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Manual Chapter: Formatting and Recovering Disk Drives
Manual Chapter
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The diskinit utility performs low-level hard-drive formatting. You use the diskinit utility to first format the systems physical hard drives before you run the image2disk utility to install the software. You use the diskinit utility in the following situations:
To convert from version 9.3.x and 9.4.x partitioning to version 10.x volumes hard-drive formatting, without also installing the software
To complete a low-level disk-formatting operation on a version 9.3.x or 9.4.x system, you must first install the diskinit utility. To copy the utility to your system from the command line type the following command:
The process copies over the diskinit disk-formatting utility, and then presents a status message, which lets you know that the im command is no longer supported, and tells you how to proceed.
For the installation and formatting utility image2disk to install the software and format the drive properly, there must be at least minimal partitioning on the system hard drives. The image2disk utility is not designed to repair low-level hard drive formatting issues, which might occur for one of the following reasons:
The hard drive might be completely blank, as occurs when a system is returned from F5 Networks after Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA).
The configuration might have become corrupted or unusable, and you can no longer access the Configuration utility or run the b software commands for installation or upgrade operations.
For these types of low-level hard-drive formatting, you use the diskinit utility to first format the systems physical hard drives before you run the image2disk utility to install the software.
In order to run the diskinit utility, the system drives cannot be active. That means that you must boot the system into the Maintenance Operating System (MOS). When you initially run the im command or image2disk utility to install the 10.x software, the installation process places an updated MOS on the system.
Warning: To run the diskinit utility, you must have console access to the system, either through a console server or directly through the serial connection. Once you boot into the MOS, you lose connection with the system.
Important: Rebooting to the MOS requires that the internal drives still have a significant portion of their current software intact and operational. If this is not the case, you must boot from removable media, such as a USB CD/DVD drive or a USB thumb drive. You can find information about creating a bootable USB thumb drive in Creating the bootable thumb drive.
Once you boot into the MOS, you are ready to run the diskinit utility to completely erase the contents of the system hard drive and reformat using the disk formatting method you specify. If you plan to use 10.x versions of the software exclusively, F5 Networks recommends that you use the volumes style of disk formatting. If you plan to maintain version 9.x software, you must use the partitions style of disk formatting. For more information about which disk formatting style to specify for the diskinit command, review information in Formatting the drive with the image2disk utility.
Warning: Running the diskinit utility removes all information on the system hard drive. If that is not what you intended, do not proceed with the operation.
Warning: If you omit the -style option in the following procedure, the disk reformatting operation removes all file systems and volumes from all hard drives and does not create any new ones, which can result in a nonoperational system. This is not a typical or supported operation, and F5 Networks does not recommend it.
To continue, type y and press Enter. Otherwise, type n, and press Enter.
After formatting is complete, you can run the image2disk utility to install the version 10.x software. In this case, the installation source must be a bootable thumb drive, or another external source, since there is no directory structure on the disk. You can then apply a previously archived configuration file, or you can apply the default configuration.
Note: For a list of command options available for the diskinit utility, see the command line help, available by running the command diskinit -h on the command line.
On each installation location, apply the previously archived configuration file. For information about restoring a configuration file, see Managing pre-existing configuration files.
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