Preventing PNA Hard Drive Problems


Preventing PNA Hard Drive Problems - CRITICAL

The leading causes of PNA customer complaints are operating system and software faults on the PNA Hard Disk Drive (HDD). These problems are usually preventable, and in many cases, recoverable. The following could save you weeks of downtime and the cost of replacing your PNA HDD. Note that most all HDDs shipped since about mid-2010 are actually soild state drives (SSD.) These drive are very reliable and do not suffer from many of the issues inherent to mechanical hard drives; in fact, in a year of shipping these drives, not a single failure has been reported!

Do NOT Modify or Reconfigure the Operating System

The Microsoft Windows operating system has been modified and optimized by Agilent to improve the performance of the PNA.

  • Do NOT install a standard version of the Windows operating system on the PNA.

  • Do NOT change advanced performance settings or group policies.

  • Do NOT add or delete any hard disk drive partitions on the PNA.

  • Do NOT delete the Agilent user account. (except in very high security areas)

  • Do NOT modify any of the Agilent software registry entries.

Install Antivirus Protection

The PNA does NOT have antivirus protection when shipped. Use of an antivirus program is strongly recommended if you connect the PNA to the Internet. Most any common anti-virus program will work. Keep in mind that some anti-virus programs will detect some needed PNA files as suscept. See our FAQ on this.

In addition, the use of a firewall could help to protect the PNA from viruses. However, some firewalls could limit DCOM connectivity of the PNA. The Windows firewall (with some exceptions) is enabled by default.

Install Windows Critical Updates and service packs

The PNA is always shipped with the latest service packs and critical updates that were available at the time that the PNA HDD image is produced. We recommend that you maintain the latest available protection for your PNA by running the Windows Update regularly or by having it update automatically.

Use AgileUpdate

If your PNA is connected to the Internet, use AgileUpdate to obtain the latest firmware. On the PNA, click (Utilities), System, Service, AgileUpdate to automatically update your firmware to the current revision.

If your PNA is NOT connected to the Internet, you must update firmware using a flash drive. Firmware can be download from this web page.

Run the Disk Defragmenter Tool Monthly (Only for mechanical HDDs!)

Unexpected shutdowns, crashes, and sometimes just normal use, can result in a highly fragmented disk drive. This can then cause other problems. It is highly recommended that you run the disk defragmenter tool in Accessories, System Tools on a regular basis. A full "scandisk" should also be performed occasionally; 2-4 times per year. This can be accessed by double-clicking on My Computer, right-clicking on the C: drive, selecting properties, selecting Tools, and clicking on Check Now under Error-checking. Select both boxes. The PNA will then reboot in order for scanning to begin. This process may take an hour to complete.

Remove Power from the PNA ONLY when the Power Button is Yellow

Unplugging the power cord, or otherwise removing power when the power button is green, can damage the PNA HDD. The damage is somewhat cumulative as it fragments the MFT portion of the hard drive. Removing the power unexpectedly may not appear to do any damage initially, but doing it 10-20 times may result in an unbootable hard drive. If power is removed unexpectedly several times, you should run the disk defragmenter tool (see above). This helps restore the MFT portion of the hard drive. See PNA Help to learn more about powering the PNA ON and OFF.

If all else fails...

If you are unable to get the PNA to boot up properly due to a corrupt disk or virus, try performing a system recovery. A system recovery will set the PNA back to its as-shipped condition. All saved data on the C drive will be lost however the D partition will not be affected. Instrument calibration will also not be affected. To perform a system recovery, restart the PNA. Upon startup, and after the initial splash screen, you will be presented with a choice of operating systems. If no selection is made, the normal operating system will start. You have 5 seconds to select the "System Recovery" process by using the up/down keys on an external keyboard. A full system recovery takes about 15-30 minutes and may involve several reboots.

Last updated: Oct 14, 2011