Booting off a SCSI Disk Controller??

OK .. i had a Windows NT server that has just died on me and i have now replaced it. The two Hard Disk Drives in the dead server are SCSI disks and one of them contains an operating system (Windows NT) and is a boot disk. The other SCSI disk is just a data disc I have transferred these disks to another system that has windows XP with standard normal IDE drives. When i boot up in windows xp i can see the drives (and relevant partitions) in "My Computer" of the Windows XP pc. But i would like to be able to boot from the disk that has the Windows NT Server on it.

In the bios of this particular pc that i am using there is an option to change the boot sequence from HDD to SCSI which is what i have done. But upon bootup it doesn't recognise either of the scsi disks and boot halts asking me to insert a system disk etc. (As i have totally disabled the IDE HDD from the bootup sequence. eg. When the boot sequence is ... floppy, scsi, hdd, cdrom .. the windows xp operating system boots up. But when the boot sequence is .. floppy, scsi, cdrom .. the bootup stops with the error message "replace system disk" or words to that effect, meaning it doesn't recognise either of the scsi disks in there).

On bootup i have tried to press both Ctrl+A & Ctrl+C to see if there is a SCSI bios program that i may be able to get into but to no avail. I think what is happening is that the SCSI device drivers aren't being loaded and hence the SCSI devices cannot be "seen" upon boot up. So can anyone advise me how i maybe able to get these devices to boot up?? The chip on the card says AIC-7880p and on the card itself it says M11E Combo Card (plus alot of other numbers and letters).

Although the BIOS has the option in the boot sequence to boot from a SCSI disk clearly the BIOS has nothing to do with actually being able to see the SCSI disk in the first place. I "think"??? i need to run some sort of floppy boot disc to load the SCSI device drivers first so that the SCSI disks can be "seen" and once the SCSI disk can be seen the pc will proceed to boot from the SCSI drive loading the Windows NT Network Operating System. Any ideas on how i do this would be greatly appreciated.

regards
Jeff
jrislesAsked:
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
This isn't the same SCSI card you had in the dead machine is it?  If not, then you might be right about the drivers - only I would expect the windows install to boot part way and blue screen.  Thus what I would consider to be a more likely problem is the SCSI controller does not have it's BIOS (for booting OSs) enabled.  OR if this is a "cheap" SCSI card, it might not have a BIOS that allows it to boot (some cheap cards were meant for scanners and the like and could not be enabled for booting).
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jrislesAuthor Commented:
>>This isn't the same SCSI card you had in the dead machine is it?<<

Yes!! This is the same SCSI card i had in the dead machine. There is nothing wrong with the card cause when the Windows XP machine boots up i can actually see the SCSI drives attached to the SCSI card. So it is definately registering the SCSI PCI card after it has booted up. But do you think i can actually get the pc to boot from the SCSI drives?? This is my problem.

>>OR if this is a "cheap" SCSI card, it might not have a BIOS that allows it to boot<<
I am not too sure if it is a cheap card or not. All i can say is that it has an adaptec chip on it (AIC-7880p) and it is a combo card.

regards
Jeff
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jrislesAuthor Commented:
According to Adaptec's website any card that has the AIC-7880 chipset must be one of the following cards;

AHA-2940, AHA-2940U, AHA-2940UW, AHA-2940UW Pro, AHA-2944UW, AHA-3940U/UW/UWD

I will need to confirm exactly which card is the one i have.

(I am just adding as much informaton as i can in ONE place. So i have this to refer to when trying to resolve this problem. Who knows i might even answer my own question.)
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gjohnson99Commented:
On the computer in the bios thier should be a place to turn on the bios on pci card you must do this then it should work  
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rjhawkinCommented:
If that doesnt work, you may have to go back to the old standard. The SCSI BIOS may not initaite INT13 for booting the drives unless there are no other int13 devices on the primary chain, the bios setting not withstanding. In this case, the bios on the SCSI card may be checking for the existance of the INT13 devices itself and disreguarding the bios reporting.

One thing that worries me though is that you have not been able to get into the BIOS on the SCSI card. Dispite what chip the card has, an important thing to find out is what the actual model of the card is.

No matter which way you end up going you will probably run into some driver related problems.  That is because the motherboard system and other devices will be completely different.

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rjhawkinCommented:
I am curious what sort of error do you receive when you try to boot to the scsi drives or joes it just boot to the IDE chain instead?

After re-reading the post you say the card is a M11E. Any other writting that is silk screend onto the card would be useful to find out what the card is.  If it is from the Acer Altos M11E, the only scsi card listed for that system is a combo SCSI/VGA card.  If that is the case, I would guess that you will be hard pressed to get it booting in another system.  In this case the AIC chip was sold to Acer so they could develop their own solution which is propietary and possibly the card didnt use a seperate bios

You might be able to get the drives booting on another AIC-7880 card, eg. a real Adataptec board. The Acer drivers already on the drive may not like the change of hardware from the Acer special software. Make a backup before you begin.
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jrislesAuthor Commented:
This is what is listed on the card;

The Chip;
Adaptec
AIC-7880p
BQEA911
740111
BK2304.1
Korea


On the Card;
M11E Combo Card
48.57A02.011
97512-1
Made in Taiwan

And there are also 2 stickers stuck on the back. One is the serial number and the other looks to be a barcode.
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jrislesAuthor Commented:
>>I am curious what sort of error do you receive when you try to boot to the scsi drives or joes it just boot to the IDE chain instead?<<

When attempting to boot from the scsi drives i don't really get an error message. I just get the standard message please insert system disk and boot again. If i have the IDE drives in the equation then yes it just boots from the IDE drive loading the Windows XP operating system that is installed on the IDE drive. But for all intent and purposes i don't want or need the IDE drive. I just want the pc to be able to boot from the SCSI drive that has the Windows NT Server 4.0 operating system installed on it.

regards
Jeff
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jrislesAuthor Commented:
I should also add that the SCSI controller card came out of an Acer Altos 330 PIII 500MhZ Server
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rjhawkinCommented:
Ahh , you just confirmed what I had suspected.  The reason why you are not able to boot the drives off the card is because there is no BIOS on the card.  It was the BIOS on the system board that that allowed the card to recognize and allow INT13 booting from those devices.  The error that you see when trying to boot the drives is the same as if there were no drives in the system, which according to the onboard bios, there are not.

The fact that the controller is on the card was just a cheaper way of putting it on the bus without chainging the motherboard as much, and of course it makes it specific to them so you have to goto them to keep it working.  All major Manufacturers have been know to do similar things, an example is the 100 pin connector on the back of some Compaq raid cards, or the non-standard pinout that Dell uses for a power connector on all of their systems.

Anyway, I digress, the solution would be to get another actual Adaptec card of a similar vinatge and use that in the non-Acer system.  What kind of drives are you using?  At least one of those controllers that you listed [the AHA-2944 & AHA-3940UWD] are HVD (High Voltage Differential) controllers which are not compatible with Single Ended and LVD (Low Voltage Differential) controllers that the other cards are. Which you should use is dependant on what kind of drives you have.
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rjhawkinCommented:
An adendum to the above.  The thing that your current onboard BIOS allows with the option to boot to SCSI, usually just means that the onboard bios will check for SCSI BIOSs' of certain manufacturers and allow those to boot in the system with IDE devices attached.  It is not a well documented or utilized feature.

To limit the number of problems I would recomend using a card with the AIC7880 controller and that first time you turn it on, to bring it up in safe mode (basic drivers)
I would leave the combo card in - the controllers should not conflict sice the combo doesnt have a bootable bios.  The drives have to be on the controller with the BIOS.

I would also recomend that you remove all other cards, NIC & Sound unless they are from the older Acer system.  When you bring it up in normal mode the system board resources are going to be different because the system board and all of the other cards will be different, windows OS's dont like major hardware changes like that. Keeping as much the same or the changes to a minimum will make bringing it up easier.
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jrislesAuthor Commented:
>>Anyway, I digress, the solution would be to get another actual Adaptec card of a similar vinatge and use that in the non-Acer system.  What kind of drives are you using?  At least one of those controllers that you listed [the AHA-2944 & AHA-3940UWD] are HVD (High Voltage Differential) controllers which are not compatible with Single Ended and LVD (Low Voltage Differential) controllers that the other cards are. Which you should use is dependant on what kind of drives you have.<<

Would it not be possible to start a new installation of Windows NT Server and install the Adaptec 7800 Family Manager Set for this particular card? I could download the drivers from the Adaptec Website;

http://www.adaptec.com/worldwide/support/driverdetail.jsp?sess=no&language=English+US&cat=%2FOperating+System%2FMicrosoft+Windows+NT&filekey=7800wnt.exe

One of these drivers must be compatible. During the installation of Windows NT Server there comes a point when you are asked if you have any other mass storage devices and it is at this point you install the 7800 Family Manager Set which after installation detects the SCSI disks?? I am going to give this ago but i am not exactly sure which drivers i need to download from the list given on the link provided.

Thanks for your assistance it has been most helpful.
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jrislesAuthor Commented:
>>Which you should use is dependant on what kind of drives you have.<<

I have 2 SCSI drives and  both are identical;

IBM
Model: DNES-309170 E182115 HG
Rated: 5V 550mA 12V 650mA
P/N: 25L1910   9GB
SCSI ID Factory  <6>
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rjhawkinCommented:
If you are trying to keep existing data I would try putting the drives on the new controller and loading the drivers for the contoller at startup.  

If that doesnt work, then I would try the repair/re-install method.  If this is something that is going to see actual business use I would say backup and redo everything cleanly.  You should backup anyway before doing anything if you havnt repair/Reinstall.

On to the driver issue. The driver on that link is for ALL of those cards on the page. The 7800 series which includes the 7880 has been a long time work horse for Adaptec. I would clasify the series as their Third Generation.

Any of the cards that list a UW. U2W or U2 and do not have a 44 or a D in their part number should be fine for what you want to do.
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