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WHS Vail won't reboot unless I disconnect external disk drives RRS feed

  • Question

  • Apologies in advance if a solution to this question is posted elsewhere, or indeed if this is a known problem. I've searched and looked as much as I could...

    I have WHS Vail Beta build 7600 - all runs very happily and smoothly. My problem is that in order to get the server to reboot, I have to disconnect 2 external storage USB drives until "Starting Windows" appears, otherwise the boot process just hangs shortly after displaying the BIOS details. This is v.inconvenient since it requires attaching a monitor and mouse to this otherwise headless device to catch the boot process at the right point to reconnect the drives.

    The server has a single internal hard drive containing two partitions - one for system and one for storage. Additionally it has 3 external hard drives connected via USB. These drives are all 1TB Western Digital MyBook Essential drives (incidentally they all worked fine on a previous WHS 1 PP3 set-up). 1 drive is configured for holding backup data. The other 2 other configured for storage and use duplication. Viewing the hard drive properties the Model numbers are listed slightly differently. The drive for backup is WD10EACS. The 2 duplicated storage drives are WD10EAVS. I have found that it is the 2 duplicated storage drives that I have to disconnect in order to get the server to boot. If they are connected when the power cycles, the boot process hangs with a black screen v.soon after the BIOS page. Reconnecting the drives any time after the "Starting Windows" message works fine.

    Any ideas to help get this server to boot without disconnecting the external drives would be greatly appreciated.

    Jg.

    Friday, November 19, 2010 3:28 PM

Answers

  • Though it worked in your case with whs v1. I would go into the bios and check the setting for starting. Disable any USB possebilities to start from.

    • Marked as answer by JgCambs Friday, November 19, 2010 5:14 PM
    Friday, November 19, 2010 4:19 PM

All replies

  • Your description of the issue you're having suggests a driver or hardware issue. I'm more inclined to think "hardware" since the two drives causing your problem are the same model, while a different model drive from the same manufacturer doesn't cause a problem.

    I would check with Western Digital to see if they have a firmware update for the drives causing the issue, or I would replace the drives and use them elsewhere.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, November 19, 2010 4:02 PM
    Moderator
  • Though it worked in your case with whs v1. I would go into the bios and check the setting for starting. Disable any USB possebilities to start from.

    • Marked as answer by JgCambs Friday, November 19, 2010 5:14 PM
    Friday, November 19, 2010 4:19 PM
  • Ok - thanks Ken. Was thinking similar. Will probably buy a single replacement drive to start with. Since data is duplicated I am hoping I can just swap old for new - can you point me at any resource that helps with this kind of procedure on Vail? I suppose what I'm interested in doing is avoiding having to re-copy all the storage data afresh. If I swap one old drive for new in this duplicated configuration will WHS take care of the rest for me automatically? Once I've got one new drive in there with the data I need I can replace the second - if you see what I mean?

    Much appreciated,

    Jg.

    Friday, November 19, 2010 4:24 PM
  • Tom - thank you so much. I committed a totally rookie error. Had been messing around trying to install Vail from a USB thumb drive (never got that to work and eventually moved to a USB DVD drive that worked fine). I guess once the thumb drive or DVD drive was removed the boot sequence defaulted to one of the external USB hard drives. I thought I remembered re-configuring the BIOS, but obviously not. My confusion was that the machine booted fine with 1 of the 3 external USB hard drives connected.

    Forums rule! :)

    Jg.

    Friday, November 19, 2010 5:14 PM
  • It seems I'm not as daft as we thought. In order to get the last months of use out of Drive Extender before it disappears (boo) I connected a new USB disk to my server. Lo and behold, it wouldn't reboot. I guess it's a BIOS issue with my hardware - just attaching a new external drive switched the boot order around. Not to the new drive as the primary boot device, but to one of the existing external drives that I use for pooled storage. At least I was prepared for it this time. Hope this entry helps others. I'm using a Shuttle XS35 (no commentary need on the wisdom of that - it's working fine for me thanks, other than this boot problem) with the original BIOS American Megatrends v.080015.

    Kind regards,

    Jg.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010 11:31 AM
  • Jg, I'm pretty sure you won't want me to say this, but using USB drives (I assume USB 2?) as online server storage is fairly daft. USB wasn't designed as a mass storage bus, and it doesn't do a good job for various reasons. Firewire is good, USB 3.0 is better, and eSATA better yet, if you need drives external to your server case.

    USB 2 drives are great for server backup, however. Performance isn't as good as the other technologies I mention, but you really won't care much about that because of how server backup works: it's effectively incremental, and so pretty fast.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, December 2, 2010 1:37 PM
    Moderator
  • I guess I asked for that! :-)

    The new drives I'm adding are Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex desktops and while they are USB 2.0, they can be cheaply upgraded to USB 3.0. However, I've been using this kind of WHS configuration for the best part of 3 or more years and haven't suffered any noticeable throughput bottlenecks. Really, my main purpose for using a WHS is automated backup of stuff on our home network. After that, it's to host files, which consist 95% of music (wav, so require lots of space - I don't FLAC for reasons I won't go into here). We also use the WHS to stream these to a couple of Squeezebox devices we have in the house. Finally, making sure that WHS keeps this music content backed up is what we need. So we're not heavy users of real-time data access. Which is why a lowly Shuttle XS35 is also sufficient for our meagre purposes. The benefit of this setup is that is whisper quiet too - so my dad can get a good night's sleep when he visits without me shutting downs cages full of roaring fans. ;-)

    I appreciate and respect your advice if you think I should be doing different to achieve better? While I'm here, what chance do you think we've got of pursuading Microsoft to do a u-turn on dropping DE? I've registered my vote.

    Kind regards,

    Jg.

    Friday, December 3, 2010 4:14 PM
  • I don't use FLAC either. I've used Apple Lossless for years, but it seems that Vail is unlikely to support that codec, so I've started down the path of re-ripping all my audio to WMA lossless (all 500 GB, and yes, I have a lot of CDs). Though there are bugs in Vail's support of that, too, particularly when streaming remotely. You'd think that Microsoft could get their own consumer codecs completely right, but I suppose that really is too much to ask …

    As for DE coming back …

    <Ken sighs sadly> I don't see it happening. No matter what the true story behind the removal (there are different stories in usually-trustworthy press sources, so possibly nobody outside of Microsoft knows the real reasons), it's very clear that the decision was made weeks or months prior to the announcement last week. In the interim, I'm sure Microsoft has moved forward with whatever they think is a good idea in the post-DE "Colorado" platform world. They're not going to throw that away, not after removing it's predecessor.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, December 3, 2010 4:54 PM
    Moderator