Arlo|Smart Home Security|Wireless HD Security Cameras
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Retired_Member
Not applicable

Just noticed that apparently my Arlo Pro Base Station can no longer format USB Drives. I have been using these SanDisk 64GB drives for local storage for few months now and all was working just fine up till today when I tried to re-format.

Here is what happens:

  1. Running Format takes unusually short time (less than 5 seconds) and after "completion" USB Device Status is shown as "Ready" and Available Storage is shown as "0 of 0"
  2. Removing and re-inserting USB Drive into Base Stations reverts display of Available Storage numbers back to the values shown before the format was attempted.
  3. Reading Drive on PC shows all files are still there and the drive in fact was not formatted at all.
  4. Formatting USB Drive on Windows 10 PC to xFAT and trying to format that USB Drive in Arlo Base Station no longer converts File Sysytem to FAT32. USB Device Status remains "Requires Formatting" no matter how many formatting attempts have been made.

Based on these observations I'm reaching a conclusion that Base Station can no longer execute Format correctly. No changes have been made to my setup except for resent firmware update for Base Station to 1.12.2.1_2798

Could someone please try formatting USB Drive on VMB4000 to check if it still works for you?

207 REPLIES 207
mamarcac
Apprentice
Apprentice

@IMWILK wrote:

As has been stated more than once in this thread the workaround of preformatting to Fat32 does not work for everyone.  Keep in mind this is a self contained system. Its not a windows platform where there are dozens of external factors for a programmer to have to contend with. And if there was such a need, the very least Netgear / Arlo could do is tell their customers within their own community site that they are aware of the issue and working on it. Simply put by ignoring the thread Netgear / Arlo is telling us that returning the system is the only way they will listen and understand that we will not accept anything less than what we paid for.


I totally agree...I've resorted to using 1) a smart plug to power-cycle the base station remotely and 2) using Linux for formatting usb drives, because it's the only way to make the system semi-usable 😞

loghome
Star
Star

Called Arlo about a week ago. I got some guy in India with a thick accent that I could hardly understand. He said this is a know problem, gave me a case number, said someone would call me back and nobody ever called me back.  😞

softice
Guide
Guide

You probably reached one of their centers of excelence just like boing did with their 737 MAX. 

 

softice
Guide
Guide

What Arlo should do is release a fixed test version to certain amount of people (if they are lacking test engineers) to see if new version has any issues and only after enough testing by community release the new version to a wider audience. I work in software testing myself and I can clearly see that testing was not done properly with the new update since issue like this was missed. 

Arlo Team,

Please contact me directly if you guys need any help with testing strategies and approaches and I will gladly provide any assistance that I can. 

FYI: I have over 20 years experience in SQA and work as QA (manager, architect and as QA director in the past)

COKEY
Tutor
Tutor
Any computer I had access to tried to format the drive exfat. I tried different utilities on my Windows 10 machines with no luck. I asked a friend to bring her MacBook over hooked up the drive formatted it fat, attach the drive to Arlo base and it worked requiring no formatting. The Arlo base, for lack of technical expertise on my part, needs a very basic format which the MacBook provided.
COKEY
Tutor
Tutor
Any computer I had access to tried to format the drive exfat. I tried different utilities on my Windows 10 machines with no luck. I asked a friend to bring her MacBook over hooked up the drive formatted it fat, attach the drive to Arlo base and it worked requiring no formatting. The Arlo base, for lack of technical expertise on my part, needs a very basic format which the MacBook provided. Power cycling the base station is a brilliant idea. I'll be doing that with my SmartThings hub. Thanks for the tip.
softice
Guide
Guide

You can use MiniTool Partion to format the flash drive or any other drive to any format that you need. This is what I used and btw this utility is also very handy to restore flash drives in case if it got damaged for any reason. 

The utility itself is free 

COKEY
Tutor
Tutor

I tried so many different tools, and utilities with no luck.  The MacBook took less than a minute.  I am relieved to move on.

Thanks everyone for chiming in.

Retired_Member
Not applicable

Please note that once you, one way or another, manage to pass the formatting issue, you will run into another known problem with base station going off-line multiple times per day. In most cases it will get back on-line on its own within few minutes but in some you will have to manually turn it off and back on for it to start working again. For now, Arlo Support recommends disconnecting USB storage devices to avoid this problem. Catch 22!

mamarcac
Apprentice
Apprentice

@Retired_Member wrote:

Please note that once you, one way or another, manage to pass the formatting issue, you will run into another known problem with base station going off-line multiple times per day. In most cases it will get back on-line on its own within few minutes but in some you will have to manually turn it off and back on for it to start working again. For now, Arlo Support recommends disconnecting USB storage devices to avoid this problem. Catch 22!


My experience is a little different; the app will _show_ the base is offline but when I check the lights, it actually isn't. Maybe it's doing a soft reboot instead of a full reboot; regardless, not having a usb drive attached when they're dirt cheap now is a compromise none of us should have to make.

softice
Guide
Guide

Again it looks like somebody didn't do proper testing before releasing upgrade into production. 

Almost reminds me of old microsoft. "I dont always test code but if I do I test it in production"

Not a good idea unless you want to loose customer base. Issues found in production costs a lot more to the company than when they are found during testing phase.


FlSax
Tutor
Tutor

From FlSax

Warning: Do not use the base station to format storage devices with more than 2
TB of storage capacity. The base station formats storage devices using the FAT32
file system, which supports a maximum of 2 TB of storage space. The formatting
process reduces the capacity of larger storage devices to a maximum of 2 TB.

 

Windows 10 does not support FAT32 format at all now that is is running 64bit, yes there are some work arounds but not recommended.  SO, ARLO wake up and update your software to use NTFS formats then problem solved.  Again think about the customer and technology.

 

best, 

 

ArloPro2NewUser
Guide
Guide

After having the same issues as everyone here in the forum, I tried a number of formatting to get the Arlo Base to recognise my 1 TB Seagate Expansion drive. I have only just purchased the Arlo Pro2 system, with Firmware version is 1.14.0.2_2776 and Hardware VMB4000r3.  I downloaded EasyUS Partion Master Free Edition to try a number of formats: a) NTFS - no go requires formatting; b) ExFAT - no go requires formatting; c) Ext2 - same; d) Ext3 - same. I tried FAT32 but it still read "disabled". I then realised that I had not selected the option box for the Seagate drive in the Storage Settings. I had tried to select it a number of times but it would not select the drive. I don't know if it was just my "fat fingers" on the phone app but I finally selected it and it now reads  USB Device Status as "Ready". Thanks to the contributors. I hope you guys have been able to resolve your Arlo problems. If I had not found this community forum thread I would still be lost, so thanks again.

loghome
Star
Star

Is Arlo every going to fix/update this mess or just leave us with gimped hardware? 

softice
Guide
Guide

Even though you will see status ready after a while you will notice that there are no video files stored on the drive. It looks like Arlo still doesnt write to the drive even if the status states ready

AlaskaFairie
Aspirant
Aspirant

Exactly! Arlo *, 5 cameras and 2 base stations are going over the cliff. I will post my displeasure with Arlo over every social media platform I have. 

softice
Guide
Guide

Send those cameras my way i will find them a good use 😄


@AlaskaFairie wrote:

Exactly! Arlo *, 5 cameras and 2 base stations are going over the cliff. I will post my displeasure with Arlo over every social media platform I have. 


 

dir
Initiate
Initiate

Ok I too had the same problems but since I'm a unix guy I took a slightly different approach because I don't have a Windows PC.  I'm pretty sure the Arlo device is using some form of linux so it's likely that it will be very particular on the layout of the inserted storage device.  (Yes, it should deal with this properly but it's likely that the latest update screwed this).

 

Here's the incorrect structure that fails.  The first line includes the actual linux command " mkfs.fat -F32 -v -I 'dev/sdb' " with the results of that command shown:

mkfs.fat -F32 -v -I '/dev/sdb'  00:00:02    ( SUCCESS )
mkfs.fat 4.1 (2017-01-24)
attribute "partition" not found
/dev/sdb has 64 heads and 32 sectors per track,
hidden sectors 0x0000;
logical sector size is 512,
using 0xf8 media descriptor, with 30277632 sectors;
drive number 0x80;
filesystem has 2 32-bit FATs and 16 sectors per cluster.
FAT size is 14784 sectors, and provides 1890502 clusters.
There are 32 reserved sectors.
Volume ID is e8d93d87, no volume label.

The problem is that there's no partition, hence the warning "Attribute 'Partition' not found".


Here's the result of the the same command after the partition is created:

mkfs.fat -F32 -v -I '/dev/sdb1'  00:00:03    ( SUCCESS )     	
mkfs.fat 4.1 (2017-01-24)
/dev/sdb1 has 64 heads and 32 sectors per track,
hidden sectors 0x0800;
logical sector size is 512,
using 0xf8 media descriptor, with 30275584 sectors;
drive number 0x80;
filesystem has 2 32-bit FATs and 16 sectors per cluster.
FAT size is 14784 sectors, and provides 1890374 clusters.
There are 32 reserved sectors.
Volume ID is f271ac09, no volume label.

This results in a drive that can be inserted and recognized (and used) by Arlo.

The difference is that a Dos partition was created before the 2nd attempt, in /dev/sdb, which created "/dev/sdb1" .  This can be done in fdisk but it's easiest if the gparted utility is used.  Note that I'm using ubuntu but any version of gparted for your operating system should be about the same.  Apparently, to run gparted under windows you need to create a bootable usb drive to boot into a temporary unix operating system first.  You could also create a virtual machine.

 

 

sudo apt install gparted

When you run gparted, ensure you select the correct disk to muck around with.  Then delete any existing partitions etc. from it and apply those changes (the 'tick' box icon).  Sorry for the brevity of my instructions.

 

You should now see one big unallocated space and nothing else.  If not, again, delete everything listed and apply.

 

Now create a new partition, ensuring that it is:

Aligned to MiB

The correct size you want

Primary Partition

File System FAT32

Label "Arlo" or whatever you want.

 

Click 'Add' then apply changes.

After a moment, you should see a new partition with a device path such as 'dev/sdb1'. This should be a DOS partition on the device 'dev/sdb'.

 

This storage should now mount in the Arlo with no problem.

 

I've tested this 3 times using 2 different generic USB sticks and 1 500GB hard drive.

 

Doug

 

softice
Guide
Guide

The drive mounts and status for it is ready but the other problem is that Arlo doesnt write to it. 

morgoth58
Guide
Guide

Should have read more of the support forums before purchasing this cluster**** from Arlo. Before purchasing a 5 camera bundle, contacted Sales support, mentioned the system I was interested in and that a hard requirement is local storage, was assured that is no issue, yes I will be able to store files on a local drive. After my purchase and several tech support calls later I have a "known issue" and no resolution in sight. I really wish Logitech was still making the Alert 700 system, that worked very well, night vision was excellent, but they stopped making it years ago......and now I am wrestling with unreliable hardware and applications, and tech support that falls far short of the definition of support.

 

Same issue, tried several brands of USB Flash and harddrives, tried formatting them on PC with both FAT32 and exFAT, nothing works, base unit still tells me storage requires formatting. And I have no time to install unbuntu and go through all that.

morgoth58
Guide
Guide

Just used the minitool to format a WD .5Gb harddrive and a 1Gb flash drive, plugged in to base unit and it says ready. cannot tell yet if files are being saved there (I could disconnect it, plug it into PC and check). All the cameras had the USB icon active. Most likely means nothing though. Is there a way (other than disconnecting) to see where the files are being stored?

FlSax
Tutor
Tutor

Seems Netgear needs to wake up and change format read from FAT32 to NTFS which is the today standard.  Your use of the Minitool, purchase version should work if partitioned into a single partition and formatted to FAT32 up to the 1TB, I used a similar program and formatted a 500GB externals USB 2 drive to FAT32, tool all day but it works well recording all camera actions each day.  NetGear wake up please.

 

FlSax

 

morgoth58
Guide
Guide

See what you mean. Just got my USB devices recognized yesterday, and it appears one is actually being used as the available storage has decreased, then a few minutes ago I saw the base unit go offline. Re-powered it and it is back.

 

With all these issues, the lack of reliability and stability, there is no way this could be considered part of a home security camera setup. Pretty pathetic when you factor in the poor tech support and the cost of the systems.

dvega1971
Initiate
Initiate

Version 
2.7.4

Released
8/15/2019

Hello i did what you said got aomei to partition my hard drive to fat32 but arlo pro still whats to format it. its  seing it as a usb drive  but still say it requires formatting. what did you do to make it work? 

COKEY
Tutor
Tutor
I never got a aomei to work on my Windows 10 machine. Some people, who are much smarter than me have been successful. The problem lies in, in very simplistic terms, Windows 10 inability to format a drive simple enough for Arlo to recognize. I took my 1 terabyte drives to my friends with a MacBook, who formatted them FAT32, and I was up and running with storage within 10 minutes. Arlo immediately recognized the drives and did not ask to format them. Our friends at Arlo still have a lot of work ahead of them but I'm happily up and running.