An error occurred writing information to ZISD...

We got a batch of 250 laptops from someone and we're getting this on a large portion of the drives.  Not sure if they were damaged during the wiping process, but can't seem to get them to work.  We mounted one in Windows and it initialized.  We also used GParted to remove partitions and left it unallocated.  We tried add the "cleared" filesystem.  Not sure what else to do at this point.

After laying down the image in WinPE, is when we get the error.  What also happens, is we can't PXE boot that machine any more, either.  It must be communicating something to the drive, but it's unsure of what to do so it hangs after getting an IP.  

We use ENGL have a DISKPART CLEAN option in Maintenance menu to clear the disk and that has worked, but we haven't seen it on this scale before.  We've had 3 work out of 15 or so.  The rest are fixed by replacing the drive, but curious to why it will write the image initially, and then fail...

  • Verified Answer

    The ZISD is stored on a section of the HDD that is outside of any partitions.  So deleting the partitions does not free it up.  This is usually the first MB of the HDD if I recall correctly.  ZCM will look for an open location and write the ZISD there.  If I had to guess, someone did some type of full HDD wipe writing data to every sector of the HDD.  Thus ZCM cannot find any place to write the ZISD.  

    Supposedly HDPARM in linux can clear it.  I guess there may be Windows tools.

    https://forums.unraid.net/topic/61635-removing-hpa-from-drive/

    I've not messed with this in many many years.  ZCM used to write to a limited portion of the 1mb sector but now will write to many spots.  So I have had not to troubleshoot this since ZCM 11.3.x days.

    Note: dd if=/dev/sda of=1mb_after_su.bin bs=1024 count=1024   seems to collect the ZISD...so maybe some command could clear those sectors.  Again very much test and be careful as I did doe some stuff with "dd" well over a decade ago....much has changed in HDDs and ZCM since then.

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    Around PXE Imaging...There is often a relation between what is on the Disk and the UEFI Settings.  Maybe when imaging it turns on secure boot, maybe something about allowing Microsoft's 3rd Party CA is getting lost, etc.. etc...

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  • That all makes sense.  I will try the DD command today.  Just totally spaced it, honestly, but wasn't sure exactly how the relationship was, but it's all coming back to me now.  We'll look for Windows alternative, or just boot a LiveCD and see what we can get done today.  Thanks for the reply and I have a ticket in with ENGL, as well, just wanted to get more eyes on it, because I didn't want to "waste" 250 drives.

  • There is a chance a Windows Tool exists that does the same....OUr WIndows Code Writes there....It's just that all my Web Hits were around Linux.

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  • I tried running dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdx bs=1M count=1

     It didn't change the behavior. I tried this TID, as well, first, then decided to try the one above.

     support.microfocus.com/.../doc.php

     

    Not sure what to do next. I did run this within GParted, since I already had it on a flash drive.

  • Actually, if I run a Clear ZISD and DISKPART CLEAN, it does write the ZISD.  If I run DD itself, it doesn't.  We have Clear ZISD in ENGL be default and added the DISKPART to fix another issue previously.  

  • Thanks...So it sounds like you are all good now for ZISD.....

    Do we want to chat about PXE Booting?  Did you check your UEFI Settings when it is failing around Secure Boot and Trusting 3rd Party CAs?

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  • Might need to understand that a little more at some point.  This particular case is really odd, because it doesn't matter if Secure Boot is on or off.  Whenever it tries to PXE, it just give the client an IP and freezes.  This ONLY happen after the ZISD fails to be written.  It works fine with no OS and the drive is unallocated.  Or when imaging completes and writes the ZISD.  When the ZISD fails, the imaging has put the WIM files on the drive and the process can complete without the ZISD information, it just can't PXE anymore.  

    As long as we don't miss something or mistype anything, we're good.  We have to DD, then Diskpart CLEAR, and finally Clear ZISD in the WinPE environment.  As long as we follow that process, we have no issues with imaging.  I'm working on a persistent Ubuntu flash drive to run DD from to reduce typing errors and make it a little easier.  The rest we can probably script in ENGL to automate it.  Still debating it.

    As for Secure Boot itself, we have never had an issue on Dells, only HP.  I have only gotten it to work on the 840 G3 and above.  And we need to select MS CA, as well.  I don't know much about it to say if it could work better another way, but so far, it's working with those settings.

  • That sounds like a Code Issue.....

    One could say...Hey if I can't touch ZISD I should not image.....

    However,  I suspect it's just a matter where we never ever tested the scenario where it was not possible to write to ZISD.  It's a very rare condition....Just one you are hitting because you received a larger number of donated devices where the sender did the very wise thing of zero-wiping the driver.  

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