   D:\Calfiles\   Note that in Win7, the ProgramData directory may be hidden.
  5. At this point, you should set up all account names, passwords, computer name (if a different one is needed from the default), network configurations, etc.
That's it; you are done. Either hard drive will work properly with this specific PNA, however, neither hard drive will not work properly if placed in any other PNA

You should run the Operators Check on the PNA: (Utility), System, Service, Operator's Check to ensure all steps were properly performed.

A quick note regarding newer PNAs sent in for Calibration
For any PNA with the larger 10.2 inch display: A PNA that is sent in for its yearly calibration will NOT have any calibration data stored on the hard drive. All calibration data is stored in internal non-volatile memory. This means that hard drives can be swapped as needed without any concern about losing calibration data. Again, this only applies to PNAs with the larger screen.

Maintaining a Spare Hard Drive (or Drives) for Multiple PNAs

In this case we will assume you want to have one or more spare drives that can be used on multiple PNAs. This involves a bit more work than the above scenario. It also helps to have a USB hard drive enclosure designed for laptop hard drives. These handy devices (see sample) cost less than $20 and allow much faster deployment of working PNA systems. Again, we will assume that you have obtained any hard drives from Agilent.

First, for older PNAs, make sure you have copies of all the various mxcalfiles for every instrument (see above.)

For N5231A, N5232A or N5239A, make sure you have copies of the GDM cal file for every instrument.

If the hard drive is new and has never been used in a PNA before, simply install it in the PNA, turn it on, allow it to initialize. Then copy any unique files to the approprate location. Close, then restart the PNA application. At this point, you are done.

The below steps are only needed if the hard drive has previously been used in a PNA.

Assuming the hard drive has been used in another PNA before, you must follow these steps. These can be done on the PNA itself, or you can use a USB enclosure together with a PC.
  1. Insert the hard drive into the PNA or USB enclosure. If installed into the PNA, the actual PNA application will NOT run properly, so close it as soon as it appears.
  2. You must delete the following files. Remember, if you are using a USB enclosure, the drive letters will be different!

    For XP PNAs
    • C:\Program Files\Agilent\Network Analyzer\gen.lic   Delete this file; do NOT just rename it!
    • Any file named pnacalsets.dat or pnacalsets3.dat in C:\Program Files\Agilent\Network Analyzer\ (if it exists)
    • All files that start with "mxcalfile_" in C:\Program Files\Agilent\Network Analyzer\
    • All files in C:\Program Files\Agilent\Network Analyzer\UserCalSets\
    • All files in C:\Program Files\Agilent\Network Analyzer\CalRegisters\
    • All files in D:\Calfiles

    For Win 7 PNAs   (remember, the ProgramData directory may be hidden)
    • C:\ProgramData\Agilent\Network Analyzer\gen.lic   Delete this file; do NOT just rename it!
    • All files in C:\ProgramData\Agilent\Network Analyzer\UserCalSets\
    • All files in C:\ProgramData\Agilent\Network Analyzer\CalRegisters\
    • All files in D:\Calfiles

  3. If you wish to keep this drive available for any other compatible PNAs in the future, stop here, you are done! Once the individual PNA has been identified, you will still need to perform the next 4 steps.
  4. Assuming you have identified the specific PNA to be used, and for older PNAs only, copy the correct mxcalfiles to the appropriate directory (see above) and to   D:\Calfiles\.
  5. For models N5231A, N5232A or N5239A, copy the GDM cal to its corresponding directory and to   D:\Calfiles\.
  6. If you were using a USB enclosure, install the hard drive into the PNA. Allow it to fully power up and make sure the PNA application is running properly.
  7. If used in a networked environment, and depending upon the previous PNA's computer name, you may need to change it so it does not conflict with another PNA. Right-click on My Computer, click on Properties, Computer Name, Change. Enter a new, unique computer name.
  8. You should also verify that the text file D:/Calfiles/ComputerName.txt contains the proper Computer Name (used for system recovery.)
  9. For non-Win7 PNAs, the Agilent account password should be changed to correspond to the serial number. If you know that the previous password was at its default value and you don't care about this, then you can skip this step, otherwise, note the serial number of the PNA. On the following link, there are instructions on how to change the Agilent account password. Follow those instructions. Set up the Agilent administrator password
That's it; you are done. This hard drive will now work properly only on this specific PNA.

You should run the Operators Check on the PNA to ensure all steps were properly performed: (Utility), System, Service, Operator's Check

Last Updated: Nov 2, 2016