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Windows Server 2008R2 install error - Windows is unable to find a system volume.....

Posted on 2011-03-01
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hello all,

I've recently tried to install Windows Server 2008R2 onto an older server and I'm getting the pesky "Windows is unable to find a system volume that meets its criteria for installation" error.

I'm trying to install the above OS on a Supermicro X6DHT-G motherboard, using a single 1TB SATA drive.  As for BIOS settings, onboard SATA Raid is disabled and PATA is enabled only on the channel to which the CD-ROM is connected.  

Other than the need to use Raid drivers (which shouldn't matter because the drive is operating in SATA mode) I'm not sure what could be causing this error.  

I've tried many times to create/delete/reformat partitions and volumes using diskpart but I feel like I'm missing something.  

Does anybody know what might be causing this issue?

Thanks in advance for your help and assistance,

Mike
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Question by:Mbrowwn
7 Comments
 
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Accepted Solution

by:
dlethe earned 250 total points
ID: 35012346
Since you've undoubtedly done the obvious things, here are a few possibilities that maybe you haven't thought of

Is this an OEM windows distribution? Perhaps one designed for a different HAL, or are you using a retail distribution?
I havent checked, but certainly make sure the motherboard supports Win2K8R2, and all relevant firmware & BIOS is updated

Assuming the above just doesn't address it ...
 - Just break down and slipstream a new distribution with the latest version of the RAID, disk, and all other drivers.  Just because it isn't supposed to matter if you aren't booting to the RAID, doesn't mean it won't.  Maybe the knuckle head who wrote the windows drivers messed up and made it a requirement.

 - Put that HDD you are messing with into a system that you KNOW you have zero chance of there being a RAID controller, and use a binary editor to look at physical block #0 (winhex has a RAW block editing on physical drive capability in their eval, at least I think they still do).

Do you see a windows partition any NTLDR type or Microsoft strings, or do you see things like Intel or RAID or stuff in block 0 that indicates you are looking at RAID metadata.   You can google what block 0 is supposed to look like in a MBR formatted disk.

Another option, try installing the O/S on a USB-attached disk, or even a USB memory stick.

Try Win2k3 to see if it has same problem.
Finally, boot an Ubuntu LiveCD and view the startup and see if it has problems with missing drivers, or loads RAID drivers.  
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LVL 9

Assisted Solution

by:avilov
avilov earned 250 total points
ID: 35012389
that motherboard has two controllers. try to connect to another controller. or you can try to find a driver for the controller you use right now

here are all the details you ever wanted to know about that mb

http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/xeon800/e7520/x6dht-g.cfm
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Author Comment

by:Mbrowwn
ID: 35012439
Hey all,

After some troubleshooting, I've found the following:

1.  Taking a drive to another server and formatting using Computer Management to the Windows 2008R2 specifications, then taking that drive back to the server in question, still give me the same error in W2K8R2

2.  After taking a copy of Windows 2003 Server Enterprise edition and trying to install using the same steps as W2K8R2, I can install W2K3 with no problems and no RAID drivers.

I suspect that this motherboard is simply not compatible with Windows 2008R2.  On the manufacturers website, there is no mention of this board being Windows 2008 compatible and infact, this machine is so old that it doesn't even have a CD-ROM.  

I'm going to install W2K3 Enterprise and be done with this.  The server will be an off-site backup and i'm ok with it being a W2K3 machine.

Thanks for your help and assistance.

Mike.
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Author Comment

by:Mbrowwn
ID: 35012448
Sorry guys, I meant that the server doesn't have a DVD-ROM.

Thanks,

m
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Expert Comment

by:mbortz
ID: 35023939
If you haven't installed 2003 yet...

I just successfully installed 2008R2 on this same board using the 2003 drivers from Supermicro's website:

http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/xeon800/e7520/x6dht-g.cfm

I followed the link to download the 2003-64 drivers, extracted them to a thumb drive and had no problem installing R2.  The driver for the 2-port controller on this board is mislabeled as 32-bit.  The provided driver is in fact 64!


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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 35024161
Bad, bad, awful idea to use Win2K3 drivers on Win2K8.

They work "now".  but what will happen on bus resets;  or if a disk dies in the middle of I/O; or if you get a timeout followed by a non-recoverable read error; is load balancing working right;  what about failover/failback;  did you do any data integrity checking with ECC errors;  cluster testing; multipath testing; do you LOSE anything in the I/O queue;  if you are shutting down the system does it properly flush I/O;  did you verify that the I/O request queue re-ordered correctly?  Did you check pass-through I/O (required by some diagnostics)'

I.e,.  just because a driver works when everything is healthy is NO indication that things will work fine when the system is in stress.
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Author Comment

by:Mbrowwn
ID: 35031779
Hey guys,

I appreciate the continued comments and I the resource link to the 32-bit drivers mbortz.  Since my last post, I've installed W2K3 and things are running fine.  While it seems there is a way to get W2K8 on this server, I think I'll follow dlethe's advice and just a OS that is supported on this box.  This machine is being built as an off-site BackupExec 2010R2 server and will run nightly offsite backups and hence, is an important machine and really a box that I don't want to have to worry about getting weird OS errors or incompatibilities.

Thanks again for all your help.

Mike.
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