New HE won't connect to network after reboot

I have a new HE that I installed and updated to three days ago. Today I started adding ZWave devices. During this process, it seems a phantom device instantly tries to connect when I enter Inclusion (or whatever). I attempted to reboot the HE by pulling the power plug for 30s and then reconnecting. The blue light comes on, it responds to pings, but I can't connect to its web interface,

Try and see if you can get to the Hubitat Diagnostic Tool... http://[Your Hub IP]:8081/

If you can get there, start by trying a soft reset as explained here...

Found it. I'll check out the soft reset

If you can't get to the hub's diagnostic page either is it possible your HE grabbed a different IP address? Something else could be responding to the ping. Most of us assign our HE a static address.

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Thanks, but I pushed a sticky IP on it and I got to the soft reset.

I had not run a backup... so there's that.

If I downgrade the firmware to something more stable (this is kinda ludicrous), will I be able to use a backup to maintain device registration?

The firmware downgrade and the database backup are independent... so downgrading your firmware should not affect your database. I just went through a few iterations myself and my device registration stayed intact. I did see an issue some folks had with certs on the dashboard but I don't know where that landed. The HE makes backups automatically every night and stores them on the device. So you do HAVE a backup, but if you brick the HE then you can't GET to the backup.