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System recovery HP Mediasmart Home Server EX 475 - no server found

I have an HP Mediasmart EX475 home server that a while ago started dropping connection. I could connect sometimes, briefly but failure always returned. I re-installed the connector and tried all-sorts but got nowhere.

I presume that meant that the server OS was damaged - so want to do a 'server recovery'

I tried to do this through the existing network - no server found.
I opened the ports mentioned in the support info - no server found
I disconnected the internet and turned off the PC firewall completly - no server found
I connected the PC via a switch to the server - no server found
I tried using another PC on the network - no server found

I really need to get this server back but don't know what to do next.

I can't repair it if I can't talk to it - and I can't talk to it as it's broken - is this the catch 22 that you can be in with something that talks about 'secure storage'?

Any ideas much appreciated.

Thanks

Mark Preston
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Mark Preston
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Mark Preston
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1 Solution
 
rindiCommented:
Check the LAN cable, if it is attached properly to the server. Also turn the device that provides DHCP in your LAN off, then back on, and after that turn the Server of and back on. Check if you then get a connection.
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Mark PrestonSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
To keep things as simple as possible I was connecting PC to Switch to Server. Nothing else. No internet, No router. I thought under those conditions the PC would assign an IP address to itself and the server? I looked through Windows Home Server & Wegotserved websites and this was suggested as OK as it took the router firewall out of the equation.
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rindiCommented:
According to the Manual of the device, you need to attach it to a LAN that has a DHCP server, so it'll get an IP. Routers have such a DHCP server, Switches don't. If you don't have a DHCP server in your environment, the device won't be able to get a valid IP, and without an IP you can't connect to it.
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Mark PrestonSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
Ahh.. OK. Tonight I will get an old router and substitute it for the switch and try again.

However this is looking more like one of the steps I have already tried - basically trying to do a server recovery over the original network. My fear there (when it didn't work) was that the relevant ports were being blocked in the router.

However If I use an old router and have no internet connected then I can turn every damn thing off in the router without having to remember to turn it back on again afterwards.

I'll try that tonight..

Thanks
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rindiCommented:
It really has nothing to do with the internet, it's just a DHCP server that is required, so it gets a valid IP. Once the IP is known you should be able to connect to it's management interface, and then with that you will probably be able to assign it a static IP. Once the static IP has been set to the device, the router won't be required anymore, unless the device is somehow reset to factory defaults.
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Mark PrestonSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
Swapped out the switch for a router. Wiped the router back to factory default, powered everything off at the wall, connected up and turned on.

After allowing everything to boot up I got into the router console and 'view connected devices'

MY PC               192.168.0.2
HP SERVER       192.168.0.9

I could ping the server from the PC fine

So now I forced a power off on the server - waited a bit, then powered on, waited for the health light to flash blue/red, hit the reset button (all of this is as per the HP documentation) and then set the HP server recovery software searching - still nothing.

The interesting thing is that if I 'refresh' the router page then the server isn't there at this point.

It's as if the server recovery process tries to happen before it's got an IP address - so how can that ever work?

I tried a couple of different re-boots.. I wondered if the server might remember its IP address through a power cycle as the network light on the router was still on when the server was off - but the server recovery software still couldn't find the server.
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rindiCommented:
I'm not sure you did when you tried the server recovery, or how far you progressed. For the server recovery to work, you need, according to the manual, a dvd-rom drive attached to the server with the server recovery DVD inside. The process would then restore the OS to the original HD of the server. This process will naturally take some time,as it's a similar process when installing an OS to a PC. If the DVD wasn't present when you tried the recovery, I'd guess nothing happened, but if it was present and the recovery started, and you didn't allow it to finish, the OS wouldn't be completely installed.

If no DVD was present when you wanted to do the recovery, I suggest you power off the server and the router, wait a couple of minutes, then first power on the router, and after that the server. Now try using the management software of the server which you have to install on one of the PC's to connect to it. Chances are things will work and no recovery is required, and with that utility you should be able to manage all the server's settings.
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Mark PrestonSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
The server is headless and has no drive - it's a box containing 4 HDDs (in my case) a processor and not much else. The recovery is done over the network from another PC.

Are we talking about the same device? Mine is like this...

http://www.amazon.com/EX475-MediaSmart-Server-Windows-Drive/dp/B000UXZUZC
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rindiCommented:
The lowest USB port at the back of the unit should be able to take an external USB DVD drive. Also, what exactly is the error code on the display leds (it should be flashing in a certain sequence).
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Mark PrestonSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
There are no error codes - the server itself seems happy enough. It just doesn't act like a server. It won't serve anything. The backup process failed first, then I couldn't connect to the console, then all the mapped drives wouldn't connect.

This is the pre-Christmas thread

http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Server/Windows_Home_Server/Q_24915406.html

It lead me to start thinking about re-installing the software - then that didn't work and that's how I've got here.
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rindiCommented:
You said something about flashing LEDs depending on their flashing sequence green/red/red or whatever should tell us many error or other status situations.
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Mark PrestonSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
This is the document I have been following:

http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c01276565.pdf

Page 7-7 is the start of 'server recovery'

The blinking lights are not an error code as such. It's just a stage of the boot... top of page 7-11 talks about the flashing lights.

I wait for the lights to flash as described, press the reset button through the tiny hole with a paper clip and feel the button click. Then hit 'next' on the PC and the software on the PC starts searching for the server - which it doesn't find.

If I leave it to boot without interruption it seems happy. All the HDD lights are blue, the network light is solid blue, the power light is solid blue and the health light is solid red (but that will be because backups have not been done for a long time and stuff like that. The health turns red for the smallest problem.)

If I wait for the red/blue and hit the button it just stops where it is and does nothing much more. I think the 'health' turns purple, but that is about it....
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Mark PrestonSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
I've tried to make things simpler...

Laptop, Server and a Router - nothing else.

I changed to the laptop as it's pretty new and doesn't have much installed on it (somewhere on one of the forums someone reported that they changed machines and it suddenly worked)

Uninstalled Home Server connector and Mediasmart Server.

Started the server recovery - nothing as usual.

So I rebooted everything and let them run. After a while I look at the router 'attached devices' and both the laptop and the server are there.

Server health is Red.

I then re-install the connector and the icon appear in the tray and keeps reporting that Mcaffee is out of date and my network health is critical - so the server is talking to the laptop, however I still cannot see any of the mapped drives and can't connect with the connector.

SO the reason that I wanted to do a recovery is still there (nothing works) and I still can't do a recovery (as recovery doesn't see the server)
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rindiCommented:
Then it's possible that the recovery CD's are bad, the HD on which the OS is installed is bad, or the server itself is bad.

Test the HD's by connecting them to another PC as 2nd disks and running the HD manufacturer's diagnostic utility on the disks (According to the manual, the OS is on the lowest disk, so test that first). Most of these tools can repair some basic problems with the disks, they will either give you the option to repair or replace it after the tests. You'll find those utilities on the UBCD:

http://ultimatebootcd.com

If the disks aren't the problem, contact HP for warranty repairs. If you have to send the device back with the HD's with your data on, and as long as they haven't been setup in a raid-0 array, you should be able to connect them to another PC and backup the data. If raid-0 was used, recovery is not as simple and not free.
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Mark PrestonSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
Recovery CDs... that's the first call. I'll see about downloading another copy and giving that a go.

The discs were set up as 'data duplication'.. I think that is Raid 0?

If the recovery CD isn't the problem then I need to be VERY careful. So much for 'secure data storage'??
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rindiCommented:
You probably can't download a copy of the recovery CD's, you rather have to order them from HP, and that will not be free.

Data duplication should be raid-1 (a mirror of the data on each disk, so if one disk fails you still have the data on the other). This is the simplest form of raid and gives you good redundancy, it should also be the simplest to get the data off, as in most cases you should have direct access to the files from any PC when one of the disks is connected. It's only downside is that you "waste" the space of one HD.

Raid-0 on the other hand is two or more disks combined into one large disk, the data is spread equally on all disks, so if only one of them fails you loose all your data. The advantage of this type of array is disk access is very fast, as data is written and read from all disks at once. It is often used where speed is important and the data is only temporarily on that array (video editing etc), and where lots of disk space is needed. No space is wasted on this type of Raid.

I'd first test the OS disk in another PC, as it is difficult to say whether the CD's are still OK without paying for the replacements. If they are bad or the NAS, you should send both back to HP for warranty service, and then if the CD's are bad they will probably replace them anyway. Just make sure that before sending the unit back you have a backup of the data, or make sure that you can remove the data drives and won't have to send those to them.
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Mark PrestonSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
I think I can get a copy of the Recovery disc off a download website but I have to pay a bit for that. Oh well.. I will try it - however I'm coming around more and more to the idea (as you suggest) that it's a hardware fault with one of the discs and most likely the primary drive.

So I buy another HDD - swap out the primary and pop in the new one - run recovery (which should work now) and let WHS magically search all the other drives and restore all the data to the primary (since I had duplication turned on). That all seems fine UNLESS it wasn't the primary drive that was duff. If that is the case then I can see that I'd get into an awful bother restoring duff data to a new primary.

If I take each disc and examine the contents on another machine, then am I right in thinking that I'll see the data that was explicitly saved there, but backups and the like won't be recoverable?

I think I need to order a new HDD - so could be a few days before I get to try this. Need to order a SATA drive external adaptor too to make backups of the data....

Server is long out of warranty unfortunately.

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rindiCommented:
You should see all data and backups when you connect the disk to another PC. The only problem there would be is that each backup is probably a file containing the data, and you'd need the backup utility to restore  the data from the backup, or if the backup was taken by an imaging utility like acronis or similar, there are tools you can use to open or mount the image files and extract the data you want. The only problem here is that I don't know what backup tool that system would use.
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Mark PrestonSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
That's all good.. I don't need to open the backups - I just thought that they'd be lost.
I'll get ordering the bits I need.

Thanks
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rindiCommented:
They'd only be lost if they had been backed up to a now broken drive, but because you are using mirroring, even if one drive in the mirror breaks, they should still be on the good drive.
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Mark PrestonSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
Note to Experts Exchange... this question is not abandoned - I have to buy hardware to continue....
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Mark PrestonSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
Note to Experts Exchange... still waiting on delivery.....
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Mark PrestonSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
carefully labelled and removed all four HDDs from the server.
Removed the drives from the caddys
Installed two brand new 1Tb HDDs in the bottom two slots
Powered up
Pressed the reset when the light is flashing red/blue
The software scans for the  server
and....somewhat predictably
'No Server Found'

I really don't know what to try next..... this really doesn't seem to make any sense at all to me any more..
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rindiCommented:
Did you try it with fresh recovery CD's yet? Also, have you tried an online chat with HP? They provide this service with many of their products, and it is usually very helpful. My problem is that I don't have such a NAS to play around with, so much of my advice is based on what I can gain from the manual and guesswork.
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Mark PrestonSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
I haven't tried a fresh CD yet as I have found getting any support out of HP a complete nightmare. Will look into that next!

Will have a hunt also for the HP live chat - didn't know that they did that - or at least I haven't run into it before.

All understood about the manual and guesswork - appreciate you time though...
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Mark PrestonSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
Can't fine 'live chat' for the server, but have found a phone support number. I shall try that tonight.
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Mark PrestonSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
Right.. time has been tight but I have had some time to look into this a bit more - but not properly. Rindi - you have stayed with me all this time and lead me not to an exact solution - but to a point where I feel that it's probably off topic as far as this thread is concerned. I feel that the reason that I can't see the server is IP/DHCP or hardware/BIOS related. Reply to this and I'll award points. Then when I get 10 mins to rub together, start at the other end with one PC, one router and one server and see what can see what - then maybe things will become clearer.

Thanks

Mark
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rindiCommented:
As mentioned earlier, the NAS needs to be connected to a LAN with an active DHCP server so it gets a valid IP. Once it has that IP it should be accessible. For that use a router with DHCP enabled, a PC connected to the LAN ports of the router with it's NIC to get an automatic IP from the DHCP server, and the NAS also connected to a LAN port on the router. First turn on the router and wait until it's LEDS have settled, then turn on the PC and the NAS, wait until both have booted, and try accessing the NAS, or reinstalling it's OS.
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Mark PrestonSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
Done that.. I have a Netgear router a laptop and the server, nothing else connected. Fire up the router and access the router console - the router sees the pc (obviously) and has assigned it 192.168.1.2. I then connect the server and the light for that port comes on on the router. The server puts it's network light on. The router at this point doesn't appear to assign it an IP address.... and this is the problem.. I can press all of the buttons under the sun and get the laptop to search for the server forever, however nothing is surely going to work if the router (at this point) hasn't assigned an IP address.

At this point I have two brand new empty HDDs in place as I want to keep the data and OS HDDs 'safe' therefore if I don't interrupt the boot with the 'server recovery' button then it doesn't boot as there is no OS, however I tried the above procedure with the original HDDs in place and part way through the boot, the router DOES issue an IP address so it's not that the network port on the server is dead.
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rindiCommented:
Then again as far as can tell HP will be the only ones that can help. Maybe if I had the device here I might be able to try things, but obviously I can't... Of course it's still possible the recovery CD's are bad

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Mark PrestonSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
I'll contact HP.. you have done all you can and for that you get a big 'Thank You' from me. Cheers.
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Mark PrestonSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
The server motherboard has some additional hardware specific to this HP product. The function is to reset the server into Recovery mode when the button is pressed when the lights are doing a particular sequence. This chip on mine is dead. Might have been dead for a while - you'll only ever know if you need to recover the software.

How to know? Pull all the drives (with the server off). Power up and press the reset when the health is flashing red/blue.

Light settles on purple in the end? Everything looks OK, the server should reset.
Light settles on red? Toast. The only option is then to reload the software on another server and transfer the discs across. You won't get the software to load on the server no matter what you do.

If it's out of warranty then it's a nice big paperweight or spares if you decide to re-buy!

Mark
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