Troubleshooting SCSI: OS doesn't see adapter

Troubleshooting a SCSI device? Start by making sure the host adapter card is working.

Editor's note: This is one in a series of tips on troubleshooting SCSI.


Troubleshooting a SCSI storage system requires a methodical approach. The best way is to start at the lowest level of connectivity and work up. In the case of a SCSI device, this means -- absent other information -- you should start by making sure the host adapter card is working.

At the most basic level of connectivity, the host adapter should show up in the system's BIOS scan. The next level is for the operating system (OS) to recognize the adapter. Most problems at the BIOS scan level are hardware problems, but when the OS fails to recognize an adapter, it is almost always a firmware or software problem.

This is one of the simplest SCSI troubleshooting steps because there are not many things that will allow the adapter to show up in the BIOS and not in the OS. If this happens, there are three things to check:

1. Check the driver installation. Make sure the device driver is properly installed in the OS. (You'll need to refer to the adapter manual and your OS documentation.)

2. Synchronize the firmware and the driver. The firmware and driver versions must match. Verify that you have matching versions of both, especially if you have updated the adapter firmware. You can download the matching driver for your firmware from the vendor's Web site -- just be sure you are getting the driver that matches your adapter.

3. Check the vendor's Web site for additional information. Check the application notes and FAQs on the vendor's Web site to see if there are any special instructions involving your configuration.


Fast Guide: Troubleshooting SCSI

  Introduction
  Troubleshooting SCSI: Solving connectivity problems
  Troubleshooting SCSI: OS doesn't see adapter
  Troubleshooting SCSI: ID conflict
  Troubleshooting SCSI: Termination issues

Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80 K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last 20 years, he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

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This was first published in November 2005
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