EX495 won't boot
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Author:  chuckcoleman [ Sun Nov 24, 2013 7:38 am ]
Post subject:  EX495 won't boot

My EX495 was running fine for several years until a power failure. Now when it is restarted, the blue/teal light on the left and center are lite steady and the one on the right is flashing. I have four drives in it and I have removed each drive, put the drive in an external USB enclosure on my Windows 7 PC, and based on the drive manufacture, I ran the extended tests using either Seagate's SeaTools or WD's Data Lifeguard. In all cases, they pass. So, I'm not sure if there is a hardware problem or a software issue. The dilemma I face is do I purchase a debug board and find that it is a hardware problem which means I will probably discard the server and purchase a new server that has a VGA port on it, (which means I wasted $80+ on the debug board), or just purchase a new server with a VGA port and find it was a software issue and the EX495 hardware was fine. NOTE: the EX495 is running WHS 2011 AND when I ping the EX495, it's not seen on my network. I'm guess that's because it hasn't booted.

So, does anyone have any ideas?


Author:  Gardian [ Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: EX495 won't boot

Hello and welcome, sorry you are having problems, lets see if we can figure something out with ya.
I would ask what state/city are you in, someone may have a vga adapter they would loan you for shipping.

If all the pool drives are ok then it just about has to be the OS or OS drive and being blind and not running the stock OS you are in a bit of a pickle.
One thing you could do is make sure your nic and the hardware is working, (mark the bottom drive-It has to be there) pull all the drive and try a reset with a known good empty drive. At least that way to could rule out a power bump fry. If you can get it to reset and find it on the network, then your back to a vga cable or going down a different path.

Where to go in the future? We are all facing this question and sounds like your at the crossroads.
Do you stay with the micro server no matter what OS you have on it? in which case buying the cable and maybe even a spare server for parts would be a good idea.
This is what I did, I have (3) x510's running whs v1 (I tried 2011 and it wasn't for me) and I plan on running them as long as I can. I have one setup as the main server and another that I synctoy the shares to as a second backup, the third one is in the box out in the garage. The idea is if I lose the main server I can pull all the drives out and plug them into a spare and go.
I like whs v1 and am using the 4tb red drives as non-pooled and 4 drives works for me right now, when I spill out of the 4 2tb drives, then it may be time to switch over to my DIY, but it will be awhile.

It may be time for you to move on, what other server did you have in mind?

I looked at the Gen8 and could not get past the 4 drives, there are still deals on the Gen7 NL's which might be an option. Or you could build one, I have done that as well, you could check the DIY thread and get some great Ideas.
I have a DIY with Win server 2012 Essentials for down the road, that setup with external can handle 11 drives.

I can only offer ideas, you will have to decide which way you want to go.
Shout out if this brings anything up that can help.

Author:  Ruben Rocha [ Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: EX495 won't boot

Well I have only seen the health led flash blue only for
boot up
shut down
during the initial os installation.
So in your case.
I would assume it will not complete the boot process.
could be bios or it could be a corrupted os system.
If you don't want to buy the vga board.
I would attempt a recovery on the server ad see.
Remember if you do that it will still flash until you have setup the first client.

Author:  chuckcoleman [ Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: EX495 won't boot

Thank you guys for your input. At this point, I'm going to order the debug board to see if I can see what's happening. I hope that the issue is an OS issue that I can fix when I see what the system is telling me.

I'll post again once I get the board and hopefully get it working.


Author:  Comp1962 [ Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: EX495 won't boot


That DEBUG board will make a world of difference for you with resolving your issue. If you should decide to abandon the server let me know because I would be happy to take that DEBUG Board off your hands. This should make your purchase of the DEBUG Board a lot easier to make but once you have one and resolve your issue you will wonder how you lived without one for so long. I own 3 of them now and they have been one of the best things I have ever added to an MSS regardless of the model and I have them on an EX470, EX485 and EX490.

Author:  msawyer91 [ Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: EX495 won't boot


I've found that the EX4xx servers can be pretty fickle critters, particularly when you change the OS to something other than the stock. I have an EX487 and an EX490, both of which I've upgraded with E5300 CPUs and 4 GB of RAM, and both are running Windows Server 2012 R2.

One of the most intriguing anomalies about the EX4xx server is its ability to lovingly change the device boot order. This most often occurs on a reboot after a USB drive (including flash drive) has been either inserted or removed. In other words, when looking at the server via the debug board, you see it report back how many USB devices it detected. Inevitably, the BIOS will assign one of the USB devices the highest priority in the boot sequence, leaving you with a screen that says something like "NTLDR is missing. Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete to reboot." The only fix is to go back into the BIOS, put the HDD 0 (in my case, an SSD) as the primary boot device, save the BIOS settings, and reboot. It's very possible the boot order got messed up, and the debug cable is the only way you're going to be able to put it back.

I have a VOV debug board on both of my servers. Total cost to me was $160, but they saved me waaaaaaaaaay more than $160 in time, so definitely well worth the investment. If you decide to abandon the server for whatever reason, it sounds like you'd have willing buyers for the debug board--you'd probably also have willing buyers of the server as well. Many folks here, myself included, are tinkerers, so if you decidedto throw in the towel on the server, someone here would probably snap it up and repair it. As I noted above, I upgraded both my EX487 and EX490, and also replaced the power supply in my EX490, as the original one died.


Author:  chuckcoleman [ Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: EX495 won't boot

Thanks to all of you for your responses. I ordered the VOV debug board, hooked it up and saw immediately what was preventing the EX495 from booting. It was waiting for a response from me to run chkdsk. I ran chkdsk, (it was a quick run), and within 3 minutes of hooking up the VOV, the server was booting. The "learning" for me was to never purchase a server/computer that doesn't have a monitor/VGA port on it.

Thank you again!


Author:  Gardian [ Sun Dec 15, 2013 11:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: EX495 won't boot

Thanks for letting us know what it was hung up on, while I have not had that happen, I am glad I have the VGA adapter "just in case" :-)
Goodluck and happy holidays

Author:  beachdog [ Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: EX495 won't boot

I started experiencing similar issues recently. Still not fully resolved.

Before leaving for a trip, I tried to power down the EX490 (totally stock with 2 x 1TB Seagate Barracuda drives) and it just hung on the power down but I ran out of time and had to use the power button to power down. Come back 2 weeks later and send the WOL message from my PC and nothing. Try mapping the network and the server isn't there. Try pinging all of the possible IP addresses for the server and nothing. I figure that the NIC has gone bad or another network issue. Did all of the local network trouble shooting and didn't find any issues.

Tried several times to force reboots using the power button and had intermittent success with logging in via either the console or the remote desktop connection but the server was totally unresponsive with any commands taking very extended response times or no response at all. Task Manager performance and the console status were both showing negligible CPU usage so I figured it must be software or disk related. Powered down and removed the second drive and restarted. Booted and was visible on the network but showed the red status light. Console showed the file conflict messages due to the missing drive. Hot added the second drive and both showing healthy although still showing that the file conflict messages.

Hot added an external drive and now running a full backup of all user files. I'm thinking that either the OS or the console software got corrupted on the original forced shut down. Any hints on restoring the OS? The original CDs have the factory image but the OS had some updates before support ended. Will any of my backups have the updates or a restorable copy of the updated OS or is it possible to download the updates from somewhere?


Author:  Comp1962 [ Thu Dec 18, 2014 5:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: EX495 won't boot

Hi beachdog welcome to the forums,

Sorry to hear about your problems but I can tell you that WHS v1 is very sensitive to drive issues. You can connect the drives from your server to another PC and run a CHKDSK on them. Best way to connect them is externally using a USB-SATA Cable, Docking Station or external enclosure. Most of the time its the system drive so I would run a CHKDSK on both partitions on the System Drive and see if that corrects your problem and if not then pull out one drive at a time until you have gone through all your drives.

If you do not have HomeServerSMART installed on your server I would urge you to install it as soon as your server is back up and running well as it will keep a close eye on the physical health of your hard drives. WHS watches the file system so between the two you should be in good shape moving forward. You can download HomeServerSMART Classic aka HSS Classic from the following link:

I will also mention there a version for WIndows as well its well worth having.

Good Luck and if you need additional help or have questions please feel free to ask.

Author:  beachdog [ Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: EX495 won't boot

Thank you Comp1962.

Thanks for reminding me about using SATA cables. I was thinking that I was going to open up one of my desktops to mount the drives. I had a pair of SATA cables for my external USB backup drives so that was good news. Unfortunately that's about it for the good news.

Connected to my desktop, both the system and the second drive ran checkdsk with no issues so I ejected them and re-installed them into the EX490. Initially, it looked like all was good but after a few minutes of extensive disk activity, file conflicts were getting reported in the Network Health Tab of the console and the Shared folders tab was reporting that most of the folders had a failing status.

I tied to shut down but the server was hung so after 8 hours I forced a power down and pulled the drives again and mounted them to th desktop. Both of the drives are 1TB Seagate so I ran some Seagate diagnostics. The first non-destructive test passed both drives. The second, a more detailed non-destructive test passed the system drive and failed the second drive. At this point I figured there was no other option but to run a read/write test which would also attempt to repair any bad areas. The system drive passed and the second drive again failed.

I wasn't too worried because I had folder duplication runnning for everything that was important and have backups for everything else. I reinstalled only the system drive and started the server. It booted quickly and as expected it is now reporting that the second drive is missing and there are file conflicts and failing folders as before.

I would appreciate some guidance on how to proceed or direction where to find the right process.

Should I "remove" (logically) the missing drive using the Remove option on the Server Storage Tab? Will this reset the database and allow access to the duplicated folders which reside on the system drive or will this create more issues? Any other paths to take that will temporarily get the server functional again with the single drive until I can add another working drive?

I'm inclined to just format the failed drive and see if I can resurrect it with other tools however I don't want to blow it away until I know that it has no further function needed to stabilize the database on the remaining system drive.

Thanks again for any guidance.

Author:  Comp1962 [ Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: EX495 won't boot

I would install a replacement drive first then tell WHS to remove the missing drive. Its always best to remove a drive that is present in WHS because that way you will not risk losing unduplicated data or any client backups which may exist on the drive but if the drive is in really bad condition then remove it as a missing drive.

I will tell you that even if the drive were present and in good working order and you told WHS to remove it, that it could take a long time for WHS to remove the drive from the pool. So its not exactly a 1 hour task but hours and hours.

All the new hard drives on the market now are Advanced Format aka AF. To use these drives you may have to run an Alignment Utility or install a jumper for storage pool use. The reason has to do with the Sector Size of the AF drives being 4K vs the drives that were being made at the time WHS is compatible with are 512b sector size.

Some have reported some of the newer drives to be plug and play in which the drives firmware emulates the 512b sector size some are listed as 512e. There have been quite a few posts about the newer AF drives and which ones are plug and play and so forth. I basically defer to those actually using these drives for specific drive recommendations but always recommend contacting the drive manufacture to find out what if anything needs to be done to the drive for use in a Legacy Operating System which WHSv1 falls under.

Now I do still run WHSv1 but its no longer my primary server as I have moved onto other solutions like WHS2011 and now WS2012E.

Please do take the time to search the forums to find out about the different drives others are using and what if anything did they do to prepare their drives for use. Its important to get this right with AF drives because if you just pop on in which is suppose to be prepared it will work fine for a while then because of the sector size differences it will begin to act up because the alignment is not right. When these drives first appeared on the market they created a lot of heart ache for many forum members and that's because the Drive Manufactures did a horrible job documenting how to use their drives and to some degree that still exists.

Author:  Ruben Rocha [ Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: EX495 won't boot

Adding the replacement drive first is the best option.
Not knowing the specifics of your setup.
The first issue of removing a drive is whs checks for available drive space to move the data.
If you don't have enough free space it won't let you.
Even if you add a drive be prepared to wait a day for a removal to complete.

Also if you go the route of a factory recovery.
The updates still work for now.

Author:  Diehard [ Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: EX495 won't boot

it's best to run the removal tool overnight as the Shared Folders will not be available during the process..

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