How to Access the EFI Shell to carry out Systems Diagnostics or Updates

The EFI Shell

The Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) shell is effectively a small operating system built into the system motherboard on modern servers. This provides an environment for troubleshooting and maintenance outside of the operating system.

This article describes how to access the EFI shell on an Intel Server or Workstation board and how to access resources on a USB pen drive.

Reminder: EFI tools can only be used when the main operating system is not running. If you are not in a postition to be able to down the server, use operating system tools instead. For example, for Windows based systems, Windows versions of the Hardware System Event Log (SEL) viewer are available, as are Intel / LSI RAID management and firmware upgrade tools.

How to Access Tools through the EFI Shell

Generic instructions are provided below. Exact screens and steps may vary from model to model.

Note: Generally most FAT16 or FAT32 formatted USB pen drives will work on servers in the EFI shell, even USB3 models on USB2.0 only servers. However, add-on USB3.0 controller cards (such as those added to some workstations) may not be detected in the EFI shell. Try the front USB ports first, and then try the system onboard rear ports second.

Tip: Just as in DOS, use the TAB key to help auto-complete filenames. For example, type in "CD " and then use the tab key to step through the filenames available in the current directory.

Important: Some updates, such as RAID card firmware packages, will not run inside the EFI shell on older S5000 based systems. This is because these updates require EFI 2.0 which is not present on the S5000. In this instance, obtain the DOS version of the update and use a Windows 98SE DOS Bootable pen drive.

A seperate article wil cover using the SELVIEW utility in both EFI and Windows environments.

Applies to:

Article ID: 84
Last updated: 16 Sep, 2018
Revision: 8
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