Keysight PNA Series Hard Drive Recovery Information

 

One of the leading causes of PNA "failures" used to be due to issues with the hard disk drives (HDD). With the switch to Solid State Drives (SSDs) in mid 2010, virtually all of these issues have disappeared. However some issues, such as OS corruption due to viruses, may still affect the PNA, as with any other computer. As long as the hard drive is still fully functional, most issues can be easily resolved. The following information could save you days of downtime and/or the cost of replacing your PNA HDD.

Note: Make a note of the current firmware revision installed on the PNA. After a System Recovery or after an HDD has been replaced, it is often necessary to update the PNA firmware.


Note: The procedures below assume that any anomalies or strange behaviors cannot be corrected by simply restarting Windows. If the PNA has been connected to a LAN or if flash drives have been connected to the PNA, a virus scan is recommended before proceeding. Anti-virus software is never installed on the PNA as shipped from the factory since most companies have their own internal requirements. Antivirus is recommended for any PNA that is connected to LAN or whenever USB flash drives will be connected.

The following procedures address three categories of symptoms:
Symptom #1 Windows starts successfully and operates normally, but the PNA application will not start or acts strangely.
Symptom #2 Windows will not start successfully when the PNA powers on, or Windows does not function properly once it has started. Also included in this symptom is a completely black screen where nothing is ever displayed; even briefly (for the older 8.5-inch screens only.)
Symptom #3 HDD seems completely dead, or you get the message "No Operating System Found". For mechanical drives, this symptom also includes constant clicking of the drive or very loud bearing noise (both indicate the drive should be replaced.)

Procedure for symptom #1
  • Uninstall the PNA application using Add/Remove Programs from the Control Panel.
  • Restart Windows.
  • Download new firmware (See Firmware page) and reinstall the PNA application.
  • If the results are not satisfactory, consider running a disk error check and defrag (procedure below).
  • If PNA operation is still not satisfactory, continue with the procedure for symptom #2.

Procedure for symptom #2
  • If Windows will not even begin to start, first verify that no USB flash drives are connected (or no floppy is in the drive, if your PNA has a floppy drive.)
  • If you get a message that says "No Operating System Found", try removing the HDD drawer (where applicable) and reinserting it.
  • For older PNA's with the 8.5 inch screen: If you don't see anything on the screen (not even the Agilent logo upon initial boot-up) then you probably have a blown fuse on the backlight inverter. See our FAQ on this or try connecting an external monitor.
  • Run error check on the HDD and defrag if it is not an SSD
  • Connect a USB keyboard to the PNA and perform an Operating System Recovery as described below. If the Recovery System will not start, and all you see is a blinking cursor, check out this solution.
  • If an Operating System Recovery cannot be completed or is unsuccessful, then there are two choices. However, also see this FAQ :
    • Send the PNA into Agilent to have the HDD re-imaged or replaced.
    • Replace the HDD (see #3 below)

Procedure for symptom #3
(The HDD must be replaced.)
  • Order a new HDD, see Hard Disk Drive Part Numbers
  • If needed and if possible, save copies of the mxcal files from the "old" HDD. (See explanation of "mxcalfile_" in Operating System Recovery.) This may be done in one of two ways:
    • If the PNA is still running, leave the HDD in the PNA and copy the files to a floppy disk or USB pen drive.
    • Remove the HDD from the PNA and then connect it to another PC via a USB enclosure interface. (see Note below)
  • Install the new HDD and restore the mxcal files, if available. These should be restored to the same directory it was copied from. Another copy should also reside in D:\Calfiles. If the mxcal files are not available, then the receiver cal adjustment must be performed.

The first part below discusses the newer Recovery Process implemented in PNAs shipped since about April 2012 or any PNA with a disk image revision of S.24.03.00 or higher. The second part discusses the older recovery process that has been in place since the first PNA's shipped. In either case, the process to enter the Recovery process is the same: With an attached keyboard, reboot the PNA and wait for the choice of operating system to be displayed. Using the Up/Down arrows keys on the keyboard, select the System Recovery Option. Act fast as this will only be displayed for 5 seconds; after which, it boots normally into Windows.

Newer Recovery Process

systemrecovery_sml (71K) When the Recovery Process starts you will be given 6 choices as shown at right; two of which may be grayed out. The description of each is shown below as well as within the Recovery program; just click on "Detailed Descriptions". If you have previously created a custom recovery image, then all 6 choices will be available. All six choices are described below.

  • Check Disk For Errors
    The will check the hard drive for errors and automatically repair or recover bad sectors. It will first operate on the C: Partition and then proceed with the D: Partition. No user input is needed. No data will be lost and no user settings will be modified. This process usually takes about 10 minutes but it could take longer if a large number of errors are found.

  • System Repair (No Data Loss)
    This option will attempt to repair the C: Drive operating system in order to return it to its factory-shipped condition. This is useful if Windows does not boot properly or if other Windows system errors are encountered. No user saved data (documents, state files, cal kits, etc.) will be lost even if they reside on the C: Drive. Program directories are not affected, however, since the Windows registry is overwritten, all programs that have been installed since the PNA was shipped will need to be re-installed. All Windows settings such as logins, security settings, and regional settings will need to be reset. All Windows updates and any service packs installed since the image was made will need to be re-applied, so it is recommended that Windows Update be run immediately afterwards. This process does not affect the D: Drive. This operation will take approximately 5 minutes.

  • Factory Recovery
    Note: Before using this option, you may want to first try the System Repair option since it will retain all user saved files.
    A Factory Recovery will completely erase and reimage the C: partition of the drive! All data on the C drive will be lost! The operating system (and the entire C: Drive) will be returned to the same condition as when originally shipped. All Windows updates and any service packs installed since the image was made will need to be re-applied, so it is recommended that Windows Update be run immediately afterwards. This process does not affect the D: Drive so any data on the C: Drive should first be transferred to D: (or a flash drive) if it will still be needed. This operation will take approximately 10 minutes.

  • Create Custom Recovery
    For most users, a large amount of effort goes into setting up the PNA so that it behaves as desired. This includes installing any needed programs (including antivirus), updating Windows, applying security settings, entering usernames/passwords, setting LAN/proxy configurations, etc. If data on the PNA hard drive gets corrupted, or a virus makes the PNA unusable, then performing a Factory Recovery means that all this work will need to be redone. With a Custom Recovery, you can set up the PNA as desired and then create your own image. This will allow you to return to the same state as when the custom image was created.

    Once the PNA is configured as desired, use the Create Custom Recovery feature to save the current configuration. It will automatically create a custom image and store it in a hidden partition; safe from any virus. Due to HDD size limitations, only one custom image is allowed (for now.) This option can be used repeatedly as needed; however, only one image will exist; it gets overwritten each time this option is used. This process only images the C: Drive; the D: Drive is not affected. Since an image could be many GB in size, this will typically take about 30 minutes to write the entire image file; possibly longer if many large programs or data files are needed.

  • Custom Repair (No Data Loss)
    Note: This option is not available until a custom image has been created.
    This option will attempt to repair the C: Drive operating system in order to return it to the same condition as when the custom image was created. This is useful if Windows does not boot properly or if other Windows system errors are encountered. No user saved data (documents, state files, cal kits, etc.) will be lost even if they reside on the C: Drive. Program directories are not affected, however, since the Windows registry is overwritten, all programs that have been installed since the custom image was created will need to be re-installed. Likewise, all Windows settings such as logins, security settings, and regional settings changed since image-creation time will need to be reset. It is recommended that Windows Update be run immediately afterwards. This process does not affect the D: Drive. This operation will take approximately 5 minutes.

  • Custom Recovery
    Note: Before using this option, you may want to first try the Custom Repair option since it will retain all user saved files.
    Note: This option is not available until a custom image has been created.
    A Custom Recovery will completely erase and reimage the C: partition of the drive! All data on the C drive will be lost! The operating system (and the entire C: Drive) will be returned to the same condition as when the custom image was made. All Windows updates and any service packs installed since that time will need to be re-applied, so it is recommended that Windows Update be run immediately afterwards. This process does not affect the D: Drive so any data on the C: Drive should first be transferred to D: (or a flash drive) if it will still be needed. This operation will take approximately 10 minutes.

Older Recovery Process

The older DOS-based recovery system only has one choice, which is to perform a complete recovery of the C: drive. This will completely erase and reimage the C: partition of the drive! All data on the C drive will be lost! The operating system (and the entire C: Drive) will be returned to the same condition as when originally shipped. All Windows updates and any service packs installed since the image was made will need to be re-applied, so it is recommended that Windows Update be run immediately afterwards. This process does not affect the D: Drive so any data on the C: Drive should first be transferred to D: (or a flash drive) if it will still be needed. This operation will take approximately 15 minutes.


Performing an Error Check on a Drive
For XP:
  1. Close the PNA Application if running.
  2. Double-click on My Computer.
  3. Right-click on the drive to be checked; normally the SYSTEM(C:)Drive.
  4. Click on Properties, and then on the Tools tab.
  5. Click the "Check Now" button.
  6. Check the box labeled "Automatically fix file system errors." You can also check on the box labeled "Scan for..." however this will greatly increase the time required for a repair.
  7. Click on Start
  8. The PNA will need to be restarted in order to fix any issues. Click Yes, then shutdown and restart the entire PNA.
  9. Upon boot-up, the PNA will perform a check of the hard drive partition selected. This will NOT be visible and the PNA will appear to hang at "Starting Network Analyzer." This is normal and it may remain at this screen anywhere from several minutes to an hour or more depending upon the repair option selected.
  10. When done, the PNA will automatically reboot again.

Performing a Defrag on a Drive.
Not needed nor recommended for Solid State Drives. An automatic TRIM tool is run periodically to maintain optimum SSD performance.
For XP:

  1. Perform steps 1 through 4 above.
  2. Click the "Defragment Now" button.
  3. Highlight the drive you wish to defrag
  4. Click on the "Defragment" button

If the above does not solve your problem, contact us with a full description of the symptoms. Include the model number, serial number, firmware revision, and HDD revision if possible. These are located in the Help, About Network Analyzer dialog box. A screenshot of this dialog box would also suffice. Email this to csg.support@keysight.com.


Last Updated: May 6, 2016