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Installing Windows NT 4.0 on Dell PowerEdge 2850 Server

Posted on 2006-03-27
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Dear Expert,

I'm upgrading my domain from NT4.0 to 2003 Server (also will be upgrading Exchange).  I posted up my upgrade plan and the experts gave me feedback.  Please refer to posting:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/Windows_Server_2003/Q_21758780.html
(Title: Upgrading NT 4.0 w/Exchange 5.5 Domain to Windows 2003/Exchange 2003 Domain)

Well, the plan was to install Windos NT on a new server, make it a BDC, promote it to PDC, then upgrade the OS.  I purchased a Dell PowerEdge 2850 from Dell and I'm having issue intalling Windows NT.  I tried with and without the setup disk.  It seem to fail right around loading FAT file system or loading the CD ROM drive.

I deleted the existing RAID 5 configuration, then recreated it.  I used Win98 Setup disk to create the partition and format it.  Still crash every time WinNT install, then the computer reboots and the cycle continues.  I downloaded what seemed to be the driver for the CDRW/DVD ROM drive, but the WinNT installation cannot find the file on the created floppy.

I also try to use the Dell OpenManage Server Assistant, but the version that came with the server doesn't have the option for WinNT listed.

Should I delete the RAID configuration and intall WinNT on the single drive, then configure the RAID later?  Will configure RAID later overwrite the installed OS?  Should I just upgrade the current WinNT Server (BIG risk)?

Your input is greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

Ryan
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Question by:dragon00gsr
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 16306537
Do the easy thing - forget about putting NT4 on such a new system - NT4 is WAY too old to support that hardware without some serious research for drivers.  Just download the trail (or better still BUY) of Virtual PC or VMWare.  Setup a virtual system with NT4.  You can easily back it up as a BDC and PDC by simply burning the virtual hard drive to a DVD with the virtual system powered off.  So recovery is easy.  And, at least with Virtual PC, Nt4 supports it fine (I've got NT3.51 installed on virtual PCs without any real issue).
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 16306540
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damianiw earned 2000 total points
ID: 16365546
I kind of agree with the above however why not try what we did,

reformat any old nt workstation pc as a BDC server, disconnect your pdc from the network - shut it down and leave it alone ! (like you sound like you're going to do this is your backup should the upgrade go pear shaped !)

promote the BDC to a PDC, now would be a good time to image it with ghost or similar.

then setup your new server with 2k3 and during the setup / install get it to upgrade the domain to Active Directory.

if it all goes wrong turn new server off, and try again

once all is well then old nt server (still set as pdc) can be re-deployed or sent to a museum :-)
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Author Comment

by:dragon00gsr
ID: 16365730
Actually, I did exactly that.  I just haven't had the time to update this posting.  After I confirmed with Dell that I won't be able to put NT Server on that machine, I used one of my Dell workstation and configure NT as BDC.  I'm waiting to promote it tomorrow, then set the new machine as another DC after I upgrade the promoted workstation.  Thank you.  I'll go ahead and give you the point since you did indicate the solution I went with.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 16366270
So basically, you did what I said to do - the only difference being you used a workstation and not a virtual PC.  

My reasoning for Virtual PC is that you don't need to use another old workstation - some people don't have spare ones and I didn't see any indication that you did.  The virtual PC solution allows you a lot more flexibility and NO NEED to buy ghost - no need really to even buy virtual PC since you can use the trial.

Have to say, I'm disappointed there wasn't at least a split, especially when the other person apparently agreed with me and didn't make ANY arguments against Virtual PC/VMWare.
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Author Comment

by:dragon00gsr
ID: 16372017
I do apologize leew, but as you said it, I used another workstation, not a virtual PC. I know that your recommendation works, but neither virtual PC nor VMWare were the solution for me in this particular case. I do appreciate your input. Thank you.
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