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What's the most optimal way to install SBS2003?

DReade83 asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-19
I'd like to install SBS2003 on a brand new Dell server (P4-2.8GHz w/ 1GB 533MHz RAM w/ 80GB SATA HDD). Is there any documentation I can refer to regarding setting up the partitions, paging file location etc? The end result I'm looking for is that SBS can run as optimally as possible with maximum performance and possibly security.

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Technology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013
You need to get another hard disk if you want to make this a server - no server should run without RAID, especially an SBS server.

Then install it.

I would suggest reading over Microsoft's articles on it here:

As for how large partitions should be, I'd say 12 GB is a reasonable C: drive.  Then I like to make partitions for Exchange, SQL (if you have Premium Edition), and user data.  A partition for WSUS as well IF you intend to use it.  Reason I make partitions like this is to ensure the service doesn't shut down if some user does something stupid and fills the drive with movies or something - or in case another service goes nuts and does something it shouldn't.

As the install continues, you'll be given the option to place the files of the various services on different partitions and you can even move them later.  A PROPERLY configured server should not need more than a 12 GB C drive for the forseeable future.

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Thanks for your reply, leew. I've checked out the documentation, so I'll go ahead and make the C drive 12GB. For the Exchange, SQL and User Data, can I not just use disk quotas on a per user basis, or would it be easier to have different partitions?

Regarding the 2nd HDD, I'm only using this server on a training basis, which is why I didn't think I would need RAID. Will I still need a 2nd HDD in this instance?
> Will I still need a 2nd HDD in this instance?

If it's not a production system and you can afford to just rebuild the system, then no you do not need another drive.

Just think to yourself, what would you do if the drive died?. Would it cause you loads of pain?.

I recommend at least 20 gb for the system drive, and partition the other 60 gb as your data file.
While installing move all sql, exchange and user files to the 60gb.
With service pack 1 the requirements of the system drive are higher.
With regards the second drive, even if you attached an usb external for backup purposes or to ghost images to.

In production always think disaster recovery, raid and backup units a neccessity not a luxury.


Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal Consultant
Most Valuable Expert 2016
Top Expert 2014
As for the best documentation?  I ALWAYS recommend Harry Brelsford's Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices (http://sbsurl.com/best) which provides easy to follow step-by-step instructions.

There's also the Microsoft TechGuide for SBS:  http://sbsurl.com/techguide which gives a host of resources.

I'll second the comment about a RAID.  This server will be the heart of your business operation... hard drives WILL fail.  That's a fact.  I always suggest a RAID 5 Array - which can be a bit pricey, but consider that within 2 or 3 years your single drive WILL fail and what will that cost?

Just to update the best book to cover Service Pack One is Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 Unleashed by Eric Neale

Harry's books are very good but at present none cover service pack one.

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