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ReadyNAS Firmware Tests

By dbott | September 12, 2009

Written by Drago_VB

Thursday, 31 July 2008 22:22

Objective:

These tests were performed using the instructions for a USB recovery and OS reinstall.  When a ReadyNAS is first setup, it seems to create a system partition on each hard drive to save the settings.  On the hard drives, it seems that there will also be a copy of the firmware.  These tests were performed to see what would happen if the firmware was not synchronized between the hard drives and the flash memory on ReadyNAS units.   The unit that these tests were performed on was a ReadyNAS NV+.

Section 1: Drives formatted using 4.01c1-p2 firmware

Step 1.) The ReadyNAS unit setup with default 4.01c1-p2 firmware. Unit is up and running and fully accessible from Https and CIFS/SMB.

Step 2.) A USB boot recovery was performed to put firmware version 3.01c1-p6 on flash.  An OS reinstall has not been performed leaving firmware version 4.01c1-p2 is still on HD’s.  The ReadyNAS unit does not complete boot and LCD screen stops at “booting…” and stays there indefinitely. The ReadyNAS does not request IP and Raidar is unable to find the ReadyNAS.  The ReadyNAS will not shutdown using power button.  It seems, this is the only status where the ReadyNAS will not respond to shutdown request using the power button.

Step 3.) With firmware version 3.01c1-p6 on flash, OS reinstall performed putting firmware version 3.01c1-p6 reinstalled to HD.  The ReadyNAS will boot and allow you into Frontview.  LCD on front of unit will display IP address but there will not be information indicating available free space on ReadyNAS.  Volume information and share information will be missing from Raidar and Frontview.  In RAIDar, the vol disk icon will be blank.

As soon as you login to Frontview, a message like the following will open.

In Frontview, you will see something like the following when you view the logs under status :

Mon Jul 14 22:00 PDT 2008 System is up.
Mon Jul 14 22:00 PDT 2008 Unsuccessful mounting FTP share backup
Mon Jul 14 22:00 PDT 2008 Unsuccessful mounting FTP share media
Mon Jul 14 22:00 PDT 2008 The paths for the shares listed below 
could not be found. Typically, this occurs when the NAS is 
unable to access the data volume. media backup
Mon Jul 14 22:00 PDT 2008 Volume scan failed to run properly.

There will not be a “Volume Settings” tab in Frontview and clicking on that option in Frontview will take you to the USB settings tab.

Even though you can get into the Frontview interface, the ReadyNAS will not be able to update through web interface. Using IE7 or Firefox to update will always error out with browser citing “Internal server error”. After selecting file and clicking on “Browse”, web page looks like it is uploading firmware but it never completes. Browser then displays “Internal Server Error” and no other action is possible through browser. When attempting firmware update with Safari, “Upload and Verify image” button does not “un-grey” and be a selectable option after chosing file.

Step 4.) A USB recovery was performed to put 4.01c1-p2 on flash, OS reinstall has not been performed leaving ver 3.01c1-p6 on HD’s. Initially, the ReadyNAS seems to fully boot. The unit will be able to get IP and shows volume size of 1 GB free of 1 GB.  However, the ReadyNAS does not respond to login attempts using web browser (does not request to accept certificate or request login). The ReadyNAS will not be accessible by CIFS/SMB. However, the ReadyNAS will be able to shutdown using power button.

Step 5.) With 4.01c1-p1 on flash, an OS reinstall was performed to get 4.01c1-p2 firmware on hard drives. ReadyNAS is accessible by Frontview and shares using CIFS without an issue. Data will still be fully intact and is accessible. Due to OS reinstall, default admin password will be set to “netgear1” and network settings will be set to obtain by DHCP. All other settings will still be instact.

Section 2: Drives Initially formatted using 3.01c1-p6

Step 1.) ReadyNAS was flashed with firmware version 3.01c1-p6 using USB recovery. After USB recovery, a factory default was performed. The unit starts up normally after allowing time for hard drives to be formatted. The ReadyNAS is able to be accessed normally using Frontview and CIFS/SMB.

Step 2.) A USB recovery was performed to get firmware version 4.01c1-p2 on Flash, OS reinstall has not been performed leaving firmware version 3.01c1-p6 on HD’s. Hard drive lights will turn on indicating installed hard drives, Act light will be off, power light will be pulsating. LCD says “Booting…”  and does not change.  Although the ReadyNAS appears to be locked up, it can be seen in RAIDar.  However, both the setup and browse button are inactive. Frontview is inaccessible and will time out when attempting to connect. ReadyNAS will also be inaccessible by SMB/CIFS. ReadyNAS will power down if power button is held down.

Step 3.) ReadyNAS unit has 4.01c1-p2 on Flash, Performed OS reinstall to get firmware version 4.01c1-p2 on HD’s. ReadyNAS boots up normally and requests IP address by DHCP. LCD showed IP address and free space information as usual. ReadyNAS will be fully accessible on network by HTTPS and SMB/CIFS. Frontview interface will be 4.01c1-p2 interface and can be accessed using default password of “netgear1”. All shares and settings will be intact and data can be accessed without a problem. During test, data was able to be written to the ReadyNAS without an issue.

Step 4.) A USB recovery was performed to put firmware version 3.01c1-p6 on Flash. An OS reinstall has not been performed leaving 4.01c1-p2 on HD’s. The ReadyNAS drive lights will turn on and power light will be pulsating. LCD will display “Booting…” but unit will never fully boot and is not accessible by Front view or CIFS/SMB. ReadyNAS can be seen in RAIDar application but will say booting under info. Unit will power down when power button is held down.

Step 5.) With the firmware version 3.01c1-p6 on Flash, OS reinstall was performed to put 3.01c1-p6 on HD’s. During bootup,  the ReadyNAS flashed “Checking root FS” during booting on LCD and RAIDar said the ReadyNAS is doing an FS check. After a moment, the hard drives light will turn on and power light will eventually stay on steady. The LCD on the ReadyNAS will show IP address but no free space information. Frontview will be accessible and will give you an “Missing volume” error as soon as you connect. The data volume will not be able to be mounted and shares will be missing from the ReadyNAS. Volume settings will not be accessible in Frontview and volume light in RAIDar will be missing. Readynas will be unable to update firmware through Frontview interface. The ReadyNAS shows the same issues listed in section 1, step 3.

After the ReadyNAS got to this point, I did a USB boot recovery, then a firmware reinstall to get the 4.01c1-p2 firmware back onto the unit. Afterwards, The ReadyNAS was fully accessible by Frontview and by CIFS/SMB. Shares and data could be accessed and all the settings were the same. Data could be written to the ReadyNAS without any errors.

Conclusion

If the ReadyNAS will not boot up and the firmware on the ReadyNAS may be either 3.01c1-p6 or 4.01c1.p2, a USB boot with firmware version 4.01c1-p2 followed by an OS reinstall WILL boot the unit regardless of the original firmware that was on the unit. If a USB recovery followed by OS reinstall does not boot the ReadyNAS, the issue is a hardware issue with either the hard drives, ram or the ReadyNAS itself.

When having issues with the firmware on the ReadyNAS, the data should be accessible and untouched once the firmware issues are resolved. It seems that the ReadyNAS will not mount the data volume if it is unable to boot up fully.

Please note, the USB boot recovery will be needed if the TFTP boot recovery repeatedly tries to flash the ReadyNAS with the version 3 firmware instead of the version 4 firmware. If the drives are formatted using version 4 firmware, the unit has been flashed with the version 3 firmware and an OS reinstall has been performed, you may be able to get into Frontview but the data volume will not be mountable. Even though you can get into Frontview, a USB recovery using version 4 firmware will be required as you will not be able to do a firmware upgrade through the Frontview interface.

From these tests, it is apparent that you will need to perform the USB boot then do a factory default to downgrade to an earlier version of the firmware. Please be advised, the factory default will erase all the data that is on the ReadyNAS.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 31 July 2008 23:06 )

Topics: ReadyNAS, Tech | 1 Comment »

One Response to “ReadyNAS Firmware Tests”

  1. Unofficial ReadyNAS USB Recovery Guide for Sparc-based Systems | The Bott Blog Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    […] ReadyNAS Firmware Tests […]

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