Seagate FreeAgent DockStar NAS (Network Attached Storage) Overview

The Seagate FreeAgent DockStar is a little box with a powerful ARM CPU (1.2 GHz), 128 MB RAM and Linux on board.

I will describe how to open the on board Linux software for universal use.


This box was (2010-09-09) on sale in Germany for about $33, see picture.

I have now installed on a 1 GB USB-stick DockStarDebian (squeezy, Ver. 6) with a DockStar kernel (LED in use) and application programs for using a 1-wire interface (e.g. temperature measurement) and a webcam (Logitech E3500), see CategoryHeizung.

The application TempMess will run with Debian wheezy (Ver. 7), see DockStarDebian .

I collected already existing information and tried to extend it in such a way, that it is more user friendly.

/!\ WARNING: When you receive your Seagate DockStar, please do not connect it first to the Internet unless you have disabled the by editing the file /etc/init.d/rcS.

If you connect first to the Internet DockStar will phone home and perform an upgrade with a new firmware that has telnet/SSH disabled and an unknown password.

Please use the following steps to disable the automatic update. I will try to make it as easy as possible, concerning the Linux knowledge.

Take care that the utility nmap is installed, with the terminal:

# Check for installed nmap
$ nmap --help

# If not installed do:
$ sudo apt-get install nmap

1. Connect the DockStar to a host computer via network without Internet connection.

In case of the use of an Internet router:

- disconnect the router from the Internet (DSL)
- connect DockStar to the router and get an IP number via DHCP
- readout from the router the IP number for DockStar
- make the following change

In case of a cross patch cable to an other Linux computer type on the host in a terminal:

$ sudo ifconfig eth0   # set own IP adress new to the DockStar segment
$ nmap -e eth0 -sP $(printf "169.254.%d.%d" 0xce 0x6e)
  # 0xce 0x6e are the last 4 hexadecimal digits of the MAC address, found on the bottom of the DockStar on a post.
  # With the "printf ..." command the hexadecimal values are converted to decimal.
  # This is a clever method to predict the IP address, even if there a several DockStar's in use.

It should tell e.g.: "Host is up (0.0035s latency)."
This is to verify the calculated IP address of the DockStar connected to the computer..

2. Do a backup of the Flash-ROM to an USB-stick (found here, Alexander Holler), just in case. At it looks like, it is not easy to do a restore operation. I have not tried it yet.

Put an USB-stick in one USB port, it will be auto mounted, as long as the daemon hbwd is running. A try to mount an USB-stick after disabling hbwd was not successful.

Login at the DockStar --------
user@host ~ $ ssh root@ip_found # password is stxadmin.
Or use PUTTY (Linux/Windows), user: root, password: stxadmin.
Analysis ---------------------
-bash-3.2# mount              # show all mounted folders/devices
rootfs on / type rootfs (rw) 
/dev/root on / type jffs2 (ro) 
none on /proc type proc (rw) 
none on /sys type sysfs (rw) 
none on /dev/pts type devpts (rw) 
none on /tmp type tmpfs (rw) 
/tmp/.cemnt/sda1 on /tmp/.cemnt/mnt_sda1 type ext2 (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,noatime) 
/tmp/.cemnt/sda2 on /tmp/.cemnt/mnt_sda2 type ext3 (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,noatime,data=ordered) 
-bash-3.2# cat /proc/mtd     # show Flash-ROM partitions
dev: size erasesize name 
mtd0: 00100000 00020000 "u-boot"  #   1 MB
mtd1: 00400000 00020000 "uImage"  #   4 MB
mtd2: 02000000 00020000 "root"    #  32 MB
mtd3: 0db00000 00020000 "data"    # 219 MB
Backup ----------------------------
-bash-3.2# cd /tmp/.cemnt/mnt_sda1  # change directory to USB-stick
-bash-3.2# dd if=/dev/mtd0 of=mtd0.img 
2048+0 records in 
2048+0 records out 
-bash-3.2# sha1sum mtd0.img >mtd0.img.sha1 
-bash-3.2# dd if=/dev/mtd1 of=mtd1.img 
8192+0 records in 
8192+0 records out 
-bash-3.2# sha1sum mtd1.img >mtd1.img.sha1 
-bash-3.2# dd if=/dev/mtd2 of=mtd2.img 
65536+0 records in 
65536+0 records out 
-bash-3.2# sha1sum mtd2.img >mtd2.img.sha1 
-bash-3.2# dd if=/dev/mtd3 of=mtd3.img 
448512+0 records in 
448512+0 records out 
-bash-3.2# sha1sum mtd3.img >mtd3.img.sha1 
-bash-3.2# sync                   # write data cache to USB-stick
-bash-3.2# /sbin/halt              # then remove USB-stick 

3. Edit the startup script to disable program hbwd from automatic running at boot time.

In case of a Linux PUTTY copy and paste is done by marking the text in e.g. Firefox, then activating the PUTTY window by clicking on it and hitting the center mouse button (usually scroll wheel) for pasting the marked text.

login to DockStar with:
1. Linux commandline: $ ssh root@ip_number_found # password is stxadmin
2. or use PUTTY (Linux/Windows)

-bash-3.2# ps | grep hbwd         # show the running hbwd daemon
-bash-3.2# killall hbwd           # stop the Pogoplug software
-bash-3.2# mount -o remount,rw /  # make flash ROM writeable, last part reads "rw SPACE slash"
-bash-3.2# chmod go+w /dev/null   # fix a bug
-bash-3.2# vi /etc/init.d/rcS     # edit start script
  move the cursor at the beginning of line: /etc/init.d/ start
  hit the key I for insert mode
  insert a hashmark to change to a comment: #/etc/init.d/ start
  hit the key ESC to exit the insert mode
  type the command -> :wq         # write to file and quit

-bash-3.2# mount -o remount,ro /  # make flash readonly, last part reads "ro SPACE slash"
-bash-3.2# /sbin/reboot

4. Check if the change was successful.

- login to DockStar as under 2.

-bash-3.2# ps | grep hbwd         # search for running hbwd daemon

- connect DSL again to your router to get Internet access


USB Ports assignment

Normally the Linux software is booted from the first USB mass storage device found. The sequence is 1 to 4.

The special USB Adapter for the top connector can be ordered via, search for "Adapter Mini-USB-Kupplung Typ B 5-polig + USB-Buchse Typ A weiblich female F/F". The price is about 2 EUR inclusive shipping. See the picture on the right.


I have alread collected KnowHow with the NSLU2 box and the Buffalo Linkstation.

The Seagate DockStar looks like a replacement for the old NSLU2 box (CPU 266 MHz, 32 MB RAM).

I will try to document the opening of the on board Linux as I learn it by myself.

The DockStar is now (2010-08-27) on sale at Seagate USA for $40.

A good review with picture of the main board and a transfer speed measurement (22 MB/s R/W) is

A good wiki about plug computers (plugapps) is

The DockStar is derived from the SheevaPlug and hardware comparison of similar devices can be found

If you want to add WLAN, please see DockStarWLAN.

If you want local weather data reception by radio frequency sensors, you can look at DockStarWDE1.


I have now (2010-09-09) installed on a 1 GB USB-stick Debian squeeze with a DockStar kernel (LED in use) and application programs for using a 1-wire interface (e.g. temperature measurement) and a webcam (Logitech E3500).

A DockStar adopted (LED use) Debian version can be found in the Forum from Jeff Doozan.

An open software is for example PlugBox Linux, the installation instructions are

In order to know what is going on while boot time you should install netcat, which is explained in the previous mentioned link under chapter troubleshooting, or connect a serial cable as described in DockStarSerialLink.

A comparison of plug computers can be found (in German).

Another Linux to install is Gentoo, see (Alexander Holler).

If you plan to use Debian Linux have a look at DockStarDebian.

Good hints to optimize Debian to small devices come from Martin Michlmayr,

Two German forums are available and


In case you brick your DockStar you can recover ist by this procedure, see also DockStarJTAG.

List of pages in this category:

-- RudolfReuter 2010-08-27 08:22:33

Go back to CategoryDockStar or FrontPage ; KontaktEmail (ContactEmail)

DockStarOverview (last edited 2014-02-24 11:45:46 by RudolfReuter)