Problem: server service hangs in Windows 2008 Server with Drobo attached. See previous post for background.
I called Drobo tech support. I explained the problem and immediately asked for escalation. The tech politely ignored that. As usual in conversations with Drobo, as with most tech support organizations, the first order of business was to bring all the software up to the latest rev. I loaded the new version of Drobo Dashboard, and loaded new firmware into one of the Drobos. The server hang continued.
Next step: run chkdsk on the Drobo. No problems found.
The next email I got from the tech said: “I am not sure why the computer is hanging on boot with the Drobos connected. They are simply external hard drives, they don’t have any programming in them that could cause issues.” She included a link to a site where someone was complaining about a USB drive causing Vista to hang. Different drive, different OS, different symptom.
This is what bridge players call a shut-off: not our problem, have a nice day.
Just to cover all the bases, I tried booting with a non-Drobo USB drive attached. No problem.
I called and requested an escalated call-back.
I didn’t get the call-back, and I didn’t get escalation, but I did get an email from the same support tech requesting the Drobo log, the system event log and the application event log. She included instructions for how to generate the log files. The instructions for the event logs were for some other OS than Windows Server, but I coped.
When I didn’t hear anything the next day, I called back. The first tech was out, so I dealt with a new one. While he was looking at the logs, he made the same point that the first tech did about the Drobo being just a USB disk drive. I gave him my take: the Drobo takes quite a while to come out of standby; during that time, the OS is booting up; if the OS gets to a point where it wants something from the Drobo before the Drobo has gotten to the point where it can fulfill its part of the bargain, then some services in the OS could hang while they’re waiting.
The tech said, “Have you disabled automatic running of chkdsk on the Drobos?”
I replied that not only had I not done that, I had no idea how to do it.
He told me to open a command window using “Run as Administrator”, then type
chkntfs /x q:
where q is the drive letter for one of the Drobos.
I did it. Rebooted. Checked the error log. Problem solved.
I went back to the Drobo support web site, and did a search for chkntfs. Nada. I’m sure they will add a FAQ about it in due time, but you read it here first.