SUMMARY: disc label problems

From: Craig Bevins (
Date: Thu Jul 23 1992 - 19:26:36 CDT

In <> I wrote:

> I have a problem with a Wren VII 94601-12G under 4.1.1. The 4/40 to
> which it was attached and had been happily running on for many months
> failed. The workstation was replaced with another 4/40 which then
> refused to boot with the following messages:
> Can't read disk label
> Can't open Sun disk label package
> boot-block startup failed
> Illegal instruction
> This looked simple enough - we had trashed the label and/or the primary
> bootstrap. The disc mounts OK as a secondary disc on another workstation,
> so I assume it's the bootstrap. No joy after hitting it with installboot.
> OK, so it's time to relabel it; might as well reformat and repartition
> while I'm at it. Take a backup, reformat, label, repartition, newfs,
> restore and installboot. No problems with any of that, but the bugger
> still won't boot. I'm stumped. And yes, I have the >1GB SCSI disc patch
> installed.

That's twice now that this list has saved my bacon ...

It turns out that this is a known problem with earlier Wren VII firmware
on later SparcStation microcode revisions. The same problem has been
reported with this drive on SS2, IPC and ELC workstations. It appears
that the ideal solution is to have the drive firmware upgraded.

Several people were kind enough to send me copies or pointers to a previous
message from Daniel Phaneuf which details a patch to NVRAM as an alternative
solution. This is as follows, which is cobbled together from replies from
Michael Pearlman and Birger Wathne:

Patch for SS-2 with WREN VII giving the error msg.:

Boot device: /sbus/esp.......
Can't read disk label
Can't open Sun disk label package

============ Copy of Message posted by Daniel Phaneuf ======================

Here is the program slightly modified due to a suggestion in another posting
using NVRAMRC's from Alain Brossard. I have installed this on the ELC and
the Bridgeway disk has booted and been running without problems for half
a day. Please note that this MAY NOT work in every case. One person said
that their disk vendor replaced the eprom in the disk.

(from monitor level)

        ok nvedit
                0: setenv use-nvramrc? false
                1: true to fcode-debug?
                2: probe-all install-console banner
                3: cd /sd
                4: patch 0 1 sstart
                5: device-end
                6: setenv use-nvramrc? true
                7: <ctrl>C
        ok nvstore
        ok setenv usr-nvramrc? true
        ok reset (or power off/on)


The first line ensures that you will be able to reboot if there is an
error in the nvramrc.

Needless to say, this worked perfectly for me. Many thanks to the
following for their replies: (Mike Halderman)
Cameron Humphries <> (Mike Pearlman) (Bob Reardon Maildrop 3F - x4794) (Birger A. Wathne)


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