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Installing Windows Server 2008 R2 on a PowerEdge SC1425 January 17, 2010

Posted by Ken in Uncategorized.
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In my effort to build a pseudo-production environment at home to learn Windows Server Administration and work towards some certifications, I found myself in need of nice, 1U server to act as Domain Controller for this planned network. Well, I came across a Dell SC1425 on eBay for under $300 (including rails and S/H) and I jumped. I couldn’t be happier.

The machine is well-equiped, it has dual 3.4 Xeon CPUs (each with 2 Meg cache), 8 Gigs of RAM (installed as 4x 2 Gig DIMMs, with two open DIMM slots for future expansion), dual Gigabit NICs and my machine had an optional SCSI controller and dual 73 Gig Ultra320 SCSI drives. A redundant power supply would have been nice (and required were this not “pseudo-production” but instead “real production”), and an internal Optical drive also would have been nice to have, but no complaints on either.

So I set about doing as I always do with older hardware, I updated the BIOS immediately (A03 is the latest), and after reforming a test install of Windows Server 2008 to confirm the hardware was good, I set about upgrading the machine. Without an internal DVD drive I was forced to install by using a hard-wired IDE DVD-ROM drive (USB DVD was giving me headaches) – this meant installing with the server cover removed. To protect the CPUs I laid the cover across the chassis to help force the cool air from the fans across the CPU heatsinks. To get power I used a power-splitter and tapped off one of the HD power leads.

First up, I removed the SCSI infrastructure (controller, cable (w/terminator) and two 73 Gig HDs and replaced the drives with two Segate 500 Gig SATA HDs and a Syba SATA “RAID” controller based on the Sil3124 controller. Turns out there are no signed, x64 bit drivers for this controller under Windows Server 2008, so out it came and I fell back to the on-board CERC SATA controller. But, as it turns out, that controller is not supported under Windows Server 2008, so I set it to non-RAID in the BIOS and secured proper cabling to run from the motherboard to the drives. I also had to use two Molex HD to SATA power adapters to power the drives.

The SATA cables need nott be special, but after using “bog-standard” straight connector cables for both drives I found that the connector pressed on the inside fo the chassis cover. While it might never pose a problem, I thought it best to get some right-angle cables to “do it right.” I had a suitable 12″ SATA cable pulled from a surplused Dell Desktop with one right-angle connector, that worked for drive zero, but drive one was on the other side of the chassis. A quick measure with a cloth tape measure led me to believe an 18″ cable should work, but since I live quite a distance from my nearest Microcenter store, I opted to get not only an 18″ cable but also a 36″ cable (I couldn’t find a 24″ cable with one right-angle connector. I didn’t need the longer cable – the 18″ cable fit perfectly.

With the hardware taken care of, I installed the OS without incident straight from the MS DVD. Well, there was one incident – the video driver couldn’t take the onboard graphics resolution above 800×600, clearly unacceptable. After some quick googling I found that this server isn’t supported under Windows Server 2008, so Dell has no drivers. I persisted, and turned up a suitable driver over at IBM/Lenovo – seems they released a few servers that included the ATI Radeon 7000m graphics card AND support Windows Server 2008 on them. I downloaded the driver, ran the executable, then rebooted the server and saw a glorious 1280×1024 login screen.

So that’s it, the server is built, and it is about to go up in the rack, just as soon as I position the rack in it’s new home, add power (off a UPS), networking, and KVM support – I have all the bits, I just need time to put it all together.

Are you putting together a “faux Datacenter” in your home, I’d love to hear what you’re up to, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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Comments»

1. Hilary - November 2, 2010

Very cool!! I happen to have a SC1425 also. For the same reason and the same purpose. Nice site. Nice thoughts. I’m starting a wordpress too, just like yours… I call it my3rdeye.net . Its for when I have all my late night epiphanies that I have to write down and expose before I forget. My server is down right now because there is no raid for this project, and i have no ups and I have yet once more crashed my server due to write caching and not flushing the buffer before the system gets shut down accidentally and I have start all over again. For which is the reason I am here… thank you!!! I will let you know how my next attempt goes.

2. Installing Windows Server 2008 R2 on a Dell Poweredge T605 « When 140 characters won't suffice - December 8, 2010

[…] 8, 2010 Posted by Ken in Technology. trackback Back in January I posted a note regarding the install of Windows Server 2008 R2 on a Dell Poweredge SC1425, so after going through an eventful install of Windows Server 2008 R2 on a new server, a Dell […]

3. Jordi Vilà - June 21, 2011

Ken,

I just installed Windows Server 2008 R2 in my Dell SC1425 WITH the RAID controller enabled and with the two disks (SATA) configured to be in mirror (RAID-0). I’m using the SC1425 for TMG 2010 (member of an array), so speed is more important to me than reliability, as I have another TMG member in another SC1425 in case this one failed.

The trick is to download CERC drivers from Dell’s page (http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/download.aspx?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd&releaseid=R126742&SystemID=PWE_XEO_1425SC&servicetag=&os=WX64&osl=en&deviceid=5654&devlib=0&typecnt=0&vercnt=4&catid=-1&impid=-1&formatcnt=0&libid=41&typeid=-1&dateid=-1&formatid=-1&source=-1&fileid=170128), decompress them in a USB pendrive and use them when Windows Server installer prompts you for them (prior to create partitions). The useful files are in ‘payload’ folder.

Hope this helps someone else. Please, update your post so people know this without going into the comments. I’m also posting it to Dell forums.

Cheers!

4. Forum Post: Re: How to, install 2008server on PE SC1425? | ServerGround.net - June 24, 2011

[…] It IS possible to install Windows Server 2008 R2 in a SC1425 WITH the CERC controller on. Check my findings here: https://n2vip.wordpress.com/2010/01/17/installing-windows-server-2008-r2-on-a-poweredge-sc1425/#comme… […]

5. John-Paul Daly - July 7, 2011

i have just picked up a Dell SC1425 for £120, will be using it as my home Sharepoint 2010 Server as I am sick of having to dual boot my rig. Do you know of anyone who has done this before and I am going to face a ton of issues?

6. tlichty (@tlichty) - September 9, 2011

Just wanted to say that these instructions worked well. I used the RAID driver linked to by Jordi and they worked!

Ken - January 10, 2012

Good to know, I’m about to rebuild by SC1425 to be my AD DOmain Controller, since I got two nice PE1950s I want to make a Hyper-V lab…

7. Ryan - January 10, 2012

Thanks for the post.
I also got SC1425 to install Windows 2008 R2 but got the error message “Windows cannot Install Required Files. The Files may be corrupt or missing make sure all files required for installation are available, and restart the installation. Error Code 0x80070017” after kicking off the installation process.
I already to changed to ATA mode in BIOS.
Any idea?

Ken - January 10, 2012

No idea, so I googled it.

Turned up various solutions, try googling text of error message and 0x error code.

Possible issues are:

1) bad DVD – try burning a new one

2) problem w/ memory config – try taking server down to minimum RAM and make sure all RAM installed matches (not just kinda similar)

3) if installing from USB key, check name; try using GRV… Name of ISO

Ken - January 10, 2012
Ryan - January 11, 2012

Hi Ken,
I just opened the case and found out that there are mixed 2x512MB and 2x1G RAM in slots, which might cause the issue with possible issue 2.
But I already loaded 2003 on that.
Thank you so much.

8. sam - January 12, 2012

Thank U, Jordi Vilà, It Works!
(SC1425, 3GB, 1 CPU & 2 76 GB using RAID 1)

Some more information from this installation below,
I’ve done bios updated (A03) with Server 2003 x64 installed (partitioned space of 12.5 GB)

the install took about 4 1/2 GB with 8.5 GB free space left now.
The steps prepared was done via Dell Installation CD Disc (Server)

The rest of 65 GB now load – installing Win Server 2008 x64 R2.

I plan on buying an additional CPU (2.8 Ghz) If anyone have more info?

Thank U for this website and Everyone’s Posting,

slam

9. Nick - April 6, 2012

I have been trying to install 64-bit Win2k3, but I get a BSOD with 0x0000007b when setup tries to start Windows.
I have given it the Adaptec drivers at setup (using a USB floppy); and I have tried the CERC drivers for x64 – same BSOD.

So what is the driver I need? I am using PXE boot to load the setup ISO and that works fine, it’s just when it tries to access the hard disks that I get the BSOD.

Anyone know what additional drivers I need to install at the F6 prompt?

Thanks

10. it training - July 29, 2012

Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the pictures on this
blog loading? I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

11. Matthew Bagley - November 12, 2012
12. Matthew Bagley - November 12, 2012

Sadly this didn’t work for me still get the “Setup was unable to create a new system partition or locate an existing system partition. See the setup log files for more information” yet it can see the drive in the list 😦

13. Cole - February 20, 2013

What headaches did you run into using a USB DVD drive? I am trying to set up my SC 1425 and don’t have access to a “standard” drive that I can hardwire into the server, so I am going to be forced to use USB. Any recommendations or advice?

14. Jason Eaby - February 27, 2013

Server 2012 will install with RAID support using the same trick as ’08R2. It looks like the 2003 driver may be a dummy file and the real work is done by the .inf file which configures settings for the native StorPort driver. Current link is: http://www.dell.com/support/drivers/us/en/555/DriverDetails/Product/poweredge-1425sc?driverId=MGHRD&fileId=2731093395

If you use the SBUU to attempt the setup, the latest version that sort of works is the 6.5 revision. Use it only to install the Utility Partition. That revision only supports up to ’08R2 SP1 and doesn’t load the driver, so it fails when it goes to start the setup if you have RAID configured.

So, do yourself a favor, boot directly to the 2012 DVD and then load the driver. After the driver is loaded, you’ll see the Utility Partition, a 1.5GB partition and the remaining drive space. Delete the 1.5GB setup partition, as there isn’t anything in there useful, and then install to the resulting “Unallocated Space” or partition as you see fit. If you don’t want the Utility/Diagnostics Partition, just skip the SBUU altogether.

So far, Server 2012 seems to be running great with RAID 1 support. And thanks to the original poster!


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