Archive for the ‘hardware’ Category

Updating Intel SSD (X18-M in my case) using USB Flash Drive

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

problem: updating an Intel SSD (e.g. X18-M) using an USB Flash Drive

solution: download the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool and the latest update from intel.
Now make your flash drive bootable with the HP tool and select the content of the Intel update (e.g. mount it using Daemon Tools or similar) as boot content. Then copy the rest of the content of the Intel update to the flash drive (iSSDFUT.exe,...).
Finally change (if not already in that mode) the SATA mode to AHCI in the BIOS. Now boot the flash drive. Run

iSSDFUT.exe

After reboot change the SATA mode back to the original one.

notes: I installed the HP tool on Windows 7. After starting the HP tool using "Run as Administrator" everything worked fine.

During investigation I often forgot to change the SATA mode back to IRRT (in my case). Interestingly Windows 7 still booted, but prompted me to perform system recovery - which of course failed :). After changing the SATA mode back to IRRT everything worked fine again.

External Closure for my 1.8” SATA Disk

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

problem/environment: I bought a Latitude XT2 with the standard 80gb 5400 RPM disk (SATA) and got the Intel X18-M (80gb SSD) as a replacement. Since the controller supports IRRT (Intel Rapid Recovery Technology) I want to connect the original disk using eSATA and backup my main disk. All this has to work on Windows 7.

solution: At least in Austria I couldn't get/find a hard drive closure for 1.8'' SATA disks providing an eSATA port. Thus I reverted to buy a 2.5'' closure (closure from delock). This one has the advantage to provide a Power Over eSATA connector. The Latitude XT2 has this connector on the right side. The downside is that it has a different internal SATA connector and I had to buy an adapter (make sure you get the Buchse. I originally bought this one... and it's the wrong way around).
To actually fit the adapter inside the closure I removed the soft plastic.
At first the disk was not detected using the Power Over eSATA cable, but using a standard eSATA cable and providing power using USB worked. Then I installed Intel Matrix Storage Manager for Windows 7. In difference to the Intel BIOS, the Storage Manager supports RAID creation without destroying existing data (at least the BIOS didn't state it different, so I didn't dare to create it there). It took a couple of hours to build the RAID, but sync on demand seems to be very fast.
After the reboot the Power Over eSATA cable worked too (I don't understand why).

As it seems you can also buy a Media Slice. First of all my dell contact stated that it doesn't have a hard drive slot (check the web site which states it does). Second the cost is 346,80 (euros) compared to 20,- for the closure plus 10,- for the adapter (30,- in total).

Latitude XT2 more items

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

In my daily Latitude XT2 search on dell.com another item popped up: Protective Carrying case.

Oh Dell, why do you just leak those things and not release it :(

Although no working n-trig pen under Windows 7 sounds like a no-go.

Server too cold

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

As some of you probably noticed StatWiki and a few other services were offline the last week.
It all started with my wish/requirement to upgrade to Windows Server 2008 and switching our virtualization from Virtual Server 2005 R2 to Hyper-V.
First we had trouble getting my USB DVD ROM to work. We (Zak and me) finally disassembled the dvd rom to connect it directly via IDE because we couldn't get the server booting from the DVD. (btw the fscking room was freezing cold due to broken heating system and -5C to -10C outside temp in Vienna).
In the end the supplied boot order in the bios didn't work and we had to select BBS (wtf? it's "select boot order") provided by the BIOS to select the proper boot device.
Upgrade was smooth. Windows 2008; what else?
The VMs were migrated easily to Hyper-V.
We left for home.

@ home: I continued working and the machine FREEZED - no remote desktop anymore. So I picked up the machine and move it home.
After Asus BIOS upgrade, network driver upgrade and the removal of an unsupported Intel 100/Pro B card (I actually installed some strange driver from the Intel site) the machine stopped freezing.

So I brought the machine back and it wouldn't start anymore... *sigh*. It has a blue display panel with some temperature infos (completely useless for a server only operated remotely) that just blinked, the fans spun at a low rate and after a few seconds the machine shut down. So I took the machine home *again*...

@ home: I dissambled the machine ram, hdds, graphic card and connected a different power supply. same effect. after a while I discovered the connection of the blue display panel. re-connected it and it finally worked.
Then I setup Active Directory on the host machine as backup of my primary AD over a broken VPN connection. Next horror.
I have to admit my VPN using OpenWRT and pptp isn't latest and greatest technology... but... *sigh*.
2 days later I uninstalled the Active Directory again due to firewall and some expectations about network connectivity.

Finally I brought the machine back (today) and guess what... the fsck machine didn't start again. Same power error as above.
So? *sigh* We went shopping :)

In the afternoon we had the idea. (imagine Wicki) I got my mother-in-law's hairdryer and target the motherboard, power supply and hdd. 2 mins should be enough?! Yep. The server started again. WTF? A server too cold. I remember some postings of overclockers freezing the complete thing. Well anyway. It's up and running.

Samsung HUtil and IHC9R

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

environment: Intel IHC9R controller, Samsung disks (in my case HD103UJ), Raid-0 (like zero files left if something gets b0rken)

problem: ECC errors on 1 disk. I wanted to know which disk has the errors.

solution: HUtil from Samsung. But you have to make change the controller mode into IDE (not RAID or AHCI). Otherwise HUtil won't detect the disks.