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Tony Mack
1 Copper

Dell Poweredge 2950 set to Virtual Floppy won't boot past RAID initialization

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I have a 2950 for which I created a USB DOS boot disk in order to upgrade the BIOS.

I didn't see USB in the boot options, so I selected Virtual Floppy in the BIOS Boot Order, not knowing that option was for the DRAC interface management (?)

When the system boots, it goes to RAID initialization, and after recognizing the drives, it sits there. The system is still responsive; num lock button still toggles off and on. If I select any of the F keys, it will show "Entering (Boot Menu, Setup,...), but it never enters those modes. Of course, it doesn't boot to the USB drive.

How can I get into this machine's setup or circumvent the RAID initialization in order to get to the BIOS and change the boot order? I've saved the DOS files to a CD and attempted to boot from that, but same thing. The boot order is currently set as follows: 1. Virtual Floppy 2. CD 3. HDD

Thanks if you can help.

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DELL-Rey G
2 Iron

Re: Dell Poweredge 2950 set to Virtual Floppy won't boot past RAID initializatio

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wow, if it wont even go into bios, thats not good. I would try this:
either:
1. power off system, ssh/putty into the idrac ip and run: racadm racrest (this will reboot the idrac, you wont lose any settings) wait 5 mins, then power up the system. I would be surprised if this resolves it, but its a quick test. 

OR

2. power off the system, disconnect power, move the nvram_clr jumper on the motherboard (this clears the nvram), reconnect power cords, wait for idrac to spin up, about 4 mins, then power on the system. You should see this message during bootup "Caution! NVRAM_CLR jumper is installed on system board."
After the system shows this message, you can power it off (if it starts booting to the OS, power it off)
With the system powered off, move the jumper back to where it was, then power up the system again to see if it resolved the boot issue.  
Page 136 of the guide shows the location of the jumpers. 
https://downloads.dell.com/manuals/all-products/esuprt_ser_stor_net/esuprt_poweredge/poweredge-2950_...

#IworkforDell

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DELL-Rey G
2 Iron

Re: Dell Poweredge 2950 set to Virtual Floppy won't boot past RAID initializatio

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just to confirm, what method did you use to create the USB dos boot disk, and the CD disk?
Definitely dont want to set the Virtual Floppy as the first boot device. 

first thing to check is to see if your usb key is shown in the Boot Sequence or Hard-Disk Drive Sequence. if not, thats the first problem. The usb key should be inserted before the system starts to post, to be sure it is recognized by the bios. If it does see it, make sure the usb key is first in the hard disk sequence. then check the usb flash emulation type and be sure its set to auto. if the usb key was created properly, it should boot just fine at this point. note: you cant just put the files on a usb key or cd and have it boot. Many people use Rufus to make a bootable usb key. 

#Iwork4Dell


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Tony Mack
1 Copper

Re: Dell Poweredge 2950 set to Virtual Floppy won't boot past RAID initializatio

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Thanks for your response.

I used Rufus to make my boot USB drive. It definitely works, because I used it successfully on a Rave server.

The issue is, now that the Dell is set up to hit the Virtual Floppy first, the boot up process gets to the point where it initializes the RAID drives, then just stalls. It doesn't freeze, the keyboard keys are still responsive, but it won't boot any further.

If I hit the Enter Setup, Enter Boot Menu, etc. keys, the screen will display "Entering Setup" or "Entering Boot Menu" in the upper righthand corner (this displays in the same screen as the RAID initialization), but will never actually enter those modes. Even if I let the server sit for hours.

I need to find out how I can successfully enter the BIOS again, so I can change the boot order. I can't even look up your screenshot recommendations at the moment, because I can't get back to the BIOS.

Thanks again for your help, and any further assistance you can offer.

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Tony Mack
1 Copper

Re: Dell Poweredge 2950 set to Virtual Floppy won't boot past RAID initializatio

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Also, I've attempted to boot with a bootable Windows Server DVD, to see if that would get me past this hump, but that wouldn't boot either. It seems this Virtual Floppy Disk option is holding everything up.
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DELL-Rey G
2 Iron

Re: Dell Poweredge 2950 set to Virtual Floppy won't boot past RAID initializatio

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wow, if it wont even go into bios, thats not good. I would try this:
either:
1. power off system, ssh/putty into the idrac ip and run: racadm racrest (this will reboot the idrac, you wont lose any settings) wait 5 mins, then power up the system. I would be surprised if this resolves it, but its a quick test. 

OR

2. power off the system, disconnect power, move the nvram_clr jumper on the motherboard (this clears the nvram), reconnect power cords, wait for idrac to spin up, about 4 mins, then power on the system. You should see this message during bootup "Caution! NVRAM_CLR jumper is installed on system board."
After the system shows this message, you can power it off (if it starts booting to the OS, power it off)
With the system powered off, move the jumper back to where it was, then power up the system again to see if it resolved the boot issue.  
Page 136 of the guide shows the location of the jumpers. 
https://downloads.dell.com/manuals/all-products/esuprt_ser_stor_net/esuprt_poweredge/poweredge-2950_...

#IworkforDell

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Tony Mack
1 Copper

Re: Dell Poweredge 2950 set to Virtual Floppy won't boot past RAID initializatio

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Thanks for the suggestions. I am going to try the NVRAM_CLR.

One question: does the IDRAC have a default IP? If so, I may connect to it to see if your IDRAC suggestion may work.

Please disregard this communication. I'll check the PDF you sent for that information.

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DELL-Rey G
2 Iron

Re: Dell Poweredge 2950 set to Virtual Floppy won't boot past RAID initializatio

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i forgot this is a 2950, the Drac was an option on this model, the BMC was the default, which used the NIC 1 port for communication, but it had its own IP address. A Cntl-E at bootup would get you into the BMC/drac. I would just use option two in my last post. 

#IworkforDell

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Tony Mack
1 Copper

Re: Dell Poweredge 2950 set to Virtual Floppy won't boot past RAID initializatio

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Hey. Thanks again for the follow up.

I removed the NVRAM_CLR jumper and that did the trick.

For some reason, my BIOS doesn't include the USB ports as boot options. Maybe that will change after a BIOS update.

Thanks again for the help.

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