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hardware update boot trouble

Buster, Supermicro desktop, USB stick boot (why available on request),
USB3 card, M.2 / 'disk', 4 SATAs, backup tape drive.

I changed some hardware in my computer: the tape drive, from a SCSI
DLT to a SAS LTO, and from a PCIe USB3 to a vanilla PCI card (to make
room for the PCIe SAS card). I thought the tape drive was going to be
the hard part, but it seems to work perfectly.

The USB3 card doesn't work, but I'm not too worried about that.

The real problem is the SATA drives. I've made no changes involving
them. There are 4 SATA slots in the computer. Two 500Gs, sda and b,
are in a RAID1 -- several partitions, sdc is a 12T blackHole, and the
other one, 500G, is my amanda buffer disk, sdd.

When I boot with the SATAs in, the boot fails (I don't remember
exactly what it says, something about a 'blk-request', IIRC -- then it
builds the RAID array). I've config'ed the BIOS, I've tried commenting
out the SATAs in fstab. I've tried taking out only the ones in the
RAID array -- when I do that, the boot freezes where it usually says
the M.2 drive is clean.

When it drops into the recovery shell, it acts just like a regular CLI
shell. After I messed around a little in the recovery shell (didn't
intentionally change anything), the boot worked fine, no whineage and
the GUI comes up. If I put the SATAs back, boot fails. Even when they
don't exist in fstab.

I've never seen anything like this before. Any ideas?

My own thought is that something is hitting the SATAs before they are
to be mounted, and something, somewhere is wrong with the SATAs. But I
can't imagine what.

Glenn English