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Techtree101
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Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Tue May 01, 2018 8:05 pm

I bought a new 8TB HGST Ultrastar He8 | HUH728080ALN604 hard drive. Fired it up and without putting any files onto it after formatting, the drive was already seeking. It doesn't necessarily get worse either when copying files or running files. It just does this regularly at somewhat consistent times.

I have a video up on YouTube with the sound, but unfortunately I cannot link it here. The noise is just as I describe though, a brief seeking sound. It's not exactly repetitive, seems like it's partially random, as if someone is opening up random files on a drive... except I'm not doing that. It's brief small bursts on regular intervals of every few seconds.

The drive seems to be operating 'normally', but this noise is still unacceptable. I have never owned a drive before this one that had this randomly seeking noise while idle.

Anything I can do? I'd be more than happy to return the drive for something that doesn't seek like this, if I could find such a drive (I need at least 8TB).

Thanks
 
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Tue May 01, 2018 9:53 pm

Does the noise happen even if you power up, go straight into the BIOS, and leave it sitting there? If not, then it is something in the OS accessing the drive, not the drive itself.

That drive is an 8-platter design (16 heads); seeks are going to make some noise as that massive head stack accelerates and decelerates. Since it's 7200 RPM, it is also going to be tuned for performance, not quietness.

If you absolutely need an 8TB drive but need something quieter, you may want to look for a lower RPM model; these will be tuned for lower performance and power usage, which will also reduce seek noise, since the heads won't move as fast. But an 8TB drive is gonna have a lot of platters no matter what, so there is going to be a limit on how quiet it is going to be. There may also be some drives with higher platter densities (so lower platter count) which should help a little; but even with bleeding edge densities, I think any 8TB drive you find is still going to have at least 6 platters.
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continuum
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Wed May 02, 2018 1:58 am

Might be thermal recalibration or something else, as stated. It's not only a 7200rpm disk but a nearline (enterprise) one, so it's not going to be tuned to be particularly quiet.

if you really can't stand the noise, pick up a Seagate Desktop 8TB?
 
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Wed May 02, 2018 5:14 am

Reading this thread reminded me of when hard drives were so loud and slow that they sounded like you were dragging a piece of card stock over 20 grit sandpaper.
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Wed May 02, 2018 6:36 am

FireGryphon wrote:
Reading this thread reminded me of when hard drives were so loud and slow that they sounded like you were dragging a piece of card stock over 20 grit sandpaper.


I have a 13" platter drive on the desk behind me. It is partially disassembled so now it is "Modern Art". :D

I've been asked if it is clutch assembly, important piece of an UFO (yes seriously) or just general questions like "What the hell is that?!" :D
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cphite
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Wed May 02, 2018 10:16 am

The description you're giving sounds pretty normal for a drive that size, and a quick Google reveals folks asking about the same thing... basically as JBI says you've got a massive (relatively speaking) set of platters and those are going to make some noise as they stop and start. Also as a result of the drive density it is always going to be doing self-checks for consistency.
 
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Wed May 02, 2018 10:36 am

cphite wrote:
The description you're giving sounds pretty normal for a drive that size, and a quick Google reveals folks asking about the same thing... basically as JBI says you've got a massive (relatively speaking) set of platters and those are going to make some noise as they stop and start. Also as a result of the drive density it is always going to be doing self-checks for consistency.

Just to clarify that, it's not the starting/stopping of the platters that make a lot of noise, it is the back and forth movement of the heads. More platters means more heads (2 per platter), which means whenever the drive seeks it is accelerating and decelerating a fair amount of mass on a timescale of milliseconds. This will necessarily cause some vibration.
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Wed May 02, 2018 10:39 am

Aranarth wrote:
FireGryphon wrote:
Reading this thread reminded me of when hard drives were so loud and slow that they sounded like you were dragging a piece of card stock over 20 grit sandpaper.


I have a 13" platter drive on the desk behind me. It is partially disassembled so now it is "Modern Art". :D

I've been asked if it is clutch assembly, important piece of an UFO (yes seriously) or just general questions like "What the hell is that?!" :D

"Is that what you call a vinyl record, dad?"
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Wed May 02, 2018 10:56 am

morphine wrote:
Aranarth wrote:
FireGryphon wrote:
Reading this thread reminded me of when hard drives were so loud and slow that they sounded like you were dragging a piece of card stock over 20 grit sandpaper.

I have a 13" platter drive on the desk behind me. It is partially disassembled so now it is "Modern Art". :D

I've been asked if it is clutch assembly, important piece of an UFO (yes seriously) or just general questions like "What the hell is that?!" :D

"Is that what you call a vinyl record, dad?"

Way back in the day I took one of those apart, replaced the head assembly, and put it back together. I only had one extra screw left over, and the drive worked afterwards! :D

You didn't even need a clean room... the drive actually used air drawn through a HEPA filter and little brushes to physically sweep the platters clean of dust every time the drive was power cycled.
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Wed May 02, 2018 11:43 am

just brew it! wrote:
morphine wrote:
Aranarth wrote:
I have a 13" platter drive on the desk behind me. It is partially disassembled so now it is "Modern Art". :D

Years ago -- as in, I was probably 11 or 12 -- my dad brought home a discarded demo unit of that type from HP. The power supply and control boards were in the bottom half of a large plastic chassis, while the top half had a removable, transparent acrylic lid that allowed the (fully functional) disk stack and head assembly to be observed operating in real-time at trade shows and the like.

After keeping it around for a few months with no useful application in sight, my dad was smart enough to realize that he had neither a use for it nor room to store it, and that I would learn more about how it was put together if I was allowed to take it apart.

The parts and pieces are long gone but I still remember the major details of its construction.
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Wed May 02, 2018 1:03 pm

Idle noise sounds familiar from many drives. Just average consumer drives, nothing special.
It's always a bit upsetting, but I'm thinking maybe that's how they're supposed to be.
 
Techtree101
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Wed May 02, 2018 6:16 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Does the noise happen even if you power up, go straight into the BIOS, and leave it sitting there? If not, then it is something in the OS accessing the drive, not the drive itself.

That drive is an 8-platter design (16 heads); seeks are going to make some noise as that massive head stack accelerates and decelerates. Since it's 7200 RPM, it is also going to be tuned for performance, not quietness.

If you absolutely need an 8TB drive but need something quieter, you may want to look for a lower RPM model; these will be tuned for lower performance and power usage, which will also reduce seek noise, since the heads won't move as fast. But an 8TB drive is gonna have a lot of platters no matter what, so there is going to be a limit on how quiet it is going to be. There may also be some drives with higher platter densities (so lower platter count) which should help a little; but even with bleeding edge densities, I think any 8TB drive you find is still going to have at least 6 platters.


I tried what you suggested and it does seek a bit in the BIOS still, a couple of events briefly every minute or so. Not too bad I guess. My 3TB and 4TB though don't make a peep, ever.

Unfortunately I do need a higher capacity drive (but just need it for storage, which is the sad part... I don't need high performance at all), so I'll just deal with it I suppose.
 
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Wed May 02, 2018 8:24 pm

Well, as I noted, a lower RPM drive would probably be quieter. And as continuum noted, you've bought an enterprise-grade drive; this should be great for reliability, but it also means HGST was probably assuming the drive would be put in a server rack in a datacenter, where the seek noise will be drowned out (many times over) by the sound of the A/C and cooling fans. IOW this drive was likely not designed to be quiet!

If you have a second open drive bay, another option would be a pair of lower-RPM 4TB drives. That would probably be even quieter than a low-RPM 8TB, but it'll use more power.
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Techtree101
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Wed May 02, 2018 9:28 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Well, as I noted, a lower RPM drive would probably be quieter. And as continuum noted, you've bought an enterprise-grade drive; this should be great for reliability, but it also means HGST was probably assuming the drive would be put in a server rack in a datacenter, where the seek noise will be drowned out (many times over) by the sound of the A/C and cooling fans. IOW this drive was likely not designed to be quiet!

If you have a second open drive bay, another option would be a pair of lower-RPM 4TB drives. That would probably be even quieter than a low-RPM 8TB, but it'll use more power.


What's interesting is there doesn't seem to be a reliable plus low powered/noise drive, at least at 8TB. All of the HGST's for example are 7200RPM, and WD Red and others are a combination of noisy and somewhat unreliable... at least from what I've read from reviews.

The one type of drive that's gotten excellent reviews and seems to be low noise are the WD purple surveillance drives... but I'm not sure they would work?
 
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Wed May 02, 2018 9:40 pm

Techtree101 wrote:
The one type of drive that's gotten excellent reviews and seems to be low noise are the WD purple surveillance drives... but I'm not sure they would work?

If you're just using it for bulk storage it'll probably be fine. AFAIK the main difference with the "purple" series drives is that the caching algorithms have been optimized for recording multiple simultaneous video streams. Since you've said you're not really concerned with performance, a caching algorithm which may be non-optimal for your use case is probably not going to be a big deal.
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Techtree101
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Wed May 02, 2018 10:17 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Techtree101 wrote:
The one type of drive that's gotten excellent reviews and seems to be low noise are the WD purple surveillance drives... but I'm not sure they would work?

If you're just using it for bulk storage it'll probably be fine. AFAIK the main difference with the "purple" series drives is that the caching algorithms have been optimized for recording multiple simultaneous video streams. Since you've said you're not really concerned with performance, a caching algorithm which may be non-optimal for your use case is probably not going to be a big deal.


I'll give one of those a try then. Thanks for the responses!
 
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Wed May 02, 2018 10:24 pm

Techtree101 wrote:
What's interesting is there doesn't seem to be a reliable plus low powered/noise drive, at least at 8TB. All of the HGST's for example are 7200RPM, and WD Red and others are a combination of noisy and somewhat unreliable... at least from what I've read from reviews.

The one type of drive that's gotten excellent reviews and seems to be low noise are the WD purple surveillance drives... but I'm not sure they would work?

Seagate Barracuda Compute. They're 5900 RPM, 8 TB, and quiet enough that I tested three of them (full random scans followed by a full sector read) without being even remotely annoyed when they were sitting on my desk. Failure rates in practice (and Backblaze statistics) show them to be pretty reliable once out of the initial bathtub curve drop.

EDIT: The Purple drives are good too. I have 10 of them and they've been both rock solid and reasonably quiet. The firmware is tweaked for surveillance installations, but if you don't use the extra features, they're basically desktop drives.
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Wed May 02, 2018 11:25 pm

Techtree101 wrote:

What's interesting is there doesn't seem to be a reliable plus low powered/noise drive, at least at 8TB. All of the HGST's for example are 7200RPM, and WD Red and others are a combination of noisy and somewhat unreliable... at least from what I've read from reviews.

The one type of drive that's gotten excellent reviews and seems to be low noise are the WD purple surveillance drives... but I'm not sure they would work?


The WD REDS 8TB and up are Helium filled and basically Hitachi clones,at 5400RPM.so should be reasonably reliable and quiet..............
http://www.storagereview.com/wd_red_8tb_review
 
Techtree101
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Sun May 06, 2018 1:09 pm

I ended up getting a Best Buy easystore 8TB for $149 (which oddly enough had a WD Red inside), and it's almost entirely quiet. There IS a seeking sound every 5 seconds or so, but you have to really be paying attention, and it's only audible outside the case anyway.

New problem now... these 8TB seem to be overloading my motherboards I/O abilities. Even when hooked up to a USB dock, they will disappear from Windows after trying to copy files for a few minutes. A computer shutdown and bootup is needed to get them to appear again.

I have a MOBO from 2007... which I'm guessing is messing up these transfers, as the drives seem to function perfectly fine otherwise.
 
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Sun May 06, 2018 2:17 pm

Techtree101 wrote:
I ended up getting a Best Buy easystore 8TB for $149 (which oddly enough had a WD Red inside), and it's almost entirely quiet. There IS a seeking sound every 5 seconds or so, but you have to really be paying attention, and it's only audible outside the case anyway.

New problem now... these 8TB seem to be overloading my motherboards I/O abilities. Even when hooked up to a USB dock, they will disappear from Windows after trying to copy files for a few minutes. A computer shutdown and bootup is needed to get them to appear again.

I have a MOBO from 2007... which I'm guessing is messing up these transfers, as the drives seem to function perfectly fine otherwise.


1- Please be a little more descriptive. We need at least links to or the actual model names of what you have today. We need a clear & concise view of your equipment including your Windows version and if it is up-to-date. ETC.

2- What are your goals? It seems you want one 8TB Hard Drive with low seek noise. Would you be interested in a Network-attached-Storage unit? Do you feel confident in your technical-know-how or at least do some research on that venue? Are you interested in or at least be satisfied with an online back-up service like Backblaze? Do you want to make the current Best Buy drive work? Or do you want to return it? We need clear instructions on what you want.

3- We are unable to effectively help you unless we have at least the history and vitals of the patient. And anything else would be for naught and a waste of time.

uni-mitation
 
Techtree101
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Sun May 06, 2018 2:26 pm

uni-mitation wrote:
Techtree101 wrote:
I ended up getting a Best Buy easystore 8TB for $149 (which oddly enough had a WD Red inside), and it's almost entirely quiet. There IS a seeking sound every 5 seconds or so, but you have to really be paying attention, and it's only audible outside the case anyway.

New problem now... these 8TB seem to be overloading my motherboards I/O abilities. Even when hooked up to a USB dock, they will disappear from Windows after trying to copy files for a few minutes. A computer shutdown and bootup is needed to get them to appear again.

I have a MOBO from 2007... which I'm guessing is messing up these transfers, as the drives seem to function perfectly fine otherwise.


1- Please be a little more descriptive. We need at least links to or the actual model names of what you have today. We need a clear & concise view of your equipment including your Windows version and if it is up-to-date. ETC.

2- What are your goals? It seems you want one 8TB Hard Drive with low seek noise. Would you be interested in a Network-attached-Storage unit? Do you feel confident in your technical-know-how or at least do some research on that venue? Are you interested in or at least be satisfied with an online back-up service like Backblaze? Do you want to make the current Best Buy drive work? Or do you want to return it? We need clear instructions on what you want.

3- We are unable to effectively help you unless we have at least the history and vitals of the patient. And anything else would be for naught and a waste of time.

uni-mitation


It's ok, I'm not trying to seek help per se, but just initiate a general conversation on the curiosity and possibility of such a problem ever being encountered before. Thanks for responding!
 
uni-mitation
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Sun May 06, 2018 2:33 pm

ok.

uni-mitation
 
Waco
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Mon May 07, 2018 1:31 pm

Techtree101 wrote:
I ended up getting a Best Buy easystore 8TB for $149 (which oddly enough had a WD Red inside), and it's almost entirely quiet. There IS a seeking sound every 5 seconds or so, but you have to really be paying attention, and it's only audible outside the case anyway.

New problem now... these 8TB seem to be overloading my motherboards I/O abilities. Even when hooked up to a USB dock, they will disappear from Windows after trying to copy files for a few minutes. A computer shutdown and bootup is needed to get them to appear again.

I have a MOBO from 2007... which I'm guessing is messing up these transfers, as the drives seem to function perfectly fine otherwise.

So via both SATA and USB the drive is disappearing after sustained transfers? Even when powered externally via the USB dock?

I'd try on another computer, because that almost sounds like a suspect HDD to me.
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Techtree101
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Mon May 07, 2018 1:43 pm

Waco wrote:
Techtree101 wrote:
I ended up getting a Best Buy easystore 8TB for $149 (which oddly enough had a WD Red inside), and it's almost entirely quiet. There IS a seeking sound every 5 seconds or so, but you have to really be paying attention, and it's only audible outside the case anyway.

New problem now... these 8TB seem to be overloading my motherboards I/O abilities. Even when hooked up to a USB dock, they will disappear from Windows after trying to copy files for a few minutes. A computer shutdown and bootup is needed to get them to appear again.

I have a MOBO from 2007... which I'm guessing is messing up these transfers, as the drives seem to function perfectly fine otherwise.

So via both SATA and USB the drive is disappearing after sustained transfers? Even when powered externally via the USB dock?

I'd try on another computer, because that almost sounds like a suspect HDD to me.


Yes, in fact, it was worse when I had the two 8TB drives together on the USB dock (to transfer the information from the just-bought WD Red drive to the louder HGST older one)... they both disconnected quite frequently.

Glad you mentioned to try another computer. After the above, I moved the dock (with both 8TB drives) to my relatively new computer with a Core i7 and it worked perfectly... in fact, the transfer was double at like 160mb/sec vs 90mb/sec using the old computer, even though it was the same dock and same drives. Never stopped working during the 5 hours of transferring.

To be clear, I at first was using the hard drives individually within the older computer, aside from the dock... I only started using the dock in the hopes that it would help somehow (which it didn't seem to solve it, as they still disconnect at times).
 
HERETIC
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Tue May 08, 2018 1:05 am

Good to know your gear works fine on newer hardware.

As Uni wrote,we can provide more answers,if we have more information.
What is your USB3 card?
How is it configured?(What else is on that bus to share bandwidth?)
What is the MB chipsett?
What OS?

We all tend to re-purpose our old hardware as a server of some sort,
we just need to accept their limitations,and work-around best we can.
good luck.......................................
 
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:22 am

Techtree101 wrote:
I bought a new 8TB HGST Ultrastar He8 | HUH728080ALN604 hard drive. Fired it up and without putting any files onto it after formatting, the drive was already seeking. It doesn't necessarily get worse either when copying files or running files. It just does this regularly at somewhat consistent times.

I have a video up on YouTube with the sound, but unfortunately I cannot link it here. The noise is just as I describe though, a brief seeking sound. It's not exactly repetitive, seems like it's partially random, as if someone is opening up random files on a drive... except I'm not doing that. It's brief small bursts on regular intervals of every few seconds.

The drive seems to be operating 'normally', but this noise is still unacceptable. I have never owned a drive before this one that had this randomly seeking noise while idle.

Anything I can do? I'd be more than happy to return the drive for something that doesn't seek like this, if I could find such a drive (I need at least 8TB).

Thanks


I have a 12TB drive which makes every 5 seconds (latest every 15 seconds) a DONG/DOCK noise, when idle or when in use.

Searched on youtube for your video, but couldn't identify it, can you please provide some search criterias.

Are you still using your drive? Still making the sound? Is it OK?
 
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:29 am

If it is a Western Digital drive, it is likely due to the head unload timer. If your OS is polling the drive frequently, this can result in excessive head load/unload cycles, which is bad for the drive. Searching for "wdidle" will get you more info, including how to fix it.
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Re: Odd repetitive seeking noise from a supposedly idle hard drive

Mon Mar 15, 2021 5:09 am

Techtree101 wrote:
I bought a new 8TB HGST Ultrastar He8 | HUH728080ALN604 hard drive. Fired it up and without putting any files onto it after formatting, the drive was already seeking. It doesn't necessarily get worse either when copying files or running files. It just does this regularly at somewhat consistent times.

I have a video up on YouTube with the sound, but unfortunately I cannot link it here. The noise is just as I describe though, a brief seeking sound. It's not exactly repetitive, seems like it's partially random, as if someone is opening up random files on a drive... except I'm not doing that. It's brief small bursts on regular intervals of every few seconds.

The drive seems to be operating 'normally', but this noise is still unacceptable. I have never owned a drive before this one that had this randomly seeking noise while idle.

Anything I can do? I'd be more than happy to return the drive for something that doesn't seek like this, if I could find such a drive (I need at least 8TB).

Thanks


I know this is an old post but I just came across it when searching for the same problem. I have a WD Ultrastar HDD, but mine is 14TB and I have exactly the same noise issue. It was there since Day 1. Random seek noises when I am not even accessing any data. Looks like it is an issue with all Ultrastar drives that have a big storage capacity. Its a shame as its otherwise a good drive.

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