You can forget all about the messing up of the device special files. The problem is me mis-using the mdadm command and forgetting to put a name after the --create. So, it uses the first device name it finds, which is the name of one of the devices I want to make array out of, and messes up that device special file by turning it into a md device.
Sorry for the trouble. However, the box did crash again, this time on the "reboot" command. This time it responded to the reset button. The console output was different, it crashed in a different way. It's is quite a pain to transcribe the console output so please let me know if you want these in the future. It may be that mucking up the device special file is what's causing the crash on halt/reboot. I suspect so. Regards, Karl <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> Free Software: "You don't pay back, you pay forward." -- Robert A. Heinlein