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Cisco 2811 512MB CF card readable by IOS but not by rommon

Answered Question
Dec 27th, 2013
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Hello,


I have two MS-DOS (FAT 16) 512MB Compact Flash cards (Cisco brand) and I can't seem to get my either of my two 2811 routers to read these cards in rommon. 


I can read them on my PC and I have confirmed FAT 16 formatting.   When I boot the router, rommon reports


open(): Open Error = -66

boot: cannot open "flash:"

boot: cannot determine first executible file name on device "flash:".  


If I load an image from tftp using tftpdnld -r, it loads a 15.1 image successfully into memory and I have subsequently formatted the CF card (format flash: ) from IOS successfully.  show flash: works fine.  I have even copied another image over to the 512MB flash via my IOS session using tftp.   IOS doesn't have any issues with the CF card.   I can do a "show flash: all" and it reports multiple partitions. However, when reload the router, the boot stage dumps execution control into rommon indicating that it can't read the CF card ... error -66 again.  


I have looked at Cisco's Using Compfact Flash Memory cards whitepaper and read some other posts where the poster indicated the CF card lost its partitions.  However, in my case, i have reformatted using "format flash:" which should create a class C filesystem.  


I have also seen various posts that indicate the 2811 can support up to 2GB flash sizes so this 512MB card should be fine. 


Any ideas?  this seems more complicated that it should be.


Thanks in advance...

Will

Correct Answer by Leo Laohoo about 3 years 7 months ago

well, thats a good question.  they were purchased off eBay as authentic CF cards.

The reason why I ask this obvious question is because some else posted a similar issue with their so-called "Cisco" branded CF that was recently purchased from e-Bay.  The thread was about two weeks old. 


Well, the CF didn't work because they weren't really "Cisco" CF.  So when he got another non-Cisco branded CF they worked. 


I am suspecting you got your CF from the same seller.


My recommendation is go to your favorite electronics shop and get two different brand of 2Gb (or up to 4 Gb) CF and try both of them out. 

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Collin Clark Fri, 12/27/2013 - 11:05
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In rommon have you initialized the flash before trying to read it?

Will Hrudey Fri, 12/27/2013 - 16:52
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thanks for the reply.  how would I initialize the flash beforehand within rommon?    I looked through the published rommon command set but didn't see anything relevant other than reset command.


that said, I tried set without success.  it just reports:


Upgrade ROMMON initialized

program load complete, entry point: 0x8000f000, size: 0xcb80

open(): Open Error = -66

boot: cannot open "flash:"

boot: cannot determine first executable file name on device "flash:"

c2811 platform with 524288 Kbytes of main memory


Main memory is configured to 64 bit mode with ECC enabled


this is bizarre because IOS can read it but it seems like its just rommon that can't. 

Will Hrudey Fri, 12/27/2013 - 17:09
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that command is not supported in my current rommon version.   :-(


I had read one posting where someone had a similar issue so he upgraded rommon but it didn't make a difference.  he eventually indicated his particular issue was tied to the fact that the partitions on the CF card were corrupt.    so not sure if its worth trying to ugprade the rommon ??


not sure how to check the version while within rommon either.  i tried cookie but its a rather cryptic output.

Collin Clark Fri, 12/27/2013 - 17:14
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In rommon of you type dir flash: do you get the -66 error?

Will Hrudey Fri, 12/27/2013 - 17:50
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I do.  


So check this out ... I booted this router (2811) using a TFTP image using tftpdnld -r to avoid rommon from attempting to write to flash after pulling the image over the network.   


Once the IOS image was decompressed and loaded into memory, I did the following successfull command

displaying the flash in detail:


R10#show flash: all

-#- --length-- -----date/time------ path

1     67878324 Dec 27 2013 06:48:16 +00:00 c2800nm-adventerprisek9-mz.151-4.M6-512D.bin



443416576 bytes available (67936256 bytes used)



******** ATA Flash Card Geometry/Format Info ********



ATA CARD GEOMETRY

   Manufacturer Name     

   Model Number           WDC SSD-C51M-4430  

   Serial Number          CB29524751501GC28D03

   Firmware Revision      3.27   

   Number of Heads        16   

   Number of Cylinders    993  

   Sectors per Cylinder   63   

   Sector Size            512  

   Total Sectors          1000944



ATA PARTITION 1 INFO

   Start Sector           233  

   Number of Sectors      1000711

   Size in Bytes          512364032

   File System Type       FAT32

   Number of FAT Sectors  978  

   Sectors Per Cluster    8    

   Number of Clusters     124842

   Number of Data Sectors 998736

   Base FAT Sector        12   

   Base Root Sector       NA

   Base Data Sector       1968 

   Root Cluster           2    

   Backup Boot Sector     0    

   FS Info Sector         1    



ATA MONLIB INFO

   Image Monlib size      123036

   Disk Monlib Size       NA

   Disk Space Available   NA

   Name                   NA

   End Sector             NA

   Start sector           NA

   Updated By             NA

   Version                NA



R10#


Then I formatted the flash using IOS successfully:


R10#format flash:

Format operation may take a while. Continue? [confirm]

Format operation will destroy all data in "flash:".  Continue? [confirm]

Format: All system sectors written. OK...



Format: Total sectors in formatted partition: 1000711

Format: Total bytes in formatted partition: 512364032

Format: Operation completed successfully.



Format of flash: complete

R10#


Then I displayed the device again - noting that IOS can read this flash device successfully:


R10#show flash:

No files on device



511348736 bytes available (4096 bytes used)



R10#



Then I rebooted the router and execution dumps into rommon:


R10#reload

Proceed with reload? [confirm]



*Dec 28 02:07:31.951: %SYS-5-RELOAD: Reload requested by console. Reload Reason: Reload Command.



System Bootstrap, Version 12.4(13r)T11, RELEASE SOFTWARE (fc1)

Technical Support: http://www.cisco.com/techsupport

Copyright (c) 2009 by cisco Systems, Inc.



Initializing memory for ECC

..

c2811 platform with 524288 Kbytes of main memory

Main memory is configured to 64 bit mode with ECC enabled





Upgrade ROMMON initialized

program load complete, entry point: 0x8000f000, size: 0xcb80

open(): Open Error = -66

loadprog: error - on file open

boot: cannot load "flash:c2800nm-adventerprisek9-mz.151-4.M6-512D.bin"

c2811 platform with 524288 Kbytes of main memory

Main memory is configured to 64 bit mode with ECC enabled





Upgrade ROMMON initialized

program load complete, entry point: 0x8000f000, size: 0xcb80

open(): Open Error = -66

boot: cannot open "flash:"

boot: cannot determine first executable file name on device "flash:"

c2811 platform with 524288 Kbytes of main memory

Main memory is configured to 64 bit mode with ECC enabled





Upgrade ROMMON initialized

program load complete, entry point: 0x8000f000, size: 0xcb80

open(): Open Error = -66

boot: cannot open "flash:"

boot: cannot determine first executable file name on device "flash:"

c2811 platform with 524288 Kbytes of main memory

Main memory is configured to 64 bit mode with ECC enabled





Upgrade ROMMON initialized

Entering rommon> prompt after several failed attempts to boot an IOS image. 

Please check your internal/external flash drives for the correct IOS image

and issue 'reset' at the rommon> prompt to re-try the boot process.


Then I display the flash characteristics again (unsuccessfully):


rommon 1 > dir flash:

program load complete, entry point: 0x8000f000, size: 0xcb80

open(): Open Error = -66

dir: cannot open device "flash:"

rommon 2 > dev

Devices in device table:

        id  name

    flash:  compact flash             

bootflash:  boot flash                

usbflash0:  usbflash0                 

usbflash1:  usbflash1                 

    eprom:  eprom                     

rommon 3 >



I am baffled.

Collin Clark Fri, 12/27/2013 - 18:20
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Can you create a smaller partition, say 128mb, format as fat16? In Windows of course and not a quick format.

mciarfello Sat, 10/10/2015 - 19:42
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Two years later.  Hopefully it helps someone else.

I had the same problem.  Looks like doing the low-level filesystem "erase flash" worked.Instead of DOS "format flash"

 

Curious what the

ATA MONLIB INFO

section does.  The DOS filesystem 128MB real Cisco flash card has values there where yours and mine did not for the format flash fake card.  That section is not there for an "erase flash" type "format"

 

 

Collin Clark Fri, 12/27/2013 - 17:57
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Can you post the results of a dev

Will Hrudey Fri, 12/27/2013 - 20:32
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hi there ... dev resutls are actually at the tail end of my long post above.  


I should also note that I have tried both fat16 and fat32 as 2800 series CF documenation indicates it supports both.   but resutls are the same.


i can create a smaller partition using fat16 using windows diskpart utility.  i may try 256MB because i pulled a 256MB lexar CF out of this very router and it was fine.  

Will Hrudey Fri, 12/27/2013 - 22:59
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I have subsequently partitioned the 512MB CF card into a 256MB partition without success.  I went a step further and partitioned down to 128MB without any luck.   I put a 64MB CF card in and it works just fine.   I was really hoping to use these 512MB Cisco CF cards.  


I did end up going into privilged rommon mode and an initfs didn't do much.   A "flash: erase" failed with error code -72.  A "flash: info" reports its full size of 512MB. 

Leo Laohoo Fri, 12/27/2013 - 14:21
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Are you sure this is a "Cisco" branded CF?

Will Hrudey Fri, 12/27/2013 - 16:54
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well, thats a good question.  they were purchased off eBay as authentic CF cards.   I have used non-Cisco cards with success in the past however ... i.e. 256MB Lexar card.     But given that IOS can read these cards if I boot from a tftp IOS image, wouldn't that help speak to the integrity of the CF card and its formatting?

Correct Answer
Leo Laohoo Sat, 12/28/2013 - 01:10
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well, thats a good question.  they were purchased off eBay as authentic CF cards.

The reason why I ask this obvious question is because some else posted a similar issue with their so-called "Cisco" branded CF that was recently purchased from e-Bay.  The thread was about two weeks old. 


Well, the CF didn't work because they weren't really "Cisco" CF.  So when he got another non-Cisco branded CF they worked. 


I am suspecting you got your CF from the same seller.


My recommendation is go to your favorite electronics shop and get two different brand of 2Gb (or up to 4 Gb) CF and try both of them out. 

K S Fri, 09/19/2014 - 15:07
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I know this is an old post but maybe the info will still help.

When you format the CF card on windows (8.1), change the allocation unit size to 64 kilobytes.  I ran into the same issue using a 512mb Cisco branded card. My default allocation unit size was 8192 bytes in which the router was unable to recognize the CF card.

 

 

 

 

Leo Laohoo Fri, 09/19/2014 - 16:06
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Unless you know what you are doing, I never recommend anyone format a CF using a PC/laptop.  I will always recommend you format using the router.  Why?  Because if the CF is supported, you can format the CF. 

K S Wed, 09/24/2014 - 15:39
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Not always true, as I just ran into this issue with a 2811 not seeing/formating a card that Windows could read.  Changed the allocation size to 16kb and the router could see and format although windows couldn't read the CF card afterwards. Changed it to 64kb and everything was golden on both devices. 

I say experiment and you will 9 times out of 10 learn something out of it. It's no surprise that transferring IOS images via copy/paste is much less of a hassle then TFTP when accessibility is available. 

 

Lukas Kuzmiak Wed, 08/09/2017 - 19:46
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got the exact same issue on 2821, 1GB original Cisco card from Amazon. IOS would recognize it, rommon would not.

I tried re-partitioning, re-formatting and erasing on the very same router in IOS (booted from a a different card). It would always lead to 16kb allocation size which rommon did not recognize (exactly same error as original poster mentioned).

Formatting with 64kb allocation size made rommon recognize the card (perhaps number of sectors and sectors per cluster decreased or i have no idea why .. 

But nothing else I found anywhere worked for rommon to recognize it. IOS has no issue on the same router all the way through this nightmare.

Thanks KS!

Joseph W. Doherty Thu, 08/10/2017 - 04:58
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I recall there were ROMMOM upgrades for some of the 28xx series.  It's possible you'll obtain different behaviors depending on the ROMMOM version.

Lukas Kuzmiak Thu, 08/10/2017 - 15:34
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I tried upgrading the ROMMON before I got into all of this juggling around (I thought it must be that considering IOS sees the card and ROMMON doesn't).

I upgraded to:

ROMMON: System Bootstrap, Version 12.4(13r)T11, RELEASE SOFTWARE (fc1)

Which AFAIK is the latest version for 2821 - result was however exactly the same, that's why I got into the weird tweaking of FAT filesystem parameters as I didn't see what else I could do.

Leo Laohoo Thu, 08/10/2017 - 20:38
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12.4(13r)T11 is the last and final ROMmon version.  There is a hidden command to boot the IOS from a USB stick (in ROMmon):  boot usbflash0:IOS_filename.bin

Leo Laohoo Thu, 08/10/2017 - 15:27
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I agree with Joseph.  Upgrade the ROMmon and see if there are any improvements.  Another added benefit with a ROMmon upgrade (the latest one) is the ability to boot the IOS, from ROMmon, using a supported USB thumb/flash drive.

mmichalac Thu, 07/27/2017 - 01:12
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Have same problem od Cisco 6500. Rommon does not recogizes CF formated in IOS (says Invalid Magic Number).

Problem was missing "monlib" at CF:

#show disk0: filesys
ATA MONLIB INFO
   Image Monlib size      61228
   Disk Monlib Size       NA
   Disk Space Available   NA
   Name                   NA
   End Sector             NA
   Start sector           NA
   Updated By             NA
   Version                NA
   Monlib Version         1426085376
   Monlib Params Version  1459640320

Before formating in IOS you need recreate partition what also writes "monlib":

#partition disk0: 1
#format disk0:
#show disk0: filesys
ATA MONLIB INFO
   Image Monlib size      61228
   Disk Monlib Size       61228
   Disk Space Available   65024
   Name                   c7200-atafslib-m
   Start sector           2
   End sector             121
   Updated By             s72033_sp-ADVIPSERVICESK9-M15.3(3)S5
   Version                1

After that, rommon recognizes disk and if you copy IOS there, will boot from it.

My CF was not Cisco branded - it was normal Apacer CF card.

Maybe this helps somebody.


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