Dave Winfield

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By in Technical 0

Cross-Flashing a Fujitsu D2607 RAID Controller

I recently picked up a few Fujitsu D2607 RAID Controllers (cheap off eBay!) to replace the Rocket RAID controller in my NAS, which I have come to distrust as it has at times been a little flaky (plus, they have never provided a single firmware update, and support if asking anything is non-existent). The Fujitsus use the popular and well-thought-of LSI Controller chips.

  As I really like ZFS on Linux I really had no need for the RAID functionality on the cards, and in fact found the RAID BIOS (and the need to configure each drive as a separate Virtual Drive in order to be presented to Linux) to be a real PITA. My testing showed that replacing a drive in the inevitable event of a would almost certainly result in loss of the whole array. Not really what I was looking for.

So I did a bit of research, and found that the usual approach for these (and other LSI based cards) is to flash a different BIOS onto them with the intention of turning the cards into a simple (non-RAID) controller.

A bunch more research, downloaded some files, and fairly quickly rendered my first D2607 inoperable! This is looking good so far! So, whole lot more searching, some experimentation, and some conclusions reached. There is a LOT of information out there about LSI cards, and how to flash them, and most of it is just plain WRONG, which became quite apparent when I finally found a method that worked.

Many thanks to “Jonny” who posted in This Forum Thread with a solid set of instructions on how to do it. You can go over there, or read further on here, where I’ll tell you exactly what worked for me. Once I’d recovered my first failed attempt, my second and third cards were flashed within 10 minutes or so, no errors. And they work beautifully, just as I had hoped!

What You’ll Need
  • A Fujitsu D2607 RAID Controller Card
  • You can download the files you’ll need from HERE or from HERE
  • A blank USB Thumbdrive
  • Software to make the Thumbdrive bootable – Download it from Here (Rufus)
  • A Motherboard which supports both Legacy and UEFI booting
  • A bit of confidence working from a command line (gui fanboyz can give up about here!)
Preparation
  • Follow the instructions on the Rufus Download Page to format your USB Thumbdrive and make it bootable.
  • Test that the ThumbDrive boots OK on your PC.  As your PC is booting, look for an option similar to “Boot Options”. The actual key to invoke Boot Options varies from otherboard to Motherboard, but is often the F12 function key.  Choose that option, and you should see a choice to boot into your Thumbdrive (USB). That should take you to a very quaint DOS prompt (usually C:).  Type dir and press ENTER, you will see a list of files. Cool!  Now CTRL-ALT-DELETE to restart your PC and Don’t boot from the Thumbdrive.
  • Unzip the contents from the files you downloaded just now, and copy them onto the Thumbdrive.
  • Test again that it boots, and that you can see the contents of the drive (dir /p)
  • Now boot the Thumbdrive again. Going to into Boot Options should now give you a choice of booting into UEFI Mode. Do that!
  • You should end up at a text prompt again.  Type “mount fs0:” (without the quotes) and press ENTER.  Now type “fs0:” and press ENTER.  Type “dir” and press Enter and you should see all your copied files again.
  • Shut your PC down, and insert your RAID controller.
  • You’re ready to start!
Getting it down and dirty!
  • Boot your PC onto the Thumbdrive (DOS Mode), you should see the RAID BIOS prompts. Ignore or accept any errors about missing drives etc.
  • Type: megacli -adpallinfo -aall |find /i “sas address” > sas_addr.txt and press ENTER
  • Type:
    megarec -readsbr 0 sbrbackup.bin
    and press ENTER
  • Type:
    megarec -writesbr 0 SBR-A21.bin
    and press ENTER
  • Type:
    megarec -cleanflash 0
    and press ENTER
If any command fails, reboot and start that step again.

Your RAID card is now blank.

  • Reboot your PC onto the Thumbdrive, and go into UEFI mode.
  • Type the following lines, pressing ENTER after each:
    mount fs0
    fs0:
    sas2hax -o -f 2118it.bin
  • It will error about it can’t reset the adapter, as long as it did the firmware download, it’s all good.
  • Reboot and then boot the UEFI on the usb again
  • Type the following lines, pressing ENTER after each:
    mount fs0
    fs0:
    sas2hax -o -f 2118it.bin -b mptsas2.rom
    sas2hax  -o -sasadd (sas address is in sas_addr.txt,  if its blank, just make a random 16 digits up.)
Yeehah!  Your card is now flashed.  If your card is a 4i, you can probably stop here.  If it’s an 8i (2 SAS ports) then at this stage probably only the top port works, and you’ll only be able to access 4 Hard Drives.
  • Shut down your PC, and add at least one Hard Drive to each SAS Port on the Controller.
  • Start your PC again, and when the prompt comes up press CTRL-C to get into the Controller Configuration tool.
  • Check that both drives are available to the controller, and if not, keep going with the steps below.
  • Boot onto your Thumbdrive (DOS mode).
  • Reflash the SBR for your card by typing : megarec -writesbr 0 SBR-A11.bin
Check the drives are available, you should be all good to go!
 
By in Uncategorized 0

Google Chrome Tabs open in United Arab Emirates

Here’s a small ( but annoying) problem which has arisen a few times for me, and it always takes me a while to either figure it out or find somebody else who has.. Opening a new Tab in Google Chrome suddenly defaults my location to Google.uae instead of google.com.au. The solution is simple – try this.. Right-click in the URL bar, and select “Manage Search Engines” In the top box, you’ll see the currently available Search Engines. searchengines Most likely your default Search Engine will be some variant of Google. Select a Different search engine (any one!) and make it your default by clicking on the “Make Default” button on the right of the selected engine. Now, delete the Google entry with the delete button, far right of the line. Scroll right to the bottom of the search engine page, where you’ll see these input boxes. searchengines2 Enter a description (Google) in the first. Enter your choice of google country (eg google.com.au) in the second. And paste this into the third : http://www.google.com/search?{google:RLZ}{google:acceptedSuggestion}{google:originalQueryForSuggestion}sourceid=chrome&ie={inputEncoding}&q=%s When you press Enter, your entry will disappear, and put itself up in the alphabetical list of “Other Search Engines”. Locate it, and click on the “Make Default” button. This will move it to the top Search Engine box as your default, and fix your problem!
By in Uncategorized 0

Cryptolocker Ransomware – And what you can do about it

You may have heard of Cryptolocker or Ransomware.

If you haven’t then the chances are that you will soon enough, possibly the hard way.

What is it?

Ransomware is big business, and a major risk and potential expense to everybody who uses a Windows Computer. Ransomware is a program that will encrypt every file on your hard drive with a secret, personalised password which is known only to the people who wrote the program.

How do I get it?

Ransomware usually finds its’ way onto a victim’s computer (or computers) by way of an email opened by an unsuspecting user. The emails can sometimes be crude and easily picked as a spam-type message, but the ransomers are constantly getting more professional, and emails seen recently have looked 100% authentic – even directing users to a legitimate looking website address to collect their own little “bomb” instead of attaching the payload. Unfortunately, the software is constantly being developed and additional weaknesses exploited. For example, a recent variant can make it’s way to you via files shared to you on Dropbox.

Which types of files are affected?

The program attacks ALL types of data files – word processing documents, spreadsheets, powerpoints – even all your photos! The program will look for files all over your hard drive(s), any attached USB or Network device (like a NAS), even your cloud storage like Dropbox or Drive.

What does it do to my files?

Your files will be encrypted, often even the filenames and extensions are changed. You will be unable to open or read any of your files unless you take corrective action – read on.

What can I do if I get it?

You have three (practical) choices.
  1. Pay the Ransomware. Remember you are dealing with thieves here. You may get your data back, you may not. The process will involve making an untraceable payment via an electronic currency such as Bitcoin. This can be a whole adventure all by itself. Not to mention – Expensive!
  2. Restore your data from backups. You have backups, right? See further down..
  3. Format your computer and lose all your data. This can be really painful. You may lose all your photographic memories, all your business or household records, all your email history – everything you store on your PC.

What can I do to keep my files safe?

You do have some options here, at least BEFORE you get attacked.
  1. Unless you have a compelling reason to use Windows, use Linux. At this time linux PC’s are not being attacked (this will change,no doubt). Mac users are safe at the moment too.
  2. Backup your files regularly, and keep your backup drives UNPLUGGED from your computer. Keep at least two sets of backups and rotate them each time. NEVER have them plugged in at the same time and never leave them attached to the computer unless you are actually backing up. External USB Hard Drives are cheap, and reliable. And very cheap insurance.
  3. Disconnect yourself from any shared folders on Dropbox, Drive, or any other cloud service. Never open a file from any of these services unless you know EXACTLY what it is and where it came from.
  4. If your PC is networked to others, make sure that users of those machines read this article too, and that they understand it, and the implications if they mess up.
  5. Keep your Virus and anti-malware products up to date always – they MAY help, but they aren’t a guarantee.
  6. Make sure you install Windows Updates promptly. Same deal, probably won’t help, but you never know.
  7. Examine incoming emails CAREFULLY if they have an attachment or links to websites. They may appear to originate from somebody you know, or from a legitimate organisation. For instance, in australia emails from Australia Post and AGL (an electricity provider) are constantly being sent around, with deadly payloads. Ask yourself WHY you are getting this email – if it looks strange, feels strange. or if you have any doubts, contact the sender and confirm that they actually sent the email, and what the contents are. Any email that contains a threat as a result of inaction should be deleted immediately.
Finally, if you subscribe to a Spam filtering service, forward any suspicious emails to them – it may save somebody else who isn’t as aware as you are now!          
By in Gripes, Interesting, Technical 0

GigaByte Motherboard Restarting Problem

Whilst I’m generally really impressed with the quality and function of Gigabyte Motherboards, I’ve now encountered the same issue with 3 separate ones – an i5 and two i7’s, running Windows or Linux. The issue is that you shut down the computer, everything goes off.. then starts right back up again! This appears to be a very common problem, a simple google search will come up with many hits and numerous victims of this. Nobody (that I’ve found) has hit on a solution yet, and suggestions usually end up with – replace the Motherboard! This should not be necessary in my experience, as I have the solution. Read on, fair audience!  
  • Restart your computer (shouldn’t be hard, as it is doing this all by itself!)
  • Enter the BIOS by pressing DEL as the computer is booting.
  • Reset to Optimal Defaults
  • Ensure that the correct boot device is set for startup
  • Save & exit.
  • When the computer shuts downs (and inevitably starts back up) hold the power button down for a few seconds, until everything turns off again
  • Remove the power or either at the computer or the wall. Turning the power supply switch to OFF will NOT do the job – you MUST disconnect the power!
  • Leave for a minute or two, then reconnect the power and switch on
  • A shutdown should now work correctly!
This technique has worked numerous times for me now, please let me know if it works for you! I haven’t detailed the exact steps within BIOS, as motherboards vary slightly according to the model – you’ll have to go hunt for yourself.
By in Cars 0

Cleaning (Really Dirty) Car Wheels

I’m running through one of my cars tidying some bits and pieces up. I dropped the wheels off to clean the calipers and suspension, and didn’t realise just how bad they were. It doesn’t look like they’ve EVER been cleaned Covered in grime and dirt, really ground in and built up. This is a job for the pressure washer, methinks! So I hit one of the wheels with the water, which took off the top layer of dirt, but barely touched the ground-in stuff – the wheel was still black! Next, I mixed up a bucket of Hot Water with a big scoop of washing powder (Omo, if you really care) 10-15 minutes with a soft brush and the soapy water, and a quick rinse showed a MASSIVE improvement, I couldn’t believe it. A second scrub off, and left the soapy water on there for a half hour to soak in. Then I hit it with the pressure cleaner again, and WOW! They’re obviously not new wheels, but they certainly are clean old ones. I’ll seal with a paint sealer as a final step. [pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-pzzNEQUGGak/Vg8s14tKgpI/AAAAAAABRjk/gWiMRagfMg0/s144-c-o/20151003_104259.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116730948297768793432/Blog#6201224516178969234″ caption=”” type=”image” alt=”20151003_104259.jpg” ] [pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-pT51AlNw0ZA/Vg8s12bjEaI/AAAAAAABRjk/Zil9wR-vsTY/s144-c-o/20151003_104310.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116730948297768793432/Blog#6201224515568210338″ caption=”” type=”image” alt=”20151003_104310.jpg” ] [pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-QqDtcnTFakQ/Vg8s107tQgI/AAAAAAABRjk/0MM3EVVhejk/s144-c-o/20151003_104318.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116730948297768793432/Blog#6201224515166224898″ caption=”” type=”image” alt=”20151003_104318.jpg” ]

By in Technical 0

Backing up WordPress to dropbox

I found a great little plugin this week. Titled “WordPress Backup to Dropbox” is free, with a couple of “premium” addons if you want to zip up your backups or receive email notification on success or failure. It initially backs up all designated folders, and then on a schedule you determine it runs an incremental backup daily, weekly etc. Support seems a little lax, as I encountered a problem which other users had also come across, but there was evidently no solution. The problem was that the plugin stopped backing up after a change to the configuration – in my case I simply requested that the backups were saved in a named sub-folder. The solution turned out to be quite simple, de-activate and delete the plugin completely, clear any cached files, and re-install – designating the correct sub-folder BEFORE attempting a backup. Cruisy!
By in Gripes, Interesting, Politics 0

West Beach Trust – What are they doing?

westbeachtrust After years of providing a first class environment for the residents of West Beach, the West Beach Trust has moved under new management, which appears to have a completely self-serving, empire building agenda. Issue 1: The beautiful public golf course has been decimated by the development of a new Baseball facility (I’ll come back to that!) The Golf Course is now only 15 holes, and the layout is incredibly confusing, to the point that the once heavily used course is now virtually abandoned, and golfists are staying away in droves. Various fairways have been allowed to fall into neglect, grass is dying off, and the weeds are taking over. The groundsmen would never allow this to happen unless they have been ordered to, they do a brilliant job usually. At what point does the public golf course become an unviable venture, and re-purposed as something else completely? Issue 2: Much of the wetlands has been lost to a new artificially surfaced soccer stadium, and car parking to try and appease local residents, who are often unable to park outside their own houses. The whole facility has been extremely ill considered in it’s location, visibility in and out of the area is atrocious, and IMO it is only a matter of time until somebody (probably a child) is run over in the area by a speeding car. Issue 3: The new Baseball facility. The South Australian government provided $1 million in 2011-12 to upgrade facilities to include a “multi-purpose grass playing field”. The trust has used this PUBLIC money to build a dedicated baseball facility with an ENORMOUS number of high powered lights (think Football Park!), cutting heavily into the public golf course, and restricting access to huge tracts of lands for local residents, who previously used the area for exercising, often with their pets. There is already a baseball facility on Tapleys Hill Road not 2km away – What the hell do we need this for? Issue 4: Traffic. The Charles Sturt Council is preparing to spend a significant amount of money to apply a band-aid to the traffic issues caused by the Trust’s ill-advised developments, which have obviously been commenced without liason between the two parties. At the end of the day, the local residents are getting screwed over by all of this, NONE of which was made public before work commenced. Issue 5: The Woolshed. What a joke this is. Why is this not-that-old (anyone know when it was built?) structure so poorly maintained that it has been condemned as unsafe? Why is the facility still unfenced and secured if it is unsafe? You’ve really dropped the ball here, Trust.. The Big Issue: The West Beach Trust. From the Annual Report – Click Here to view) Why is the Trust being viewed as a Business that needs to grow? The trust was created to benefit the residents, not the Board and its’ poor excuse for a chairperson. We need to take a long hard look at the Trust, and remove the current incompetent management. Let’s get somebody in charge who actually cares about the area and understands why the trust was created in the first place.
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