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Installing Server 2003 (R2) x64 on a Dell PowerEdge with a Perc5i controller including pitfalls and how to avoid them

24 Apr

When installing Windows 2003 x64 on a Dell with Perc5/6 controller using DRAC virtual media you may encounter the following issues:

  1. The default windows installation media does not contain the drivers for the raid controller. As a result disks will not be visible during setup and you will not be able to install Windows.
  2. The Windows 2003 install does not contain the drivers for the raid controller. As a result disks will not be visible during setup and you will not be able to install Windows.
  3. By putting the standard Dell Perc5/6 Windows 2003 x64 drivers on a (virtual) floppy and pressing F6 during Windows setup the drivers will not be detected, the raid controller and disk will still not be visible and you will not be able to install Windows. PS: For creating a virtual floppy an easy to use program is winimage.
  4. Even though you integrate the standard Dell Perc5/6 Windows 2003 x64 drivers into the installation media using nLite, the raid controller and disk will still not be visible and you will not be able to install Windows.
  5. When installing by using DRAC virtual media, the first setup part (text-mode) will complete. After the first reboot however, you will get an error stating something like the files or cdrom cannot be found or please insert the cd-rom containing the files.

The solution lies in the following actions:

  1. Download the drivers from Dell.
  2. Replace the content of txtsetup.oem as described here: http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/120461-issues-with-txtsetupoem/
  3. Extract the Windows Server 2003 x64 files to a temporary folder on your disk. Make sure that hidden/system files are copied as well.
  4. Use nLite to integrate the driver and create a new ISO. Beware, some virus scanners might block some files. So please check your anti-virus activity to see if no files have been blocked since this could result in an image that is not working.
  5. When installing from DRAC, disable the physical CD-rom in the bios since Windows setup will only check the first CD-rom drive. Otherwise you will get an error that the files/cd-rom cannot be found. A similar issue might also occur when you are installing using the physical cd-rom, then you would need to disable the virtual cd-rom.

Alternative method using a flash drive:

http://thebackroomtech.com/2008/03/13/a-dell-poweredge-server-windows-2003-x64-and-the-battle-over-sas-raid-drivers/

Alternative method using the Dell Systems Build and Update Utility (SBUU)

For installing, you can also use the Dell Systems Build and Update Utility (SBUU). For more information, including a video check:
http://en.community.dell.com/techcenter/systems-management/w/wiki/1765.aspx

Keep in mind however that you might get errors stating that the file/cd cannot be found when you are installing. If this is the case, try disabling either the virtual cd-rom or the physical cd-rom depending on the installation method you’re using.

The reason I did not use this method, is because I was trying to restore a failed system instead of simply performing an initial install.

Tip for when you need to create x86 installation media (not x64):

You can download existing mass storage driver packs instead and integrate them using nLite. Unfortunately these are not available for x64. A tutorial can be found here. Beware, some virus scanners might block some files. So please check your anti-virus activity to see if no files have been blocked since this could result in an image that is not working.

Tip for when you want to create create restore/recovery media:

Sometimes just creating installation media is not enough. Sometimes you need to be able to recover data from existing servers that cannot boot or simply perform a chkdsk or to replace/edit a file. In this case you can create a bootcd like by example BartPE. You  can use the driver packs mentioned above to make sure it will recognize a lot of raid controllers or even HBA’s. You can also install plugins to by example create/restore image backups or to perform data recovery. Some of these plugins can be found here.

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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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