Down the Docks

February 1, 2006

Building a Home Fileserver parts I(b) & II(b): Making Sure Things Work

Filed under: Technology — ealing @ 1:21 am

So I left you after discovering that one of the hard drives doesn’t work. Things have moved on, but not as much as I would have liked.

I sent it back, and ebuyer eventually sent me a replacement. That was recognised by the new system, to my relief. Foolishly I thought that all of my troubles would be over. But no, I then discovered that I couldn’t boot from the hard drive in to the new Debian install. The boot process would get as far as “Verifying DMI pool data …..”, and then it would go dead.

Perhaps my attention was now too focussed on hardware failure, but after reading a list of possible causes of this problem, I decided that the boot sector was knackered, and shelled out for another new hard drive. I waited a few more days, the drive arrived, I installed it and was confronted with the same problem. Only then did it occur to me that the problem might be that the system wasn’t selecting a drive to boot from correctly.

A very short trip through the BIOS options revealed that there was an option to change the boot priority for hard drives. Five seconds of fiddling – a reboot – lo and behold! So the new drive wasn’t needed anyway. Oh well.

After sorting that out, my next problem was with downloading packages. The system couldn’t see the Debian FTP site; in fact, it couldn’t see anything at all. This appeared to be a hardware problem, so I checked the alignment of the NIC in its slot, as I hadn’t been able to screw it to the case. I accidentally dislodged the NIC while running a ping, and Debian threw a hissy fit. I shut down the machine, used a fair amount of force to secure the NIC properly, then rebooted. This time the monitor didn’t show anything. This caused only a brief moment of panic, as I reasoned that securing the NIC had put enough stress on the motherboad to make the graphics card lose proper contact. So I repositioned the NIC, resecured it, rebooted, and suddenly I had network access and a monitor.

The only remaining problem is that the RAID array stops the system booting. Obviously, I need the system to be able to boot all the way when unattended. Currently it stops while performing fsck checks, saying “fsck.ext3: invalid argument while trying to open /dev/md0”. The odd thing is that if I bypass the error report, the RAID array comes up, is mounted correctly, and is usable. I’m not going any further until I know why it thinks it’s broken, but it’s a bit puzzling.


1 Comment »

  1. […] The last OS-level problem I was having concerned the RAID array: it wouldn’t start, despite all the individual drives functioning. […]

    Pingback by High Above Ealing » Blog Archive » Building a Home Fileserver part II(c): SATA & RAID — February 7, 2006 @ 8:40 am

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