Guide: How to resolve a failed LAN Port on your server

by Stephen Bruce on June 22, 2010 · 89 comments

in Guides

If you’re a HP MediaSmart Server user and enjoy using your server then have you considered what you would do if your LAN port failed to work?   Oh man that’s one nightmare that I would not wish upon anyone and yet it does happen and so this prompted me to figure a way to restore LAN connectivity back to the HP MediaSmart Servers.

A few months back I purchased an EX470 motherboard with a known blown LAN port.  The purpose of that purchase was to allow me to compare its functions against another functional but misbehaving motherboard.   It was then when I thought of ways to restore LAN function to this motherboard which I did do and actually I ran it for a few weeks without issue.   I even posted a message about what I had done but it received very little attention.

If you have been on this site a while you know I am very active assisting forum members with various server related issues.  Recently I started to assist MSS4me with his server issue for which he thought he needed the SMI files for the EX470.  As it turns out the reality is that his LAN Port was not functioning and so the thought process of installing a USB-LAN Adapter on his server came into play. 

So I began to wonder how can you install a USB-LAN Adapter into a server without Network Connectivity since you cannot RDP your server and so I began to work on a viable solution to doing just that and within a couple hours I came up with a solution to installing a USB-LAN Adapter using a USB Flash Drive, USB Keyboard and of course a USB-LAN Adapter. 

If you have purchased a debug cable then installing a USB-LAN Adapter will be much easier since you have a video connection.  If you would like to add video to your server you can purchase a debug cable from VOV Technologies.

So if you’re interested then please read on and if not then please read this because one day you may find yourself in need of this information.

Installing a USB-LAN Adapter Guide:

Things you need before you can begin!

The USB-LAN Adapter I used is a Sabrent USB 2.0 10/100/1000 Mpbs which can be purchased at Frys Electronics for $29.99 at the time of this writing.

The first thing you need to do is copy the entire Sabrant Instalation CD to the USB Flash Drive.    Then copy the file WinXP2K_32Bit_v1.4.3.57_WHQL_setup to the root directory of the USB Flash Drive so your USB Flash Drive will have a directory that looks like the following:

Next select the file WinXP2K_32Bit_v1.4.3.57_WHQL_setup and rename it to setup so your directory will look like this:

You will also need a USB Keyboard connected to the front USB Port of your server.  It’s important to note that the USB Keyboard must be connected before you attempt to use this process. 

You will need an available USB Port on your server.  I do not recommend using the Front or bottom Rear USB Ports because we will need them to install the adapter.

Performing a BLIND INSTALL of the USB-LAN Adapter

Please be patient and follow these instructions carefully.  You may want to print them out and check off each step as you complete it.   I have placed instructions to wait for various time frames this is to allow your server to seek out drivers and install them.  The wait times are there to ensure you have allowed enough time for the drivers to be loaded so the devices we are about the use will work properly.

  1. Copy the necessary files mentioned above to your USB FLASH Drive.
  2. Remove connected USB Devices from the Front and Bottom Rear USB Ports and one additional USB Port where we will install the Sabrent USB-LAN Adapter.  Also disconnect ALL unmanaged USB connected Hard Drives as they will interfear with the installation process and connected drive letters!
  3. Plug in the USB Keyboard into the front USB Port
  4. Turn on the server and wait for all the Hard Drive Lights to turn on.  This is an indication that your server has completed its boot process.
  5. Press CTRL-ALT-DELETE
  6. Type in the Server Password and press enter
  7. Insert the USB Flash Drive with the LAN Drivers for the Sabrent USB-LAN Adapter into the bottom rear USB Port.
  8. Wait 5 Minutes for the USB Flash Drive Drivers to be found and loaded.
  9. Connect the Network Cable to the Sabrent USB-LAN Adapter
  10. Plug in the Sabrent USB-LAN adapter into an available rear USB Port.
  11. Carefully follow the key strokes listed below.  Please take your time and enter them as they are listed.
  • Press WINDOWS KEY
  • Press UP ARROW 3 times (This brings you to the RUN Command)
  • Press ENTER
  • Type in E:\setup.exe
  • Press ENTER
  • Wait 30 seconds!
  • Press ENTER

 If all has gone well you should now have connectivity restored to your server!

To log off from your server:

Press WINDOWS KEY

Press UP ARROW 2 times

Press ENTER 2 times

Now you can remove your keyboard and USB Flash Drive from your server and connect the USB Devices you had previously connected if any.   Below are some pictures to show the Drivers and the USB-LAN Adapter connected to my test server.

First thing you need to do after installing the Sabrent USB-LAN Adapter

Your new LAN port should be fully functional and your server should regain its connectivity to your network.  However you may need to now reload your Client Connector Software on each of your clients for the process to be fully completed.

To reinstall the Client Software simply obtain it from your server using the link example below:

http://your_servers_name_here:55000 

When the web page loads just download and run the Windows Home Server Connector Setup.  This will first remove the existing Client Software and then replace it.  If you had special configurations set in your router for your server you will need to correct the settings to reflect the new IP and MAC Address in the router.   You may also need to check your Remote Access Setup to make certain its working which may require you to release and reacquire your domain.

For those who have working LAN ports but would like to install the Sabrent LAN Adapter:

If you are fortunate like many of us your LAN port is functioning perfectly but if you want to prepare for the event that your LAN port fails in the future you can install this adapter now and not have to do it blind or if you have video you can install it now or in the event your LAN Port Fails.   I would like to refer to this as an insurance policy that will keep your server online when you need it most.

Setup using RDP or if you have a Keyboard, Video , Mouse connected you can logon.

  1. Copy the Windows XP2K_32 Bit Drivers to a USB Flash Drive
  2. RDP your server
  3. Connect the USB Flash Drive to an available USB Port
  4. Connect the Sabrent USB-LAN Adapter to an available USB Port
  5. Follow the prompts and guide Windows Home Server to the location of your drivers
  6. You will get a warning about the drivers just allow their use
  7. When Windows Home Server Reports your device is ready to use you’re done.
  8. Remove the Sabrent USB-LAN Adapter and make a note which port it was installed on which will make installation bulletproof in the event you need it.

If you desire to verify the installation just leave the adapter connected and check the device manager. 

Please keep one thing in mind that should the day come to actually use this device you will need to remember what I mentioned above about reinstalling the Client Connector Software, reconfiguring your router and release and reacquiring your domain in remote access.

It’s my hope that you have found this guide useful and that you print it out for future reference.  Should you know of someone with a failed LAN port on their MediaSmart Server please point them to this guide.

This procedure may also work with other servers not manufactured by HP but I can only confirm that I have tested it many times to ensure it works including testing it without video assistance.

I would greatly appreciate it if you have used this procedure that you do come back and let us know especially if it’s on a server other than an HP MediaSmart Server.

If something goes wrong or you need assistance:

Should something go wrong and your in need of assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.  I will help you resolve the issue.   Recently a forum member installed 64 bit drivers and I was able to assist him in correcting the problem an today his server is back online!

Follow up Guide Comming!

I will follow up with another Guide on how to perform a Server Recovery using the same USB-LAN Adapter on an EX47x MSS.  In the near future its my desire to also include Server Recovery Procedures for the other Servers which will need to be tested and refined by others.





Article by

By day I am a Plant Engineer running a food container manufacturing facility which supplies containers to the Chinese Restaurant Industry. By night I spend my time helping others with their Windows Home Servers, working on various server projects. My other interests are animals, photography, media streaming, cultural history and linguistics. You can find me in the MediaSmartServer.net forums as Comp1962


{ 89 comments }

element June 22, 2010 at 11:42 am

I don’t see why you need to reinstall the software on the client PCs.
If for some reason your server isn’t being detected after a few minutes, then on your PC go to C:\Program Files\Windows Home Server and run Discovery.exe

Stephen Bruce June 29, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Recently I found there was confusion over the drivers and needed to assist a forum member who installed 64 bit vs 32 bit drivers. In the process of assisting him I found a much simpler way to perform the blind install and edited the Guide to reflect those changes which have simplified the entire process.

element June 22, 2010 at 11:44 am

I forgot the most important part, lol.
Great how-to for people in a bad situation!
You get two thumbs up for this article.

Comp1962 June 22, 2010 at 2:55 pm

@ element ~ Thanks for the thumbs up. The only reason why I mention reinstalling the Client software on the PC’s is only because my client did not see the server and I just used the server link to correct the issue. At the time I did not use the Discovery.exe program.

At the time I wrote this Guide I was already in the process of working out how to perform a server recovery using this same USB-LAN Adapter which I have already done and confirmed its validity but I need to do a redundant check to make sure I have not over looked anything before submitting the next part which completes the process.

SirNoBull June 23, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Thanks for the article. I better get my “insurance” USAB2LAN dongle ASAP.

edn4x4 July 4, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I have an HP MediaSmart EX485 Windows Home Server with 2 extra drives and it has worked great up until yesterday. I went to access the server and I noticed that the server’s icon was blinking blue and none of the hard drive lights were on. I couldn’t access the console or RDC in to it, I’ve tried resetting multiple times and it still didn’t get past the blinking icon.

I tried running the restore DVD, powering up the server, hitting the paperclip button when it flashed red, but it failed to make it through all the steps.

I am trying to determine if the sys drive failed or if the lan port is bad.
I tried putting in a new sys drive and running the restore dvd and it still isnt finding the server.

I did a cpu upgrade a couple months back and have had no issues…

I am leaning in the direction of a failed server lan port.

Any thoughts???? Ideas??

Stephen Bruce July 4, 2010 at 3:06 pm

@edn4x4 ~ The Blinking Blue Health Light means your server has not finished booting. I recommend you pull your drives and install them in another computer and run CHKDSK /r on your drives to hopefully repair issues they may have. With all drives removed from your server and also disconnect any USB Connected devices turn your server on. After 5-10 mins look at your health light if its blinking PURPLE/RED then your server can enter its recovery mode. While its in recovery mode check your router to see if a device with the name MININT followed by other things is listed if it is then your LAN Port is working. Also look at the lights on the LAN port to see if they are Green on the right and blinking yellow on the left, if they are then your LAN port is fine. Should you need additional help please post your need for help in the forums and I will be more then happy to assist you further. Good Luck!

edn4x4 July 4, 2010 at 6:05 pm

@Stephen ~
Thanks for the quick reply.
I have no USB devices attached – I read your earlier posts – thanks.
Looking at the back from the back – (not sure if that is what you meant as far as your orientation) the left light is solid amber and the right one is flashing yellow.

I don’t have an enclosure yet to pull my drives – I do have a silly question – When you say pull all the drives – do you also mean the system drive as well?
Thanks again

edn4x4 July 5, 2010 at 2:37 pm

@Stephen ~ More info
I pulled all drives and left it sit and it still flashed the blinking blue lights.
I did a CHKDSK /R and found no errors.
I tried three different lan cables.

Now my question – is there a way to determine from my info – including the prior post – if the lan port is bad or if there is another hardware failure.

I did a CPU upgrade a couple months back and am trying to determine if it is Lan, CPU or memory. If my blinking lights on the back are a indicator that my lan port is bad let me know – that would be the easiest for me to fix at the moment.

Any help is appreciated.
Thanks

Comp1962 July 9, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Forum member BiggBossKitty informed me that Frys Online Site is currently out of stock on the Sabrent USB2.0 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet Adapters. TigerDirect also sells the Sabrent Adapters and I did confirm the Item Codes Match (USB-G1000). Here is the link for that item on TigerDirect => http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3504463&CatId=2379

Dave July 15, 2010 at 8:21 am

This article is a life-saver! The ethernet port on my server just died, and I was beginning to despair that I wouldn’t be able to bring it back to life.

I have ordered the USB-G1000 and will give this a try as soon as it arrives!

Comp1962 July 15, 2010 at 3:10 pm

@ Dave ~ Hey when you get it please come back and share your experience also what server are you running? Keep in mind this Guide gets you out of trouble now but soon I will follow with a Guide on how to perform a Server Recovery with that same LAN Adapter. So stay tuned….

Dave July 21, 2010 at 8:46 am

The adapter arrived, and I’m running into a bit of difficulty already. The driver CD seems to have older drivers (1.4.3.55 rather than 1.4.3.57). I went to the Sabrent web site and downloaded the most recent drivers, which are 1.4.3.63.

That isn’t a big deal – what is a big deal is that the CD doesn’t seem to have any sort of setup program, so I’m having some trouble figuring out what to copy and rename in the root directory.

The CD (version 1.4.3.55) has Ax88178.inf and .sys in the WindowsXP2k_32Bit directory. The downloaded driver has a .cat file in addition to those files.

The instructions indicate that there should be a setup.exe somewhere, but for the life of me, I can’t find it…

Dave July 21, 2010 at 9:18 am

Looks like this is not an uncommon problem, based on Google search results. Had to go to the Asix web site (http://www.asix.com.tw/download.php), select the product, and download the setup file myself.

We’ll see how that does shortly…

Dave July 21, 2010 at 11:32 am

So far, mixed results. The instructions for doing the blind install on my EX475 didn’t quite work. The main problem seems to be that 3 up arrows after hitting the Windows Key didn’t get me to the Run menu. Instead, checking this on another system, I found that you can just type R after hitting the Windows Key, and it will bring up the Run dialog.

The drivers installed with the setup.exe program I downloaded from the Asix web site.

Now I have connectivity to my server! The only remaining problem is that the connectivity is stuck at 10Mbps. I’m plugged into a DLink GigE switch, so I’m not sure why this problem is occurring. I may try rolling back to an older version of the driver to see if there is a compatibility problem with the latest .63 version.

More updates to come as I make progress…

Comp1962 July 21, 2010 at 3:25 pm

@ Dave ~ If you read the instructions it will tell you what file is the setup file and to rename it to setup.exe along with where to place it. If hitting WIN Key then R works better then I will edit the guide to reflect that. Obviously the fewer key strokes the better. I will be working with the test server again over the next couple days and will verify that. I am not certain why your connection is not gigabit but I will look into that but I did have a gigabit connection on my end.

@ Everyone….I am still waiting for others to test the recovery process so that I can publish that Guide soon. Hopefully it will not be much longer.

Dave July 22, 2010 at 4:32 am

@ Comp1962 – Yes, I read the instructions, and the file WinXP2K_32Bit_v1.4.3.57_WHQL_setup does not exist on the driver CD. As I said previously, a Google search shows that this is a common problem. Multiple users have said that they had to go to the Asix web site to get the setup file.

Comp1962 July 22, 2010 at 6:40 am

@ Dave ~ I will put a ZIP file together with all the files I have here and find a way to make them available to you and others for download. This way you can use what I have used to replicate the installation. I have an old NAS that I will try to setup this weekend that I believe has an FTP feature that I will try to setup. I will send you an email once its setup if you like or if you want I can set you up with a temporary account on my server so you can download the files after which I would delete the account but it will get the files to you quicker. This project is very important to me and it will breath new life into your server. Then once the next guide is put up everything will be complete.

Mike August 13, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Any further progress on this? I, too, don’t have a setup program on the Sabrent install CD. Are you supposed to use the entire install of AX88178_WinXP_v1.x.3.63_Drivers_Setup_v1.0.0.0 from the asix site or just the setup.exe file contained in the folder? Any help would be appreciated.

Comp1962 August 13, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Mike,

I sent you a Rapidshare link where you can download the files I used for this guide. I actually have 2 of these devices and each disc has a different version of the driver but both versions work equally well.

Mike August 13, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Thanks, Stephen, I will give it a try.

Mike August 15, 2010 at 1:14 am

Stephen, with the files that you made available I am now up and running again, although I had to RDP into the server to disable the onboard NIC (even though it is inoperative)to get the usb NIC to go to 100 mbps. Many thanks for your help.

Comp1962 August 15, 2010 at 3:16 am

@ Mike ~ Your welcome but you should be able to get that adapter to go 1000 Mbps unless your connection is the limiting factor.

Dave August 15, 2010 at 5:32 am

Just a quick follow-up – this has been working great for me! I get a 1Gbps connection, and have been able to resume backups, etc.

I also disabled the built-in NIC, but that was just so that the annoying “limited connectivity” notification stopped popping up.

Comp1962 August 15, 2010 at 5:48 am

@ Dave ~ Thanks for the follow up. What I do not understand is why some Sabrent Install Discs are different then others but in the event anyone has an issue I am here to provide them with what I have to get people on the right path.

Mike August 15, 2010 at 8:35 am

Stephen, due to other reasons I have to run a router that is only good for 100 mbps

Comp1962 August 15, 2010 at 11:29 am

@ Mike ~ Thanks for the clarification. Should you change out your router and get a gigabit router the Sabrent LAN Adapter will make full use of it provided the gigabit connection is maintained meaning there are no 10/100 switches between the router and your server.

JD August 29, 2010 at 3:46 pm

My NIC failed due to lightning, saw this guide and purchased a USB-LAN adapter but to my surprise (and my fault) it was not Sabrent, but it just looked exactly like it except it was another brand. Followed the instructions here and different sets of drivers to no avail.

Purchased the Sabrent and with the set of drivers from the link in this guide I was connected in no time.

I didn’t have to reinstall the WHS Connector. I did have to redo my static IP address, obviously, since I was using a new connection device.

I thank Comp1962 who assisted me all the way through.

SirNoBull September 27, 2010 at 2:21 am

I just got my Sabrent installed …. as an insurance measure (the original EX475 still works great). I used the drivers provided on the CD, and everything worked fine. The Task manager showed 2 NICs running 1Gb/s (obviously USB 2.0 cannot go that fast, but ..).

Oh… I did not have to do anything special (extracting, renaming, etc). Just copying the Windows directory to the USB drive (has to be FAT32, otherwise directory not visible), and ran provided setup.exe.
Last step was to assign a permanent IP address to the NIC id, and… I am ready.
BTW, one COULD use both NICs for 2 different traffics (for example, separate Remote access from the backup, and physically split both networks for additional security)

Thank you for this great article. This just made me realize what needed to be done.

Comp1962 September 27, 2010 at 6:30 am

@ SirNoBull ~ Good to hear you were able to install the adapter without issue. Its easier to do when you have not lost connectivity and RDP to your server to do the install because you can see whats going on. Better if you have a video connection for the same reason.

As for your suggestion on using both NIC’s I have thought about that but have not yet played with that, my primary server has duel Gigabit LAN Ports.

As for insurance I have installed the Sabrent Adapter drivers in all my EX470′s so if the LAN should fail I still can restore connectivity with them and I also have 2 Sabrent USB-LAN Adapters, one still in the box and the other running on my test server.

SirNoBull September 30, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Oh yeah, I am not quite sure, if I would go with another HP product though. Too proprietary, too many risks should the hardware fail (power supply for one).
I think, my next WHS Vale machine is going to be either custom, or something that is more open. Also, waiting for a next generation of Intel CPU/GPU processor with USB3.0 may not be a bad idea either.

Any news on the release date of Vale?

Kevin September 30, 2010 at 4:19 pm

I’m glad, I found your post. I lost my LAN port a couple of weeks ago. I ordered the Sabrent adapter and received it today. Would you be willing to send me the rapidshare link to the drivers. The disk that came with the adapter has much older drivers on it.

Thanks,
Kevin

SirNoBull September 30, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Kevin,

The drivers come with the Sabrent adapter USB-G1000, and ARE the most recent (November 2009). Good Luck with it.

Comp1962 September 30, 2010 at 11:51 pm

@ keven ~ I have used 3 different versions of the driver and each of them worked equally well event though Sabrent saw the need to update the drivers.

Here are 2 links to help you out:

(1) RapidShare Link for the Install Disc I have but it has the older drivers XP/Win 2K 32 bit drivers on it:

http://rapidshare.com/#!download|568|403723940|Sabrent_Install_Disc.zip|67157

(2) Link to get the latest Drivers for the Sabrent USB-Adaper, look for USB-G1000 and download the updated drivers for Windows. Note you will only need the 32 bit Win XP/2K drivers:

http://sabrent.com/drivers.php

Kevin October 3, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Thanks for the posts. Still having trouble getting the adapter installed. Does is matter how many drives you have installed in your server when you tell it to run the setup file from drive E. If I have all the bays full, could it be a different drive letter? I think, I’m logged in, because after I enter the password and press enter, the num lock lights up on the USB keyboard.

Thanks,
Kevin

Val October 11, 2010 at 3:57 pm

I have a EX485 MSS with a blown LAN adapter I’d like to do a Server Recovery on. I have the Sabrent USB network adapter you spec’d and a debug board. I originally had a blue flashing health light that I determined to be a failure of system files loading during start up. I complicated maters by removing my drives (including the system) and attempting to recover the data via a San Digital Raid tower in JBOD/ “clean” mode but the tower did not like the WD 2Tb green disks and I lost files on the system disk. I purchased 3.0 to do a factory reset on and I have some new 2Tb WD green “EARS” drives I aligned for XP/ MSS WHS. I don’t see a place to disable my on board LAN in the MSS’s bios and I’m not sure how the MSS will respond to the USB adapter w/o the system LAN adapter being disabled first. Help would be appreciated.

Comp1962 October 11, 2010 at 9:58 pm

@ Val ~ You do not need to disable your servers built in NIC for the USB Lan Adapter to work but to disable it you would have to RDP to your server and disable the servers NIC in the device manager.

The process to actually perform a Server Recovery with the USB-LAN Adapter will require you to expose the SMI Area on your server to obtain a copy of the SMI files. Once you have those please send me a private message here on the site and I will help guide through the process of how to create a bootable USB Flash Drive and configure it so the server will use the USB-LAN Adapter for the recovery process and since you do have a video connection it will be much easier task for you to accomplish since you will see first hand the server wanting to load the drivers for the USB LAN Adapter.

dewey October 18, 2010 at 2:11 am

Steve – I think my Acer Easystore H340 lan port is blown because:

1) none of my computer can see the server
2) the Easystore lan light is off
3) the green/yellow lan port light is not blinking

so I would like to try your method with the Acer. Do you think I need to make any changes or would the steps be the same?

Thank you for taking time to put together this post.

dewey

SirNoBull October 23, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Dewey,

Did you try to replace the cable AND use different port on the switch? In my zillion years of IT work I have experienced only very few PC LAN port falling. On the other had, failed port on a cheap or not so switch was not a major surprise…

Just my 2 cents.

dewey November 1, 2010 at 4:23 pm

SirnoBull:

Sure did. I tried a different cable, then use the cable that goes to my PC, then tried different ports on the Dlink – no dice. None of the port lights on the Acer works.

I just got the USB lan and will try it out soon.

This is so frustrating!

Comp1962 October 18, 2010 at 5:25 am

@ Dewey ~ I do not see any reason why it would not work. If you order the Sabrent USB-LAN Adapter be certain to check for the install disc between the paperboard layers in the package as it will be one of those mini CD’s. If you run into trouble let me know and I will help you as best I can. Also its much easier if you have a video connection and its my understanding that the Gen 3 debug cables will work on your server. Check it out at the following link. http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=8066#p73291

dewey October 18, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Thanks for the hints. I will try it out and report back in a couple of days. I want to minimize any expenditures, especially if there are other unknown problems with the system that requires a new purchase, thus I will first just try the blind setup with the USB lan. I just wish the Acer setup is more reliable. The entire year I had the system it did nothing more than backing up my two home PC’s. I have been wanting to try things like streaming but had no time to get around it yet. In any case, the WHS user interface is so dated (waiting for Vail) that it takes away the joy of using the system.

Egbert December 11, 2010 at 9:12 am

Steve,

I have got an Acer H340 and I think my LAN port is blown since:

- I cannot see/ping the Server in my network
- LAN port light is not blinking
- I have got 2 red status lights (1&2)
The manual then says the LAN port is failing
- It won’t boot any further as soon as those 2 lights are red.
Is there a way to circumvent this (probably) internal hardware test?
With your method I will need a system that is able to boot.

I already installed a mini express LAN card (there is 1 empty slot) but of course need to install the driver (similar to where you started).

Any suggestions will be very welcome…

Comp1962 December 11, 2010 at 9:46 am

I do believe the debug cables sold by VOV Technologies will work with your Acer H340 to provide a video output for your server. Here is a link with additional information. http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8066

It will be best if you install your driver with a video connection. Your server is very similar to the HP EX470 in that it uses WIN PE to boot itself into recovery mode and also has a hidden area on the motherboard also called a USB SMI. Once you get your server up and running it would be best for you to get a copy of the files in the SMI area and protect them should you ever need to perform a server recovery. I do have a guide already written on how to recover a server using the SMI files and an alternate NIC that I have yet to submit for publication until someone other than myself puts it to the test to confirm that what I have written is bullet proof. But down the road should you find yourself in a Server Recovery Situation I will be willing to help you and others out who are using alternate NICs.

So for your situation I would opt to get a DEBUG cable so that you can get a video output and then you just connect a keyboard and mouse to the server and adding your new NIC Card will be a very simple process. Also down the road should you chose to use that slot for things like an eSATA card to expand your storage capacity you could use a USB-LAN Gigabit adapter and still have a Network connection and the ability to add additional eSATA Port Multipliers providing upto an additional 10 drives to your server. I like that part very much in the server your using so keep that in mind.

Should you need additional help just let me know and I will do my best to help you along.

Egbert December 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Thx for your advice.
I think I’ll try to get one of these debug cables.

If I am up & running again I might want to try your guide: I’ll let you know.

Comp1962 December 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm

You will like the debug cable alot. As you will soon find out it will open up a new world of opertunities for you and make running and maintaining your server and easier process.

Rich May 9, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Stephen, I appreciate your efforts to help those of us in this predicament. To summarize: Lightning appeared to have caused my LAN card to go out, which started me on this “journey”. Here’s what I’ve done: 1) I tried the blind install, didn’t work. 2) bought a VGA cable and realized I had some dialogue boxes popping up that spoiled blind install. 3) tried to install with VGA (using both the CD that came with it and your files), fails to install (still have yellow triangle in Device Manager). 4) Uninstalled and reinstalled, no luck. 5) connected a Netgear FA-120 and installed the software, which did appear to install correctly, but showed the “cable is disconnected” in the system tray (like the built in LAN connector did). So now i have the built in LAN port that says “cable is disconnected”, one USB ethernet adapter that won’t install, and other that installs but says “cable is disconnecte”… I’m thinking my motherboard may have been damaged more than the LAN port? Is there a source for replacement motherboards if that’s the next logical step? If it matters, I have all the four drive lights on and the three status lights are all on as if everything is OK.

Comp1962 May 9, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Hi Rich,

First lets establish your using the correct drivers. These would be the 32 bit drivers for like Win 2K or XP. Make certain that your not using any 64 bit drivers or it will simply not work. If your able to read from the USB Port then I would have to say the USB Port is functional and the USB-LAN Adapter should work just fine.

Now the cable disconnected has peeked my interest. Can you connect that same cable to another computer to see if the cable and port the cable is connected to are working properly. Sometimes the simplest of things often cause the biggest of headaches.

As for acquiring another motherboard the best bet would be to look on eBay. You can try HP and see if they will repair your unit but I am not certain if they are still offering to do that or not.

I am more then willing to help you get your server back online. We can discuss it in the forums or you can send me a PM using Comp1962. There is nothing worse then when you have a server and its not functioning properly, I know I have been there myself.

Rich May 9, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Stephen,

First off, thank you so much for your willingness to help. Answers: yes, installed 32-bit drivers. Same cable/Ethernet port connects for an xbox or netbook when connected. Any other ideas?

Rich May 16, 2011 at 9:31 am

Stephen, Any other ideas to troubleshoot?

Comp1962 May 16, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Rich,

Can you install the USB-LAN Adapter on another unit to test that it is indeed functional. Also since you have a debug board on your server could you remove the installed drivers for the USB-LAN Port and then simply plug the adapter in to see is WHS is actuallying seeing the adapter this would help to determine if the USB ports are functional too. You could also try diabling the built in NIC to make certain its not causing any issues. I can also tell you that even if your LAN Port on the server is functional you can also have the USB-LAN Adapter installed and use either to run your server with.

So basically what your doing is ruling out the USB-LAN Adapter by installing it in another computer and verifying that the USB Port is functional. Lets le know how you make out.

Rich May 22, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Stephen,

installed the Sabrent USB Gigabyte adapter on the desktop i’m typing on and it works fine. I couldn’t get the drivers to install correctly on this adapter, so i can’t say it doesn’t work for sure on the mediasmart… other than not being able to install the drivers. Can the Geek Squad guys at Best Buy connect the mother board to their tester and tell me if it’s smoked?

Rich May 22, 2011 at 4:05 pm

I just re-read my post and it didn’t make any sense. The Sabrent installed and worked fine on my Wion 7 desktop. It would not install correctly on my EX485.

Comp1962 May 22, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Rich ~ Since you have a debug cable can you remove the installed drivers and then reinstall them. There is an installation utility on the supplied disk that you can run to correctly install the drivers in the event say something went wrong with the original installation.

Rich May 22, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Stephen, I’m not sure how, but I’m up and running… thank you! Rich

Comp1962 May 22, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Great to hear Rich…. Just keep one thing in mind and that is if you ever want to perform a server recovery you will need to do it differently depending on the model server you have. Please let me know what Model Server you have and I will try my best to explain what you need to do to prepare it for a recovery using the USB-LAN Adapter.

Rich May 23, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Thanks again for all your help! My server is an HP Mediasmart EX485.

Comp1962 May 23, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Rick – Your welcome. What I suggest you dois expose the SMI Area and then copy the contents of the SMI Area to a safe location. To do this you need to either RDP to your servers desktop or if your debug cable is connected just logon to your servers desktop. Enter computer management and disable the HP Mediasmart Service. When you do this your servers LED’s will stop functioning and you server will pinch a fit about it but just ignore things for a bit. Now this is the part I am not sure of but enter My Computer and you should see a little drive about 256mb in size. You may need to reboot the computer to see this little drive which is the SMI Area on your computer which is hidden for protection by the HP Mediasmart Service. Once you see that area copy its entire contents to a safe location of your choice. These files are vital for performing a server recovery. Also they are important in that if something should happen to them then there is no easy way to perform an HP Server Recovery.

After you copy the SMI Files then go back to computer management and simply renable the HP Mediasmart Service and then reboot your computer and things will operate normally again. For those with EX47x’s this proceedure will work as well. I am not sure about the LXxxx Series but I believe they are similar to the EX47x and EX48x. All the newer HP Servers recovery differently so they have no SMI Area which contains WIN PE which is the heart and soul of putting your server into recovery mode.

You will really want to make several copies of these files and protect them. Now all you need to do is create a Bootable USB Flash Drive and then copy the SMI Files to that Bootable USB Flash Drive. Also copy the USB-LAN Adapter drivers to the Bootable USB Flash Drive.

I will have to get back to you and look up the files you will edit so they will call upon the USB-LAN Adapter for the server recovery so that the server can recovery using the edited SMI Files.

There is more to it then that but if you can get that far you will be in great shape. Please if you do get a copy of the SMI Files make several copies and never edit the original copies only work with a copy that would be your working copy. I will look at my notes and the Bootable USB Flash Recovery Disk I created when testing out how to do a Server Recovery using a USB-LAN Adapter.

Shawn O July 2, 2011 at 6:21 pm

I tired this with the USB drivers you provided in a zip and the ones on the disk to no avail. I know i’m hitting the USB drive as i see it light up during the steps involving it but I never get activity or connection with the USB NIC.

Any ideas on what to try next?

Comp1962 July 2, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Hi Shawn O,

There are multiple ways to actually install the drivers one is to use the setup program to install the drivers but the drivers have to be in the correct directory structure to be found and installed. Placing the drivers also in the root directory helps as well.

While I never attempted to do this one person reported placing his system drive in another computer booting the computer and then he logged onto the system and installed the drivers. It sounds like it would work but I have never attempted it.

If you have not lost network connectivity and are installing this as added protection for a failed NIC then you can RDP to the server and install the drivers. There is no need to disable the built in NIC as the two can exist together without issue.

This is a very busy weekend for me but I will help you get your adapter functional. If you send me a PM with good detail on what you have done and which server model your working with I will see what I can do to help you.

Tibbie July 7, 2011 at 8:15 am

Life is short, and this article saved valubale time on this Earth.

Bob August 23, 2011 at 4:14 pm

This helped save me. The blind install didn’t work, but found another unit and installed my drives in that unit. Once booted I went into RDP and installed the drivers. Let me say that the blind install instructions could never get me running, found out that for some reason the USB LAN Adapter was showing with a Code 10 error. Turns out that the drivers had to be updated (couldn’t use the ones that were posted above – must be hardware/firmware change to the adapter). Once installed I put drives back in my unit and now all functional once again.

I bought a used unit to use as temporary, will now sell it. HP wanted almost $200 for repair, I know I’ll do better by buying and reselling temporary unit.

For those who do try the blind install, one tip is to use Windows-R as shortcut key for run command (instead of the instructions mentioned above). Thanks for the write-up, it wasn’t as simple as I had hoped, but did find out that I could use USB LAN Adapter to get my system operational.

Matt September 11, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Hi there. Your article was a great step in the right direction for a failed LAN port, however, how might one perform a system recovery on an Acer H340 with a failed lan port? I have no WHS installation on my drive, and my LAN port has failed. I’ve acquired the USB network adapter, but any advice on how to proceed from here? I would really appreciate it! Thanks in advance!

Comp1962 September 12, 2011 at 5:02 am

Hi Matt. As I understand it the Acer H340 is similar to the earlier HP MSS units in that it boots off a hidden area on the motherboard called the SMI Area. What I do not know is how to expose it on your server.

On the HP MSS you would have to disable a service then reboot the server and the area would be exposed so you could copy it then you would re-enable the service to return the server back to normal operation. The SMI Area contains WinPE which is used to boot the server and place it in its recovery mode then the recovery software run from a PC would see it and start doing its recovery process.

If you read through the following Forum Thread it explains how to setup a Bootable USB Flash Recovery Drive for the HP MSS models EX47x, EX48x and LX19x. I would believe you could apply the same to your Acer H340. I do recommend you do use a DEBUG Cable or if you could find a video card you could install it in the expansion slot in your server if not currently populated. Most use that expansion slot for installing an eSATA Card for additional expansion.

For information on a DEBUG Cable check out: http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8066

For the information on Recovery Check out: http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?p=85884#p85884

Please feel free to post a comment there or start a new forum topic in the proper area for your server type and maybe together we can figure out how to get something working for your server. If you do this please send me a PM and point me to your post so I do not miss it.

Ben October 11, 2011 at 9:04 pm

This thread got me thinking, and I definitely like the idea of putting in safeguards. I had a spare USB Wi-Fi adapter hanging around (Netgear WG111T), and decided to see if I could get my HP MediaSmart EX487 working with it as a free alternative to the USB-LAN adapter.

A specific driver install for the WG111T brought it to life (file name: wg511v2700.zip, ndis5 directory), after manually updating the drivers via Device Manager on the MediaSmart.

I configured a simple Wi-Fi network with no security on my Wi-Fi router, and also gave the WG111T a static IP, for predictability sake. Windows on the MediaSmart is being used to manage the Wi-Fi networks to connect to, and I set it to auto-connect to this newly created open SSID. After removing the LAN cable, I attempted to RD to the MediaSmart via the static IP, and received success!

I’ve since removed the open Wi-Fi network after saving its configuration, and writing an instructional to myself on how to connect the MS to the Wi-Fi network in the future.

Given this article provided the motivation to add in an additional connectivity method, I thought I would share my alternative method in the event anyone else has wondered if it were possible.

Kyle November 30, 2011 at 10:09 am

Quick question for you, actually two.
- Can you connect a computer directly to the HP Mediasmart EX475?
- Can you pull the hard drives out and connect them to a computer to get the data off?

If not, I will have to try this. Thanks for the write-up.

Comp1962 November 30, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Hey Kyle,

You can connect the hard drives in the server to any computer and read the drives. You will need to set the computer to display hidden files and folders. The files you will be looking for are in the DE Folder. Easiest way to connect a drive to a computer is to use a docking station or a USB-SATA Cable.

You can directly connect a computer to your server using a standard network cable Cat5 or Cat6.

If your LAN Port has failed I would urge you to consider purchasing a Debug Cable to install the USB-LAN Adapter. While the Blind Installation does work there are times when certain prompts show up causing issues with the installation. The things that pop up have mostly to do with previously connected devices. The Debug Cable is a great investment and it will open up a world possibilities for you.

Good Luck and if you need aditional help please let me know.

3choBoomer December 6, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Comp1962,

I think I can be your tester for recovering a server with a USB NIC. You helped me get my server back up and running a few months ago when my on board NIC died…

Now my connector is failing and I think I’m to the point that I need to just do a recovery…

I have a thread open in the forums here:
http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=11699

Comp1962 December 6, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Review the information in the thread link below. It should explain everything you need to do to perform a recovery using a USB-LAN Adapter.

http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?p=85884#p85884

I will check out your thread as well.

3choBoomer December 6, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Thanks for the prompt reply!

I’m going to backup some data and attempt to locate my recovery CDs before I get started… I may have to order them from HP :(

Comp1962 December 6, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Your welcome. Hopefully you will find the CD’s but HP has been kind enough to supply users with recovery disks in the past.

RG2012 May 15, 2012 at 9:31 am

Thanks for this post. I recently had a lightning strike near my house that took out my router and the NIC port on my EX470. I bought the USB-LAN adapter you recommended and am about to attempt the blind install. I’m a little hesitant though. As an alternative, I have a friend who also has an EX470. If I use his chassis with my hard drive, can I install the USB-LAN adapter that way, and then place my hard drive back into my own chassis? Are there things that will be associated with his motherboard when I do the USB-LAN install that would prevent it from working when I put my hard drive back into my own chassis? Would I be screwing anything up with my friend’s configuration by doing this? Sorry, I’m not too computer savvy.

Comp1962 May 15, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Hi RG2012,

Actually using your drives in your friends server is a good idea and it will do no harm to his server provided the drives are all in good working order.

All you need to do is copy the 32 bit drivers onto a USB Flash Drive or if you have an external optical drive use that to load the drivers. So basically you pop in your drives and boot the server. Make a Remote Desktop Connection to the server and follow the installation instructions that came with your adapter. Some USB Devices need to have their drivers loaded before you connect the device and others you need to connect the device then load the drivers.

Logoff the RDP connection then move the network cable to the new USB-LAN Adapter and see if you can then make a connection. If all goes well you will be able to take your drives home plug them back in and plug in the new USB-LAN Adapter and be in good shape.

You might want to bring your server with you so you can test the installation out while your there. You do not need to diable the onboard LAN infact if it were functional your server would use which ever LAN port you were connected to.

The only thing I do recommend is that you obtain a copy of the SMI files on your EX470 and load them onto a bootable USB Flash Drive. In the forums I have written instructions on which SMI files need to be modified to make use the USB-LAN Adapter Drivers for a Server Recovery and some additional instructions on how to actually perform a Server Recovery using the USB-LAN Adapter.

Of course using a DEBUG Cable will always help simplify a recovery because the drivers need to be loaded twice. The first time is when the server actually boots into its recovery mode and the second is after the OS has been written to the system drive and upon reboot WHS will want the drivers for the USB-LAN Adapter again. A Debug board helps you identify this and assists you in getting the drivers loaded properly without having to do it blind and there is no way around. Of course you could go visit your friend and use his EV470 to perform your server recovery using your drives and then reload the drivers for the USB-LAN Device.

Good Luck and please do come back and let us know how you made out.

RG2012 August 10, 2012 at 8:34 am

Hi Stephen (Comp1962),

Just wanted to report back that I finally had the time to sit down with my friends EX470 chassis he lent me and successfully installed the Sabrent USB-LAN adapter drivers. It was a lot easier, and smoother then I expected.

I put all my drives in his chassis and booted up. I then RDP’ed into the computer with no problem. I had already transferred the contents of the LAN adapter driver disc to a USB flash drive, and used that to load the Win2k drivers. After that I just plugged in the adapter, moved the LAN cable over, re-logged into the machine and verified it was working. Then I shut down, moved my drives back into my chassis, plugged the USB-LAN adapter into the same corresponding USB port on the back, booted up, and voila, a fully working server again.

Thanks for the help and keep up the good work with this site!

Comp1962 August 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Great to hear RG2012 but there is one thing to keep in mind and that is if you ever need to perform a server recovery you will need to do some preparation in advance to perform the recovery using the USB-LAN Adapter. I have discussed the many times in the forums but it will involve extracting the SMI files from your EX470, Creating a bootable USB Flash Drive to place the SMI files and USB-LAN Adapter and then you will need to edit one of the SMI files on the Bootable USB Flash Drive so your server can actually use the USB-LAN Adapter for the recovery then at some point during the recovery process you will need to blindly install the USB-LAN Adapter Drivers and then you will be able to run your server as you do now. Its a bit of a process I have tested it on my end but am still waiting for someone who I have given the instructions to actually report back. Which is why I never published the guide I wrote but when asked I am always happy to help.

RG2012 August 13, 2012 at 9:35 am

Thanks for the reminder about the SMI files. I’m not totally clear on what all that entails, but I can look through the website for more info. I’m a little hesitant about having to restore the way you mention since it looks like it would require another blind-install and I wasn’t having much luck blind-installing the drivers to begin with (hence my decision to borrow my friends chassis). I do have the Acronis image backup software though, so what are your thoughts on just using that to keep an image of the system drive and use that as a backup instead of the recovery discs, SMI files, re-installing the USB-LAn, etc.? Shouldn’t the backup image I make contain all the drivers for the USB-LAN adapter, and simply require loading the image onto the replacement system drive? That’d be a lot easier then blind-installing the drivers again, or having to borrow my friends chassis again. Thoughts?

Thanks,
RG2012

peter June 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Hello,
I have falied lan port and trying to prep for install for SABRENT GIGABIT ADPATER USB-G1000
I am trying to Copy Files from CD to USB jump drive.
I see “AX88178 Windows XP Drivers” file with 321 kb Size.
I am not able to locate “WinXP2K_32Bit_v1.4.3.57_WHQL_setup” on CD that is provided with product.

I tried downloading files from sabrent website and get “AX88178_XP2K_32bit_Driver_v1.4.3.64_WHQL” folder with 104 kb file and no SET UP file in folder.

Please help to create USB for root install.

Comp1962 June 5, 2012 at 2:05 am

Hi Peter,

Send me a PM so I can arrange to get you a copy of the Setup Disk I have which contain older version of the drivers but they have been proven to work on my end.

I recall a forum member reporting he installed his system drive in another computer booted from it and then proceeded to install the drivers then he moved the System Drive back into the server. I have never tested this out myself so I can’t actually verify this method to actually work.

Peter June 11, 2012 at 10:49 am

Hi Comp 1962,

Switching System drive from EX 490 to EX 485, just to install Ethernet driver worked for me. I still need to figure out, what will happen If I do server recovery, Or Complete Full reinstall.

Comp1962 June 11, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Hi Peter thats great to hear. As you already know from our email exchange I will help you to create a Bootable USB Recovery Flash Drive for the EX49x which DieHard wrote but it will require some additional modification to incorperate the USB-LAN Adapter Drivers. Of course a Debug Board will make the process easier when the drivers have to be reinstalled in WHS after the recovery is finished so you can see exactly when the drivers are actually requested by WHS once it sees the USB-LAN adapter when it first boots. I can assure you it works but the debug board helps out alot where doing it blind can be done but one mistake and its all for nothing.

Jaxn July 26, 2012 at 6:30 am

Question Comp1962 –

on the local area connection properties –
the – Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)
was unselected by accident – is there an easier way to re-enable this??
it’s making my brain hurt..

Thanks much

Comp1962 July 26, 2012 at 10:26 pm

My Schedule is abit tight but if you send me a PM reminding to look into it I will replicate your problem on an EX470 and see if I can find a simple solution for you. This will save you in either getting a DEBUG Board or from having to perform a server recovery.

Jaxn July 26, 2012 at 7:01 am

If i could just get someone to walk me through the keystrokes….
ugh..
:-)

okay thanks much.

Alex Ragone July 28, 2012 at 10:55 am

Thanks so much for this guide. I just had a network failure and ordered my usb network connection. Fingers crossed I’ll have access to all of my photos and video by Tuesday (when the usb nic gets here! Then it’ll be time to rethink this home server. Many thanks again.

Tanisha September 3, 2012 at 9:22 pm

I had to do a recovery of my server as my LAN stopped working, once recovered not a full recovery I no longer had remote access. Do you have a solution for this without a full recovery or is this the only solution to use remote access features. By the way great information you provide glad I found this!

Comp1962 September 4, 2012 at 4:36 am

Tanisha for everything to work properly the recovery must complete. However if its incomplete because the client software was not installed during the recovery process thats a different story.

Would you be kind enough to start a topic on this in the forums providing details on your server and better define what you mean by not a full recovery and I will be more than happy to help you out there.

Val September 3, 2012 at 10:05 pm

To Comp1962:

Could you share a link to the old drivers, please? It looks like my LAN is dead due to a lightning strike, and I will be receiving the USB adapter in a couple of days, Thanks in advance for your help/

Comp1962 September 4, 2012 at 4:45 am

Val the drivers will be found on a small CD located between the paperboard packaging. The Sabrent Drivers your looking for are USB-G1000 which is located 7th from the bottom in the following link: http://www.sabrent.com/downloads.php

If your using a headless server like one of the HP MSS or Acer EasyStore Server Models I encourage you to install a DEBUG Board as it will make the installation easier. Also if you have access to another server of the same model then you may want to do what others have done by installing your drives in the other server and making and RDP Connection to install the drivers.

Comp1962 April 26, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Its been nearly 3 yrs since I wrote this Guide. Yesterday I was working on an EX485 which would not boot from its SMI Area to boot into recovery mode. Using a supplied Flash Drive with the SMI the server would boot into recovery mode but would not load the NIC Drivers. I modified the SMI Files to use the same USB-LAN Adapter used in this guide and was able to get the server to perform a full recovery. The only difference is when the server goes to reboot itself I disconnected the USB-LAN Adapter and connected the network cable to the Servers NIC and the recovery/configuration process picked up normally.

Had I not had a DEBUG Cable I would of had no clue how to approach the work around for this issue and had I not had a USB-LAN Adapter I would not of been able to get this server functional again as soon as I did.

Now all I need to do is get the right NIC Driver on the SMI Flash and I am good to go.

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