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Issue with SATA controller boot priority


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I'm been using my HP Gen8 for a couple of years now as a home server/NAS running Windows Server 2012 Essentials, and generally speaking its been doing stirling service. However there's one persistent issue that's been a thorn in my side throughout.


When I bought the server I also picked up a Startech SATA controller, so I could connect an external chassis via eSATA. I have a boot SSD connected to the internal port on this controller too - I gather it was possible to connect an SSD to the ODD port, but that it could cause problems and be tricky to setup.


This sort of works. However I have to do is boot the server with the chassis disconnected. Once it boots into Windows I then reconnect the chassis, it picks up the drives and we're good, but if I try to boot with everything connected it fails. Whilst this isn't a huge burden, it does get annoying on what is intended to be a headless system. It means that after a reboot I have to manually yank out cables.


I realise that this must relate to the order in which the controllers are being detected, and I assumed it wouldn't be too hard to resolve this in the BIOS. However after quite a bit of trial and error I'm no closer.


I'm running a System ROM J06, dated 11/02/2015. The main setting I've looked at is "Boot Controller Order". This is currently set as follows, and produces the behaviour described above:


  1: PCI Slot 1 - Other Mass Storage Controller

  2: PCI Embedded - Intel® SATA Controller #1


That makes sense - the external controller having priority. If I swap them round, reboot and go back into the BIOS, they display as follows:


  1: PCI Embedded - HP Dynamic Smart Array B120i RAID Controller

  2: PCI Slot 1 - Other Mass Storage Controller


I've also seen it switch to this:


  1: PCI Embedded - Intel® SATA Controller #1

  2: PCI Slot 1 - Other Mass Storage Controller

  3: PCI Embedded - Intel® SATA Controller #2


I see that there are some further options under System Options / SATA Controller Options / Embedded SATA Configuration. As it stands that's been set to "Enable SATA ACHI Support".


My assumption was that I need to go into the settings for the external controller and set the boot order there. but there doesn't seem to be an option for that - it only has RAID settings, nothing to do with boot priority.


Any ideas? If I'm doing something dumb that would be ideal...


If I need a new controller I'd consider that for the convenience. Anyone else had success with a similar setup?

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Sorry, I don't have any solutions for you, but I can commiserate as I am having very similar problems.

My old server is a HP Proliant Microserver N40L. I used a RocketRaid 622 card to attached a Sans Digital TR4M Drive enclosure using a eSata cable. As far as software goes it is Amahi 9 which runs on top of Fedora 23.

I upgraded the server to a HP Proliant Microserver Gen8. I thought this would be a straightforward upgrade. I have ended up having to boot from the SD Card and the drives in the enclosure are not being recognised. I don't seem to be able to do the trick you with the external chassis. I assume Windows Server 2012 supports hot swappable drives, whereas Fedora23 doesn't.


This seems to confirm to me that this is a HP incompatibility problem and we will need to find a card that HP finds acceptable. This will probably be one of theirs and not a relatively cheap eSata card.


Do please update this thread if you learn anymore and I will do the same 


Tony Self

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