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WHS Boots to Black Screen with Greater than 6 Drives Connected RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi all,

    This is a bit of a complicated issue which I have done a fair deal of work on up to this point so let me first lay out my WHS hardware setup before I explore the problem and some of the ideas I have tried:

    1. MSI K9N Platinum AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 Ultra MCP ATX AMD Motherboard
      1. AM2 motherboard, NVIDIA chipset, 6 SATA ports, 2 PCI-E X16 slots (the second operates at x1)
    2. Two Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller cards
      1. PCI-E x4 cards, these are NOT RAID CONTROLLER CARDS.  They are simply for adding more SATA ports
      2. The first card is placed in the primary x16 slot on the motherboard, the second card is placed in the secondary x16 slot, which for this motherboard, operates at x1 speed if understand the motherboard documentation properly
      3. These cards have 2 mini-SAS ports on them per card.  Each card has a mini-sas to 4x SATA connector going to the case backplane
      4. This card is based on the Marvell 6480 host controller
      5. Drivers for these cards were installed from the supplied SuperMicro driver disc
    3. Sil3132 PCI-E E-SATA controller
      1. This card is to connect the linked enclosure however I have NOT done this yet, the card is only installed in the system along with the SIL3132 controller driver
    4. Norco 4020 case
      1. The case has 5 rows of 4 hot swap drive bays (space for a total of 20 drives)
        1. This is handled internally by having a backplane split into 5 parts.  There are 2 pin molex inputs per backplane segment and 4 SATA ports.  Thus, for each row of hot swap drive bays you can have 4 drives.  4 drives x 5 rows = 20 drives
        2. Look at the link and view the pictures to get an idea of what I am talking about here
      2. The first 8 SATA ports on the backplane (top 2 rows in the Norco 4020 case on the backplane and externally) are connected to the first Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 in the primary x16 slot
      3. The next 8 SATA ports (next 2 rows of hot swap drive bays) are connected to the other Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller card
      4. The final and 5th row of hot swap drive bays are connected to 4 onboard SATA ports on the motherboard I linked above
    5. RAM
      1. 4GB Corsair DDR2 800Mhz
      2. CPU
      3. Athlon 64 X2 Model ADX6400CZBOX – 3.2GHz’
    6. Video Card
      1. Generic PCI video card for a basic display
    7. Hard drives
      1. OS is installed on 1 Western Digital 640GB hard drive, Model# WD6401AALS
      2. Data is stored on 4 Seagate 1.5TB hard drives, Model # STS31500341AS
      3. Data is stored on 2 Western Digital 1TB hard drives, Model# WD10EACS-00ZJB0
      4. I am attempting to add 2 more Western Digital 1TB hard drives, Model# WD10EACS-00ZJB0
    8. Physical drive setup in the case
      1. 640GB OS drive is connected to a motherboard SATA port in an internal hard drive storage area (not hot swap)
      2. CD RW/DVD drive is connected to another motherboard SATA port
      3. Top row/first row AND second row of hot swap drive bays are connected to the Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 in the primary PCI-E x16 slot
      4. I have 4 Seagate 1.5TB drives and 2 Western Digital 1TB 'Green' drives for a total of 6 drives connected
      5. Third and fourth row of hot swap drive bays are connected to the second Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8
      6. 5th row is connected with SATA cables to 4 onboard SATA ports on the motherboard

    POST Order:

    1. Motherboard BIOS detects RAM and drives
    2. Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller POST begins, both controllers detect what drives/how many are detected and spin the drives up one at a time
      1. After this is done you can press CTRL M to go into the controller configuration utility
      2. The controller utility shows which drives are connected to which controller, these have always been detected properly
    3. System sits at a black screen for some amount of time and either sits there forever or waits 3-5 minutes before showing the WHS loading screen (depending on how many drives are connected)

    What Is Working Properly:

    With the drives in the physical configuration I outlined above (only 6 drives connected) WHS is able to boot although it does so slowly taking 3-5 minutes sitting at a black screen before the WHS loading screen displays.  I should also note that when I attempt to power the system down with the shutdown command it does not shut down, it reboots, though this may be an unrelated issue.

    What The Issue Is:

    The issue arises when I attempt to insert 2 more WD 1TB green drives into the last two hot swap bays on row 2 (the last two available spots on the first controller) OR if I attempt to connect them to ANY of the other hot swap drive bays (the other drive bays being connected from the backplane to the other AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller or 4 of the onboard motherboard SATA ports).  Basically, with 6 drives connected in the hot swap drive bays it boots (albeit slowly sitting at the black screen) with 8 drives it never boots at all.  It is also worth noting that it appears the server is not 'hard locked' at this point, the monitor does not go to sleep, it acts as if it should be displaying something and is a 'bright black' not the "It's turned off" black. You can also press ctrl + alt + delete at this point and reboot it so it is responding to keyboard presses.

    Now, the previous symptom happens if the server is turned off.  If I am logged into WHS when I attempt to install 2 additional drives on my first AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller I can see both drives appear in the WHS console briefly and then the entire console locks up and the server becomes completely unstable, forcing me to hard reboot it with the switch on the case.   The server then POSTS normally and the AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller detects ALL the drives correctly (including the 2 new additional drives, so it does see 4 1.5TB drives and 4 1TB drives).   However, after the controller drive detection, after it spins up all 8 discs, the WHS boot screen never shows up, it just stays at a black screen as when you try to install the drives while the server is turned off.  The server will not boot successfully until it is rebooted and the 2 1TB WD I just added to the AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller are removed from the hot swap drive bays.

    What I have Tried to Resolve the Issue:

    Installing the two 1TB WD drives in the next 'row' of hot swap drive bays, the 3rd row in the Norco 4020 case (ie connecting them to the other Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller I have) WHILE WINDOWS HOME SERVER IS RUNNING allows the drives to work properly and does not cause any stability issues within WHS.  If I reboot the server with these 2 additional drives connected, 8 drives total connected, 6 on the 1st controller, 2 drives on the second controller it boots to a black screen. 

    For troubleshooting purposes I have taken ALL 8 drives out of the first two rows and moved them to the 3rd and 4th rows of hot swap drive bays in the Norco 4020 case.  Now, they are no longer on the first and second rows of the backplane AND now the drives are connected to the OTHER AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller I have.  This was to determine if there was an issue with the first two rows of the backplane or with my first AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller.    This test exhibits the exact same symptoms I outlined above.  With 8 drives connected it won’t boot into WHS.   If I remove 2 it boots without any issues on the other controller.

    So, basically what I am saying here is that the controller functions without ANY issues as long as there are only 6 drives connected to it.  Connecting 8 to one AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller or 8 to the system total will not allow the Windows Home Server OS to load, it sits at a black screen after the controller POST.  Connecting the drives to another controller, so the first AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller only has 6 drives connected, WHILE WHS IS ALREADY BOOTED allows the system to function without any issues (it doesn’t lock up like it might if you put all 8 drives on one controller forcing the hard reboot) but will hang at a black screen if you choose to reboot the system.  So far in all configurations I have tried, if I enter the AOC-SASLP-MV8 configuration utility it ALWAYS sees the proper drives connected to the proper controller.

    From what I can tell WHS becomes nonbootable with 8 drives connected no matter the configuration. From boot I have had 6 drives on the first controller and the final 2 on either the secondary controller OR the final 2 on the motherboard controller. Either way from boot the system finishes the controller boot screen and then goes to black. Now, I haven't tried swapping drives all over the place yet (4 on one controller, 2 on another, 2 on another etc) to see if I can get the server to be bootable with 8 total. However, I feel like that is defeating the purpose. Even if I got that to work, I want to be able to use ALL 20 available drive bays on the server someday.

    So, to recap, so far the ONLY way I have been able to operate the server with 8 drives installed in the following conditions (even then it has the issue when you reboot):

    1. Startup WHS with only 6 drives installed in the hot swap drive bays (none of this is counting the 1 OS drive internally). It will sit at a black screen for 3-4 minutes before showing the WHS loading screen.

    2. Insert 2 additional hard drives connected to a SEPARATE CONTROLLER from the other 6 after WHS has fully booted. If these are placed on the same controller as the other 6 the server becomes unresponsive and has to be hard rebooted.

    3. The 2 additional drives appear to function fine while on the other controller but if the server is rebooted the controllers detect all the drives fine and then it hangs at a black screen prior to the WHS loading screen

    4. It is also worth noting that it appears the server is not 'hard locked' at this point, the monitor does not go to sleep, it acts as if it should be displaying something and is a 'bright black' not the "It's turned off" black. You can also press ctrl + alt + delete at this point and reboot it so it is responding to keyboard presses 

    Potential Solutions?

    At this point I am running out of ideas. This afternoon I am going to try booting into WHS, inserting 2 drives on another controller (so that the system doesn’t lock up and then 'add' them to WHS so that they are formatted as backup drives so that they aren't added to the storage pool; I don't want any data placed on them (they are currently full of data that I already migrated over to other drives in the server). I will see if the server is bootable after I do this.  I don’t see why it should matter if they have been formatted by WHS or not but I don’t have many other ideas.

    I have a ticket open with supermicro but I don't believe they will be able to help me for two reasons. A) All the drives are correctly detected in the controller configuration prior to WHS loading, leading me to think this is a WHS software issue and B) Their English language skills didn't appear to be top-notch which leads me to wonder how easily they will understand my support ticket. Hopefully they will simply provide me with a different/newer driver or controller BIOS but I have a feeling it won't be that simple.   I am particularly doubtful that it is a controller BIOS issue because in the controller configuration utility it sees all the drives properly, even with 8 connected.

    I'm contemplating spending the $80 and opening a support ticket with Microsoft but I am not sure how helpful that will be either. I am wondering if there is some issue with my WHS setup anyhow as it takes sitting 3-4 minutes at a black screen before it shows the WHS loading screen even with just the 6 drives installed; this doesn't seem normal either.  Also the fact that it reboots when I tell it to shutdown from WHS is concerning.

    Several days prior to adding the 2 additional drives I also installed an NVIDIA motherboard utility to enable teaming, along with updated NFORCE drivers.   I may try to uninstall the NVIDA drivers and go back with some other motherboard drivers from MSI’s website but I think that's a stretch for a solution to this issue.  If this was an issue, why would it work with 6 drives connected but not with 4?  It seems like if it was a motherboard driver issue the system wouldn’t work period.  Plus, unless I move drives to row 5, only the OS drive and the CD/RW are connected to the motherboard SATA ports.

    It’s possible that this is a motherboard BIOS configuration issue, but with 8 drives physically installed, connected to 1 controller card it sees all the drives (as does the controller BIOS).  There doesn’t seem to be any options in the BIOS that really relate to this situation though I could be wrong.

    I have theSIL3132 PCI-E x1 card in the system was well with 2 e-sata ports. I've tried physically removing that but it didn't appear to make any difference.  I will also try to remove the secondary AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller to see if this makes any difference; though as I have mentioned this before it does almost defeat the purpose.  However, if it does boot properly with 8 drives connected to one card with the other physically removed at least it might point me to what the issue is.

    If anyone else has any suggestions I'm open to hearing them.  Please let me know if you require additional details, I have tried my best to be thorough with this complicated issue.  I appreciate the time it took anyone to fully read this post, if they did.

    Friday, April 10, 2009 7:41 PM

All replies

  • I had a very similar symptom but with, of course, a completely different system.  I had two Sil3114 PCI Sata cards and the more drives I added to them the longer and longer it sat on the black screen until finally it around 6 or 7, it would never boot at all.  I also had an PCI 4 port IDE card (sil0680a)  I only had 4 PCI slots, so I had them lined up sil3144, sil3144, sil0680a, empty. 

    I think there was some sort of channel interference, because when I lined them up, sil3144, sil0680a, sil3144, empty - it recognized all drives quickly and proceeded to a rapid boot.

    This may or may not be your issue, but the symptoms were so similar, I thought I'd share my experience.
    Sunday, April 12, 2009 12:57 AM
  • How do you know that this is a WHS problem? What happens if you try to boot Windows XP or Vista? What about other versions of Windows Server? Is there nothing in the event logs? Have you tried booting with boot logging enabled?

    But my prime suspect is the PSU. Is the PSU up to the job of powering all these drives on simultaneously? This would explain why you can add them later. Remember that you're not looking at the overall rating, but the rating of the power lines powering the hard drives.

    qts
    Sunday, April 12, 2009 11:42 PM
  • I had a very similar symptom but with, of course, a completely different system.  I had two Sil3114 PCI Sata cards and the more drives I added to them the longer and longer it sat on the black screen until finally it around 6 or 7, it would never boot at all.  I also had an PCI 4 port IDE card (sil0680a)  I only had 4 PCI slots, so I had them lined up sil3144, sil3144, sil0680a, empty. 

    I think there was some sort of channel interference, because when I lined them up, sil3144, sil0680a, sil3144, empty - it recognized all drives quickly and proceeded to a rapid boot.

    This may or may not be your issue, but the symptoms were so similar, I thought I'd share my experience.
    Hi Buck$ter,

    Thanks for the reply; this was very insightful. It has been a long couple of days working on this and I haven't been taking notes so I will do my best to summarize my findings.  Basically, I think you are on to the right train of thought here.  I think there IS some sort of channel/IRQ/motherboard issue going on.  I can't seem to get it to behave consistently while posting.  Through numerous CMOS resets, disabling items in the BIOS, removing and reinserting PCI video cards I have seen a variety of POST errors and I can only RARELY get it to POST properly with 8 drives (as long as 2 are on a secondary controller). 

    Based on the advice of someone else in another forum I've experiemented a bit with disabling PCI-E Spread Spectrum and SATA Spread Spectrum.  I can think of at least one time where after I disabled these, with 8 drives inserted (6 on one controller 2 on another) it rapid booted no problem.  Excitedly I shut it down and placed them all on 1 controller; no dice.

    Also I've seen a few times:

    No enough space to copy PCI option rom [05:00:00]”
    “No enough space to copy PCI option rom [04:00:00]”
    And some error about wanting to load CMOS failsafe defaults and that there is no floppy drive

    I have a feeling that the PCI video card is causing some of these issues, unfortunately if I remove it the machine doesn't boot.  My guess is that it is sitting at a POST screen with some error that says "Press F1" or F11 to continue.  I've put a solid 10 hours or so into this problem over the last few days and no matter what I can't get it to work with 8 drives.  Also, even when it DOES boot properly with 6 inserted it still hangs on the black screen before booting into WHS for FAR too long.

    So, like any true American consumer I've given up.  I ordered a replacement motherboard and CPU from newegg instead.  This time with several features to combat possible issues:

    1.  The motherboard has onboard graphics, so no need to use the PCI graphics card
    2.  The motherboard has 3 x PCI Express x16 (dual x16 or triple x8), instead of 1 PCI-E x16 slot and another PCI-E x16 that runs at x1.  At first I was only interested in TWO PCI-E x16 slots but I decided that there was a potential that using my onboard SATA ports was also contributing to the issue.  So, this way, with 3 slots, if I need to migrate away from the onboard SATA ports I can buy a third AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller card and place an additional 4 drives on it.  So that ALL of the 20 hard drives are off the motherboard controller.  Heck, I could place the boot disk on controller as well and fully disbale the motherboard ports
    4.  The CPU I ordered is a 45W AMD dual core CPU.  Hopefully, this might reduce any power issues I might be encountering.  However. the PSU is a 850W Corsair, so in all honestly I doubt this is poart of the issue.

    Hopefully I will be able to migrate to the new motherboard and CPU without requiring a  WHS reinstall.  I have been able to do this in the past (as in 2 weeks ago) with both a Windows XP and Windows Vista system.

    The CPU and motherboard I ordered are:

    ASUS M3N-HT Deluxe/HDMI AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA nForce 780a SLI HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 5050e Brisbane 2.6GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 45W Dual-Core Processor

    It was incredibly difficult to find an AMD AM2/AM2+ motherboard that was:

    1.  A decent price
    2.  Had 3 or 4 PCI-E slots
    3.  6 SATA ports
    4.  Onboard video
    5.  Potentially dual NIC's (I gave up on this)

    I considered Foxconn Destroyer AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA nForce 780a SLI ATX AMD Motherboard for quite a while but ultimately I decided that I didn't like that it had 2 motherboard ports that REQUIRED you to use AHCI to use them.  I liked that it had quad PCI-E and Dual NIC's but I thought I might run into some issues in the future if I had SATA ports that required the use of AHCI.  I wasn't sure but at this point I felt like this motherboard and the one I chose were fairly equivalent anyhow.  I also looked at a few options from both MSI and DFI that had all the features I wanted but lacked onboard video.  Due to all the issues I had had with the PCI video card (potentially) I decided this was a deal breaker for me and looked at other options.

    I wasn't thrilled with either Foxxcon OR ASUS's support and RMA track record but I couldn't find many  better options.  As I said before, it was incredibly hard finding a motherboard that had all these features (at least 3 PCI-E ports really narrowed the selection but I REALLY wanted the option to have a 3rd AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller if using the onboard SATA ports connected to the backplane didn't work out even with the new motherboard).

    @Quentin Stephens

    Due to the PSU's power rating I actually don't believe that this is contributing to the issue.  Also, as I have outlined above I do NOT any longer believe that this is necessarily a WHS issue.  I believe it is directly related to the motherboard and some bizarre behavior.

    I also did take a look at the event logs quite some time ago (first thing I did) and there was nothing at all in terms of related errors.  As far as booting into Vista or XP, I don't have either of those OS's on that box and I am not sure it would be worth the hassle to test that as at this point I am FAIRLY certain (now) that this is a motherboard related issue.
    Monday, April 13, 2009 12:10 AM
  • @Quentin Stephens

    Due to the PSU's power rating I actually don't believe that this is contributing to the issue.  Also, as I have outlined above I do NOT any longer believe that this is necessarily a WHS issue.  I believe it is directly related to the motherboard and some bizarre behavior.

    Please, it may not be the problem this time, but you need to look beyond the total wattage label and look at the wattage on the lines supplying the hard drives. You have 6 HDDs. Your 1.5 TB Seagate drivess take 2.8 Amps to power up. At 12V, that's 34W. Each. And they're the power-efficient ones. If you had 6 of them, you'd need 204W on the 12V line. And those 1.5 TB drives are the 'green' drives. I've not checked the requirements of your other drives - I'm off out imminently - but you should ensure that your PSU can cope with that load on the 12V circuit. Alternatively, there may be a BIOS setting or HDD jumper to power each up in turn (I've seen this with some SCSI drives).

    qts
    Monday, April 13, 2009 5:49 PM
  • Hi Quentin,

    Good point, it does depend on how much per rail you have.  My PSU is:

    Corsair 850W

    It has a single, dedicated 12V rail.

    Also, to address your other concern the AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller cards that the drives are connected to do a staggered spin up as part of the controller "POST" routine.
    Monday, April 13, 2009 6:02 PM
  • Give this a shot, because it worked for me.

    I was converting an existing server over to WHS and simultaneously changing out a finicky SAT2-MV8 card with a new AOC-SASLP-MV8. Initially I could not get WHS to install with the AOC-SASLP-MV8 in the system (hung at the "Loading files..." screen before the GUI pops up). My system drive was on the onboard controller, so I just pulled the AOC-SASLP-MV8 out to get it installed hoping it would work after. Well, it didn't. Once the AOC-SASLP-MV8 was back in the system, I got the exact results you did, a black screen after the post process.

    Luckily, I found a solution very quickly. I noticed in the
    AOC-SASLP-MV8 BIOS it had an option to disable INT 13h. I disabled that and it booted immediately! Give that a shot and see if it solves your problem too. I'm wishing I had tried it before removing the controller to install WHS, because I'm betting it was the same issue for the install as well.
    Saturday, April 18, 2009 1:21 PM
  • Give this a shot, because it worked for me.

    I was converting an existing server over to WHS and simultaneously changing out a finicky SAT2-MV8 card with a new AOC-SASLP-MV8. Initially I could not get WHS to install with the AOC-SASLP-MV8 in the system (hung at the "Loading files..." screen before the GUI pops up). My system drive was on the onboard controller, so I just pulled the AOC-SASLP-MV8 out to get it installed hoping it would work after. Well, it didn't. Once the AOC-SASLP-MV8 was back in the system, I got the exact results you did, a black screen after the post process.

    Luckily, I found a solution very quickly. I noticed in the
    AOC-SASLP-MV8 BIOS it had an option to disable INT 13h. I disabled that and it booted immediately! Give that a shot and see if it solves your problem too. I'm wishing I had tried it before removing the controller to install WHS, because I'm betting it was the same issue for the install as well.
    Hi GelatinousSlime,

    Thanks for the suggestion that sounded like a really good plan.  Unfortunately it doesn't look like that works for this issue.  I was very excited when I read your post and went to try it right away.  However, even after disabling INT13H on both AOC-SASLP-MV8 controllers it still boots to a black screen.  Though, it did, slightly, fix another issue.  That other issue being that when I have both controllers in and the server filled with 8 drives on the first controller, I can't select my 640GB hard drive as a bootable drive option.  The BIOS only lists the 8 hard drives on the first controller; none of the onboard ports as boot devices.  When I disabeld INT 13h I was able to select hard drives connected to the motherboard as boot devices without any of the drives on the AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller showing up as bootable devices in the motherboard BIOS.  However, even this small fix doesn't appear to be completely repeatable.  Sometimes, disabling INT13H still doesn't allow me to select my 640GB drive as a bootable device.  It prevents listing the AOC-SASLP-MV8 primary controller devices as bootable but then only lists SOME of the drives connected to the onboard ports, not the 640GB drive.

    I should also note that I did get the new motherboard I linked above installed and WHS reinstalled with the SATA ports set to AHCI (I slipstreamed the AHCI drivers onto a flash drive to do the WHS install):

    ASUS M3N-HT Deluxe/HDMI AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA nForce 780a SLI HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

    However, of course this did not resolve the issue it just changed what the issue is slightly.  Here are the diffferences between the issue now and when I had the previous motherboard:

    1.  It now shows the WHS loading splash screen and then boots to black, with the prior motherboard it would simply go to black after posting without showing the WHS loading screen
    2.  The controllers detect drives much quicker, it used to be that there would be 4-5 .... periods before it moved to detecting the next drivem now there is only 1
    3.  When WHS is booted (only workable when I have only 4-6 drives inserted) the machine obeys shut down commands normally; on the previous motherboard if you told it to shut down it would reboot
    4.  I was able to get the machine to boot into WHS ONCE with 6 drives on the first controller, 3 on the onboad ports (not counting the OS drive also on onboard) AFTER I DISABLED SATA SPREAD SPECTRUM.  However, I am unable to replicate this.  Currently even with 6 on the primary, 3 on the secondary, sata spread spectrum disabled it still doesn't seem to work.

    I've tried many different combinations of things at this point.  I've tried moving around the AOC-SASLP-MV8 controllers to different PCI-E slots, I tried disabling all the onboard SATA ports and moving the boot drive to the AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller (this made it easier to select the OS drive as a bootable device), various settings with INT13H disabled, various settings with PCI-E spread spectrum enabled and disabled, various settings with SATA spread sprectrum enabled or disabled.  I've tried a variety of settings with only just one controller card installed.  The net result seems to be that no matter what now it shows the WHS loading splash screen and then goes to a black screen as long as there is 8 or more drives installed.  I have to imagine there is some secret combination of motherboard BIOS settings that will allow this to work, I just can't seem to find it.  It may be that I have to do something with setting IRQ's but I wouldn't have the foggiest idea of how to start with that.

    I have to say I am just a tad more than slightly agitated at this point; it's difficult when it doesn't SEEM to follow any pattern.  I may try to reinstall the OS with INT13H disabled on both controllers and if that doesn't work try another OS reinstall with the boot drive connected to the controllers and the motherboard ports disabled (I will probably have to slipstream
    AOC-SASLP-MV8 drives into the WHS install if I do this).

    Anyhow, any further thoughts are appreciated.  I really appreciate your thoughts GelatinousSlime, it did give me glorious hope for a brief period.
    Saturday, April 18, 2009 10:54 PM
  • I decided to reinstall WHS again and take a few notes this time.

    BIOS Setup Prior to OS Installation:

    1.  Basically disabled anything I don't use (audio, HDMI, COM ports, serial ports, IDE drives etc)
    2.  Set SATA devices to AHCI mode
    3.  SATA spread spectrum and PCI-E Spread Spectrum are both set to disabled
    4.  In the AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller card BIOS BOTH card are set to have int13h disabled
    5.  In the motherboard BIOS (with int13h disabled on the controller cards) on the list to select bootable hard drive priorities ONLY the hard drives connected to the internal SATA controller are listed as options and I correctly placed the 640GB drive at the top of the list

    Reinstalled WHS

    1.  Reinstalled WHS via a flash drive that has AHCI drivers for my motherboard SATA ports slipstreamed in
    2.  While the install was taking place there were 7 disks on the primary AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller card and 4 drives connected to the onboard SATA ports in hot swap drive bays, with an internal SATA drive (640GB OS drive) and SATA DVD-RW drive connected as well
    3.  The installer correctly used the 640GB drive as the installation drive, even though it didn't really noticably let me specify
    4.  After the installation finished the server booted without any issues
    5.  All drives on the motherboard SATA controller ports show up in the OS

    Driver Installation

    1.  Installed NVIDIA motherboard drivers, boots without any issues
    2.  Installed drivers for the primary
    AOC-SASLP-MV8 card (drivers from the Super Micro disc) by manually pointing the driver installation wizard to the .inf location .  After this driver is installed Windows pops up with a notification that it wants to install a 'Marvell RAID virtual device' which I clicked OK to.  If you try to manually point the 'Marvell RAID virtual device' installation to the inf file from the supermicro disc it says "access is denied" and won't install.  If you let it install 'automatically' it appears to install properly.
    3.  After this driver installation was done I was able to see the 7 disks on the primary AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller card in disk management and was able to briefly see them in the WHS console.  Afterwards the entire machine locks up.  I am able to press control alt delete and try to force a restart but the machine never responds and eventually I have to just manually press the reboot key.
    4.  After this the machine boots to a black screen after showing the WHS loading splash screen.  You cannot press ctrl alt delete at this screen to start the post/boot process again, you have to manully press the restart button
    5.  Rebooting the server and pressing F8 to select last known good configuration allows WHS to boot again and as you can imagine it uninstalls the
    AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller card driver

    To me this all points to a driver issue.  What driver are you using
    GelatinousSlime and how did you install it?  The only driver I have is the one that came on the SM disc, version 3.1.0.17 and I am selecting the i386 driver, not the amd64 of course.  I can't seem to find any other drivers for that card online either.

    I am going to play with the driver installation some more and see if there is any way to get it to work under WHS; obviously it looks like it is working for some people.  Barring that as a troubleshooting method all I can think of to do is:

     1. Try to slipstream the AOC-SASLP-MV8 controller card driver into my WHS installation like I did with the motherboard SATA AHCI driver and see if the OS is bootable afterwards
    2.  Try to install Vista, XP or Server 2008 onto the server and see if I the OS is operable with the controller card drivers installed and multiple drives connected.  I would PREFER not to do this because then I would have to again slipstream AHCI drivers again.  Chances are if I did this I would use Vista.
    3.  Install some other OS like FreeNas etc to see if the Linux drivers that SuperMicro provides work from there.
    4.  Contact SuperMicro again (I have a week or so ago already) and check again to see if there is another driver to use or a different method to install the driver

    Sunday, April 19, 2009 2:52 AM
  • ...
    3.  When WHS is booted (only workable when I have only 4-6 drives inserted) the machine obeys shut down commands normally; on the previous motherboard if you told it to shut down it would reboot
    ...
    Just as a point of reference, every time I have seen this symptom (reboot on shutdown), the answer has been to replace the power supply with a larger, stronger one. There are other potential causes, chief among them being the driver issue that you mention you suspect elsewhere. It's even possible that your specific combination of hardware has some subtle incompatibility that's causing your problem.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Sunday, April 19, 2009 1:47 PM
    Moderator
  • ...
    3.  When WHS is booted (only workable when I have only 4-6 drives inserted) the machine obeys shut down commands normally; on the previous motherboard if you told it to shut down it would reboot
    ...
    Just as a point of reference, every time I have seen this symptom (reboot on shutdown), the answer has been to replace the power supply with a larger, stronger one. There are other potential causes, chief among them being the driver issue that you mention you suspect elsewhere. It's even possible that your specific combination of hardware has some subtle incompatibility that's causing your problem.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Thanks for the reply Ken, you make a good point.  I would be inclined to agree with you that it might be a PSU issue with the reboot on shutdown problem however, in this case that seems slightly unlikely as I did replace the motherboard and CPU and the issue went away completely.

    Unfortunately I'm still struggling with the driver install, As per usual it detected an 'unknown scsi' device and I point it to the MV8 drivers. It notifies you that the drivers have not passed the Microsoft compatibility testing. As soon as that driver is installed it pops up with the wizard wanting to install the 'Marvel RAID Virtual' device. To which I simply allowed it to install and then rebooted the PC. On reboot it displays a black screen after showing the WHS loading screen. Using F8 and selecting 'Last Known Good Configuration' allows it to boot again and removes the drive.

    At this point I will probably continue with my other two options when I get some time, though I am not convinced either will resolve my issue.  These being to try to slipstream the MV8 drivers into the WHS install (like I did with AHCI) and to try to slipstream AHCI drivers into a Vista install and see if I can get the MV8's up and running in Vista with drives attached.
    Sunday, April 19, 2009 6:12 PM
  • Sorry for the delay, I thought I had it set to email me on replies but evidently not.

    I am just using the driver provided on the CD that came with the card. I installed to a drive connected to the on-board controller without the AOC-SASLP-MV8 in the system at all. Then I installed the AOC-SASLP-MV8 and manually pointed to the INF file on the CD and let it auto-install the virtual device exactly as you said you did. At that point all 8 disks connected to the AOC-SASLP-MV8 were visible and I added them to my storage pool. I currently have 9 disks running off a 650w PSU, but 8 of the 9 are WD GreenPower and the 9th is an older disk. I have rebooted the server several times now and it has come up perfectly every time.

    Here's a few differences between my setup in yours that might possibly explain it. I'm running on an older AMD board (Asus K8N-LR) without any AHCI options in the bios and I didn't slipstream any drivers at all for the installation. I'm only running a single
    AOC-SASLP-MV8 in the motherboard's only PCI-E slot. Everything else is integrated into the motherboard, there are no other cards of any kind installed. I also do not have an internal DVD drive of any kind connected. I did my install off of an external USB DVD drive.

    Anyways, I believe disabling Int13h DID fix your initial problem, you were just unlucky enough to also have another problem. The blank screen before the loading splash and a blank screen after the loading splash are two completely different issues I believe. I think the blank immediately after post is an issue with some kind of hardware check or diagnostic that it runs when it first starts to load, and the blank after the splash screen is most likely a driver issue if it is anything like any other MS OS I've had that happen to before.

    Now, I'm really new to WHS so perhaps I don't really know, but is there anything in particular that requires you to have AHCI support working for the drives connected to the on-board controller? Have you tried any combinations that included AHCI support being disabled in the BIOS and installing without any AHCI drivers slipstreamed?  That would be the first thing I would try if I were you.
    Tuesday, April 21, 2009 2:56 AM
  • Not a bad point about AHCI drivers being an issue but based on my symptoms I am not entirely convinced that could be an issue.  If you recall, when I had the previous motherboard and CPU that I had pretty much the same issues with that I do now, that wasn't using AHCI mode.  Those SATA ports were operating in IDE emulation mode; still the same issue (with some differences).  Also, the only reason I need to have AHCI enabled is because of the lame way this new motherboard functions.  Basically, ports 1-4 will work in IDE emulation mode, however, that disables ports 5-6.  You can only use all 6 ports if ALL the ports are set to either AHCI or RAID mode.

    I should note that I did try to reinstall WHS and it wouldn't let me select the SM drivers with "add drivers" tool in the WHS installer; the installer locked up when I tried to do this. 

    So I decided to install Vista with the BIOS set to AHCI, which worked without any problems.  When I tried to 'Add Drivers' from the SM CD to my Vista installation it couldn't do it; forcing me to reinstall Vista without doing this (which worked fine).  After booting into Vista I installed the SM drivers from their driver disc.  I am not sure if this is again related to a USB IRQ conflict issue but it also made the keyboard and mouse slightly lock up while it is installing the drivers from within Vista.  After they were installed Vista locked up just like WHS does after you install the controller drivers.  After the driver install Vista boots to a black screen just like WHS does after the driver install.

    I tried disabling USB in the BIOS and plugging in a PS/2 keyboard but it still boots to a black screen.   Then I reinstalled Vista with USB disabled and PS/2 keyboard plugged in and immediately installed the SM drivers as soon as I could get to the desktop.  The PC still locked up and booted to a black screen, even with USB completely disabled in the BIOS and only a PS/2 keyboard connected.  This might rule out the USB IRQ issue.

    Next, I pulled the the controller I have been using as primary, put the "secondary" controller in the primary PCI-E slot and tried to boot into my Vista installation (that has the drivers installed); still boots to a black screen.

    In an effort to make things as similiar to your setup as possible GelatinousSlime I am going to set the BIOS to IDE emulation mode for the SATA ports and install WHS with only one controller card in the system.
    Tuesday, April 21, 2009 3:36 AM
  • Well, I set the BIOS to IDE emulation mode for the SATA ports and reinstalled with only one controller card in the system. Same symptoms as before, after I installed the controller card drivers I was able to see the 7 drives connected to the controller in the WHS console for a brief moment before it hard locked. A reboot had the same symptoms as usual, WHS loading screen and then to black.

    I am going to try another WHS reinstall with NO drives connected other than the OS drive and internal DVD/RW (I will just pull everything out of the hot swap drive bays) AND neither of the AOC-SASLP-MV8 controllers installed in the PC.  After boot I will install the motherboard drivers, reboot, install the controller card physically (and drivers), reboot, then slide all the controller card drives in to the hot swap drive bays.

    ***UPDATE***

    I tried another WHS install with NO drives connected other than the OS drive and DVD-RW/RW, in SATA IDE mode, not AHCI.  After WHS was up and running I installed the motherboard drivers and then rebooted.  Afterwards I shut down and physically installed the AOC-SASLP-MV8 in the primary PCI-E slot, then booted up and installed the drivers.  With no drives connected to the AOC-SASLP-MV8 I was able to boot into WHS without any issues.

    After rebooting with 7 drives connected to the AOC-SASLP-MV8 it hung at a black screen after the WHS loading screen again.  Another reboot with 4 drives on the primary controller controller allowed it to boot.  I then shutdown and inserted another drive on the primary controller, total of 5 on the first controller (6 total in the system counting the OS drive).  The system then booted without any issues.  I shut down again and inserted another drive on the primary controller, total of 6 on the first controller (7 total in the system counting the OS drive).  This is where it hung on loading at a black screen.  So as soon as I hit 6 drives on the primary controller, it hangs.

    So, I moved the drive in bay 6 (the Norco 4020 has 5 rows of 4 drives, I am counting starting on the left going right, top to bottom so bay 6 is row 2 drive 2) to bay 7 and it booted!  So I slowly added drives to each bay until all of the first two rows EXCEPT bay 6 was full and it continued to boot.  I added drives to the onboard ports (the two that I could use), still boots (I was shutting down in between adding each drive).  Then, I shut down and installed the other AOC-SASLP-MV8.  Afterwards I continued to slowly add drives until I had the machine up and booting with 16 drives (I ran out of drives to use)!  Currently all slots are filled except bay 6, 1 bay on controller 2 (ran out of drives) and 2 bays on the bottom row (these are connected to AHCI only ports and I couldn't plug anything into them for the moment as I had installed the OS in SATA IDE mode).  If I had 3 more drives and was operating in AHCI mode I suspect I could fil all the ports.  After it was up and running I moved a drive back to bay 6 and it worked!  My only guess is that the drives I had been placing in it before during my testing were not fitting right in the connectors.  Tomorrow I intend to mess around quite a bit with drives in bay 6 and see what was causing it to malfunction with certain drives that would prevent WHS from booting. I also plan to reinstall WHS in AHCI mode, which I fully expect will work this time.  It looks like that damn bay 6 was messing everything up.  I will also try to borrow a few more drives, so that I can make sure it works if all 20 bays are filled.

    It looks like I am finally getting somewhere; I am going to try to not be excited.
    Tuesday, April 21, 2009 4:46 AM
  • In case this might be helpful to anyone I was able to slipstream both my motherboard AHCI drivers (NVIDIA 780a drivers) and the AOC-SASLP-MV8 drivers into a WHS installation. I followed the slipstream install guide here and copied the drivers into the DOS folder.  However, as both drivers have a txtsetup.oem file I "joined" those two files together so that both drivers would install.  I was able to see drives connected to all the controllers during WHS setup with this method.  The install worked perfectly.  After boot I simply installed the motherboard drivers which worked fine (though I believe at some point my onboard NIC went bad as it doesn't appear to work, oh well).

    Here are the contents of the txtsetup.oem file I joined together/created on my own (obviously this will be different depending on what motherboard controller drivers you have):

    [Disks]
    d1 = "NVIDIA AHCI DRIVER (SCSI) disk 1",\disk1,\
    d2 = "NVIDIA AHCI DRIVER (SCSI) disk 2",\disk2,\
    d3 = "Marvell SAS Driver Diskette", \mv64xx, \
    d4 = "Marvell SAS Driver Diskette", \mv64xx, \i386
    d5 = "Marvell SAS Driver Diskette", \mv64xx, \amd64
    
    [Defaults]
    SCSI = BUSDRV
    
    [SCSI]
    BUSDRV = "NVIDIA nForce Storage Controller (required)"
    i386_64xx   = "Marvell 64xx/63xx SAS Controller 32bit Driver", mv64xx 
    amd64_64xx  = "Marvell 64xx/63xx SAS Controller 64bit Driver", mv64xx
    
    [Files.scsi.BUSDRV]
    driver = d1,nvgts.sys,BUSDRV
    inf    = d1, nvgts.inf
    catalog = d1, nvata.cat
    dll    = d1,nvraidco.dll
    dll     = d1,NvRCoENU.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoAr.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoCs.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoDa.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoDe.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoEl.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoEng.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoEs.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoEsm.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoFi.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoFr.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoHe.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoHu.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoIt.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoJa.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoKo.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoNl.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoNo.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoPl.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoPt.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoPtb.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoRu.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoSk.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoSl.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoSv.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoTh.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoTr.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoZhc.dll
    dll     = d2,NvRCoZht.dll
    
    [Files.SCSI.i386_64xx] 
    inf	= d4, mv64xx.inf
    inf 	= d4, mvnodrv.inf
    driver	= d4, mv64xx.sys, mv64xx
    catalog = d4, mv64xx.cat
    
    [Files.SCSI.amd64_64xx] 
    inf	= d5, mv64xx.inf
    inf 	= d5, mvnodrv.inf
    driver	= d5, mv64xx.sys, mv64xx
    catalog = d5, mv64xx.cat
    
    [Config.BUSDRV]
    value = parameters\PnpInterface,5,REG_DWORD,1
    
    [Config.mv64xx]
    value = parameters\PnpInterface,5,REG_DWORD,1
    
    [HardwareIds.scsi.BUSDRV]
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0036", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_003E", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0054", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0055", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0266", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0267", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_037E", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_037F", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_036F", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_03F6", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_03F7", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_03E7", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_044D", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_044E", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_044F", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0554", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0555", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0556", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_07F4", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_07F5", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_07F6", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_07F7", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0768", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0AD5", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0AD4", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0AB9", "nvgts"
    id = "PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0AB8", "nvgts"
    
    [HardwareIds.SCSI.i386_64xx] 
    id = "PCI\VEN_11AB&DEV_6440", "mv64xx" 
    id = "PCI\VEN_11AB&DEV_6485", "mv64xx"
    
    [HardwareIds.SCSI.amd64_64xx] 
    id = "PCI\VEN_11AB&DEV_6440", "mv64xx" 
    id = "PCI\VEN_11AB&DEV_6485", "mv64xx"
    

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009 8:04 PM
  • It looks like I am finally getting somewhere; I am going to try to not be excited.
    Any development on this mate? Khor
    Tuesday, August 30, 2011 2:16 PM