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It can be a rather traumatic event if you have just been locked out of your MDFS. Its security is quite heavy. Take the supervisor mode switch. You don't simply open the front door... oh no, you have to insert a key and turn it!
The aim of this guide is to help you break into your MDFS.


Serial link

If you cannot log into your MDFS and you have no supervisor password or usable discs, do not panic. Follow the steps below:
  1. Unplug the server from the network.
  2. Plug a null-modem cable into the MDFS serial port (it uses the same wiring as the BBC microcomputer). The other end of the cable should go to a computer running decent terminal software (such as a RISC OS machine running HearSay2, Connector, or ArcTerm7).
  3. Switch the server on and turn the keyswitch directly to System Mode.
  4. When the Discs Free light blinks slowly, press the Release Discs button once. The Discs Free light will blink quickly for a few seconds.
  5. The Discs Free light will then come on steady, and the Utility Mode light will be blinking slowly. The No Clock and Power lights should also be on.
  6. Set your terminal software to the same protocol configured for the serial printer in the MDFS. This is, by default:
    9600bps, hardware flow control, 8N2 parity. [NOTE: 8N2, not 8N1]
    However you may need to experiment. Change your settings and press RETURN a few times.
    If this does not work:
    It is possible that the server has been set to a specific serial protocol (say, 2400bps 7E1?) and without trying them all you'll be a bit stuck.
    If you press and hold the "Release Discs" button while switching the server on, the internal NVRAM will be cleared which will have the effect of restoring the serial protocol to that mentioned above.
    When you have got it, the MDFS will send you a menu...
  7. The MDFS menu looks like:
       MDFS Utility Program ver 1.16
       (ROM version: 1.05)
       A - Alter configuration parameters
       B - Boot the fileserver
       C - Copy whole disc
       D - Add to hard disc Defect list
       F - Format disc
       I - Initialise disc
       L - List discs
       M - Monitor
       P - Clear Password file
       R - Rename disc
       S - Set fileserver station number
       T - Tape menu
       V - Verify disc
       X - Modify disc's 'Block Zero'
       Y - Adaptec Hard Disc Defect Utility
       Z - Park hard disc heads
       Or push the front panel button
       to start the fileserver.
       Command (H for help) ?
  8. Select P to clear the password file:
       Command (H for help) ? P
       This option will remove a corrupt or
       unwanted password file from a disc.
       The disc will be left with
       NO PASSWORD FILE AT ALL : for security
       a new password file should be written
       (using EDITPASS) as soon as possible.
       Clear disc in which drive (A..L)? J
       Partition number (1..3)? 1
       Name: MainPart   36400K 
       OK (Y/N)?
  9. Press Y to confirm (or N to abort). This will remove ALL password entries. Everybody...
  10. Having done that, you can set up a few other options if necessary, or boot the server from the menu or by pressing the Release Discs button.

Copyright © 2008 Rick Murray