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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 8:20 am 
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Happy to hear the good news, you have been working on this for a while. :beer:

Please give more details and if you have pictures. This might be important stuff to know for others that might brick their units.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 11:22 am 
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Great job! 8) This would be a great tutorial for the Wiki if you were willing to do so...

I may have missed it, did you make a backup of the flash image prior to overwriting it?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:41 pm 
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Yep, I did a backup of the original flash contents and they are restored right now.
But I'm still thinking for a way to use this nice little flash as /boot partition :twisted:

I'll try to summarize what happened here for future readers and brick owners :),
and probably will add it to the Wiki too ( I guess the LED and flash control info from
the "Reverse engineering..." thread should go in the Wiki too).

The MSS BIOS clearly does some checks on the built in flash to make sure it is
FAT formatted before it will list it as an available booting option.
The problem was that the GPT (GUID partition table) that I've put on the flash
was probably too alien for these checks in the BIOS and made them crash.
(The BIOS was clearly crashed because only 4+ sec press of the power button restarted the machine).

The solution was to find where the USB<->Flash controller chip is located,
find out which are the USB data pins on the chip and short them with a
small screwdriver during the BIOS POST.
After I saw that the hard drives are detected I removed the screwdriver
and left my FreeBSD installation to boot. The onboard flash was detected,
and I was left to do a simple "dd if=WHS_Backup.bin of=/dev/da0 bs=1m"

The USB<->Flash controller is located on the back side of the motherboard,
right under the Samsung flash chip(on the top side). And on the picture (which I borrowed from ymboc)
I've marked the USB data pins.
Attachment:
MSS_SM3210F_USB_Data_Pins.jpg
MSS_SM3210F_USB_Data_Pins.jpg [ 137.63 KiB | Viewed 9098 times ]


P.S.: This worked for me, but I can't guarantee that this is safe. Also one should be very careful while
shorting the pins to not touch anything else because it may result in a permanent brick.

And of course I want to thank ymboc for the idea to short the USB data pins (and the picture ;) ).


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 2:03 pm 
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all i can saw is
WOW


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:07 pm 
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I had to perform a similar short across two pins of my router recently when I bricked it due to an error during firmware upload ( I mention this on the blog). It is indeed scary to turn the power on while you're holding a screwdriver to electronic equipment. :shock:

Good job, ndenev, and thanks for documenting the steps you took!

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:40 pm 
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michaelk wrote:
all i can saw is
WOW


...and my friends and family think that I'm a "computer genius". I don't even know how to short anything and please don't tell me. I don't care to know.

Good work with whatever you did. :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:52 am 
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ndenev wrote:
<snipped awesome success story>

Do you think writing a blank (possibly marked bootable) FAT32 partition to the flash would work? I managed to lose my backup of it.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:59 am 
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I'm a little lost here.

Is there a simple way to view or change or back up the contents of the hidden USB flash disk ?

I read if you write to port: 0x1064, value: 0x7FFFF: result: Enable secret USB Flash Disk (open Windows Explorer and check it out), how is this done without installing a 500 meg software debugger download ?

Thanks.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 11:18 am 
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genpfault wrote:
ndenev wrote:
<snipped awesome success story>

Do you think writing a blank (possibly marked bootable) FAT32 partition to the flash would work? I managed to lose my backup of it.


The flash is only used when you do recovery with the install/recovery CD, or when you don't have bootable
hard drives. If you have corrupted/erased/modified your flash contents the possibilities are two, either your
flash won't show up as an available boot option, or in the second (mine) case you won't be able to get past the BIOS POST.
If your machine boots, that means that you have only to restore the flash image, and I can send you mine if you want? (I hope it does not have embedded serial numbers and will work)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 11:21 am 
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Diehard wrote:
I'm a little lost here.

Is there a simple way to view or change or back up the contents of the hidden USB flash disk ?

I read if you write to port: 0x1064, value: 0x7FFFF: result: Enable secret USB Flash Disk (open Windows Explorer and check it out), how is this done without installing a 500 meg software debugger download ?

Thanks.


Actually the flash is not hidden by default. Probably the MSS driver for windows sets it as hidden when it boots.
If you boot regular windows/linux/bsd install (from disk/usb flash/cd/dvd) you should be able to see the internal flash
as simple mass storage device.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:27 pm 
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Diehard: I'm pretty sure I mentioned it before... you can backup & restore the image by pulling all the drives from the MSS & boot your favorite backup imaging software from a USB cd/dvd drive. (I used acronis but I imagine ghost works too).

FWIW, if you boot a WinPE based install disk (eg: vista) you can also read/write to the drive from the repair console's command prompt.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:02 pm 
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Is there a trick to the timing of the short? Or do you just hit the power while shorting the pins?

EDIT: No trick, just make sure to use something you know is conductive. I ended up using a small piece of wire, ~1/2mm diameter.

Also, it doesn't seem to like to POST with my USB thumbdrive connected. With a HDD connected (which booted another machine if mine, and running one of the Debian Live i386 hdd images) it now stalls on the "Verifying DMI Information"(?) line after the first POST screen, although the keyboard is responsive (the various lock lights work, as well as CTRL-ALT-DEL). Any ideas?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 11:18 pm 
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I removed the screwdriver from the pins as soon as I saw I got past the point that it was halting before.
Maybe if you are shorting them longer the whole USB hub get's disabled and the additional drive does not get recognized?
Can you boot from 3.5" sata drive attached to the backplane?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 8:29 am 
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ndenev wrote:
I removed the screwdriver from the pins as soon as I saw I got past the point that it was halting before.
Maybe if you are shorting them longer the whole USB hub get's disabled and the additional drive does not get recognized?
Can you boot from 3.5" sata drive attached to the backplane?

Sorry, when I said I had a HDD hooked up it was via the backplane. I'll try the original WHS drive this evening, to see if it doesn't like the Debian Live image for some reason.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:26 pm 
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genpfault wrote:
Is there a trick to the timing of the short? Or do you just hit the power while shorting the pins?

EDIT: No trick, just make sure to use something you know is conductive. I ended up using a small piece of wire, ~1/2mm diameter.

Also, it doesn't seem to like to POST with my USB thumbdrive connected. With a HDD connected (which booted another machine if mine, and running one of the Debian Live i386 hdd images) it now stalls on the "Verifying DMI Information"(?) line after the first POST screen, although the keyboard is responsive (the various lock lights work, as well as CTRL-ALT-DEL). Any ideas?

Aha, found the trick. On my unit, the HDD had to be in the bottom-most backplane slot before it would boot.

Unfortunately, a simple re-partition and mkfs.vfat doesn't seem to placate the BIOS :(

EDIT: Fortunately, the first 128MB of the original 500GB system drive did. :) Thank you very, very much for all the help getting my MSS going again!


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