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ML150 g3 - USB Hard Drive Prevents SAS Boot.

Occasional Contributor

ML150 g3 - USB Hard Drive Prevents SAS Boot.

Can someone please tell me what I am doing wrong?

Machine Spec.
ML150 G3.
HP 8 Internal Port SAS Host Bus Adapter.
Single 72GB SAS hard drive.
300GB Maxtor external USB drive.
Original BIOS 2006.06.23
Current BIOS 2006.08.29 A

For years we have built stand alone HP servers (ML330, ML350 G3/G4, ML150 G2, ML110 G1/G2). They have all used external USB hard drives to perform unattended, overnight, scheduled backups, following a reboot (they are all Terminal Servers and so must be rebooted every 24hrs). The servers are in remote locations. Users are required to swap over the USB drives but otherwise do nothing. This has all worked fine for years – the presence or absence of a USB drive making no difference to the boot order of the machines. As long as the users plug the USB drives in and power them on all is well. The ML150 G3 has changed all this!

Problem Statement.
With the USB drive plugged in and powered on – and starting the machine – the USB drive is “seen” in the BIOS boot order as the FIRST device in the HARD DRIVE part of the boot device list. Under these circumstances the machine fails to boot. The USB drive is non bootable and for some reason the machine does not pick up the next device in the hard drive list – e.g. the SAS hard drive. Instead the SAS drive is missed and the machine goes on to attempt the network boot – which fails. If the USB drive is moved in the list to a position lower that the SAS drive the machine boots normally. However having made and saved that boot order change - if the machine is EVER booted without that same USB drive plugged in and turned on – then that drive “looses it’s place in the list”. Accordingly, subsequently - when ANY USB drive is plugged in and powered on – and the machine is booted – the USB drive is “seen” at the top of the Hard Drive list and the machine fails to boot! This boot behaviour – and my inability to control it in a consistent way – makes the ML150 G3 unusable for us, given the user situation as described in Background above.

Additional Information.
When building the server I used a Win2k3 installation CD and a plug in USB floppy drive to load the SAS controller driver using the F6 method. That worked fine and normal with no problem at all. If I try to do the same thing with a USB drive plugged in and powered on and “seen” at the top of the hard drive part of the boot list – the Win2k3 setup cannot “see” the SAS hard drive! This may explain why the SAS drive is “missed” during the boot process – where the USB drive is higher in the boot list. I have tried to find a BIOS option “ Remove USB From Bootable Device List” but have failed to find any such option.

I need help on this fast – right now we have no product to sell. Surly I must have missed something?

Help Please.

Thanks and Regards,

Tarek Kawach
Honored Contributor

Re: ML150 g3 - USB Hard Drive Prevents SAS Boot.

Hi Nick:

Please apply latest firmware; it might fix the issue:
Systems ROMPaq Firmware Upgrade Diskette for HP ProLiant ML150 G3 Servers
version 2006.08.29 A (14 Sep 06)

This goes back to HP legacy usb support.

on these server the legacy 1.1 usb support was only to use usb devices for mouse and keyboard.

with the new server line. now we can boot to usb keys and usb floppy or cdrom drive or even hard drive.

- Now whenever you have a usb harddrive connected externally to this server; the server will try to boot to it first ; it will think it is a bootable floppy or harddrive.

- The usb function is ment to be used during windows normal mode only. once you reboot the server then the machine will try to access that usb as first boot.

- Is there anything in the bios to enable or disable legacy support for usb device. try that.


Document ID: c00768055

Version: 1

Advisory: HP ProLiant ML150 G3 Server Stops Responding During POST After Setting the CD-ROM Drive as the First Boot Device in the Device Boot Sequence

- what is the Firmware on the server right now.

I will look it up for you and let you know if I find anything else.

- At this time you might have to unpluge it when server is rebooting.


Hey, look a light at the end of the tunnel.
Occasional Contributor

Re: ML150 g3 - USB Hard Drive Prevents SAS Boot.

Hi Tarek,

Thanks for the reply.

1) As stated in my original post, the server is on the latest BIOS (Firmware) revision.

2) I appreciate that it is a mater of opinion as to what the proper use of USB might be. I take the view that the U in USB stands for Universal. As such HP needs to ensure that simply plugging in a USB hard drive does not prevent a server from booting â keeping in mind that this is new behaviour since all previous server models that we have used work just fine.

3) The apparent assumption made by HP â that all USB devices are bootable â is simply wrong. Microsoft do not support Windows booted from USB â and yes I know that it can be done â but not by me and not in a production environment.

4) Our use of USB hard drives for the purpose of unattended, automatic backups of a small server is logical and perfectly valid. An HP tape drive capable of doing the job cost more that the server that is being backed up. That is one reason why so many folks now use USB hard drives.


Rajashekar Chintakunta
Honored Contributor

Re: ML150 g3 - USB Hard Drive Prevents SAS Boot.

Hi Nick,

Check the following CUSTOMER ADVISORY:

As per this advisory, I would suggest you to disable the USB 2.0 and check if everything works fine else we might need to wait for next release of the firmware.