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Install headaches: XP on a Poweredge 1850

cMonkeyNeil asked
Greetings, all.

Picked up a refurbished Poweredge 1850 over the weekend.  It was 35 bucks, so kind of difficult to pass up; figured with two 3GHz processors it would make a screamer of a desktop.  Saw in a few places online that someone had managed to install XP on it by loading the right SCSI/RAID drivers for Windows 2000.

XP's setup doesn't seem to have an issue with grabbing the drivers from the floppy, but when it's finished loading files it quickly flashes "Setup is starting Windows", at which point the machine reboots and the whole process starts over again.

Anyone able to point me in the right direction?  I know my way around Desktop machines pretty well, but fear that I may have bitten off more here than I ever intended to chew.

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sounds like you may be using the wrong drivers.

try to boot into safe mode and deactivate the auto reboot option that you can get a nice bsod with an error code.


Teargas, it doesn't let me get that far.  HDD was completely empty, trying to find an OS that will install on it (would rather use XP than Win7, but that's an option too...)

All I get is the blue Windows Setup screen that says Windows is inspecting my hardware, it loads a bunch of drivers, says it's starting Windows and reboots.  I never get the option to do anything except tell it where the drivers are.
Sounds like you're doing the right sort of things.  Does your XP disk already have SP2 or SP3 included?  I see a few sites saying that you'll need XP with SP2 to stand any chance of getting it working.

It's probably not going to be as fast as you'd think for a desktop machine.  It's optimised for I/O, not desktop or graphics.  It won't be too bad if you have the version with PCI Express slots but if it's PCI-X only you are going to be very limited with the graphics options.  The onboard graphics are only 16MB ATI Radeon 7000-M, which is very low spec indeed.

The clock speed isn't the only important thing in determining speed of machine.  Those Xeons are quite old technology and the 400MHz DDR2 RAM is relatively slow by today's standards.  

The Ultra320 SCSI disks will help it boot quickly and I/O should feel quite snappy.  I wouldn't be surprised if it's quite a noisy box though as it's really designed for computer room environments.
How about trying Ubuntu Linux?  I bet that will work straight off.
You will need the W2000 perc 4e/si driver. It can be found here:

ftp://ftp.dell.com/ide/perc-cerc-w2k-5.48-A04.txt  =>  Help file and instructions for the driver

You will need to install this during the "press F6" prompt.

Here is some additional info:


Martin, I would have Linux on everything I own except there are a few Windows programs I'm kinda married to (Adobe Audition comes to mind right off the bat); and I'm not going to be running much that's graphics intensive on the box.  But the machine I have is, like me, starting to show its age, and 35 bucks for a new dual-processor machine was a bargain.

My WinXP disc has SP3 included.

Forgive what might be a ridiculous question, but currently there's only ONE hard disk in the machine.  Is it possible that THAT's what's tripping me up?


flubbster -

That's the file I'm already loading (via floppy) the way you describe.  And the whole genesis for the idea, oddly enough, was the daniweb site you linked to.

So I've followed the instructions you're giving me several times in a row now, and I keep going back to "Setup is inspecting your configuration" after a reboot.
It is certainly possible that having just one drive when you are installing a raid configuration could be an issue. Honestly... I just don't know, but will investigate.
I think would still be using the RAID controller even if you only use a single disk?

How about running Ubuntu and then installing XP in Virtualbox for the Windoze programs?  
https://www.virtualbox.org/  That should bypass the driver issues.
when sata was first introduced all drives appeared to the OS as a raid drive, didnt matter if it was an independent drive or an actual raid. this was because the sata drives were detected after the bios loaded, just like a raid controller. i still think you are using the wrong driver, when it restarts(according to you) thats the point where the driver is used and the drive is initialized. Try a different driver version or make sure you are not using the wrong... You could run a live linux.. go to a terminal.. run lspci and see what linux see the sata port as.


At the moment, it would seem I had outsmarted myself.

Because I knew I wasn't running a RAID, I had the system configured to use my SCSI drive as a single drive.  So when I told XP to look at the RAID drivers on the floppy, that was useless, because it should have gone looking for a SCSI controller.

Installation is moving along quite nicely now.  Will distribute points around as soon as I make sure it's all working.
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