Register for the iXsystems Community to get an ad-free experience and exclusive discounts in our eBay Store.

Greeting - Introduction (with FreeNAS problems)!

Joined
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
7
Thanks
0
#1
Back in 2009, my son provided me a FreeNAS system in a server (used Dell computer) separate from the regular computer - 'viewed' via network, which worked well up until a month ago. Not computer savvy, I assume that the FreeNAS drives could be installed in a Windows-based setup, which did not accept. Believing that the Windows-based unit would function, I disassembled the FreeNAS system and I am attempting to reassemble it - with no successful results. Today, the network location 'Z' drive is represented under (Windows-based) Explorer but has a red X through it.

I do not have my company (1 person sales) files backed up - only what is on the FreeNAS unit.

My interest is to recover the files from the FreeNAS server drives.

Question: Can the FreeNAS drives be installed in a working FreeNAS system for backup purposes - if I find someone willing to assist?

I also found software KNOPPIX 5.1.1. - which may / may not be beneficial.

I can open the Dell and identify the hardware - if so helpful.

Looking for comments / direction to proceed.

In advance - thank you!

.
 

sretalla

FreeNAS Expert
Joined
Jan 1, 2016
Messages
1,260
Thanks
321
#2
If you managed to resist the temptation to allow windows to initialize the drive(s) when you put them in it, you may still be able to use ZFS on Linux (you might find that it can be installed on Knoppix) or another copy of FreeNAS (USB boot would be enough) to read the data drive(s) from the original FreeNAS.

Are you 100% convinced that the old FreeNAS was really dead? Network drives can go into red X/offline status for a number of reasons.
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
7
Thanks
0
#3
If you managed to resist the temptation to allow windows to initialize the drive(s) when you put them in it, you may still be able to use ZFS on Linux (you might find that it can be installed on Knoppix) or another copy of FreeNAS (USB boot would be enough) to read the data drive(s) from the original FreeNAS.

Are you 100% convinced that the old FreeNAS was really dead? Network drives can go into red X/offline status for a number of reasons.
Thank you for your reply - Yes, I did resist. I am 99% convinced that the existing FreeNAS is not dead - just needs hardware/software to align with the stars again to function properly. With much guidance - I can attempt to identify the hardware components/connections to re-establish the network connection.
 

Scareh

FreeNAS Experienced
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
178
Thanks
13
#4
well, it's going to be difficult to say the least to walk you through this over the internet without any visuals but we'll give it a try.

First step would be to get your system pieced back together, you say you disassembled your system? So put all the pieces back together and then install the latest freenas on an usb stick per the guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Da_5yIJFrw

Make sure you select the usb key for installation NOT the disks. If all that goes without hiccups we can continue from there ;-)
 

blueether

FreeNAS Aware
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
45
Thanks
11
#5
If doing a fresh install I would disconnect the data disks that so there is zero risk of flattening them

I'm not sure that a full re-install is needed to re-establish the network drive, but it might be a good idea to be running a new OS at any rate.

Do you know what the original freenas was installed to? For data recovery I'd install to a new USB drive.

For the old-timers what was the default file system in '09?
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
7
Thanks
0
#6
Status update: Cut ribbon cable for floppy. Need to replace before I can go on.

------------------------------------------------------

I reassembled the pieces and thought that I would identify the various components - comparing them to what today's system requirements are.

FreeNAS video identifies the following (in bold) is needed:
Underneath each item is what is currently installed in the Dell (FreeNAS) system.

The FreeNAS system did function successfully for a number of years until a month ago. I do not know what the original FreeNAS was installed to.

64-bit system
Unknown.

8 GB ram
(2) Samsung 512 MB DDR2 PC2-3200 CL3

Thumb Drive - 8 GB (boot device)
There is a 1 GB USB drive but unsure of what is on it. Under Windows, it wants to reformat it. I declined.

Hard Drive
2 Western Digital 1.0 TB SATA / 32MB Cache

Ethernet Card (network)

Connected - solid orange light on Dell (FreeNAS) Ethernet cable. No flash. The cable plug where it is installed into the Dell has a faint inconsistent pulsing light.
Note: On the back of the Dell Dimension 8400 - green lights on for A B C but yellowish light for D.

Blank USB / CD (installation media)

Monitor (used for loading/setup)
Check - assume connected to Dell (FreeNAS)
Assume need mouse/keyboard coupled to Dell (FreeNAS)

Prefers FireFox web browser

Computer / laptop
Check - computer


Note: There is a (2004) NEC Corp. FD1231M Rev. AO1 Floppy Drive installed connected to a ribbon cable from the motherboard. The ribbon has a cut wire (red) - looking for replacement.

There are (2) CD units installed - with ribbon cable labeled MASTER and SLAVE. No media in CD, nor has it needed to be to have FreeNAS work in the past.
 

Scareh

FreeNAS Experienced
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
178
Thanks
13
#7
allright, you can stop looking for the ribbon for the floppy drive ;-) it's not needed for freenas to function.
You say 8Gb of ram, then go ahead and tell us there are 2 sticks off 512MB? You'll need to clarify i'm afraid.

What type of dell is it btw? Seems like a used desktop of some kind?
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
7
Thanks
0
#8
To clarify:

The bolded list below is what is stated to be required for today's FreeNAS system, per recommended video to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Da_5yIJFrw

64-bit system
8 GB ram
Thumb Drive - 8 GB (boot device)
Hard Drive
Ethernet Card (network)
Blank USB / CD (installation media)
Monitor (used for loading/setup)
Prefers FireFox web browser
Computer / laptop


--------------------------------------------------------

Under each item in the list - is what my current FreeNAS system consists of:

64-bit system
Unknown.

8 GB ram
(2) Samsung 512 MB DDR2 PC2-3200 CL3

Thumb Drive - 8 GB (boot device)
There is a 1 GB USB drive but unsure of what is on it. Under Windows, it wants to reformat it. I declined.

Hard Drive
2 Western Digital 1.0 TB SATA / 32MB Cache

Ethernet Card (network)

Connected - solid orange light on Dell (FreeNAS) Ethernet cable. No flash. The cable plug where it is installed into the Dell has a faint inconsistent pulsing light.
Note: On the back of the Dell Dimension 8400 - green lights on for A B C but yellowish light for D.

Blank USB / CD (installation media)

Monitor (used for loading/setup)

Check - assume connected to Dell (FreeNAS)
Assume need mouse/keyboard coupled to Dell (FreeNAS)

Prefers FireFox web browser

Computer / laptop

Check - computer

-----------------------------------------------

Computer (FreeNAS system) is a (used desktop) Dell Dimension 8400.

I ordered a new ribbon for the floppy drive via eBay. Should arrive towards the end of this week.
 

blueether

FreeNAS Aware
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
45
Thanks
11
#9
What happens when the FreeNAS is booted with a monitor connected?
does it boot?
What is the output to the screen?
 

Scareh

FreeNAS Experienced
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
178
Thanks
13
#10
well your system is grosely underspecced to what freenas recommends so lets hope you were running an old version.
If there wern't any updates to the system in that time you would still be running freenas .7 which is now nas4free (or whatever it's called now).

Your system won't run the current version of freenas, or if it would at great risk to the data on it.
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
7
Thanks
0
#11
I knew the Freenas system was outdated - it was not updated.

Thus far, monitor is connected along with keyboard. Picking up 'old school' mouse on Thursday.

Replacement floppy ribbon cable came today.
 

blueether

FreeNAS Aware
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
45
Thanks
11
#12
You won't need the mouse, freenas boots into a multi choice text config environment (that you can drop to a full command line interface)
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
7
Thanks
0
#13
Floppy ribbon installed. I have also have attached monitor, mouse and keypad. No output on the monitor.

Network / Ethernet connected.

As noted earlier, the (freenas) Dell Dimension 8400 'A' 'B' 'C' 'D' lights were all green except D - solid amber / orange. Now all are green.

When the (unknown data) flash drive is coupled to the Dell - flash drive light blinks randomly. With this - the network port will go out and turn back on. The A B C D will flash between amber and green - before turning back to solid green lights. This is the only activity I see.

Again - the flash drive when inserted into Windows based computer - wants to reformat it, which I did not.

Can not gain access to Dell via network computer - network path not found.
 
Last edited:

Redcoat

FreeNAS Expert
Joined
Feb 18, 2014
Messages
1,214
Thanks
315
#14
Start with the hard drives disconnected.

Reboot the Dell with the flash drive plugged in by <ctrl> <alt> <delete> simultaneously from the keyboard, or even just turn off and turn back on the power. What do you see on the monitor?
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
7
Thanks
0
#15
Hard drives disconnected. Restarted and <ctrl> <alt> <delete> - no activity from monitor. Light on monitor is always amber unless I unplug connection to Dell - turns green and provides self-test feature on-screen.

The flash drive continues to show activity with blinking led light, keyboard lights on / off. A B C D lights continued to flash green / amber until all 4 were green. A B C D lights no longer flash - once green.

After a few minutes - solid green on A B C D and USB no longer flashes nor keyboard.

Tried <ctrl> <alt> <delete> again - nothing changes.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Messages
103
Thanks
25
#16
Hi and welcome to the forum!

I'd like to try to help you but before I do, I feel it's important to say that I think that this thread is heading in the wrong direction. I had already written a big, long comment explaining why I felt the thread was getting off track, addressing some of your questions and advising you on the best course of action but then I realized that I was getting ahead of myself.

For the time being, I'd recommend leaving the system off.

At this point, I think by far the most important question you can answer is "did you ever access the web interface?". If you did, that'd help me/us a lot with assisting you as it'd give us a good idea or perhaps even confirmation of what version of FreeNAS you were using and whether it pre-dated the iXsystems acquisition of the FreeNAS product.

[EDIT] Just to add to my comment... I think your best course of action does not involve using the Dell 8400 at all. Thus my advice to leave it switched off in the meantime.
 

sretalla

FreeNAS Expert
Joined
Jan 1, 2016
Messages
1,260
Thanks
321
#17
I do not have my company (1 person sales) files backed up - only what is on the FreeNAS unit.
Perhaps you should assess if that system will work for you if you have a problem with FreeNAS.
 

sretalla

FreeNAS Expert
Joined
Jan 1, 2016
Messages
1,260
Thanks
321
#18
what version of FreeNAS you were using and whether it pre-dated the iXsystems acquisition of the FreeNAS product.
With 1GB of RAM, it seems to me improbable that the version is from the iX days... the minimum RAM has been 4GB for a long time and the installer would halt without it.

It's likely the best way to get data back will be to place the disks in another system that can run either Xigmanas or FreeNAS. If the system is as old as we think, it may not even be a ZFS pool, it could be UFS or even something else that the pre-iX builds allowed.

As a real last resort, you could run linux on that existing hardware and install ZFS on Linux to try and mount the pool.
 
Top