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SOLVED Unable to install FreeNAS on USB stick

ChrisReeve

Newbie
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Messages
34
Hi

I have run a freeNAS build without issues for about a year. The specs are the following:

MB: Supermicro X9SRL-F
CPU: E5-2650 v2
RAM: 64GB Hynix ECC
Boot drive: Intel 180GB SSD
Drives (old) 9x4TB WD Reds

All drives, including boot drive, are connected directly to the MB via SATA. This has worked without issues for about a year.

Then, I wanted to upgrade. My new setup has me booting from a 32GB Kingston DataTraveler USB3 stick, and using all 10 on board SATA ports to run 10x10TB WD Red (white label) drives.

My problem is that I am unable to install freeNAS successfully to the USB drive...

I am able to start the install without issues, but if I choose BIOS install, I get stuck on "32 bit compatibility Idconfig path", and I am unable to proceed.

And if I choose UEFI install, the install process completes successfully, but I am unable to boot from the USB stick. I am certain that I install to the correct drive (install from an 8GB drive, to a 32GB drive), but when I choose to boot from my USB drive, it only says something like "no bootable media found. Insert bootable media and press a key".


Anyone have any similar issues, or know how to fix?

Also, what am I supposed to choose, between BIOS and UEFI install?

EDIT: To other people experiencing similar problems. Look at post #19 for the solution. In short, there was most likely an issue with the USB sticks being USB3, or just being bad. I ended up buying a cheap SanDisk 16GB USB2 stick from a large electronics store (that way, making sure it was a genuine stick, and not a copy/knockoff), and that did the trick.
 
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ChrisReeve

Newbie
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Messages
34
Update. For some reason, it always hangs on the 32 bit library thing, but times out and continues install after several minutes. I then get the message that it successfully installed freeNAS.

However: I am not able to boot into freenas. I get the option to launch freeNAS, but it gets stuck on the following message:

Stuck på "trying to mount root from zfs:freenas-boot/ROOT/default []
Failed to run middleware call. Daemon not running?
 

Apollo

FreeNAS Guru
Joined
Jun 13, 2013
Messages
984
UEFI should be fine. Do you have another USB key to install on?
 

ChrisReeve

Newbie
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Messages
34
I have tried on four different USB keys, but all are Kingston DataTraveler. Same issue on all. I was mistaken by the way, I am able to install successfully on both BIOS and UEFI, but none of them are able to boot after install, and both of them hangs (for a while) on the "32 bit compatibility ldconfig path" before continuing.
 

Apollo

FreeNAS Guru
Joined
Jun 13, 2013
Messages
984
I am also using Kingston Data Traveller and as I was doing some work on my PC, not Freenas server, I used Clonezilla, and for some reason unknown at this point cannot boot from it either. Well it does boot but fails some point after.
I have tried with other USB brands other than Kingston and I am getting the GRUB message showing up that lack with Kingston.
I suspected the USB key needs to be wiped at some point using diskpart, but I haven't really investigated the issue.
Both USB brands where flashed with the same apps Rufus or Tuxboot.
At some point I think Kingston seemed to have worked but I am too sure any more as I have been through this process many times before and I was fighting UEFI vs BIOS issues with my PC.
In a nutshell, I don't know what is the root cause.
On another note, both USB keys were flashed on my laptop and Kingston wasn't working either.
 

ChrisReeve

Newbie
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Messages
34
I wipe them every time between attempts with diskpart, clean, create partition primary, format fs=fat32 quick. No effect.
 

Apollo

FreeNAS Guru
Joined
Jun 13, 2013
Messages
984
Just a thought, I am running the same USB Kingston on my old Supermicro system to boot with Freenas.
However, it is possible I installed it via IPMI and uploading the ISO as a virtual boot drive. If you can manage doing this, then you shouldn't have any problem installing and running Freenas on Kingston
 

ChrisReeve

Newbie
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Messages
34
Im not even able to boot from IPMI mounted ISO. I get stuck at "can't load Kernel, no valid kernel found"....

What the actual **** is going on? It shouldn't be this hard to install freeNAS...

At this point, I assume there is either some known bug in the software, that needs to be adressed?!

Things I have done:

- Updated to the LATEST BIOS (3.3)
- Tried with three different USB sticks, in all different ports (formatted to both NTFS and FAT32 prior to loading the ISO via Rufus 3.8, with default settings, I assume Rufus sets the correct format for the drive though)
- Reset the BIOS to default settings
- Unplugged everything unneccessary, including 10GbE NIC, all Hard Drives. The only thing I have connected are: IPMI and onboard NIC, power, and USB stick(s).
- Tried with both 11.2U5 and 11.2U6 with no luck.

I have yet to try to install to a different media, i.e. an SSD, but this is not very relevant, since I am planning on using a USB stick anyways. The only thing I havent tried, are DIFFERENT brands of USB sticks. All USB sticks (three), are identical, original Kingston DataTraveler USB3.0 32GB.
 
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Apollo

FreeNAS Guru
Joined
Jun 13, 2013
Messages
984
Can you describe the process you have taken to boot the ISO file?
 

Apollo

FreeNAS Guru
Joined
Jun 13, 2013
Messages
984
On my end, here is what I do:
1) Use IPMIView as administrator.
2) Login with IPMI and when connected proceed to 3)
3) Select "KVM Console" tab and press "Launch KVM Console"
4) Go under "Virtual Media" on the console and select "Virtual Storage"
5) Under "Logical Drive Type" select "ISO File" and go to the location where the ISO file is located on your PC. Press "Plug In" and then "OK".
6) Select "Power Control" tab and turn system On.
7) Press F11 repeatatively until system as booted up and it should present you with boot device selection option.
8) Select "UEFI: ATEN Virtual CDROM ...

From there Freenas installer should boot into.
 

ChrisReeve

Newbie
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Messages
34
I do the exact same steps, except for that I press Delete to enter BIOS, then force boot from the CD ROM. I don't do the UEFI, only the normal IPMI CDROM3000 or whatever it is called on my board.
 

Apollo

FreeNAS Guru
Joined
Jun 13, 2013
Messages
984
I am not sure if UEFI is a requirement.
 

ChrisReeve

Newbie
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Messages
34
OK. So I just tried to do a fresh install on an SSD, from a USB key installer, created in Rufus (the exact same I used in all previous attempts). The install went flawlessly, and completed in about 5 minutes, as opposed to 2 HOURS for a 32GB USB drive install.

I was also able to boot into freeNAS immediately, and without issues.

This tells me that (of course) the problem is introduced with the USB sticks. What i DO NOT know, is if this is a fault with the make and model of USB stick I use (3x KINGSTON DT50 32GB, bought from eBay), the way my Motherboard handles USB drives, or with the way FreeNAS 11.2 installer handles USB drives...

Anyways, I guess I have to wait for my HBA-cards, and just keep my install on the SSD.

Stupid, buggy, freeNAS, actually recommending installing on USB-sticks, even though this is infinitely more buggy than a normal install to an SSD...
 

Apollo

FreeNAS Guru
Joined
Jun 13, 2013
Messages
984
Even if the install went through properly, Freenas would put too much stress on the USB key to make reliable for the long run.
SSD is by far the most reliable so far, and you get the benefit of performance as well. The price on the long run make it also a better solution.
 

ChrisReeve

Newbie
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Messages
34
Thank you. My next two options are:

Clone my successfull install from my SSD to a USB stick. I am uncertain if this will work, but I will try it regardless.

If that doesnt work, I will try to do a mirrored install om both the SSD, and the USB stick, and then just remove and reformat the SSD.

If that doesnt work, I will buy a new 16GB USB stick, from another vendor, and try that.

And if THAT doesn't work: At that time I am just giving up, and waiting for my HBAs, so I can run freeNAS on the old SSD, and move away from ever running freeNAS from a USB key, as it obviously is NOT particularly well designed to do so.

Edit: I am trying to clone the drive. But the drives shows up as empty in the cloning software (AOMEI Backuper standard). I assume it can't reckognize the file system or something similar. Any solutions for this? Perhaps some other software that will reckognize the drive?
 
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Apollo

FreeNAS Guru
Joined
Jun 13, 2013
Messages
984
You could try rufus to backup your drive, I seem to remember using RMPrepUSB at some point, or simply save the configuration with the password and encryption seeds and some of the config files from the drive itslef just to be safe. This way you should be able to restore Freenas and reload the config.
 

ChrisReeve

Newbie
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Messages
34
I ended up buying another 16Gb Sandisk USB2 stick, and the install went flawlessly in about 10 minutes. Im not sure why, but I suspect it either has to do with my Kingston DT USB3 drives being in some sort of compatibility mode when connected to my USB2 ports on the motherboard, or the USB-drives themselves being fake/copies with some sort of issues.

Anyway, everything is up and running now, after switching to a standard SanDisk USB2 drive, bought from my local electronics store, and NOT from ebay. :)
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2017
Messages
4
That's fascinating. I was using USB3 sticks exclusively. It never crossed my mind to down grade to a USB2 stick.

Glad to hear you got it running.
 
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