× NETGEAR will be terminating ReadyCLOUD service by July 1st, 2023. For more details click here.
Orbi WiFi 7 RBE973
Reply

AMI BIOS boot options?

eton
Luminary

AMI BIOS boot options?

What are these boot options in (ReadyNAS RN312) AMI BIOS?

 

Default boot option 1: SMI USB DISK 1100

Default boot option 2: UEFI: SMI USB DISK 1100

 

Are they both pointing to the same target?

 

Where is that USB disk located?

What should I change to boot up TinyCore from a rear USB port?

Will ReadyNAS's original "USB disk" be left untouched if I boot up from another USB device?

 

Photos: https://imgur.com/a/cDECXVb

 

Message 1 of 21
Sandshark
Sensei

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?

I've not specifically looked at the BIOS options on a 312 (don't have one) or product in the same family, but that seems to allow either a UEFI or legacy BIOS boot-up from the same source just as many other AMI BIOS do.  With most BIOS, it will check all USB ports for a bootable drive since it doesn't allow you to choose which one.  I think your best bet is to simply try it and see what happens, then let us all know in case we need to follow your lead.  One potential problem is that the flash memory on at least most ReadyNAS is actually a USB device.  So if it finds that one first, it's going to boot from it.  On a legacy NAS, I know it will find the front USB port before the internal one, so try that first.

 

Unless you go in and make changes yourself, there is no reason that booting to an alternative OS will change anything in the boot PROM.  But your new OS may expose it to change, so you'll just have to be careful not to.  Once exposed, you will probably want to make a copy of the contents with dd (if using a Linux alternative) or some other drive imaging process just in case.

Message 2 of 21
eton
Luminary

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?

Legacy and UEFI boot seems logical.

 

I managed to boot up TinyCore by changing boot order settings (and also boot override on the Save & Exit tab). Although I saved and exited after changing boot order, on next boot up the ReadyNAS PROM was back to boot before the USB.

 

One annoying thing is that ReadyNAS doesn't make any difference between the USB ports. Maybe somewhere internally, but in BIOS they all show up as 'USB Flash Disk 1100'.

 

Photos, part 2: https://imgur.com/a/nJk8rZn

Photo 2.1 where I changed the boot order.

Photo 2.2 default boot order is back after reboot (and in this case the USB stick was removed)

Photo 2.3 more settings under advanced.

 

There might be some setting that is forcing internal boot first. There are several settings under Advanced and Boot that I don't know what they stand for. Like: GateA20 Active, Option ROM Messages, INT19 Trap Response, CSM Support. And under Advanced: Launch Storage OpROM, Ut165 USB2FlashStrong.

 

 

Message 3 of 21
schumaku
Guru

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?


@eton wrote:

One annoying thing is that ReadyNAS doesn't make any difference between the USB ports.


Except of the special USB Recovery Tool-on-my ReadyNAS OS 6 storage-system there is no design reason any RN should ever boot from a different boot device, like a random USB port.

Message 4 of 21
eton
Luminary

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?

Not just booting. The issue with not labeled USB ports exists in ReadyNAS OS 6 as well. I have a wage memory that the ports where numbered in old RAIDiator 4.

 
Message 5 of 21
Sandshark
Sensei

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?


@schumaku wrote:


Except of the special USB Recovery Tool-on-my ReadyNAS OS 6 storage-system there is no design reason any RN should ever boot from a different boot device, like a random USB port.


True, but he's trying to use it not as designed with an alternative OS.  It's possible that the BIOS is designed specifically not to save that parameter.  I honestly have no idea how USB recovery is implemented.  It may be that it changes the BIOS to boot from another USB device, thus it automatically returns to boot from flash after that (or other modification to the boot device order is changed) and power is cycled, though I always suspected it used boot override.  That way, the unit would be back to booting from flash even if the recovery process failed and it couldn't set it back to boot from flash.

 

Chain loading an OS on the drive(s) from flash is probably the best way to go -- emulating what ReadyNAS OS does.  But that would modify the flash contents.  I'm afraid I can't help you accomplish that -- it's beyond my Linux experience.  I know GRUB and Syslinux can both do that, but I've only ever done it in GRUB many years ago.  I just use a Linux VM now instead of dual booting to it.

 

Message 6 of 21
eton
Luminary

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?

Yes, the USB Recovery Tool verifies that there is a solution to repeatedly boot from an external USB. In best case scenario the external USB just needs a file with a special name. Maybe some BIOS setting(s) can also solve this.

 

There is one report of using XPEnology with RN312:

https://xpenology.com/forum/topic/8373-user-reported-compatibility-thread-for-dsm-61/#comment-96645

 

Other ReadyNAS models here:

https://xpenology.com/forum/topic/56934-converting-a-netgear-readynas-to-xpenology/

 

Message 7 of 21
Sandshark
Sensei

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?

According to one of those referenced threads, there is a BIOS entry in the flash to disable the internal flash, and that's the key.  I have some 300 series units and may pull one out of storage and see what I can find.  But if you figure it out, please post your process and results.  Screen shots of significant BIOS settings would be great.

 

BTW, I recommend we stay away from any explicit instructions on installing Xpenology on the ReadyNAS here.  Xpenology most likely is considered copyright infringement (I don't think it's been decided by a court, thus the "most likely"), and I don't want to put Netgear in a position of having to censor posts about it.  But there should be no reason we cannot discuss the installation of free, or even commercially available, alternative OS's on ReadyNAS hardware.

Message 8 of 21
eton
Luminary

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?

Which BIOS setting do you think controls forcing the internal system?

 

Could it be:  Advanced > Launch Storage OpROM

 
Message 9 of 21
Sandshark
Sensei

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?

Unfortunately, none of the posts I've found have that detail and I won't have time to mess around with it myself for at least a few days.  But that does sound like a possibility.  It's normally used to boot things like the BIOS on a RAID controller, but that process may be what Netgear is using to enable the boot flash and then later disable it so the OS can't access it.

 

I certainly don't think toggling it will brick your NAS.  I have a PC with a RAID card that uses that option.  Disabling it prevents booting from RAID, but the BIOS remains accessible to go and toggle it back.

 

 

Message 10 of 21
eton
Luminary

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?

Thanks! Do you think/know if ReadyNAS uses OpROM for a RAID controller as well?

 
 
Message 11 of 21
StephenB
Guru

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?


@eton wrote:

 Do you think/know if ReadyNAS uses OpROM for a RAID controller as well?


OS-6 NAS use software RAID (mdadm).

Message 12 of 21
eton
Luminary

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?

Thanks, seems like toggling it off will be safe.

Message 13 of 21
tigerten
Luminary

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?

did you see the second pic of your first post? there is a "disable" option. 

 

do this twice, both of the default USB option will be left out. 

 

I guess the way it works is: the default order is built into the bios. If you disable the first, the second will become the first. Disable that again, the third will become the first. 

 

 

Message 14 of 21
eton
Luminary

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?

Good idea, that is another method. I tried to move the external USB to the first position (as usual for a normal BIOS) and then disabled the rest. I will try your idea with keeping the external USB in the third position and disable the internal flash at number one and two.

Message 15 of 21
eton
Luminary

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?

So maybe I miss read you at first @tigerten. Of course I tried disabling the internal flash. You can read about the attempts above.

 

I tried it one more time. I was curious about leaving boot order position 1 and 2 disabled and the external USB enabled in position 3. That did not work at all. With that setting the system booted directly into BIOS. In other words, there has to be a bootable device in position 1. I also tried my previous attempts (the most logical) setting with the external USB in position 1 and internal flash disabled in position 2 and 3. That resulted in same as before. The BIOS setting was overridden and the internal flash was set in pos 1 and 2. I also tested with having the external USB in pos 1 and the internal flash in pos 2 and 3 enabled. That also resulted in being overridden on next boot.

 

So the problem is still the same.

Message 16 of 21
tigerten
Luminary

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?

Did you do this?

"If you disable the first, the second will become the first. Disable that again, the third will become the first."

As I said, the order is built in the BIOS. you can not re-order them. Custom order will not persist. you can only elevate the one you want to the first by disabling the ones before. 

 

 

Message 17 of 21
eton
Luminary

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?

Yes. As I wrote before: having the external USB in pos 1 (by first disable pos 1 and 2, thus elevate what was in pos 3 to pos 1) will not stick on next reboot. And having pos 1 and 2 disabled and external USB in pos 3 will result in BIOS showing directly after reboot (without pressing DEL och F2).

 
 
Message 18 of 21
tigerten
Luminary

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?

Sorry, don't know what else can be done. mine is 628X, and don't think that will be reason. 

 

tbh, I don't think I follow what you did. 

Message 19 of 21
eton
Luminary

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?

I solved it!

I blame TinyCore for this.*

 

Today I tested to boot up OpenMediaVault (with same USB stick as for TinyCore) and it presented itself with both legacy and UEFI. I tested both and RN312 could boot from both OMV's legacy and UEFI and the setting stuck in BIOS! Now the machine boots up from the OMV external USB every time.

 

OMV boot could be place in position/slot number 3 and having internal flash in 1 and 2 disabled. Or setting OMV in position 1. So the external boot priority position could be elevated/moved, the critical thing was that internal flash was not enabled with higher priority than the external boot.

 

No other setting needed to be changed in BIOS.

 

This also explains why most users don't report any problems booting from external USB. They where lucky with a boot device that was fully compatible ReadyNAS OS's BIOS.

 

* Note: TinyCore only had legacy boot.

Message 20 of 21
biooblogs
Aspirant

Re: AMI BIOS boot options?

It appears that, based on typical AMI BIOS behavior, the ReadyNAS 312 or similar devices may allow both UEFI and legacy BIOS boot options from the same source. Most BIOS systems check all USB ports for bootable drives and don't typically offer the option to choose a specific one. To determine if it works in your case, it's advisable to try the boot process and share your findings with the community, as this information could be valuable for others facing similar situations.

A potential issue to consider is that the flash memory on many ReadyNAS devices is essentially treated as a USB device. If it detects this USB device before other internal ones, it may attempt to boot from it. On legacy NAS systems, it often detects the front USB port first, so it's worth trying that one initially.

Unless you actively make changes to the boot PROM yourself, booting to an alternative OS should not inherently alter anything in the boot PROM. However, your new OS might expose the boot PROM to potential changes, so exercise caution not to modify it unintentionally. If it becomes exposed, creating a backup of its contents using tools like 'dd' in a Linux alternative or another drive imaging process is a prudent step in case you need to restore it to its original state.

Message 21 of 21
Top Contributors
Discussion stats
  • 20 replies
  • 2508 views
  • 0 kudos
  • 6 in conversation
Announcements