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Server Stops Working After MS Update

Posted on 2009-03-29
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Hello,

I have a PowerEdge 1850 server that is running 2003 Enterprise.  This server is in my home and it acts as a backup domain controller for an SBS box.  It also provides internet access to my family.

Earlier today I noticed that there were about 10 MS security patches/updates that needed to be installed.  One of these I think was an update for the RAID driver.  I installed all of them.  When the server rebooted everything worked fine up to login.  After I logged in the Windows desktop started to appear then everything froze (no keyboard or mouse).  

I tried rebooting twice (both times by holding down the power button) and the system still locks and the amber light flashes.  I hired a 3rd party IT guy to configure this BDC and really do not want to mess this up.  Any suggestions?  Should I try booting with the Windows disk in the CD drive?  Please provide detailed steps on what I should do as the way my luck has gone with these servers I will screw things up.  Thanks!!!
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Question by:MrChip2
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by:Compnecessity1
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These windows updates were all High-priority updates?  So now when you boot it locks up when booting to windows or does even attempt to boot in to windows?
You can try the following at your own risk.
Enter safe mode, launch system restore and go back to the earliest day that you know the system was working before the windows updates where installed.  
That is assuming the windows updates where the problem.  
You mentioned the power button is Amber and blinks?  
You can check troublshoot the light and other codes at Dell.  Just enter you service Tag #.
The system may have lights on the back to help you troubleshoot assuming it's not booting to windows.
http://support.dell.com/support/index.aspx?~ck=pn

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by:Compnecessity1
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Looks like a hardware problem of some kind.  
Amber colored LED used to indicate a system fault (e.g., a failed power supply, system fan, hard drive)
 NOTE: If the system is connected to AC power and an error has been detected, the amber system status indicator flashes regardless of whether the system has been powered on.  

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Servers/Q_24058997.html
http://dcse.dell.com/ifr/PowerEdge/PE1850/led.asp
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by:MrChip2
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Hi Compnecessity1,

I can't tell you how happy I was to see your reply!  Here is some more info:

1. It does attempt to boot into Windows.  The first time I got to the login screen and enter my username and password.  The desktop mostly loaded but the mouse and keyboard did not work.  I did a hard reboot and when it got to the login screen the login box was corrupted.

2. I think the SCSI drive/RAID hardware update was not high priority.  Possibly my mistake for checking it!

3. Does Server 2003 Enterprise offer safe mode and system restore?  I am used to doing this for XP, but not for servers.  Everything was fine until I applied these updates.  If I could restore it to yesterday's config I should be fine.

4. I looked up Dell's documentation on the 1850 and this is what it says:

The amber system status indicator flashes when the system needs attention due to a problem with power supplies, fans, system temperature, or hard drives.  NOTE: If the system is connected to AC power and an error has been detected, the amber system status indicator flashes regardless of whether the system has been powered on.
Now the power supply lights are all green, so I am guessing it is OK.  It is possible I could have a fan problem - I guess I could crack the case - but the airflow out the back of the server seems really good.  The server rack is pretty cool so I don't think temp is an issue and the two SCSI drives in front both have green lights.  This is why I think one of the updates messed up my RAID controller.

When you say "try at your own risk" what are you concerned about?  Can this somehow mess up my server and cause me to lose my configurations (network, domain, etc.)?

Also, please remind me which F key I press to get into Safe Mode.

If it is OK with you I would like to try what you are suggesting and then if everything works I will accept your answer.


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by:Compnecessity1
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I just said try at your own risk as YOU NEVER KNOW.  The Amber light does sounds like a hardware problem though.  If the Dell is under warranty still you could call or Chat with Dell Support about the flashing light.  I assume you can use the F8 key to get into safe mode in Windows 2003.  I've never tried it on Win 2003.  
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by:MrChip2
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OK, I just tried something new.  Before the amber light was flashing even after I powered down the system.  Now I powered it down and unplugged it.  When I plugged it back in the Amber light is off.  I am going to first try and boot the normal way.  If that fails, I will put the Windows CD in and boot to safe mode.  I will let you know how your suggestion works out.
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by:Compnecessity1
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You don't need to Boot to the Windows CD to enter safe mode.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/325375
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by:MrChip2
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Compnecessity,

Thanks for staying in touch.  I am hopeful I will resolve this problem today.

FYI, last night I tried booting to "Last Known Good Configuration" and it still hung up after login.  Next I am going to boot into Safe Mode.  Assuming this works, is there a way I can "roll back" the driver to the previous version?  I am a bit new at this and don't want to mess up the server more than I already have.  How would I identify which driver was updated and then remove the update?

Thanks so much!
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by:MrChip2
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Thank you for all of your great help.  I was finally able to boot in safe mode and uninstalled all of the patches from this Saturday.  The problem still existed.  After looking at Device Manager I determined that it was a video driver update that caused the problem.  The video driver from Dell and MS have the same version numbers.  When I rolled back the video driver everything worked.  Never again will I install a hardware driver update from MS!!!
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