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Boot Issues - Power light flashes continuously

Page history last edited by Redhat Virgil 16 years, 1 month ago

Drive lights are lit but the power button is flashing

Saw this issue when installing Seagate Barracuda 1Tb HDD's into the unit.  The drives would spin up and the four drive lights surrounding the power button were lit (showing the disks were recognised), but the power light would flash continuously.  The unit never appeared to boot into an OS and it never negotiated an IP Address.  I tried a factory reset of the device to no avail.


Ended up accessing the bootup console via the RS232 header and entered the BIOS setup.  Found that the boot order for the unit was set to boot from the 4 drives first then the DoM unit.  Re-ordered the boot list so the DoM was first and saved the changes.  The unit then booted correctly.


I tried the Seagate disks in two different units and they both displayed the same boot issues.  Changing the drives out for WD drives allowed the units to boot without having to update the boot sequence.


Since tried 500Gb Seagate Barracuda drives and they showed experienced no boot issues.  I've yet to take a look at the boot order when everything is working okay to see whether it was something with the drives I was using.

Comments (24)

Wesha said

at 10:52 am on Jun 2, 2009

Note that there's a setting that allows you to choose whether IDE drive is assigned BEFORE SATA drives, or the opposite. If your boot drive is sitting on the IDE header, that's what you want. I don't remember where that setting is at this moment, but I saw it.

Chris Dando said

at 7:35 pm on Sep 6, 2009

The above message from Wesha states that there is a setting to change boot order of the drives but he can't remember where it is. I have searched everywhere but cannot find it. Does anyone know where it is

Dave Hansen said

at 9:29 pm on Sep 6, 2009

In the BIOS, go to the top-level "Boot" page. Then, there's a "Hard Drives" option under there. You can move the DOM down in the priority list in there if you want.

Chris Dando said

at 3:16 pm on Sep 9, 2009

Thanks for your reply Dave but I'm pretty sure he was referring to a setting on the web interface for the ss4200 (The original post already mentions the BIOS option and I think Wesha is telling us that you don't need to go into the BIOS - there is another option). I was hoping not to have to bother getting a cable and setting it up just to change this in the BIOS.

Michael said

at 12:00 pm on Sep 12, 2009

The Intel site documents how the reset button on back changes the boot order.

Do a google search on "intel nas support" and it will show the site at top.

Chris Dando said

at 2:59 pm on Sep 12, 2009

Thanks for you reply Michael. I already knew about that having found it on another site. I did actually try to find it on the Intel site after your reply but can only find mention of pressing the reset button to return to factory defaults. If you could supply the actual link I would appreciate it as I would like to see what they have to say. The reason I want to change the I want to change the bios is because everytime I reboot or turn off the ss4200 then back on again, I get the flashing power light so it is obviously trying to boot from the raid drives rather than the ide dom. While I don't turn it off that much, having to press the reset button everytime I do, is rather ridiculous. For anyone else interested, the following is what I have learnt through various sites about the reset button:

1. Pressing the reset button while holding the power button (from OFF) until the power button flashes orange (about 2 seconds) and then releasing both causes the ss4200 to boot from IDE (or USB if you don't have a dom plugged in)

2. Pressing the reset button while holding the power button (from OFF) until all buttons flash 3 times causes the ss4200 to return to factory defaults - including the firmware that was originally on it.

3. Pressing the reset button while holding the power button (from ON) for a few seconds causes the ss4200 to return to factory defaults but with the firmware unchanged.

Michael said

at 4:40 am on Sep 13, 2009

Hi Chris!

Your description of the boot behaviour sounds accurate. I have only been playing with the box for about 1 week, so I am no expert though!

There is a technical bulletin about drive problems. My box required a reset when I received it, as it had been tested at the factory with 4 drives and I only installed 2, 1 TB drives. So I immediately got the amber fault light.

So I think the reset is the key to the drive problem for the Intel software version, rather than boot order. But the boot order information is **very useful** for those who want to load WHS or FreeNAS, etc. on the box.

I am planning on hacking my box, probbaly to go to FreeNAS? I don't want to pay for WHS just fopr this box, I'd rather just buy a $300 dual core computer.

I really don't want a Raid of any sort. Just a clean 4 TB of media server online storage for my photo files (professional photographer), music files, podcasts, and TV recordings from my media computer.

OK, cheers, long preamble. Here is the info on boot order when using the reset button from the User Guide, Page 14 (marked page in the guide.)


Under normal operation, the storage system has the following boot order:
1. Internal hard drives (SATA)
2. If present, internal ATA interface (DOM)

System boot functionality is modified (as per the following table) if the reset/recovery
button is depressed during system power on.

Table 5. Reset/Recovery Functionality during Power-on

** On a Microsoft* Windows Home Server-based storage device, if the button is depressed during system poweron, the boot order is modified by the BIOS as follows:
1. USB flash device
2. USB CD/DVD device
3. ATA interface

** On a storage device that is NOT running Microsoft*
Windows Home Server software, if pressed, the system
will be reset to factory defaults (i.e., IP and password are defaults (i.e., IP and password are
set to defaut values.)


Michael said

at 4:56 am on Sep 13, 2009

Also this from Intel FAQ's:


Intel® Entry Storage System SS4200-E
Why does my new system build hang at boot with the front panel LEDs flashing?

This issue usually occurs when previously used hard disk drives are installed in the Intel® Entry Storage System SS4200-E. The previously used disk drives likely have a Master Boot Record (MBR) boot sector residing on the disk.

The two SS4200 SKUs; Intel® Entry Storage System SS4200-E (EMC* software) and SS4200-EHW (hardware only) share a common system BIOS. To meet Windows* Home Server requirements, SS4200-E (and EHW) BIOS default boot order must be SATA disk drives, then Disk On Module (DOM). The EMC* software code for the SS4200-E runs from the installed DOM.

This will not cause issues with the SS4200-E, except in the instance a bootable drive is installed. If a bootable SATA drive (any one of the HDDs) is found, the system will attempt to boot that drive ahead of the EMC* software image on DOM and hang. The hang is accompanied by flashing front panel LEDs.

Before installing previously used disk drives in the SS4200-E, the drives must contain no data and be clean of any boot sectors. Check with the drive manufacture for utilities to remove existing data from the hard disk drive.

BE SURE to backup any data you wish to save from any disk before deleting any data.

See the SS4200-E FAQ "Can I add hard disk drives from other (non-SS4200-E) systems to the SS4200-E?" for more information.

Michael said

at 6:03 am on Sep 13, 2009

Turns out there is aq hidden support menu where you can enable SSH and SFTP. But, I have not really used Unix in about 12 years, so not making much progress on Win XP in Telnet on port 22. Can access the box, but protocol mismatch, etc.

Anyway. Assuming your box is at this IP address on your intranet, type

There is an option to turn on SSH and SFTP. Also an option to capture a dump file, and to rebuild a RAID.

Should eliminate a lot of hassles with the RS232 cables and/or video cards.

So .... could use some help here exploring the box. The prompt I get back when looks like SSH-1.99-OpenSSH_4.6 Thx!! Michael

Chris Dando said

at 7:34 pm on Sep 13, 2009

Can't help you with the SSH problem as I have never used it before. I had previously read the faq about drives having a Master Boot Record on them causing the ss4200 to try to boot from them instead of the DOM and I understand that. What I don't understand is how I have successfully created a raid 5 (actually it was done automatically) but it still tries to boot from the Sata drives and not the DOM if I reboot or turn off and on again. Logically (and I have to use logic here as I know very little about raid) it should have wiped clean the drives when it created the raid and so should now be booting from the DOM. Could someone let me know if this line of thinking is correct OR could there still be an old MBR on one of the drives (surely not, or it wouldn't have created the raid?!). I think I am going to have to get the cables and try changing the boot order and see if that fixes it. Unless someone else has any ideas - I could live with it like it is but the problem annoys me; I'm one of those people who has to find a solution!

Michael said

at 10:54 pm on Sep 13, 2009


You are correct. Your box should shut down fairly quickly (like 10-15 seconds.) It should also start up cleanly and quickly, maybe about 1 minutes.

The boot records should have been wiped out if you initialized the disks in the raid correctly, as you must have to have the box running properly.

I started thinking about this after I posted last night. I was tired yesterday, really answered about 5 different questions, both the OP's and my own. Hope it is useful to some. ;>)

Does your box show that the disk system is "healthy" before you shut down? How do you shut down - software or hardware (power button)?

The power button has 2 differnt shut down modes. Normal - soft - shutdown is a press of less than 3 seconds. A hard shutdown is apress of more than 3 seconds. My box will shut down easily with a short press, even if it is in the middle of initializing disks, etc. Also start up quickly with little problem. Something is not right on yours!

Do you have "caching with UPS" enabled? Do you have a UPS? You may want to turn that off, caching would have to write at shutdown or could screw up some files with a hard shutdown.

You might try the hidden support menu and the "rebuid Raid" function? May take a long time though, with unpredictable results......

FWIW, if you can get a video card on the box - the PCI-1x to PCI-16x extension cable - you can use a USB mouse and keyboard. Then hit F11 repeatedly at boot to open the bios .... Should be all you need.

I am thinking of trying to load Win XP from a HDD to save the cost of WHS. Probbaly all I need. Have a video card sitting here, wireless keyboard and mouse via USB. Gotta get the video cable. Wish they had put a video chip on for $1, save the troubles.

Frank de Lange said

at 12:41 am on Sep 14, 2009

If you boot your box to a linux (or *bsd if you prefer) prompt you can check the master boot records of the drives. Most sensible RAID software uses partitions to store the data instead of raw disks so it is perfectly possible for a drive in a RAID array to have been initialized correctly while still containing a valid master boot record, thus making the SS4200 try to boot from it.

To boot to the prompt you'd need a null-modem cable, a terminal and the aforementioned linux or bsd installtion on either the DOM or on a USB stick or -drive. Hit F3 in the BIOS screen to get to the boot manager, select whatever device you have your linux or bsd on and boot that. Now use a partitioning tool to examine the drives (/dev/sda (or sdb or ...) in linux). Does the drive contain a valid partition table? Does this partition table contain a partition covering the whole drive? If that is the case you can safely wipe the master boot record using dd:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda (or sdb or...) bs=440 count=1

This writes 440 zero-bytes to the first block on the drive, wiping the master boot record code area but keeping the disk signature and the partition table intact. If you also want to overwrite the disk signature you'd use 'count=446' instead of 'count=440'.

If you are wary of fiddling with your disks in this way you are a) right as a slip of the finger can cause quite a few headaches and b) in luck as you can just as easily make a backup copy of the master boot record and partition table using dd:

dd if=/dev/sda (or sdb or...) of=/path/to/your/usb/stick/or/dom/mbr.backup bs=512 count=1

This creates a backup copy of the mbr and the partition table in the file you entered for the 'of=' parameter.

Wesha said

at 12:55 am on Sep 14, 2009

Geez, guys, this is a wiki, not a forum...

Frank de Lange said

at 12:58 am on Sep 14, 2009

True... it would make sense to reorganize some of the length discussions into wiki pages...

Frank de Lange said

at 12:58 am on Sep 14, 2009


Frank de Lange said

at 1:06 am on Sep 14, 2009

To add another forum-like comment to this wiki: can someone who has this flashing-lights issue check the master boot records of the drives, and possibly wipe the mbr using dd (see 4 posts above this one) and see if this solves the issue? It would be good to know if this is a valid solution before turning it into wiki-truth by adding it to the article...

Michael said

at 1:58 am on Sep 14, 2009

OK Wesha. A little lengthy, but a lot of info in this thread that I could find nowhere else online!

I am able to get a login promt using SSH via PuTTY on port 22. Could do the mods that Frank suggests via that route.

Normal admin login does not work, nor user logins. Does anyone know the root or admin defaults for FreeSSH 4.6, or other logins for this box? Much easier access than via RS232 or PCI 1x to 16x cable! For one it is free ...

Chris Dando said

at 10:05 am on Sep 14, 2009

Login for box is:

Username: root

Password: soho+web interface password. eg if your web interface password is help then password is sohohelp

Michael said

at 1:52 am on Sep 15, 2009

Chris, I think you need to unload your data and then wipe yopur drives. I would first use "erase disks" from the normal menu, then try "rebuild raid" from the hidden support menu.

If that does not do it, there is a unix command posted on another site that should reinitialize/wipe the drives. I can post if you need it.

FWIW, my normal shutdown is 5 seconds using teh power button soft shutdown mode. Boot is 1 minute, with all blue disk and power lights flashing. The lights with the actual drives flash amber & blue (purple) for approx 1 second just before they turn solid blue.

(begin forum post): Also, only IMHO: Now that I have SSH access to the box I am much more comfortable with what it is doing behind the scenes than with the brain-dead (at times) client web UI. This is a very solid, fast, stable data server and data store, fast startup box. I am quite impressed. I am not inclined to install FreeNAS or WHS or Openfiler and have the management overhead and/or cost of supporting those. I will just add 4 1TB or higher drives in Raid 10 and let it be. I may buy a second box at about $145 right now (at newegg) to play with though. Thx much Chris! Good luck. (/end forum post)

Chris Dando said

at 8:51 pm on Sep 17, 2009

Just a final comment or two. First off thanks Michael and Frank for all your help. I ended up making an RS232 cable, went into the BIOS and changed the boot order so the IDE DOM loads first - no more problems! I can reboot as well as turn off and on without having to touch the reset key. My conclusion is that there must still be an MBR on one or more of the Sata drives but as changing the boot order has fixed my problem I am not going to try and erase it/them. As they say, if it ain't broke don't fix it. However, it I ever change drives I now know to make sure there is no MBR on the replacement disk/s

Maurice said

at 4:49 am on Sep 13, 2010

I have an 4200EHW, with Openfiler installed.
Boots from a 8GB IDE DOM module.
Storage on 2 x 2TB Hitachi UltraStar SATA drives, in mdadm RAID1.

Everything works fine, and it boots just fine.
However my blue power button LED blinks continuously.

Not a big deal, but is there any way to make that stop?

gallymimus said

at 5:43 am on Sep 13, 2010

There are some linux drivers that can be used to control the LEDs. I can't recall if I saw them on the wegotserved forums or not. Otherwise you are out of luck I think.

CyberLeo said

at 7:12 am on Sep 13, 2010

The Linux LED driver is included in mainline since 2.6.33:

There should also be a BIOS menu item somewhere in there that lets you set it to 'always on' instead of 'blink'.

Maurice said

at 8:55 am on Sep 13, 2010

Thanks CyberLeo, that is just what I was hoping for.

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