Install fails MSI Z270-A pro

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nylarahotep
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Install fails MSI Z270-A pro

Post by nylarahotep » 2018/03/09 05:33:25

I'm trying to install Centos 7.4 on a new system with an MSI Z270-A Pro motherboard & i5 chip, from a USB thumb drive. I've updated the board to the latest bios; the bios and memory diagnostics report no hardware errors. The system recognizes the USB drive as a bootable device. The initial grub boot loader starts up, giving the normal install options. However, not matter what I do, the system reaches a certain point, then completely reboots and starts over again. If I watch really closely, I can see the message "reached basic system target' before it reboots.

I've tried to enable 'debug' with the startup kernel, but that's only marginally helpful. There's a spammage of messages to the screen, then the system reboots. Since this isn't a running system, there's no persistent log that I can go back and review. Because the system always reinitializes, instead of, say, hanging, the only information I can get is whatever is transiently displayed to the screen before it reboots. I've gone to the extent of trying to video the screen output with my phone, but there were no clear panic messages before it restarts.

I've tried modifying various bios parameters, as well as different kernel parameters; no luck. Since I have no idea what the problem is, it's random trial and error. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

desertcat
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Re: Install fails MSI Z270-A pro

Post by desertcat » 2018/03/09 09:59:03

nylarahotep wrote:I'm trying to install Centos 7.4 on a new system with an MSI Z270-A Pro motherboard & i5 chip, from a USB thumb drive. I've updated the board to the latest bios; the bios and memory diagnostics report no hardware errors. The system recognizes the USB drive as a bootable device. The initial grub boot loader starts up, giving the normal install options. However, not matter what I do, the system reaches a certain point, then completely reboots and starts over again. If I watch really closely, I can see the message "reached basic system target' before it reboots.

I've tried to enable 'debug' with the startup kernel, but that's only marginally helpful. There's a spammage of messages to the screen, then the system reboots. Since this isn't a running system, there's no persistent log that I can go back and review. Because the system always reinitializes, instead of, say, hanging, the only information I can get is whatever is transiently displayed to the screen before it reboots. I've gone to the extent of trying to video the screen output with my phone, but there were no clear panic messages before it restarts.

I've tried modifying various bios parameters, as well as different kernel parameters; no luck. Since I have no idea what the problem is, it's random trial and error. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
There are a couple of things to try:

1. Go into BIOS and reset all the functions to Factory Default. Then Check to make sure all your RAM is properly seated. Make sure all your connections are well made. You might want to switch out the SATA cables (BAD SATA cables can and do occur. While I doubt this is your problem this is a cheap and easy to do, and remove another possible variable).

2. Go into BIOS and check the Date and Time and make sure they are correct. Then go into and re-install the O.S. and make sure that the date and time you enter during the install phase matches the system time you entered into BIOS.

3. Burn a NEW .iso image and check to make sure the MD5 sums are correct (you could simply have a corrupt media problem. If you have a DVD/CD-ROM you might want to install via new media). Thumb drives are good but can be tricky to use. Go the DVD/CD-ROM first then resort the the thumb drive. In the event your case has no place for a DVD/CD-ROM you might want to temporally install one for the sole purpose of installing the OS.

4. The other thing is that your BIOS upgrade may be a bridge too far. General ROT is to start at the BIOS version on the board, install the OS, make sure that you have a bootable system, THEN do any BIOS updates if your previously bootable system no longer boots after doing the BIOS update then you know what the problem is right away. Then drop back one update till you find the one where the system boots once again.

This *almost* sounds like a corrupt media problem. I've run into a similar but not exactly the same type of problem myself a few times and the problem is usually fixed by simply burning a new DVD.iso, checking the MD5 sum to make sure that that no corrupted files were copied, and then doing a new install. One other thing you could do as a test is to simply boot a "LIVE" version as check, if it is a BIOS problem you'll know right away.

Best of luck.

nylarahotep
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Re: Install fails MSI Z270-A pro

Post by nylarahotep » 2018/03/09 13:23:12

Thanks for your suggestions

1) There aren't any sata cables involved; my USB is connected directly to the motherboard. It's possible the cable to the destination drive is bad, but the install process isn't getting far enough to even ask about the destination yet. The BIOS diagnostics recognized the drive just fine.

2) I can check the BIOS time, but, again, the installer isn't getting to that point. I believe it's trying to load the installer kernel.

3) I've validated the SHA256 signature on the ISO download, so I'm confident that the download itself is okay. I don't currently have a DVD drive to boot from; I've got one on order. I'll try that when it gets here. (The DVD drive I had was apparently DOA.)

4) I had the same problem before updating the BIOS. I updated the BIOS hoping that it would fix the issue.

I've come to understand that the USB installs can be somewhat finicky, because the USB devices have to be created exactly right. I may just have to wait until the DVD drive gets here.

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TrevorH
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Re: Install fails MSI Z270-A pro

Post by TrevorH » 2018/03/09 14:29:21

How did you create your USB stick? We have a page with suggested known-to-work utilities for creating them but the best and most reliable is plain, old fashioned `dd`. If you used that then your USB stick is probably OK (unless it's actually faulty in which case it could be worth trying a different stick if you have one). http://wiki.centos.org/HowTos/InstallFromUSBkey

Also, you don't say which iso image you are using - I'd recommend the one just with DVD in its name not the minimal nor the Everything iso images and definitely not the "Live" media. Also check that it's the "1708" media though it could also be worth trying on the older 1611 to see if this is a kernel bug.

I'd also recommend downloading memtest86+ and running that overnight - or as long as possible if you can manage longer - and see if that finds any problems. It could also be something like the power supply not being strong enough or being faulty and tripping out if more than a certain amount is used.

Disable or remove all non-essential hardware from the machine as well. Strip it down to the bare minimum, processor, RAM, hard disk, video card - worth trying another one of those if you have one - and disable everything that's not actually required to boot up and install.
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desertcat
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Re: Install fails MSI Z270-A pro

Post by desertcat » 2018/03/09 19:59:42

nylarahotep wrote:Thanks for your suggestions

1) There aren't any sata cables involved; my USB is connected directly to the motherboard. It's possible the cable to the destination drive is bad, but the install process isn't getting far enough to even ask about the destination yet. The BIOS diagnostics recognized the drive just fine.

2) I can check the BIOS time, but, again, the installer isn't getting to that point. I believe it's trying to load the installer kernel.

3) I've validated the SHA256 signature on the ISO download, so I'm confident that the download itself is okay. I don't currently have a DVD drive to boot from; I've got one on order. I'll try that when it gets here. (The DVD drive I had was apparently DOA.)

4) I had the same problem before updating the BIOS. I updated the BIOS hoping that it would fix the issue.

I've come to understand that the USB installs can be somewhat finicky, because the USB devices have to be created exactly right. I may just have to wait until the DVD drive gets here.

Here are a few other suggestions. First TrevorH is right: you want to strip that system down to the true BASICS (which I sort of was hinting at). The memtest86+ is a great idea.

Another thing you can try is to simply remove all the RAM and shuffle them around, just in case it a bad stick. This will also force you to reseat all the RAM in the process. Test them one by one if you need to especially if memtest86+ tells you you have a memory issue.

If you have a new DVD drive on order it should be there in a few days so you might want to hold off until it arrives. The "dd" command does work I've done it myself -- not by choice, but because the laptop I was trying to rehab had no built in DVD/CD-ROM. It was a GIANT PITA, and can be used but only as a last resort, but it does work. You also need to make sure that in BIOS it is the the thumb drive is the FIRST device it tries to boot from. For some boards the first device consulted is the HDD. If that is the case and the first is the HDD and not the thumb drive... BTW when your new DVD comes in don't forget to go into BIOS and set the device order to read DVD, then FLOPPY (I know Floppy drive are OLD technology but they still are around and are frequently still listed in the BIOS boot devices) and finally the LAST device in the boot order should be the HDD/SSD.

I will assume that you have more than the front USB ports (which is what I am assuming you are trying to use to install the media). Have you tried to install it from one of the REAR mounted USB ports?? It could be that the front USB coming from the front of the case and connected via a cable could be bad. The REAR ports are hard wired to the board via the standard I/O. USB ports are USB ports.

For fun, have you tried to install a different distro just as a test? This will tell you if you screwed up. Thumb drives are cheap enough so buy a few new ones just in case its the media. You can pick them up at your ever present WalMart. Still the safest way is to hold off until your new DVD drive arrives in a few days and burn and try the install from some new DVD's. (BTW while at WalMart don't forget to buy some new NEW DVD's if you don't already have some on hand).

As TrevorH mentioned it could be your PSU. What size PSU do you have?? Do you have another PSU you can temporarily swap into place? PSU's can be DOA, in which case get a RA and send it back (I am assuming it is new).

Finally if after trying to narrow down the the problem (PSU, RAM, DVD, I/O, etc., if you still can't get it to work it is possible you simply got a BAD MB -- it happens, just get a a RA and send it back for another board.

This still sounds like a case of BAD MEDIA, and not hardware.

Final idea. Just for fun if you have a spare computer just laying around stick that thumb drive in and check to see if you can boot from it and get through to the point where you would select the software and hardware -- you can escape once you get to that point without screwing up that computer.

Best of Luck.

nylarahotep
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Re: Install fails MSI Z270-A pro

Post by nylarahotep » 2018/03/10 04:05:29

I'm using the image that was labeled CentOS-7-x86_64-DVD-1708.iso. I have a macbook, so I just used the supplied 'dd' command to copy it to the USB drive: dd if=CentOS-7-x86_64-DVD-1708.iso of=/dev/disk2

After the copy command completes, MacOS throws a warning about an 'unreadable device'. Obviously I don't let it initialize, but I wonder if it's somehow corrupting the image while trying to be helpful. Using a manual mount command, I can mount the thumb drive using '-t cd9660' option, so the filesystem appears to be intact.

I did run a memtest, although not overnight. All tests completed without errors.

As for the video card, I'm using the onboard video. I suppose I could try a different driver than the default VESA, but I have no clue what. There's no other hardware to remove. The ultimate goal of this system will be currency mining, so it's not even in a full case, just an open frame with the PSU and SSD drive.

Just for the hell oI it, I also tried booting the system without any RAM installed. This particular MB has idiot lights that correctly indicated no RAM was present. After re-inserting DIMMs, it came back up again as normal. The BIOS is correctly reporting 2 x 4 GB DIMMs.

The BIOS and internal diagnostics are, to all appearances, functioning normally. There could be some subtle error that is not being detected; obviously something isn't right. But it seems more likely for now, that it's the install media. My second guess would be a bad DIMM; I may try it with only one DIMM installed. I also had make a trip for some new profanity, since I ran out.

john2018
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Re: Install fails MSI Z270-A pro

Post by john2018 » 2018/03/10 11:04:34

Your "unreadable device" error does not surprise me. In fact I'd expect it.

I've just built a system from scratch and installed a few times to find what I needed.
Each time I used DD because it's the simplest method short of burning a disc.
My source is a centos-6 laptop which I use for browsing not a mac though.

When you use DD it copies the iso to the thumb drive correctly.
However the ISO appears to have a GPT file table without the normal msdos patch entries.
This will cause any machine expecting the msdos component of the GPT to have trouble reading it.

This does not seem to affect the installation if your machine has a fairly recent bios - it will just
indicate an error if you use (as I do) something like gparted for partition work. Or try to read the drive. This will have no
effect whatsoever on your installation. (I used asus - yours is MSI - there could be a difference here)

You may have trouble deleting the partition correctly from the thumb drive after use though.
I found a repeat delete after recreating a simple MBR and a temporary reformat (to anything)
followed by a reboot - allowed the dd'd partition to delete correctly.

A few other points come to mind:
I doubt you have hardware problems - so check these out first as well:

Don't attempt to use an 8GB thumb drive - use something bigger or you may be suffering wrap around
make sure your thumb drive has no second partition on it before using dd -
delete the thumb drive entirely and recreate an msdos MBR on it before using dd (again gparted is your friend) to be sure
given your intended use do not set your motherboard to to any overclocking setting at all before installing
My asus motherboard went totally flakey when I upgraded the BIOS and I found the upgrade had set
some incompatible overclocking settings - you may want to go through the bios if you upgraded from new.

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TrevorH
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Re: Install fails MSI Z270-A pro

Post by TrevorH » 2018/03/10 12:28:21

The "DVD" image is around 4GB in size so writing it to an 8GB stick should be fine.
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nylarahotep
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Re: Install fails MSI Z270-A pro

Post by nylarahotep » 2018/03/10 13:53:03

I'm using a 16GB thumb drive; that's the smallest they had. So if this doesn't work, there's $6 shot to hell. :)

desertcat
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Re: Install fails MSI Z270-A pro

Post by desertcat » 2018/03/10 15:39:36

nylarahotep wrote:....I also had make a trip for some new profanity, since I ran out.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: Ah the return of the cuss jar (Every time you cuss you put $0.05 into the jar). Good thing I don't own such a jar, as I'd probably would have to put most of my SSDI check into the jar!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

$6.00 for 16GB thumb drive?!? Damn, that's cheap!! I can remember when they use to cost $32. I think the last time I bought one of about that size it was about $1.00 per GB. Like I said I know that the prices have fallen, but $0.375 per GB?!? Now that's CHEAP!!! Hopefully you picked up a few. I find them to be very handy for quickly copying off some excess files... or to make a bootable drive for a laptop that has no CD/DVD-ROM drive. They are also great and a improved version for "Sneakernet".

Best Wishes

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