Another Haunted Server
August 27, 2007 10:27 PM   Subscribe

My HP LC200 Netserver is haunted.

Every night at exactly 12:23 This thing suddenly turns itself on. There's no bios options that would explain it. What the heck is going on?
posted by IronLizard to Technology (8 answers total)
What OS are you running? If the time is consistent, it's probably something related to a "cron job" (Linux/Unix terminology) or a "scheduled task" (Windows world). When does your backup program kick-in? What jobs does your backup program spawn in preparation for doing the backup (i.e. catalog confirmation, shut down open connections, check backup media, etc.), in relation to shut down*? Check your system logs.

*I've seen DLT equipped Netservers that shut down when a failed DLT drive was activated, 5 or 6 minutes after the start of the backup cron job, because for 5 or 6 minutes after the cron was called, the spawned pre-backup jobs launched by the backup program were running, setting the machine up for a backup.
posted by paulsc at 11:10 PM on August 27, 2007

It could be a 'magic packet' coming from some other machine. It's probably related to backups as paulsc says, but it wouldn't have to be local; it could be some remote server sending a magic wakeup packet.

(this is, of course, presuming that you actually are using the netserver on a good-sized network; if you're at home, this is probably not what's going on.)

You can prove whether or not it's coming from outside by simply pulling the network cable; if it still powers up, the cause is definitely internal.

Oh, another thought, if you have a UPS attached, it can send wakeups, as can most USB devices.

Hmm, okay, let's rephrase. First thing I'd try would be just detaching the Ethernet. If that doesn't work, I'd suggest detaching everything but the power cable on the following night. If it stops happening, plug in half the cables and see what happens. If it still doesn't power up, swap for the OTHER cables. Then narrow down from there; once you know which clump of cables has the problem, the solution is likely obvious.

If it's Ethernet, then you'll have to figure out which machine is sending the magic wakeup packets. Alternately, you can configure the Netserver to ignore them. Generally, that stuff is in the BIOS, but occasionally network cards will have their own BIOS you have to access at bootup.

If it's internal, I'd suggest more digging in the BIOS; there are definitely options to wake a machine up at a certain time. Assuming you do a true shutdown, it's not likely to be an OS-level thing. You can prove this absolutely by detaching any and all hard drives; if the machine, without cables or hard drives, powers up at 12:23, it is absolutely caused by the BIOS.
posted by Malor at 12:02 AM on August 28, 2007

It's debian stable (etch). With the 2.6.18 kernel (I'm pretty sure it didn't do it with the 2.4). I, err, am not aware that I have a backup program of any kind and haven't scheduled anything but I'll check in the morning. But how would this thing let debian turn it on when it's completely powered down (not sleep, really off, shutdown)?

No UPS and the wake on lan was something I'd originally considered, but it does it with the ethernet disconnected. Oh and it is at home, I got this thing free a month or so ago and started tinkering with it. There's not a USB port to be found on it, either.

Seriously, there's no bios option anything like this, it's actually pretty limited in that respect. Though the netraid has it's own weird and totally separate bios that I can't really fathom.

Tomorrow night I'll pull the drives at about midnight and see
what happens at 12:23. Meantime when I wake up I'll poke around the logs and see if chron has anything scheduled. Come to think of it, it really didn't start until after I compiled the new kernel.
posted by IronLizard at 1:18 AM on August 28, 2007

If it's truly powered off, the only Debian tool I can see that could do a scheduled power on is the 'nvram-wakeup' utility. Do a dpkg --get-selections | grep -i nvram and see if you have it installed. (If you're still running the original OS from the people you got it from, it could have some other custom utility somewhere.)

It just occurred to me that the fastest way to test whether it's the BIOS is by monkeying with the BIOS time. Look to see what time it has, figure out the offset to real time (storing time in GMT is quite common) set it to the equivalent of 12:13, and shut down. If the machine wakes up in ten minutes, it's absolutely the BIOS.

If you don't see any options for scheduled wakeup, one possibility is that the BIOS may have capabilities that aren't exposed to end-users. That is, some management program (or nvram-wakeup) may have set the BIOS to turn on at 12:23, but without the management program, there's no way to turn it off again.

If it does look to be the BIOS, try resetting to BIOS defaults. If it STILL turns on, try pulling the BIOS battery for a half-hour or so, and then resetting to defaults again after replacing it. Make sure you purge the nvram-wakeup program before doing this, if you have it.

If that doesn't fix it, try pulling the RAID card if it's pullable.

At that point, if it still turns on, I think I'd start looking for a shotgun. :)
posted by Malor at 1:40 AM on August 28, 2007

I can't offer a solution, but I used to have a PC that would do it but much less regularly, It'd always be about 3am, but not every day and not exactly that time. Again, I'd ruled out user-accessible bios settings at least, wake-on-lan, anything OS-related etc.

Best I could guess was there was some fault with the PSU that made it go on if there was some kind of trigger in the mains supply.
posted by edd at 1:53 AM on August 28, 2007

Today's PC's are very rarely truly powered down completely. Sometimes there's a hard power switch on the power supply itself, right next to where the power cord plugs in; if that's off, there's no way for anything short of a lightning strike to power up the PC. So if you have such a switch, and all you're looking for is an uninterrupted night's sleep, turn it off around the back. Otherwise turn it off at the wall.

If one of my machines behaved this way, the first thing I'd be doing is using the CMOS Reset motherboard jumper to wipe the CMOS RAM, then go into the BIOS setup and reset to defaults, then work from there.
posted by flabdablet at 5:07 AM on August 28, 2007

Oh, and if the network card has a little twisted-pair cable hanging off it that goes to the motherboard, remove that; it does wake-on-LAN.
posted by flabdablet at 5:08 AM on August 28, 2007

Oh, I typed the model wrong, it's an LC2000. Boot log is empty except for the odd: (nothing has been logged yet). The ethernet is built in and not removable.I dunno, I'm to tired to deal with this stubborn thing right now, I'll just yank the cord. Just wanted to say thanks for the replies.
posted by IronLizard at 12:29 AM on August 29, 2007

« Older What is this all about?   |   Brew pubs in London? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.