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WHS boots to black screen RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm trying to troubleshoot a WHS that was working fine, but now is completely non-functional.  The system has monitor and keyboard/mouse. 

    The system POSTs fine, seeing both 1TB hard drives in the bios (on an Intel RAID SATA controller (IHC10R if I recall correctly) but not in a RAID configuration.).

    The Windows logo appears with the normal activity indicator. The system will usually run chkdsk. At the end of that (or immediately if check disk was not needed) the screen goes black.
    The hard drive access light continues to for a while, seeming to have bursts of activity followed by a second or so of idle repeating.  Then the system reboots.

    My first check was to enable boot logging.  After it rebooted I attempted to load the recovery console from the installation disk. This disk goes through the initial setup steps, first the character-mode grey-bar progress indicator, then the graphical screen with its progress indicator.  About 2/3rds of the way through that indicator, it presents an alert box "Windows Home Server Setup Error" with the content "Cannot initialize UI subsystem" (or something very close to that, I'm reporting this from memory). Setup then halts.

    The system has 4GB of RAM (2 x 2GB).  I tried reseating the memory and also using only a single stick of RAM (tried each one alone). No difference in the sequence.

    Any suggestions of what might have failed such that it neither boots from the hard disk installation OR the Setup Disk?

    I'm thinking of using the Ultimate Windows Boot CD to verify that the disks are still valid. Normally I'd try a System Recovery or a reinstallation, but with setup unable to run even to the point of having those options, I'm somewhat at a loss.
    Monday, December 1, 2008 10:08 PM

Answers

  • John,

    If you have a large amount of data stored on your server, then the re-install will appear exactly as you see. Towards the end of it's re-install, WHS has to rebuild all the indexes and tombstones and can take hours to complete and can appear that it's 'stuck'.
    It's been mentioned previously, and personally, I reckon there should be some indication about what is taking place in the background.

    Colin



    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.
    • Marked as answer by John Seghers Thursday, December 4, 2008 5:26 PM
    Wednesday, December 3, 2008 5:57 PM
    Moderator
  • John Seghers said:

    Thank you!  Yes, it did finally complete the reinstallation.  And I noticed that there was about 70% and 50% respectively of two 1TB drives in use.

    We will run the disk diagnostics as a double check.

    I had not recalled, however, prior Windows Server 2003 installations performing chkdsk runs between stages of the installation

    That's because this isn't Windows Server 2003. :)

    John Seghers said:

    so that still worries me.  Is it normal for that to happen?

    Yes.
    • Marked as answer by John Seghers Thursday, December 4, 2008 5:25 PM
    Thursday, December 4, 2008 2:24 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Based on the symptoms you're describing one or more of your disks appears to be going bad. Please try mounting the disks in another system, then run chkdsk on these disks. If the disk appear to be OK try reinstall again

     "Cannot initialize UI subsystem" can in most cases be fixed by using another (new) DVD ROM drive. Also please note that if the disk are running in SATA (AHCI) mode you will may to provide storage drivers at two point during install (once during initial install phase, then once more at the start of text mode install (F6). If this is causing your problem you could try and set the disks to run in IDE mode from the system BIOS.
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 5:52 AM
    Moderator
  • Hello,
    try also to reset the Bios to default settings (besides the point, Brubber mentioned - SATA controller should not be in RAID mode in any case).
    You could try also another port for your DVD drive, if replacing (even temporary with a drive from a client PC) would not be an option.
    How much memory is assigned to your video adapter?

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 12:07 PM
    Moderator
  • Thank you for your replies.  I will be working on it again tonight and will run disk diagnostics.

    I will check on the video card info.

    The DVD-drive is a SATA drive. It has been working up to this point, and certainly gets partially through the setup. Is it that certain areas of the disk are easier to read than others? I.e. that the drive may be partially working? It seems odd that it is so consistent as to where it fails.
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 11:34 PM
  • Booted with UBCD4win. Disks were accessible.

    Even though I'd tried booting before with boot logging, the ntbootlog.txt file did not exist.

    Safemode boot halts at file system32\acpitabl.dat.  This file did not exist on the disk.

    Reset BIOS to treat SATA drives as IDE.  This allowed the WHS Setup disk to complete the initial setup. Tried Server Reinstallation.

    System hung at (one of?) the last steps in "Finishing Installation"  It had rebooted several times (planned according to the progress bar title) and on several of these reboots performed chkdsk. The progress bar title was "Finishing OS installation" or something similar.  I think the prior reboot had been after .NET installation.

    The system was hung with constant disk activity, but no indication of progress.  I left this running overnight. I haven't gotten word yet whether it was still hung there this morning.

    It seems to me that the system drive is failing.  I'm going to run Seagate's diagnostics on it next

    BTW, according to UBCD, the memory available is 3.5GB, so the video card is taking 512MB.
    Wednesday, December 3, 2008 5:50 PM
  • John,

    If you have a large amount of data stored on your server, then the re-install will appear exactly as you see. Towards the end of it's re-install, WHS has to rebuild all the indexes and tombstones and can take hours to complete and can appear that it's 'stuck'.
    It's been mentioned previously, and personally, I reckon there should be some indication about what is taking place in the background.

    Colin



    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.
    • Marked as answer by John Seghers Thursday, December 4, 2008 5:26 PM
    Wednesday, December 3, 2008 5:57 PM
    Moderator
  • Thank you!  Yes, it did finally complete the reinstallation.  And I noticed that there was about 70% and 50% respectively of two 1TB drives in use.

    We will run the disk diagnostics as a double check.

    I had not recalled, however, prior Windows Server 2003 installations performing chkdsk runs between stages of the installation, so that still worries me.  Is it normal for that to happen?
    Wednesday, December 3, 2008 11:15 PM
  • John Seghers said:

    Thank you!  Yes, it did finally complete the reinstallation.  And I noticed that there was about 70% and 50% respectively of two 1TB drives in use.

    We will run the disk diagnostics as a double check.

    I had not recalled, however, prior Windows Server 2003 installations performing chkdsk runs between stages of the installation

    That's because this isn't Windows Server 2003. :)

    John Seghers said:

    so that still worries me.  Is it normal for that to happen?

    Yes.
    • Marked as answer by John Seghers Thursday, December 4, 2008 5:25 PM
    Thursday, December 4, 2008 2:24 PM
    Moderator