Earlier this month on patch Wednesday I ran into a tricky issue. Getting into the office early before the rest of the staff and while the US office was still offline I completed my usual daily server checks then went ahead and approved the updates for installation.
After letting the Hyper-V servers reboot as needed there were a couple of patches needed for the host server on which the hypervisor layer sits and all virtual servers run. I set the host to reboot as needed and went to grab a cup of tea.
Returning back to the office I got on with checking out my daily jobs in tracker and responding to a few overnight emails. Tony got into the office soon after and proclaimed that the public shares were offline! A quick attempt at the remote desktop prompt and its subsequent failure had us heading downstairs to check in the server room.
Switching on the monitor to the host server we were greeted to the very helpful message: “Strike the F1 key to continue, F2 to run the setup utility”.
Hitting F2 and jumping into the BIOS found nothing out of the ordinary, it was all rather odd. Server rebooted and some web searching revealed stories of replacement motherboards, badly updated RAID drivers and much woe, something I like to avoid if possible.
Later in the week we connected the server up to a new SAN and the same error is halting the machine on boot. “Strike the F1 key to continue, F2 to run the setup utility”.
This time checking the BIOS I noticed that the internal SATA ports we had been using with a SATA to eSATA port adaptor were set to AUTO. We had finished using the external disks with the arrival of the new SAN making the internal SATA ports redundant. I switched the internal SATA port A to OFF, saved, rebooted and was welcomed to see the default login screen and no F1 prompt.
So it would seem the Dell 2950 doesn’t like active internal SATA ports that that have no disks attached, enable or disable as needed.