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Jeffrey
Connoisseur of leisurely things
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HP MediaSmart EX485 - System Drive Failed - Questions

Hello everyone,

I am the happy owner of an HP MediaSmart EX485 server that has worked flawlessly for a few years. Today, I had some problems and these problems happened right after some power issues at the house, as the electric company does the work to bring people back online from Sandy. (The lights flickered a few times over 10 mins, then went out for an hour and came back. It was after this that I noticed the MediaSmart wasn't right.)

The symptoms:
The "health" light (third light) was blinking blue. It appears that it was simply not "booting". I found some information via Google Search that said remove all drives, then reseat the system drive and see if it works, and if it doesn't, try a restore of the OS.

What I did:
I did the above. I removed my 1TB drive, and left it out. Took out the 750GB system drive and reseated it, and it did not work. I went through the hour long process of restoring it, but it failed as well. It would get as far as "initializing the server" which occurs just before you give it a name on the network. I repeated this process once and still no luck.

So, I then removed this original 750GB drive, and inserted a known working 160GB drive I had. Installed it, went through the server recovery process, and it completed successfully.

So at this point I am assuming the 750GB drive is shot. Don't know about the 1TB drive, as I have not re-inserted it.

My question is this:
I had encoded some of my DVD collection to WMV format and put on these drives - I play them through my Xbox to my TV. Can I put the 750GB drive in another desktop PC and/or an external enclosure to see if I can get the movies off of it? Will that work? Even if I boot to BartPE and do it that way, do you think it's worth a shot in order to copy some of the movie files to a different drive/until a new 750GB drive arrives for the MediaSmart?
--
He used to say that soul shine, is better than sunshine, better than moonshine, damn sure better than rain.

Debunking the 2012 hysteria. | Always looking for a new job | Begging the Wilpons to sell the Mets.



koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23

1 edit

First and foremost, in bold to make it crystal clear:

I would not do ANYTHING with that 750GB disk until some questions can be answered first. DO NOT HOOK IT UP TO AN ENCLOSURE, NOR A WINDOWS PC. If it is your only copy of your data, DO NOT DO ANYTHING WITH IT at this time.

The HP MediaSmart EX485 is what looks to be a consumer-grade NAS: »h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/prod···=3855978

This means you've bought a "black box" product and how it functions (its filesystems, how it stores metadata, what RAID model it uses (possibly something proprietary), etc.) is entirely known to only one company: HP.

You had a 1TB drive and a 750GB drive installed on the system, and if those made up "one volume", then effectively some form of RAID (or RAID-like) is in use. You need to give more details about that configuration. Give as much detail as possible.

Now, that's just the disk configuration. Next we have what actual filesystem it uses -- do you know what filesystem this black-box product uses? Does it run Windows? Does it use NTFS? Does it run Linux? Does it use ext2, ext3, ext4, reiserfs? Again: unless it's in the product documentation, the only people who know this is HP.

This is why I often warn people of buying products like this -- if you purchase these kinds of solutions, you need a support contract with the company who makes it, because they're the only ones who know how the device operates/behaves/etc..

Is it *potentially* possible to get your data off that disk? Yes, but again, without knowing if RAID was in use, and without knowing what filesystem the NAS chooses to use for its storage, it's very hard to say. Again: if this is the only copy of your data that you have, do not stick it in a system "to find out".

The safest thing I can think of would be to hook the disk up to a FreeBSD or Linux-based PC natively via SATA (DO NOT use a USB enclosure or anything of that nature; all this will do is make troubleshooting worse) and do some actual data forensics to see if the data is interleaved (i.e. RAID-0) or if it's RAID-1 (actual mirror). But you need to know what you're looking at / looking for. Hooking it up to a Windows-based PC is a bad idea, since Windows is crazy and enjoys trying to do things to the underlying disk the instant it shows up on the bus (*IX OSes don't generally do this).

And that's assume the drive even spins up -- when power-related problems occur (especially recurring brown and black-outs), the most likely failure point is the power-related circuitry. If the drive doesn't spin up, there are ways to solve that, but they're tricky and somewhat dangerous.

I can do the forensics/analysis for you if you send me the drive, but I can't make any promises that I can restore any of the data. I wouldn't charge you for the time, only any of the parts needed (i.e. replacement bits if the power circuitry turns out to be blown, and a spare/new hard disk which would have all of your data on it). I'd send you back 2 drives (the old/original and the new), assuming I was successful. Let me know.

Footnote question: why is this device not hooked up to a UPS? >:/ My advice is to hook it up to one ASAP. I can personally recommend the CyberPower CP850PFCLCD, although higher-capacity and lower-capacity models will work just as well (and will cost more/less respectively). These work wonderfully for power conditioning, emit an actual sine-wave signal rather than stepped/emulated, and (of course) will run off battery power when the power goes out. All I use mine for is avoiding the exact situation you just experienced with your HP product -- power outages in my town tend to be very short blips (under 1 second), and often repeat themselves at very short intervals (0.5 seconds), which is extremely rough on computer hardware.
--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.



Jeffrey
Connoisseur of leisurely things
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said by koitsu:

First and foremost, in bold to make it crystal clear:

I would not do ANYTHING with that 750GB disk until some questions can be answered first. DO NOT HOOK IT UP TO AN ENCLOSURE, NOR A WINDOWS PC. If it is your only copy of your data, DO NOT DO ANYTHING WITH IT at this time.

Thanks. I have not done anything yet. It's not a rush.

The unit has been excellent, and I've never needed to troubleshooting with it. WHS is nice, but as I hear, discontinued after the most recent iteration, which is a shame.

Thank you for the offer to look at the drive, I appreciate it, but it's not necessary. The data on here was not vital - in the grand scheme of life - so it's not of huge concern. More of a "is there a trick I don't know about" kind of thing.

The unit was hooked up to a UPS, however the battery was drained after an 8-day power outage due to hurricane Sandy and I did not fully charge it yet.

I'll work on getting the details about the file system.
--
He used to say that soul shine, is better than sunshine, better than moonshine, damn sure better than rain.

Debunking the 2012 hysteria. | Always looking for a new job | Begging the Wilpons to sell the Mets.


koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23

So reading between the lines, it sounds like the HP device runs Windows, yes?

Chances are it uses NTFS then. However, whether or not it uses "dynamic disks" is unknown -- my guess is that's probably what it uses. Really don't know at this point though. As you can see from the documentation (bottom of page), there are multiple models/methods available. If striped (that means RAID-0) then the data is lost (n+0 bytes would be on the 1TB disk, n+1 bytes would be on the 750GB disk). If spanned (concatenated), there may be recoverable data but I'm not sure. if RAID-5, the data is lost. If mirrored (RAID-1), I would say the data is probably recoverable.
--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.



Jeffrey
Connoisseur of leisurely things
Premium
join:2002-12-24
Long Island
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Reviews:
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said by koitsu:

So reading between the lines, it sounds like the HP device runs Windows, yes?

Yes, it's WHS and I believe my unit is the original version of WHS, not the newest (last) iteration, so mine is based on Windows Server 2003 R2.

said by koitsu:

Chances are it uses NTFS then. However, whether or not it uses "dynamic disks" is unknown -- my guess is that's probably what it uses.

Thanks for the link and the information. This weekend I'll be able to dig deeper into it.
--
He used to say that soul shine, is better than sunshine, better than moonshine, damn sure better than rain.

Debunking the 2012 hysteria. | Always looking for a new job | Begging the Wilpons to sell the Mets.

zippoboy7

join:2006-06-18
USA

1 recommendation

reply to Jeffrey

From dealing with a similar issue with WHS in the past the drives are just standard NTFS drives and then there is some software that is part of WHS which if enabled when you setup the folder shares duplicates the files from 1 drive to another to prevent data loss. I cant remember exactly what the software was called since I dumped it and went to a larger setup with raid 5 on server 2008 R2 but when I lost the WHS system drive I was able to recover everything by plugging the disks in 1 (I had 6) at a time and moving the files to my new server and just telling windows to skip any existing files as I went through them, I was able to recover everything except the system disk since it was fried but due to the duplication I did not loose anything.

The other thing I seem to recall was that my 1.5TB system disk was actuary partitioned with the OS on 1 partition and data on the other, so if the disk is not totally dead you may be able to recover the data on the second partition or if you opted for the duplication everything should exist on the other disk with the exception of the OS.



Jeffrey
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Update:

Short story: Hard drive spun up, Nothing essential lost. New drive installed, server working as it should.

Longer story:
Recap: The WHS wouldn't boot up. Heath indicator light detected a problem, and the server was unresponsive. Reinstalling WHS failed. I was unwilling to try a destructive reinstallation.

What happened:
Removed all drives from the HP MediaSmart - I had 2. The 750GB system drive and a 1.5TB drive. Installed a new 1TB drive as the system drive, and put the 1.5TB data drive back in. Started a server recovery, and it worked.

Upon some investigation, it looks like I had data-duplication on for most of the data - I didn't lose any media (movies) or other files. I did lose some of the weekly workstation backups from the last 4 weeks, but that's not a problem as none of the workstation drives failed.

Backups resumed, and everything seems to be working properly. I hooked the 750GB drive up locally to a desktop PC, and it spun up and I was able to see the contents. It appears it's working fine, so I don't quite understand why it didn't work in the MediaSmart unit---I guess something got corrupted where WHS could not reinstall itself onto the drive.

So, everything is back working, and nothing lost. BBU is charged, properly hooked up back to the server and shutdown will occur when it's on battery for longer than 2 minutes, so power issues shouldn't be a problem again. Not sure what I'll do what this 750GB just yet. Probably discard it.
--
He used to say that soul shine, is better than sunshine, better than moonshine, damn sure better than rain.

Debunking the 2012 hysteria. | Always looking for a new job | Begging the Wilpons to sell the Mets.



koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23

Thanks for the follow-up! Always appreciated. :-)

If you want me to take a look at the health of the 750GB drive, please hook it up to a machine of your choice (Windows, *IX, etc.) and use either smartmontools 6.0 output (smartctl -x /dev/sdX where X = a for the first drive on the system, b = 2nd drive, etc.), or a screenshot from HD Tune Pro's Health tab. That may allow me to determine if something drive-level happened that somehow upset the HP unit in an anomalous way. It'll also allow you to decide whether or not you can re-use the drive or toss it. :-)

--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.



Jeffrey
Connoisseur of leisurely things
Premium
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downloadtext.txt 19,961 bytes
said by koitsu:

Thanks for the follow-up! Always appreciated.

No problem!

said by koitsu:

If you want me to take a look at the health of the 750GB drive, please hook it up to a machine of your choice. It'll also allow you to decide whether or not you can re-use the drive or toss it.

Thank you. I did just that, and attached it. How am I looking? Drill holes and discard, or put back into the server pool?
--
He used to say that soul shine, is better than sunshine, better than moonshine, damn sure better than rain.

Debunking the 2012 hysteria. | Always looking for a new job | Begging the Wilpons to sell the Mets.


koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23

Pretty easy to discern what's going on. Relevant attributes and data:

  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   PO--CK   099   099   036    -    50
  9 Power_On_Hours          -O--CK   080   080   000    -    17583
187 Reported_Uncorrect      -O--CK   098   098   000    -    2
188 Command_Timeout         -O--CK   100   099   000    -    7
189 High_Fly_Writes         -O-RCK   081   081   000    -    19
196 Reallocated_Event_Count -O--CK   099   099   036    -    50
197 Current_Pending_Sector  -O--CK   100   100   000    -    1
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   ----CK   100   100   000    -    0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    -OSRCK   200   200   000    -    0
 
SMART Extended Comprehensive Error Log Version: 1 (5 sectors)
Device Error Count: 4
 

The drive has bad sectors/LBAs. Some have been remapped, others have failed remapping. Some are still pending re-analysis for remapping. Many of those have been tracked by the SMART error log as well. The 4 in the error log are for *writes* which failed, which indicates something more sinister. The high-fly writes indicate that there is probably something mechanically wrong with the drive as well (very likely a pair of heads are incorrectly aligned or are loose/unaligned in some way).

Simply put: if this drive is under warranty, zero the drive (you can use HD Tune Pro or dd for this), and RMA it. The SMART attributes will look quite different after you zero it, but that's no reason to keep using the drive (trust me!). It has hard evidence of sector-level issues and Seagate should not give you any lip about doing an RMA. If they tell you to run their automated tools, tell them to sod off -- it's not necessary, the drive has developed bad sectors over its lifetime (17583 power-on hours).

If it's outside of warranty, destroy it in whatever way you enjoy. :-)

--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.


Jeffrey
Connoisseur of leisurely things
Premium
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Long Island
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Reviews:
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1 recommendation

Sorry it took me a little bit to get back to the thread -- been busy.

Thanks so much for giving me good information. Drive will be discarded after a few quick holes are drilled through it. As for the warranty, it's complicated: This 750GB drive came preinstalled into the HP MediaSmart. So I suppose I would have to contact HP for support, and I think my unit is out of warranty. I've had it for at least 2 years, probably much closer to 3.

Since the drive can't be put back into the pool, and it's not like a 2TB drive or something, I think I'll just maximize my effort and time and just discard it, rather than hunt down HP/Seagate for a replacement and get aggravated. I'm sure I can find a nice Cyber Monday SATA HDD deal, and if I do, I can throw a decent 3rd drive in there to increase the pool.

Thanks again for the help. It gives me confidence that the drive in question failed, rather than the whole unit. First time ever I had to do something like this, but it worked out pretty well. Data saved, Server Reinstall easy, but a little time-consuming (2-3 hours).
--
He used to say that soul shine, is better than sunshine, better than moonshine, damn sure better than rain.

Debunking the 2012 hysteria. | Always looking for a new job | Begging the Wilpons to sell the Mets.