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Category: Hardware

Factory Reset a Locked Out Buffalo Terastation 5400

I have recently come across a Buffalo Terastation to which no one knew the administrator login. As there is no functional reset button, like one would find on consumer-grade routers and such, I had to go to the Buffalo website. Unfortunately, according to their documentation, one is supposed to create a recovery USB drive for cases such as this. As I cannot access those menus without the administrator login, that was pretty much useless.

I then found this post on their forums that discusses connecting a KVM to the NAS, putting the device in recovery mode, and flashing freshly-downloaded firmware to it. That seemed like what I’d have to do (and appears to still be the best option if you need to preserve the data on the device).

However, the device’s downloads page (your model number may vary), it turns out that you can download a “Bootable USB recovery image for TS5000 series”. This zip file contains DDWin, a program to write the image to your USB flash drive, and the image itself.

After running DDWin and writing the image to my flash drive, I could then refer back to Buffalo’s recovery instructions:

Recovering with the Boot Mode Switch (TS4000 and TS5000)

The boot mode switch is on the rear panel. You can recover by changing this switch when starting the TeraStation.

  1. Connect the USB memory device with the saved settings to a USB 2.0 port of the TeraStation (not a USB 3.0 port).
  2. Set the boot mode switch to “USB”.
  3. Press the power button to turn on the TeraStation.
  4. When the message “Recovery I41 PushFuncToStart” appears on the LCD panel, press the function button.
  5. Setting recovery starts. The TeraStation automatically shuts down when recovery is complete.
  6. After shutdown, “Recovery I39 Change Boot” is displayed.
  7. Set the boot mode switch to “HDD”.
  8. Press the power button to start the TeraStation.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This will delete all of the data off of the NAS. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Building a New Home Server: Introduction

I am currently in the planning stages of building a new home server to replace my HP MediaSmart EX470 and the rack-mounted boxes in my lab. I am confident that I can build a machine that performs all of my lab duties, as well as the functions of my home server (account synchronization, serving media, storing computer backups).

I plan on installing VMWare vSphere Hypervisor on the machine and installing the following VMs:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 – act as a domain controller for the home network
  • pfSense – router/firewall for the home network, as well as a VPN provider (site-to-site and road-warrior)
  • something to serve up Active Directory-protected shares (individual user network spaces and computer backup repository) and public/anonymous read-only shares (media)
  • various Linux VMs for lab purposes

I plan on posting more parts as this comes along and will cover topics including hardware selection, software selection (for the NAS part), and configuration.

Installing Windows Server 2008 (32-bit) on a Dell PowerEdge 2650

I spent most of this afternoon and evening trying to get Windows Server 2008 (32-bit) installed on an old Dell PowerEdge 2650. Even though I have a DVD drive for it, it refused to install from the bootable DVD. For some reason it kept asking for DVD-ROM drivers. Which is strange, considering it loaded the installer just fine without them.

What I ended up doing, was installing Windows Server 2003, then running the Windows Server 2008 installer from within Server 2003. The installer got along just fine, but asked me for the drivers for the Dell PERC 3/Di, which is the embedded SCSI RAID controller in the PowerEdge 2650. Should be too easy, right? Wrong. It looks like the Dell website is up and down like yo-yo today (DNS issues). I found the IP for their FTP server and was able to grab the files I needed. You can get the installer here.

Run the installer on your server, which will place the drivers in C:\dell\drivers\something-or-other. Point the Windows 2008 installer at this location and install the driver for the Perc 3/Di RAID Controller. Not the SCSI chip or Management. After that, everything should install as normal.

Installing ATI Drivers and Fixing the Backlight

This article described the first post-installation tasks on an HP dv6t Quad Edition running openSUSE 12.1.

Installing the Proprietary ATI Drivers

After the openSUSE 12.1 installation was complete, I went to install the newest ATI drivers, which support switchable graphics. The driver’s are pre-built and available for 1-Click Install through openSUSE.

Run the installer while connected to the Internet. Once completed, you’ll need to restart. After restarting, you can go into System -> Configuration and run AMD Catalyst Control Center (Administrative). This will allow you to select the graphics card in use (I am using the Intel chip). Once done making changes, you’ll have to restart to apply them.

Making the Backlight Work

Launch Administrative Settings (YaST) and go to System -> Boot Loader. Highlight ‘Desktop — openSUSE 12.1 ….’ and click Edit.

At the bottom of the next screen, there’ll be a box for Optional Kernel Command-Line Parameters. Add acpi_backlight=vendor to the end of the text currently in the box (make sure there’s a space separating what’s currently in there and the new command).

Team Chief’s Toolkit, Part II: Hacking Your Equipment

Okay, “hacking” may be a bit overboard for what I’m talking about here, but between the recent policies from General Dynamics and the ineptitude of the team you may be replacing, I might not be that far off.

In Part II of the Team Chief’s Toolkit, I’ll give a few recommendations for modifying your equipment and provide a few useful tips for dealing with TPE equipment.

Modify Your Switches

Any remote switch you may have (that is, a switch not mounted inside your stacks) should be locked down and hardened.

  • Enable service password-encryption. This will prevent your VTY and console passwords from being displayed in clear text inside your config.
  • Enable SSH version 2 and disable telnet. Cisco has a nice article on how this is done.
  • Enable port security. For each non-trunk port, there should only be two MAC addresses: the IP phone and the computer attached to it. Port security is not needed on trunk ports, but ensure that nonnegotiate is set to prevent VLAN hijacking and only allow the voice, data, and management VLANs across.
  • Avoid using SNMP version 2c or earlier. Use 3 if your NETOPS will allow it.

Buying A Laptop from Best Buy, or The Second Circle of Hell

My wife recently got a new job with an insurance company and will no longer be able to get by using my desktop for work, as her job will have her visiting clients (and trying to work during my gaming time). So, we decided to get her a new laptop.

Her requirements were fairly modest: she’d need to use Microsoft Office, stream video from the web, etc. Basically, a modern mobile processor, a fair amount of RAM, and an integrated video card would suffice. I looked around for specials from the usual suspects and then turned to weekly ads from the brick-and-mortar retailers in the area.

I ran across an add for an ASUS computer that I though fit the bill and it was even burgundy, which my wife thought was neat. It was one of the few laptops that had 4GB of RAM and was still upgradable [8GB max]. So, we loaded up into the car and drove on down to Best Buy.

After telling the sales person that no, I did not need his “expert” assistance in choosing a laptop, I found the model on the floor fairly quickly. That’s when I noticed something interesting: Best Buy stores its laptops on a shelf just under the display model and all of them have been opened by Best Buy and–more than likely–loaded with bloatware and tons of other crap that I/my wife will never need/want/tolerate.

I asked the salesperson if they had any boxes in the back that hadn’t been opened (to which he responded in saying they hadn’t been, forcing me to show him both the broken tamper-proof tape and the giant sticker on the side noting that the laptop had been “set up by the Geek Squad”). After trying to convince me that I wanted one that had been “tainted” (my word, not his), he finally admitted that all of the one’s in this store were like that. To his credit, he did check the stock in other local stores to see if they had some without asking.

We drove to the Tustin store and found that the exact model we were looking for was not on display. After standing in front of the ASUS machines fro 10 minutes or so, the rather busy salesperson came over and asked if we needed help. After giving him the SKU and model number, I was able to explain that I wanted a factory-sealed box and he ran off to the back to try and find one.

A few minutes later he returned, a factory-sealed box in his hands. He still tried his Best Buy overselling on me, but quickly caught on that I was having none of it and was actually quite agreeable from then on. He explained that I’d have to sign a paper declining all of the extra setups, Geek Squad service plans and warranties, which I didn’t want. He still had to give me an anti-virus disc (Kaspersky, I believe) and a Geek Squad FAQ disc. They make nice coasters.

Other than the initial wait inside the second store, we were in and out fairly quickly. While I still agree with xkcd that there should be a code word for professional techs that gets you past the defaults, I was lucky enough to get a salesperson that figured it out fairly quickly.

MacBook Pro Hard Drive Preplacement

MacBook ProSince my MacBook Pro is out-of-warranty, I decided to upgrade the hard drive (something which you can do to a regular MacBook without voiding the warranty [WTH, Apple?]). I headed over to Other World Computing and looked at all their 2.5″ hard drives that were 9.5mm thick (the maximum thickness my laptop supports) or less. I came across a bundle which included a 750GB Western Digital Scorpio® Blue™ hard drive, an external USB enclosure for my original drive, and the tools required to get at the hard drive:

  • T6 Torx screwdriver
  • #00 Philips screwdriver
  • Spudger

BWD Scorpio® Blue™ 750GBecause I had already replaced the Left I/O Board, my case was easy to open and the installation took less than 15 minutes (for a how-to guide, check out this awesome one from iFixit). I put my original hard drive in the enclosure and booted from the Mac partition on it.

After launching Disk Utility, I clicked on my new internal hard disk and created a full-sized partition. I then clicked on restore and used the original Mac partition as the source and the fresh partition on the internal drive as the destination. About two hours later (the original estimate given by Disk Utility was 8 hours), my newly created partition was bootable and included all of my data.

The next step was to migrate my Boot Camp partition. Using the Boot Camp Assistant, I created a new 200GB partition (which automatically resized my Mac partition) and readied it for Windows. I then downloaded Winclone and created an image of the Boot Camp partition on the original hard drive. After the image was created, I clicked on Winclone’s Restore tab and wrote the image to my newly created Windows partition.

After restarting and booting into Windows, Checkdisk wanted to run due to the change in drive information. It took a while, but fixed any errors it found.

All and all, everything was fairly easy and is within reach of anyone who is willing to open up their case.

i Got Some Satisfaction

I’ve been really happy with my Apple products of late. My MacBook Pro keeps on working like a champ even though it is two years old and I’m happier with my iPhone than I was the day I bought it (which I cannot say about any other phone I’ve owned). So why is it that people have such a negative connotation of Apple?

Hardware in 2009

I’m quite surprised. The computer I built back in April 2009 for about $1000 (I had the case, keyboard, mouse, and monitor already) is still spec’d better than other more-expensive gaming systems.

Other than my desire to boost my graphics card (more power!!!), everything is working great! I might switch out the stock cooler and tick up the overclocking a bit, but its running great.

  • Intel Core i7-920
  • 6GB Patriot Viper DDR3 1333
  • 2x 1TB SATA Hard Drives
  • msi Radeon HD 4890 OC 1GB GDDR5 Video Card