Diagnosing Hard Drive Failures for PXI and VXI

Updated Apr 18, 2024



  • PXI Controller
  • Controller for VXI

If you think that a PXI or VXI hard drive may have failed, you can follow the steps listed in this article to diagnose the PXI or VXI hard drive. 

The hard drive on your PXI or VXI controller can be tested using standard PC diagnostic tools. If your OS has been corrupted, you can attempt to recover your OS or run a tool such as the Hard Drive Diagnostic Tool (linked below) to check your embedded controller for actual hard drive failures. Often a software failure can be misinterpreted as a hardware failure. Follow the steps below to identify and possibly recover from hard drive problems. 

Notes for OS-Related Hard Drive Specifics
The LVRT Operating system uses the FAT32 filesystem. The FAT32 filesystem can be corrupted if power is lost while performing disk read/write operations. If your filesystem or software has been corrupted, you may need to reinstall your LVRT software or reformat the disk from MAX. To ensure you are not seeing an issue resulting from hard disk failure, follow the steps to check the drive with the Fujitsu Diagnostic Tools listed below.
If Windows won't boot, you may have a corrupted Windows installation that is not a result of hardware failure. If you recently installed software or your controller became infected with a computer virus, your software may be unusable. Follow the steps below to attempt to recover Windows.

Windows errors appear while booting:
  1. Reboot your system and press < F8> while Windows attempts to boot.
  2. Attempt to boot to the "Last known good configuration" if using Windows XP or newer
  3. If the "Last known good configuration" will still not boot, try to boot into safe mode with networking (or without if it fails) so you can recover files off of the hard drive.
Note: You should have an antivirus program on any computer you attempt to move recovered files onto if you believe your controller could be infected by a malicious program.
If you cannot boot into an older configuration or safe-mode, your OS may be unrecoverable or you may have hard drive failures. Follow the steps below to further diagnose the issue.

"Operating System Not Found" message:
  1. Boot your controller and enter the BIOS by pressing <Delete>. Reference your user manual for specific instructions.
  2. Navigate to the Boot menu and verify that your hard drive shows up and is enabled as a boot device. If an exclamation mark is beside it, it is disabled. Reference your user manual to re-enable the device. If your hard drive does not show up on this list, contact National Instruments to further diagnose and possibly repair your controller.
  3. Remove other devices from your boot list to ensure the controller is attempting to boot from your hard drive.
Check the Hard Disk with the Hard Drive Diagnostic Tool:

Follow the instructions on the Hard Drive Diagnostic Utility for NI PXI(e) Embedded Controllers. The test provides a Quick Test and a Comprehensive Test. NI recommends that you run both tests to verify failures before RMAing your PXI or VXI controller. If you run into errors, contact National Instruments to further diagnose and possibly repair your controller.

Recovering your Hard Drive:
For more information, reference the user manual for your controller and the document Restore the Operating System of PXI, VXI, cRIO-908x, and cDAQ-913x Controllers.

Generally, two methods are provided to recover your hard drive: 
  • Hard drive-based recovery stores a factory backup on a separate portion of your hard drive allowing you to restore your controller without additional media.
  • Your OS Recovery CD allows you to reinstall your operating system onto your hard drive through an external CD-ROM.