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Cannot install Windows Server 2008 or 2012

Posted on 2014-07-22
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I got a Dell PowerEdge SC430 server hardware.  It had an old Windows 2003 server installed.  But I wanted to start fresh with Windows 2008 or 2012 server.  It had 1 GB RAM, 2x250GB SATA hard drives.

I had formatted the hard drive with Disk Utility software.  When I tried to do a fresh install, it just wouldn't go past the logo screen.  I get no prompts or nothing to even begin.  After about 2 minutes of reading the disk, the disk stops spinning and it just reboots itself and comes back to the same spot and goes through this cycle over and over.

So for my peace of mind, I replaced the DVD drive with Dual Layer DVD writer (SATA).  I also bought genuine Dell memory and upgraded to 4GB.  Dell site states 4GB maximum for RAM so I upgraded to 4GB.  I even went as far as replacing the old hard drives with new 2x500GB SATA drives.  Above all, I updated the BIOS to the latest version from Dell's website.  

Everything but the CPU has been pretty much replaced on this box.  Still the rebooting cycle continues over and over as mentioned above.

At one point I thought that my DVD media might be corrupt.  So I booted the Server media on my laptop and it works just fine.  

I went back to the server hardware and tried installing Windows 7 and earlier version of Windows 8.  With these 2, I get screen to proceed with installations.  But new and latest version of Windows 8, I get no luck.  Same with any version of Windows server (2008 or 2012)

I am completely stumped at this point.  Need suggestions please....
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Question by:kaushalk
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16 Comments
 

Expert Comment

by:ianmcalder
ID: 40213086
Is the server CPU 64bit capable?

Could it be that you require a driver for your storage controller?

Is the Windows 7 version you installed x64 or x32

Cheers

Ian
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Author Comment

by:kaushalk
ID: 40213097
BIOS supports 64bit.  Yes

Never thought of a driver required for storage controller.  But then, why would Windows 7 or Windows 8 get to the prompts for me to install with various options for installation.

I did not install any versions.  I just wanted to see if I ever got to the point of installing with prompts.  Windows 7 and Windows 8 gave me such prompts.  Both of these OS has an option to select x64 or x32 but I never got to that point because I didn't want to install these OS.  I am really interested in installing the SERVER.
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Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 40213102
Are your SATA drives connected to the onboard SATA or to a controller card?  If onboard, is RAID enabled?
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Expert Comment

by:ianmcalder
ID: 40213107
It still sound like a driver issue.

One option would be to re-install Server 2003 then perform an upgrade...

Another option, as a test, would be to create a bootable USB key and run your installation from there.
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Author Comment

by:kaushalk
ID: 40213108
On board SATA.  BIOS does not provide option for RAID enable
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Author Comment

by:kaushalk
ID: 40213113
LOL.  I do not have Windows 2003 server media.  I could try from USB.  But a lot I am puzzled on the way this hardware is behaving.  I did check hardware requirements on Microsoft site for 2008 and 2012 server.  At least at this point, I do meet the 2008 requirement.

So I don't know why the endless reboot cycle
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Expert Comment

by:ianmcalder
ID: 40213122
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Author Comment

by:kaushalk
ID: 40213126
I am currently downloading the....

Dell CD ISO - PowerEdge SC Server Installation ISO image.  

Once done, I will try and see if this helps
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Expert Comment

by:ianmcalder
ID: 40213137
Good move.  That should contain all necessary drivers.

Good luck,

:-)
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Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 40213138
Check this out...

http://driverscollection.com/?H=39320-R&By=ADAPTEC&SS=Windows%20Server%202008%20x64

 Might help.

It won't.  1) You should always get drivers from legitimate sources (Dell, Adaptec), not "driver" sites.  2) That is for a 39320, which is a SCSI controller (he has SATA).

Dell supports only 2003 on this system.  2008 and beyond are not supported.  Dell typically supports any Server OS on their hardware that they test and validate to work.  For example, the 2850 is the same generation server as the SC430, and Dell provided drivers for Server versions up to 2012, as they were released; there are no drivers for the SC430, which probably means there is something fundamental about newer OS's that doesn't work on that model.  

You won't find a version of Dell's installation utility that both supports 2008+ and the SC430.

So, does it not even boot to the DVD? or is it hanging at a point after booting to the DVD.
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Author Comment

by:kaushalk
ID: 40213150
Doesn't hang.  Keeps rebooting after it is done reading the DVD.  Only thing I see on the screen is a logo.  Nothing comes past it.

As you mentioned, the hardware does not support beyond 2003, then how does it support Windows 7 and Windows 8 which is much beyond 2003.  

I do understand that 2003, 2008, and 2012 are server OS.  But the base architecture is much newer on Windows 7 and 8 and when I try to install 7 or 8, I get prompts to proceed with installation.  So how is Dell differentiating that?
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Author Comment

by:kaushalk
ID: 40213191
If that is the case and limit of this hardware, then I guess I will just convert the hardware to a desktop PC.  What does it take to convert it to desktop PC?
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Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 40213340
What does it take to convert it to desktop PC?
Install a desktop operating system.  The hardware is not so different on this particular server from some desktops.
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Accepted Solution

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kaushalk earned 0 total points
ID: 40220884
Well......after much much struggle and installs and uninstalls and formats, I finally did get Windows 2008 server to install on this hardware.  Apparently and although the updated BIOS reports that it support x64 platforms (which I had updated the BIOS), it in fact does not support x64.  So far I had been trying to install the x64 version of servers and it wouldn't install.

So this time, I decided to install x86 version of the server, and the installation went smoothly.

PowerEdgeTech, I appreciate your inputs but the hardware does support any version of server as long as it is x86 based OS.

Thanks for everyone's help.  I guess I solved my own problem.
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Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 40220919
The system supports 64-bit, but the ability to actually run a 64-bit OS will be dependent on the installed processor.  I suspect yours is a 32-bit processor.  Of the Prescott P4's that the SC 430 can take, some are 32-bit, some are 64-bit:

http://ark.intel.com/compare/27436,27443,27445,27448,27449,27450,27451,27452,27453,27454,27455,27456,27459,27460,27461,27463,27464,27465,27477,27478,27480,27496,27508,30763,30764,31732

Take care.
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Author Closing Comment

by:kaushalk
ID: 40228649
Found my own solution to the problem
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