Server down, can't repair

Rastko

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So I had my server up and running for two months. It's a home computer Dell Optiplex (or something) with Pentium 4.

Well, it did not actually make it two months. After a month and some, I could not log in.

When I hooked up a keyboard and monitor, I've realised it won't go past the boot loader and kernel loader, i.e., the screen shuts down.

It was FreeBSD 11 latest release, and no X installed (it's configured to run via ssh).

It doesn't boot. Could it be a full /var partition?
 

ralphbsz

Son of Beastie

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Screen shuts down? That makes debugging nearly impossible. Try this: Power-cycle the screen right after booting. I know some monitors lose sync when the boot process changes the screen frequency.

Usually I would say "full /var partition will be obvious from the boot messages on the screen", but ...
 

richardtoohey2

Aspiring Daemon

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How do you know it doesn't boot if the screen is off? That reads a bit bluntly but I don't mean it rudely - just asking what you are seeing that gives you that information.

If you leave it 5 minutes or so, and try and ssh in does that work? Or is that how you know it's not booting because ssh fails - what you've said with "I could not log in."? So you don't even get the login prompt if you try ssh? Ping also fails?
 

ralphbsz

Son of Beastie

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Along the same lines: Watch the ethernet light and the disk light. If you have another machine on the network, run tcpdump, and run arp.
 

George

Aspiring Daemon

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Could it be a full /var partition?
You can test this. Boot into "single user mode" in the beastie menu. Then manually mount your partitions.

Maybe a cron job did something to your system, e.g. some update.
What's the last text you see on the screen before it goes black?
I would double check my /boot/loader.conf and /etc/rc.conf entries.
 
OP
Rastko

Rastko

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Try this: Power-cycle the screen right after booting
I'm aware screens might lose sync, I've tried :(

How do you know it doesn't boot if the screen is off?
Because the screen goes off after loading the kernel with the "rotating star" thingie.
If you leave it 5 minutes or so, and try and ssh in does that work?
As I've written in the original question, I couldn't log in for at least 15 days (remotely), but locally neither.
Along the same lines: Watch the ethernet light and the disk light
The ethernet light is orange. I think it should be green.
What's the last text you see on the screen before it goes black?
Can't really see what it says, but i think it's the second stage boot loader that starts with a "rotating asterisk" thingie.
You can test this. Boot into "single user mode" in the beastie menu
I unfortunately disabled the beastie menu. I tried interrupting the second stage loader, but can't.
Maybe a cron job did something to your system, e.g. some update.
I had a lot of SSH bot logins, that's for sure. I used ipf for a long time, and was just about to switch to pf.
What's the last text you see on the screen before it goes black?
I can see BIOS POST, I can enter BIOS setup, etc. I can even see the mbr loader (bootcfg), and the boot0 loader.
I can interrupt the boot0 loader. But after that, no dice.
I also once managed to get the FreeBSD logo to show, by pressing a lot of keys after boot0 finds the partition.
Still no boot.

I even reset the battery on the motherboard, because while power cycling the machine (for some reason, I don't where is the reboot button, it only appears to have one),
I got some nasty warning about POST failures, with several things mentioned like memory, keyboard and USB. I guess I confused it with force shutting down.




Thanks for the replies. I'm going to try a rescue USB.
 

Phishfry

Beastie's Twin

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I unfortunately disabled the beastie menu. I tried interrupting the second stage loader, but can't.
Why don't you boot up a FreeBSD Installer and pick LiveCD mode.
Then mount your failed FreeBSD and edit /boot/loader.conf to restore beastie menu.
 
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Rastko

Rastko

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hey, which image should i download, it's freeBSD 11.3+, i mean for rescue
 
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Rastko

Rastko

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Why don't you boot up a FreeBSD Installer and pick LiveCD mode.
Then mount your failed FreeBSD and edit /boot/loader.conf to restore beastie menu.


(da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): READ(10) . CDB: 28 00 00 e8 7f 00 00 01 00
CAM status: CCB request completed with an error
retrying command
-||-
 
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Rastko

Rastko

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probably badly written image, let me try git bash
 
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Rastko

Rastko

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No dice with the monitor, or any kind of graphics after kernel is loaded - no input on two monitors.

I might have disabled graphics somehow via ssh, if that's at all possible. But sometimes even the POST loses the monitor. Graphics card power supply?

Tried fresh debian install via usb, same thing - no graphics after installer option chooser (which, btw displays nicely, albeit asks for manual graphics mode, cannot do 314, max 311 is avaialble).

Funny thing, when the FreeBSD image was wrongly written, the machine entered pass the kernel load and ran dmesg.... but only that one time. What the deuce is going on...
 

Zvoni

Active Member

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Optiplex with P4? Probably an Optiplex320 to 380 (with 390 Dell changed to i3).
Sounds like Hardware-Nirvana.
If you can enter BIOS have you checked, that RAM is correctly displayed there? Otherwise try to change the RAM's.

FWIW: Have you tried the Harddisk in another machine (even as a second Harddisk), or if you have access to another Optiplex-Machine (Model-Range see above) put it in there. AFAIK, the Motherbird/Chipset is the same between those models, so drivers should work.
 
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Rastko

Rastko

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If you can enter BIOS have you checked, that RAM is correctly displayed there? Otherwise try to change the RAM's.
One the first things I did. By changing RAMs, you mean switching slots? Cause I ain't got a pair of 1G ISA rams lying about....
Optiplex with P4? Probably an Optiplex320 to 380 (with 390 Dell changed to i3).
Well the housing has an Optiplex written around the power button, but the side sticker say DHM, which makes it Dimsension 8250
 

Jose

Daemon

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Sounds like a problem with the video hardware to me. Can you grab the hard drive and plug it into a different Freebsd system? (As Zvoni suggested.)
 
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Rastko

Rastko

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Sounds like a problem with the video hardware to me. Can you grab the hard drive and plug it into a different Freebsd system? (As Zvoni suggested.)
That's the only desktop I have.... but yes Zvoni's advice is sound, I hope I'll find some machine that will accept the poor thing for what it is.
 
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Rastko

Rastko

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That's the only desktop I have.... but yes Zvoni's advice is sound, I hope I'll find some machine that will accept the poor thing for what it is.
thought about it that may well be easier....
 

Zvoni

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Sounds like a problem with the video hardware to me. Can you grab the hard drive and plug it into a different Freebsd system? (As Zvoni suggested.)
If the Video-Hardware is faulty, then how can he see BIOS etc.? OTOH, it is a valid concern.

Another approach: Since the Optiplex-Business machines don't have a separate Graphics-Card (built-in into the CPU), have you thought about changing the CPU?
Find out the exact model of your Motherboard, and which CPU it supports.
I did that in my skydiving-club on our Video-Workstations, which are two Optiplex 390 with original i3-21something. I changed them to i7-26something, and both booted immediately and i didn't have to change a single bit with the OS (albeit the OS is Manjaro).

As for RAM's: (in my Office i turn around and look behind me: there are some 10 RAM-modules, all pulled from old Optiplex 320 to 380/390's.. :cool:
 

SirDice

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Alternatively, do you have a video card you plug into it?
This is the reason why I have an old PCI graphics card laying in a drawer. Specifically bought for situations like this.
 

gladiola

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Have you tried booting with no graphics cards? I think Dell Optiplex requires using a video monitor with the cards. It'll interrupt if there's not one.

Later 700+ Optiplexes had a BIOS warning about this. Don't know about the 380.

This interuption will be from BIOS, and there won't be much workaround.

If this is the problem, plugging your monitor in to the motherboard will solve it. If there are no graphics cards in.

Fully disconnecting all screens and ssh into the machine is another way.

I wonder if you have an intermittent problem with one of the cards, and then this interrupt is kicking in.
 

Jose

Daemon

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If the Video-Hardware is faulty, then how can he see BIOS etc.? OTOH, it is a valid concern.
Last video card I had fail worked fine in the BIOS screen text modes, but started to show artifacts the moment the PC went into any higher graphics mode. Also
...I can see BIOS POST, I can enter BIOS setup, etc. I can even see the mbr loader (bootcfg), and the boot0 loader.
I can interrupt the boot0 loader. But after that, no dice.
I also once managed to get the FreeBSD logo to show, by pressing a lot of keys after boot0 finds the partition...

...Tried fresh debian install via usb, same thing - no graphics after installer option chooser (which, btw displays nicely, albeit asks for manual graphics mode, cannot do 314, max 311 is avaialble)...
Makes me think this thing is freaking out when it tries to switch video modes. I don't know what video mode the Freebsd console uses, but I'm guessing it's not the same as whatever the BIOS and the BTX loader use. These older graphics cards actually had different hardware that handled the legacy VGA modes. It's possible that dedicated legacy hardware is fine, but the part that handles higher graphics modes is fried.
 
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