4.2 i386 - Compaq Proliant 8000 - Workaround for hard resets during install

Issues related to hardware problems
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Joined: 2005/10/29 16:24:25

4.2 i386 - Compaq Proliant 8000 - Workaround for hard resets

Post by gashalot » 2005/10/29 16:54:01

This week I battled a Compaq Proliant 8000 while trying to install 4.2 i386. If you are experiencing hard resets (not a panic) during install, this will interest you.

The system in question was a Compaq Proliant 8000 with 8 550MHz P3 Xeon's and 4GB of RAM with two Compaq storage controllers (4250 and 4200). The server and storage ROMs had been flashed up to their latest revisions (Server ROM P41 circa 2004, and Controller ROMs v1.44).

Like many SMP boards from the late 90's, it is necessary to use the "noapic" option in order to boot. However, when using the noapic option alone, you may experience hard resets during the kernel boot process. In my case, the system was hard resetting (not panicing) right after it printed a message about probing the PS/2 mouse port.

The reset appears to be caused by a hardware/ROM bug. In order to do an install, you need to alter the behavior of the i8042 subsystem (standard keyboard/mouse) using kernel parameters not listed in the CentOS install guide. These parameters disable PS/2 mouse ports and default to "safer" i8042 probe options for your keyboard. Unless you have a USB mouse, anaconda will force you to use the text mode install, even if you do not specify the text mode at boot time.

Here is the full text of the boot command necessary to get you going:

linux noapic i8042.noacpi i8042.nomux i8042.noaux

When installing be sure to watch for the screen that prompts for the GRUB kernel paramteres. By default anaconda only picks up on the noapic parameter (probably because it is the only one that in the documentation). You will need to add the three i8042 parameters again before proceeding, otherwise your system will not reboot properly once the install is complete.

More information on the i8042.* parameters do is available at:


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Joined: 2006/04/08 21:49:30

Re: 4.2 i386 - Compaq Proliant 8000 - Workaround for hard resets during install

Post by shwpeters » 2006/04/09 00:11:14

First of all, thanks a billion for this info. I just got a 2nd hand Proliant 8000 and this just about saves me from pulling out all my hair :)

I managed to get it to work the way you described it, however I have 2 questions about it:
- Is it possible to enable somehow the PS2 mouse again?
- the i8042.noacpi parameter is reported to be invalid at boot time. The system does boot up nicely though, so can it be removed from the grub config?


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Joined: 2008/03/27 19:00:41

Re: 4.2 i386 - Compaq Proliant 8000 - Workaround for hard resets during install

Post by ewwhite » 2008/03/27 19:05:42

Thank you for this tip. This setup is also valid for Proliant ML750 servers, too. That model was based on the Proliant 8000 chassis. This was a lifesaver :)

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