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Adding disks and BIOS recovery Key creation -N36L


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I have an N36L HP Microserver running Win 7 Pro x64  and 2 WD20EARS 2TB drives in RAID1 - has been working great for 2 years, partitioned as a C: drive running Win7, and a D: drive for files. I wanted to add a couple more drives and have loaded RAIDXpert 3.3.1540.19.exe and then new drivers 14-4-win7-win8-win8.1-32-63-RAID.exe. I have installed 2 new WD20EARX drives and rebooted and then configured them as logical drive 2 RAID1 pair, non-NCQ ( like the first two) in RAIDXpert. I am aware people don't recommend WD green drives, but I found that way after I had installed the first two -so thought it best to add 2 more of the most similar drives I could find.


So far so good. BUT, I have not rebooted yet and really don't want to lose the first RAID1 pair (though the data is backed up on a 3TB USB drive), and wonder if the whole thing might crash...  HP site says BIOS RECOVERY KEY CREATION RECOMMENDED...(I can't seem to paste a link but you will find it if you search)...


I am NOT an IT expert ( though I did configure this server OK a few years ago), so my questions are:

1) have I done it right? I read somewhere that the standard RAID for N36L will only support two partitions... not sure what will happen when I reboot... should NCQ be off? I read that it sometimes makes things unstable in RAID setups..

2) how do you actually do a Recovery key creation? Can I back-up the BIOS currently on the machine either whilst running now or from a re-boot please?

3)The recovery key instructions say "open the system BIOS release package folder", but I think that's a folder in a newly downloaded firmware update- correct? Does this do a backup of the NEW BIOS or the old one? I would like to just back up the OLD BIOS as I know it works, but am not sure what one to pick as I am running Win 7 x64 which is not a supported OS...Has anyone else updated the firmware whilst running win 7Pro x64 and found it still works? - if so which version please (server 2008, 2012 etc) and how to I access that as HP have blocked firmware download unless you have support (no point buying support as they will tell me to go and buy and install MS server....)



I will wait a few days and hope one of you experts responds!  Otherwise I will re-boot the server and see what happens....




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OK - update...

I rebooted, and all good - new server disks are in, identified them in computer management, quick format and assigned U as the drive letter. 1st RAID1 pair are C and D and show as local disks (Local disk C:), U just appears as U: but does that matter? I set permissions and Mapped network drives from my laptop, and all looks good.


SO its just backing up the BIOS left to do. If anyone can answer the BIOS RECOVERY KEY questions that would be great - I'd like to back-up the current BIOS somehow. I probably wont upgrade the BIOS on the basis that if it ain't fixed, don't mess... However, I cant seem to download a new BIOS as HP have blocked download unless you have a service contract...If a NEW bios download gives the options of backing up the current bios, or I can download ROMPAQ.BAT for the HP in order to create a USB key backup from somewhere else, then that would be great. Does anyone know where to find those please?




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You are correct about HP blocking downloads without a contract. This is a change they made recently that a lot of people are pretty unhappy about. There has been talk of people with contracts making files available to those without contracts, but I don't know the status of that -- you would have to ask.


I'm not sure if you're asking to back up the firmware, or the BIOS settings. Prior to just a few years ago, it was basically impossible to back up the BIOS settings. Many manufacturers (e.g. Asus) offered the option of backing up the firmware as part of doing an upgrade, but not the settings. If you want to back up the settings, you can try BIOS De-Animator. If you do try it, be sure to run it as Administrator. Also, it does not have to be installed; it just runs.


Unfortunately, if you want to make a backup copy of the firmware, I think you're going to need a utility from HP. I think it's a great idea to make a backup copy, but I don't know any way to do it without a utility.


Fortunately, you may be in luck; I'm not 100% sure. One of our premier members, diehard, has made a System ROMPAQ for the N40L available on his OneDrive. Here's the link to his post: http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/3397-modified-bios-for-microserver-n40l-enables-hidden-features/#entry33781. The only 'trick' is that it is for the N40L. From what I recall, the only difference between the N36L and N40L is the CPU -- the BIOS is swappable. But, don't just take my word for it; I don't want you bricking your machine. That said, this site claims the BIOS for the N36L, N40L, and N54L is the same: http://xpenology.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2175.


I believe you're looking for the one labelled System ROMPAQ Firmware (USB key media). It contains a version of the BIOS, O41011711, which you could use to restore the BIOS if you need or want. As I understand it, HP doesn't really back up the existing BIOS firmware. You just burn the version you want over top of the existing.


Joe_Miner is one of our resident MicroServer experts. Hopefully, he can confirm what I've said.

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Miker64:  Welcome to the forums!


When you get a chance introduce yourself here http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/344-welcome-to-homeservershowcom-forums-introduce-yourself-here/


and here's a handy reference on jargon & etiquette http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/7393-forum-jargon-and-etiquette/


Trig0r has uploaded the latest BIOS and a unlocked version to http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/3397-modified-bios-for-microserver-n40l-enables-hidden-features/?p=81542


Be sure to check out some of our reference pages that have links to some things you may be interested in like:







Here are some blog posts that are useful references on updating the BIOS or just creating a Flash with the BIOS on it if you should need it in the future...........................


HP ProLiant MicroServer BIOS Flash with SP64420

HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer Build and BIOS Modification Revisited

Edited by Joe_Miner
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Nice one JM. I think I missed the updated BIOS. I mean, the one diehard uploaded will work, but it's always nice to have the latest :)

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