Allworx 6x Compact Flash Card and how to restore an Allworx backup

We purchased an Allworx 6x in 2008 and have varied results with the system over the years. Very recently we had some intermittent rebooting issues we believed to be caused by a 5 year old Compact Flash card which has accumulated many write cycles (256mb is what came with the system at the time).

We asked our rep what cards would work and he felt it should be a type ii CF card.  At first the reference seemed to be to the CF type itself but it turns out it is a reference to the speed types offered by Sandisk.  Sandisk offers different speeds such as Ultra (ii), Extreme (iii) and Extreme Pro (iv).  Apparently there are potential write issues with the iii or iv so we went with the maximum we saw currently supported by Allworx in that family which is a Sandisk Ultra II 2GB (a massive upgrade over our 256mb older, slower card).

The simplest information I found was actually in their marketing information to validate this.  On Page 6, there is the reference “Compact Flash Slot – Accepts Ultra 2 SanDisk Compact Flash card” in the pdf below:

Allworx 6x_Brochure

In the end, it cost ~$13 and worked.  I bought some spares because of the extreme low cost.  We do backups to a server (whose automation is broken for reasons we haven’t investigated) but we are able to do manual backups.  To get this process to work, I had to install Office Safe Backup 5.3.1 (click here to download) on my laptop and copy our backup directory to it to restore from the backup.  I had to set my laptop on their network with a direct connection.

Installing a new Compact Flash Card is described in the installation guide below on Page 8:

Allworx 6x Installation Guide

The backup and restore process is described in the Administration Guide below on Page 75:

Allworx_Administration_Guide_723x

In the end, the process worked.  Getting the new compact flash card installed and operating was simple but it was the restore process which took a little more time and was less sensible.  It was needlessly convoluted spanning multiple documents, steps of validation and having to do everything from a laptop when the restore process could easily have been accomplished like a router flash upgrade.

26 thoughts on “Allworx 6x Compact Flash Card and how to restore an Allworx backup

  1. Thanks for this. I just had the exact same problem, and replaced my compact flash and it worked perfectly. If I had read your blog 5 hours ago, I would not have wasted so much time inserting the 8 GB card into the slot and wondering why it would not work.

    • I still haven’t resolved a remaining issue where the partitions are still sized for the 256mb card. I plan to take the card out, then backup image it and use a resizing tool like acronis or aomei tools for the partitions and hope for the best to bring it up to utilize the 2GB Compact Flash Card.

  2. Did you ever figure out how to resize to a bigger card? I was told I would have to import the config file back in and lose all my recordings and voicemails. I am trying to go from a 256mb to 2gb card similar to you.

    • You don’t have to resize to use the 2GB card. I was hoping to use the partition resize method to keep everything. It hasn’t cropped up as a real need yet and I’ve just been using the 256mb of the 2GB card for some time now. If that doesn’t work, I will end up having to use the method provided to you which is essentially to lose your data and restore from backup.

  3. To both Nathan and James: On the upgrading to the larger flash and being able to use the full size of the new larger flash, the only way to do that is to export and then import the config XML file, just like Nathan said, there’s no other way around it and I’ve been working with the Allworx systems since 2007, and I have been certified by Allworx since 2008.

    I once replaced a 256 MB CF card with another 256 MB card, but one from a different manufacturer. I tried to use Office Safe to restore the system, but it wouldn’t let me and nothing that I could do would work. From one CF card to the next, there was a 14k difference, with the new card being smaller by that much, which completely made that card unusable to restore in that way.

    Personally, I like the Allworx systems, though I don’t care for the way that Allworx as a company is run. I moved almost 2 years ago to American Samoa, the only U.S. Territory in the Southern Hemisphere. Since there isn’t at least one other company locally that wants to be an Allworx reseller, they won’t let me become one (they insist at least 2 within an area), and now since I don’t work for a company that is an Allworx reseller, they won’t even give me, someone that certified by them, access to their website to download what I need for my own Allworx system which I have here.

  4. I thought I’d clarify a few things based on my experience recently with an Allworx 6x on 7.6.7.3 and trying to upgrade CF Card Size.
    1. Any backup you make is going to retain the partition size of the backed up file system. So in other words, if you do a backup with your 256mb CompactFlash card, and restore that backup on a 4GB compact flash, your still only going to have 256MB of usable space (well less the firmware of course).
    2. There is no way around this as the file system used by allworx is proprietary…that is once the flash card is formatted by the Allworx, the file system (the firmware files, voicemail, settings etc) won’t be visible in windows. This means there’s no altering the partition size in windows.
    3. To make use of a larger Compact Flash card is possible, but you will lose your voicemails in the process. If you’re ok with that, do the following:
    3a) Log into your allworx and do a full backup using office safe.
    3b) Export your configuration settings and save the XML file to your PC
    3c) download a firmware upgrade file from Allworx, (it’s the AUF file extension). If you don’t have an upgrade license, try and get the latest version you can.
    3d)Remove your old flash card and reboot the Allworx server with the new flash card inserted. It will go into safe mode.
    3e) Format the new CF card. Load the AUF upgrade file. After a few minutes you should see the option to reboot the server in Normal mode.
    3f) Verify that your new card is recognized in the full capacity. I used a 4GB Sandisk Ultra II, sweet and cheap.
    3g) Import your configuration settings via the XML file and that should be most of it, however there are some limitations to the config file import so double check your settings.

    Those were my steps. If someone knows how to alter the partition size of a restored backup, that would be awesome, but unfortunately I think you need to do a clean slate following the above steps.

    Also, any idea why the AUF from http://upgrade.inscitek.net/allworx6x/pro/upgrade.auf is like a year behind in versions? Any new links available?

    • Great writeup Chris!

      I still have not yet done the upgrade and will likely follow your steps, thanks for the help.

      I just did a quick check version check. I am currently on:
      Current version: 7.5.11.7
      Build Date: Nov 27 2013, 23:02:48

      The version from the link I have published ( http://upgrade.inscitek.net/allworx6x/pro/upgrade.auf ) is:
      Update version: 7.5.19.1

      I have an active service contract and when I check through my Allworx panel, I get this:
      7.5.19.1 – Release Date: 09/04/14 – Initial 7.5 Launch Date: 04/23/13

      So it looks to me like the current AUF file is current and, at present, just a month old.

      • You’re welcome! Thank you James for this helpful site. Hm, that’s odd that even with an active service contract you only see firmware version 7.5.xx. The allworx I have shipped with 7.6.7.3 and I just loaded 7.7.5.5 from my Allworx Dealer. So, higher version numbers are out there but whether they differ from the AUF from your link- I have no idea. Very strange. Especially given the release date info.

  5. It is odd that even the http://upgrade.inscitek.net/allworx6x/pre/upgrade.auf is on 7.5.19.1 . I would expect the pre to be further ahead. Given the build date of 09/04/14 for 7.5.19.1, I suspect it represents the most current stable release. I have found the pre-releases from Allworx to be riddled with bugs in the past and have avoided them. Up until ~2012 or so, I would say even standard releases were buggy with pre 2010 releases as periodically catastrophic.

    • Interesting. I just spoke to a tech at Allworx and he said the latest stable release for the 6x is 7.7.6. Perhaps the reason you’re only seeing 7.5.19.1 is an updgrade path issue. He suggested that if a 6x is only showing that 7.15.19.1 that logging in to the allworx portal website and downloading it from there will fix the problem going forward. Definitely quirky.

  6. This was enormously helpful, thanks. Even after ‘training’ in Rochester, things are often a mystery – as with all manufacturers. One oddity. Importing the XML back into the supposedly blank upgraded system, import told me that a number of “settings below will not be imported due to conflicts with existing settings on the server’

    these included two of 15 extensions, all my SIP proxy trunks, and all the handsets, whether 9112 or Generic sip, or the two system analog ports (6X)

    I did the import BEFORE changing the server config from Router to Lan Host, but that shouldn’t affect these – and FYI of course NONE of those server or network settings get exported – which is sort of a problem.

  7. What were the reboot issues you were having that prompted you to look at this? Did the new CF Card resolve the issue?

    • Our 6x unit was rebooted periodically on its own. The CF card did resolve the issue for us. We are on the same one we replaced at the time and we bought spares at the time. The price of that old card has only gone up over time as predicted so it was cheap insurance.

      • Issue ours has is if we have to reboot it, it may not come back up. This morning, we had to reboot it and it would not come back up. Ended up having to reboot it about 15 to 20 times before it finally TOOK (i.e, finished booting). This happened last time I rebooted it too. It’s on a UPS, so typically only goes down if we want it to, but it seems to have problems coming back up. Wasn’t sure if this was a CF issue or something else. Any thoughts?

        • It could be a CF issue among other possibilities. Do you have a working backup?

          If so, I’d restore a fully functional backup to a new card and see what you get.

          If not, I’d get a backup / working copy off that card as quickly as possible. Once you do that then put it on a new card and bring the system up.

          I’d also look in your system logs to see what, if anything, is listed.

          • Quite possibly a power supply issue. There are documented issues with the older pwer supplies and this is one of the issues. If you replace it, it will likely solve the issue. The new supplies are linear and better.

          • Interesting. Any idea when the switch happened? What Power supply did Allworx switch to? Our unit is very old but is currently reliable with the newer CF card and firmware v7.5.19.1.

          • James.

            I’ve been working with Allworx since 2007. Some time around 2010, they changed the power supply from the big square heavy transformer based unit, to a much smaller and lighter linear power supply. I first came upon the issue of this back around 2010, when we were assuming the issue am was a CF card problem. It was actually Tech Support that told me it could be the power supply. There seems to be a low threshold for voltage variance that caused instability in the system. I really had a hard time believing that, until I swapped it out. PROBLEM GONE. I have seen this multiple times since, and have repeated it each time, so it is in fact an issue that could crop up. If you have a smaller rectangular power supply with “waves” on the design, then you have the new power supply. If you have the heavy brick then you have the old one. I suggest replacing it, regardless. It’s a cheap protection from future issues. I have only had one incident of a card being the issue (in terms of failure, as opposed to being simply too small). The only other time I had a CF issue was related to the power supply. The client assumed the problems they were having were related to the CF card, and pulled it out and put it back multiple times, and damaged the pins inside the unit, rendering the CF slot completely useless. I replaced the power supply, and had to install a USB drive to run the system.

            Dave

          • I’m sure as long as the specs are the same, like you posted, it should be fine. I always use the Allworx supplies, as a dealer, it protects me from other faulty issues of other manufacturers. But that is just how I sleep at night. Haha.

  8. I just had an issue with my Allworx 6x constantly rebooting after powering it down to change out a UPS. Did all sorts of troubleshooting/reloading and it turned out the 12v 1A wall wart power supply had become defective. It would stay up for a minute, but sometime during the boot process it would power cycle and go through the boot again. I’m using a 12v 2.5A supply from and external UPS drive in it’s place, and the server is working just fine now.

    • This is consistent with the problem I was having. I replaced the power supply with this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0099PFYNU/ and bought a second one as a backup (they are only $5).

      I believe the PBX calls for only one amp, so putting 2.5 though it might end up creating issues (i.e., frying components). I suggest you move to a 12VDC 1A Power Supply ASAP before you have much bigger problems.

      • I understand this is a known issue with some power supplies. Having a larger than necessary power supply won’t force the Allworx to consume more than it needs. The Allworx box will simply pull the current it requires up to the maximum of the power supply. There is no issue with a 2.5A power supply.

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