Replacing the Hard Disks in an Iomega StorCenter ix2

I have determined that it is possible to replace the hard disks in an Iomega StorCenter ix2 (and have the thing work afterward). You don’t have to send it in for service or throw it away. However, it is not super-easy to do it, and I would not recommend it to anyone who is not comfortable working with the innards of computers.

If you’re not good with hardware, STOP! and take it to an authorized service center.

Note: Follow these instructions EXACTLY. People have tried to take shortcuts by restoring only one partition instead of the entire disk, and it doesn’t work, and they end up asking for help in the comments section. Use the Acronis software, which has an option to restore the entire disk. Keep the partition sizes as close to the originals as possible (even if it does not use up the entire disk capacity). Then, once you have restored the disk, go in with a partition editor and wipe out the large partition. Do this on both disks.

Update: More than one person has indicated that the Windows version of Acronis True Image did not work, but the bootable CD did work. YMMV, but if you try it under Windows and it doesn’t work, use the boot CD instead.

Here is the procedure to replace the hard disks:
1. Remove the existing disks from the unit. That means removing a lot of screws and connectors, and carefully squeezing the disks out. Removing the power and SATA connectors is helpful, but not necessary.
2. Make a disk image of a good disk from the StorCenter, if either of its disks are still good. I used Acronis True Image Home version 11 to back up and restore the disk image.
3. Use disk imaging software to put the images on your new disks. You might only need the image to be on one disk, but I didn’t bother figuring out if that is true, or which one it should be on. You can restore to larger disks, upgrading the capacity of your StorCenter. Be sure to restore the entire disk, with all partitions, I tried restoring just the OS partition, but it would not boot.
4. Use partition editing software (Windows disk manager?) to remove the large partition from each disk, leaving the small (OS) one. The StorCenter will rebuild this on its own.
5. Reassemble the StorCenter, boot it, and check the status on the Disks section of the UI. First it will initialize the data partition, which only takes a few minutes. Then it will reconstruct the data set, which takes much longer – but the drive will be fully functional (albeit slow) while this is happening.

Note: It has been reported that sometimes it is not necessary to delete the large partition after restoring the entire disk image. But, in my experiences, it has been necessary. NOT doing this has resulted in interminable blue blinking light when I have done this procedure. When I restore the image to both disks and then delete the large partitions before hooking the drives back up to the StorCenter, it recovers quickly. If you’re having trouble, try it both ways.

After plugging the disks back into the StorCenter, the blue light should flash for a few minutes (less than 5), then turn red. A few seconds after it turns red, you should be able to log into its web interface and go to Settings -> Disks, where it will tell you it wants to overwrite the disks. From that point forward, you can use the UI to change the protection plan and it will use all of the available space, if you have restored to larger disks than you started with. You can monitor its progress on the Dashboard page after setting the disk configuration and authorizing it to change the disks.

 

The username/password for the Storcenter login is admin/(blank). The password for its Linux OS is root/soho.

Make sure you fix the e-mail setting. It will not prompt you, and it is set to user@domain.com in the image.

In fact, you’ll probably want to run through the quick setup wizard to set everything the way you want it. To do this, click the Settings tab, Device button, and click the Setup link next to Device Setup.

I have run through this procedure with different disk sizes, and with firmware versions 1.1.17.34772 and 2.0.15.43099.

Of course, I am certain that doing this voids any sort of warranty – but if your warranty was still good, you wouldn’t be doing this, would you?

Here is a PDF file containing instructions from Iomega: Replacing_the_StorCenter_ix2_Hard_Drive

Update:
The Acronis images are available here:

NOTE: If you download and use these images, remember to fix the e-mail address that notifications are sent to as soon as you can get into the web interface. It might help with troubleshooting, if you’re having any trouble getting it working.

Additional:
Here is a thread regarding disk replacement in the ix2-200, which a user posted here in the comments. It requires familiarity with Linux.