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  • Question

  • Has anyone had any experiance installing WHS on a headless server? I am planning on installing on a Dell PowerVault 715N and want to know if anyone has any suggestions.
    Thursday, March 1, 2007 4:17 AM

Answers

  •  PMSNet wrote:
    Bezalel, how about a step-by-step?

    The first step is to build a Technician computer using a motherboard based on the same chipset as the PowerVault.

    Remove or disable in the BIOS all hardware not needed for setup.

    The drive you intend to use as drive 0 should be the only drive installed and it should be the primary master.

    Install WHS normally

    Login and reset the password.

    Replace the contents of boot.ini with the following: (the text in bold is what I added)

    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
    redirect=COM1
    redirectbaudrate=115200
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows Server 2003 for Small Business Server" /noexecute=optout /fastdetect /redirect

    Shutdown your technician computer and move the drive to the PowerVault

    if you want to watch the boot process connect another PC to the PowerVault with a null modem cable and use the following options:

    Bits Per Second: 115200
    Data Bits: 8
    Parity: None
    Flow Control: Xon/Xoff

     

    Friday, March 23, 2007 4:25 PM

All replies

  • You'll need KVM for the installation. After that's done, you can disconnect all three.
    Thursday, March 1, 2007 4:29 AM
    Moderator
  • If you run setup from the WHS DVD-ROM on a desktop machine, it will create a file with the configuration need to run setup unatendend in your server. You store this config file on an USB drive or floppy disk. Then you put the USB drive or floppy on your server together with the WHS DVD-ROM and reboot the machine. It will run setup to completion without any input, that is, you don't need keyboard or display. I believe it will format the all hard drives in your server so better be sure what you are doing.

    Thursday, March 1, 2007 5:35 AM
  •  Ken Warren wrote:
    You'll need KVM for the installation. After that's done, you can disconnect all three.

    I find this extremely hard to beleive. MS has never released an operating system that requires a mouse and I don't think they would require a mouse to setup a system that is designed to run headless.

    Sunday, March 4, 2007 5:41 AM
  • I don't think you understand what hardware I'm using. This computer does not have any PS/2 ports, USB ports, Display adapter, CD-Rom drive, or Floppy drive.
    Sunday, March 4, 2007 5:49 AM
  • For the install you need to have a DVD drive and KVM.
    Sunday, March 4, 2007 6:05 AM
    Moderator
  •  Bezalel Geretz wrote:
    I don't think you understand what hardware I'm using. This computer does not have any PS/2 ports, USB ports, Display adapter, CD-Rom drive, or Floppy drive.

    You can try what Ladislau suggests (generate an unattended install script). But if all you have is an Ethernet port and some disks, I don't think there's any way to successfully install WHS. You could, I suppose, take it out of the rack, open it up, and see if there's any way to connect up the devices you need on the motherboard. But to be honest, WHS just isn't designed for use in a datacenter environment, and that's where a Dell Powervault is usually found.
    Sunday, March 4, 2007 1:11 PM
    Moderator
  • The Dell PowerVault 715n is a NAS. This product does not target that type of device.

     

     

    Gerry

    Sunday, March 4, 2007 1:24 PM
  • Just to clarify: what I described ealier are steps for a completely unattended install of WHS.  It means you don't need to have display  and keyboard attached to the computer.  In most BIOS you must have video so it can do POST.  I'm not sure WHS actually demands computer to have video card and keyboard.  I could not verify it because I cannot get past POST without a video card.

    Does your NAS server actually have an PC architecture?  It sounds that without any ports for KVM it isn't a PC.

    Sunday, March 4, 2007 7:27 PM
  • I've installed Server 2003 on this hardware by starting a fully unattended install on a different PC and then transfering the hard drive after text mode setup. I tried using this method but in this case I moved the hard drive after the PE phase completed copying the .WIM file. It didn't work because later on setup goes back to the DVD to get additional files. (I put a video card in the 1 available PCI slot to see what was failing.)

    Next I'll try copying the files needed later on to the Hard Drive before moving it into the server.

    Monday, March 5, 2007 4:08 AM
  • I copied all the files from the DVD (except the Windows directory) to the hard drive but it still needed to see the origional DVD. hopefully the requrement to have a local console for setup to run will be eliminated in a later beta.

    I havn't given up yet on Beta 2.

    Tuesday, March 6, 2007 2:08 AM
  • Perhaps for the Retail Edition. For the major OEM's, x86 based NAS hardware would be the ideal starting point.
    Tuesday, March 6, 2007 2:30 AM
  •  Bezalel Geretz wrote:

    I've installed Server 2003 on this hardware by starting a fully unattended install on a different PC and then transfering the hard drive after text mode setup. I tried using this method but in this case I moved the hard drive after the PE phase completed copying the .WIM file. It didn't work because later on setup goes back to the DVD to get additional files. (I put a video card in the 1 available PCI slot to see what was failing.)

    Next I'll try copying the files needed later on to the Hard Drive before moving it into the server.

    Can't you connect a DVD-ROM drive in your NAS server? That would be the easiest way to get thru this.

     

    Tuesday, March 6, 2007 3:07 AM
  •  Ladislau wrote:

    Can't you connect a DVD-ROM drive in your NAS server? That would be the easiest way to get thru this.

    I'd have to add a USB controller card to my available PCI slot. I doubt that this configuration would be bootable so I'd still have to start setup from another PC. another alternative is to use a SCSI DVD Drive (the server will boot from a SCSI card) to start the setup but I'd have to modify the DVD with the unattended configuration files because I wouldn't have any USB ports.

    Tuesday, March 6, 2007 3:49 AM
  •  Bezalel Geretz wrote:
     Ladislau wrote:

    Can't you connect a DVD-ROM drive in your NAS server? That would be the easiest way to get thru this.

    I'd have to add a USB controller card to my available PCI slot. I doubt that this configuration would be bootable so I'd still have to start setup from another PC. another alternative is to use a SCSI DVD Drive (the server will boot from a SCSI card) to start the setup but I'd have to modify the DVD with the unattended configuration files because I wouldn't have any USB ports.

    According to WHS setup, you can either use USB drive or any other CD-ROM drive with the CD with unattended setup files.  If you have additional SCSI CD-ROM drive then you should be able to complete your setup.

    Tuesday, March 6, 2007 4:43 AM
  •  Bezalel Geretz wrote:
    Perhaps for the Retail Edition. For the major OEM's, x86 based NAS hardware would be the ideal starting point.

    That's why Microsoft offers Windows Storage Server to OEMs.

     

    Gerry

    Wednesday, March 7, 2007 1:41 AM
  • Actually, if you *do* manage to get it working, I'd be very interested in hearing how.  There's a Powervault 715n sitting unused, waiting to be resurrected (decommissioned after an enterprise-wide upgrade from server 2000 to server 2003).  Using the serial interface to load server 2000 was bad enough, to say nothing of something higher... so if you have any luck, let us all know! 
    Wednesday, March 7, 2007 2:52 AM
  • I still haven't managed to get WHS installed but if you want to know how to install Server 2003 take a look at http://www.dellcommunity.com/supportforums/board/message?board.id=pv_nas&message.id=2507. My goal is to make it work without additional hardware.
    Wednesday, March 7, 2007 4:25 AM
  • That's a really useful post, thanks a lot!  Server 2003 is quite usable for that now.
    Thursday, March 8, 2007 4:05 PM
  • Hmm.  I'm downloading the beta now, and am attempting to understand the logistics of installation and configuration.

    I already have a headless "server" on my LAN running Win XP Pro.  It has 3 hard drives with a total of 7 partitions (3, 3, 1).  No DVD drive, no keyboard, no mouse, no display.  There is a USB port or four.

    What, exactly, will I need to add to the headless server to install the beta software on it?  Can I use a DVD drive shared on the network?  Can I use a USB DVD drive?  Can I use the install software on a flash drive?  Do I need video display for the install?

    Second, it's my understanding that the install will wipe all hard drives in the server box.  Gulp!  Is this correct?

    Friday, March 9, 2007 12:18 AM
  • If your server is capable to boot from an USB drive, then yes, you should be able to install from a USB DVD drive.

    No, you cannot use DVD drive shared in the netword because that only works when you have Windows running. Obviously during setup you don't have Windows.

    If your motherboard supports booting from a flash USB, then you can build a bootable USB and install WHS from there.

    You don't need keyboard or monitor attached to your server to install WHS. However you need to provide a setup config in a USB drive or CD-ROM.  You build this setup config with another computer by running WHS setup. It will ask where you want to save the files.

    AFIK, you cannot install WHS from an existing OS. The WHS setup only starts from the bootable DVD.

    WHS will wipe out the primary hard drive in your server box. I don't know about the others. But you can always disconnect the cable of all hard drives an only leave one during WHS setup.

    Friday, March 9, 2007 12:29 AM
  • I tried this in a virtual machine and it completely ignored the virtual floppy image. Does the server have to be headless in order for it to look for the configuration file? Unfortunately I don't have a spare MB without onboard video other than the PowerVault to test this with.
    Friday, March 9, 2007 1:01 AM
  • Bezalel,
    While reading some of the release notes the final version will be designed for headless installation, exactly like the 715n. So you're right on in trying to install it on your 715n. I'm thinking about doing the same thing. I got mine with just the COA for $80(+/-) off ebay and did the Server 2k serial install of the OS. Runs great and Remote Desktop Connection works WAAAAY better than the html interface. Anyway, the reviewers guide says:

    "The current plan is to make the final release of Windows Home Server available to customers as a tightly integrated hardware/software solution sold by numerous companies through retail stores and web-based e-commerce stores.

    The primary usage model for a device powered by Windows Home Server will be “headless”, meaning there is no keyboard, mouse, or monitor connected to the device running the home server software.  In fact, all of the currently planned integrated hardware/software solutions will not even come with a port for plugging in a monitor"

    Sounds like the 715n to me! We might have to wait 'til the retail release for installation on them. The drive installation on these is so simple and the 1U size is perfect.
    I will post if any progress is made with my install.

    Friday, March 9, 2007 4:24 AM
  • If you type serial keyboard adapter into ebay you'll see an adapter that allows you to use your serial port for keyboard. When trying one of my many installation options it told me to push any key to continue, not yet....but soon!
    Wednesday, March 14, 2007 3:27 AM
  • I tried installing a headless server.  I got it to work, but the blessed thing terrorized my kids.  It chased them around the room swinging an activation code.  The only thing that saved them was that it couldn't cross the bridge I'd set up separating it from the rest of my network -- although it WAS able to throw a small glowing object that looked remarkably like Bill Gate's head.
    Wednesday, March 14, 2007 3:56 AM
  • From what I understand though, is that MS is going to be selling (to major vendors) their system for them to install.  Although it should be OEM as well (as far as we know), the user who buys it will not have to install it from a boot device, just configure it. 

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007 8:37 PM
  •  admiralthrawn wrote:
    From what I understand though, is that MS is going to be selling (to major vendors) their system for them to install.  Although it should be OEM as well (as far as we know), the user who buys it will not have to install it from a boot device, just configure it. 

    But the major manufacturers also need a method of installing. They need to install the software before they can duplicate the image and they get the same tools that you and I have access to.

    Thursday, March 15, 2007 5:19 AM
  • This seems like a really cool idea but looking at the service manual I do not see how it could be done.  Besides the fact that it only supports a 1Ghz Celeron and 512MB of memory.

     

    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/stor-sys/spv715n/en/sm/index.htm

     

    Here is the manual, you can see there is a PCI card for a low profile PCI card so you could put a VGA card in the device.  It also uses normal IDE cables so you could hook up a DVD.  The only think you would be missing would be a Keyboard which is not going to work thru the serial port because there are no serial keyboard drivers loaded durring the setup process of the OS.  Now since you own one, maybe there is a port on it's motherboard to hook up a USB dongle, or maybe even a PS/2 keyboard plug hidden in there.

    Otherwise, I think your going to be out of luck.

     

    Thursday, March 15, 2007 2:50 PM
  • Manufactures have their special hardware version of the server where they actually have KVM and can do manual install of WHS, then go for hdd imaging.

    Also, for those servers that have PCI slot, they don't need any special hardware version. Instead they use a "KVM pci card" where they connect monitor and keyboard. Of course, such cards are very expensive and probably not where you want to put your money.

    Thursday, March 15, 2007 4:23 PM
  •  Pugsly0014 wrote:

    This seems like a really cool idea but looking at the service manual I do not see how it could be done.  Besides the fact that it only supports a 1Ghz Celeron and 512MB of memory.

     

    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/stor-sys/spv715n/en/sm/index.htm

     

    Here is the manual, you can see there is a PCI card for a low profile PCI card so you could put a VGA card in the device.  It also uses normal IDE cables so you could hook up a DVD.  The only think you would be missing would be a Keyboard which is not going to work thru the serial port because there are no serial keyboard drivers loaded durring the setup process of the OS.  Now since you own one, maybe there is a port on it's motherboard to hook up a USB dongle, or maybe even a PS/2 keyboard plug hidden in there.

    Otherwise, I think your going to be out of luck.

     

    It will accept a P!!! 1Ghz or a Celeron 1.1Ghz. It also accepts 1GB of memory but such dense memory wasn't available to Dell when the manual was written. There are a few port headers on the motherboard that aren't documented so I guess I'll have to find where the traces go to and get the documentation for the chips they connect to. I once tried to connect a CD-Rom drive to one of the IDE ports in an attempt to edit the Service Tag but it wouldn't boot from the CD-Rom drive (surprisingly the BIOS has the option to boot from a CD-Rom).

    Thursday, March 15, 2007 11:14 PM
  •  Ladislau wrote:

    Manufactures have their special hardware version of the server where they actually have KVM and can do manual install of WHS, then go for hdd imaging.

    Also, for those servers that have PCI slot, they don't need any special hardware version. Instead they use a "KVM pci card" where they connect monitor and keyboard. Of course, such cards are very expensive and probably not where you want to put your money.

    My guess is that most manufacturers will include a DVI port behind a "Service Cover" and use USB for everything else. They still need to provide the end user with a recovery method.

    Buried deep in the 715N image the are files that seem to suggest that dell used a "KVM PCI Card" to create the image (I still Haven't find out which DRAC works with this server) but it was created on the same motherboard version that was in the final product.

    Friday, March 16, 2007 1:11 AM
  • I finally got WHS running on my PowerVault 715N but I wasn't able to actually run the install process on the PowerVault. I installed WHS on an AOpen AX34 II (any motherboard with the same chipset combination should also work). After WHS was installed, I set the administrator password, enabled Console Redirection in boot.ini (If you want to use the serial port for anything else don't do this), and moved the harddrive to my PowerVault.

    Friday, March 23, 2007 4:21 AM
  • Bezalel, how about a step-by-step?
    Friday, March 23, 2007 2:23 PM
  •  PMSNet wrote:
    Bezalel, how about a step-by-step?

    The first step is to build a Technician computer using a motherboard based on the same chipset as the PowerVault.

    Remove or disable in the BIOS all hardware not needed for setup.

    The drive you intend to use as drive 0 should be the only drive installed and it should be the primary master.

    Install WHS normally

    Login and reset the password.

    Replace the contents of boot.ini with the following: (the text in bold is what I added)

    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
    redirect=COM1
    redirectbaudrate=115200
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows Server 2003 for Small Business Server" /noexecute=optout /fastdetect /redirect

    Shutdown your technician computer and move the drive to the PowerVault

    if you want to watch the boot process connect another PC to the PowerVault with a null modem cable and use the following options:

    Bits Per Second: 115200
    Data Bits: 8
    Parity: None
    Flow Control: Xon/Xoff

     

    Friday, March 23, 2007 4:25 PM
  • Hi.

    I am a complete novice when it come to the powervault 715. I have just brought windows home server and i want to install this on the powervault. I have not tried yet i would like some knowledge on what i am doing first. I have three 200gb hd drive and one 300gb hd do i need the bios upgrate for these drives and if so how doi go about installing that.

    Can any one tell me how you configure the four hard drives to go into the powervault do they get set to the normal configuation of master,slave. I have a the Null-Modem serial cable and i have a DHCP server set up how can i install the OS.

    Any help will be very very great full
    Friday, February 1, 2008 8:13 AM
  • All 4 drives should be set as Master. Drives 0 and 1 get connected to the VIA southbridge, drives 2 and 3 get connected to the Promise controller.

     

    You can flash the BIOS from within Windows in an RDP session or you can connect a null modem cable and enter the BIOS setup through a HyperTerminal session. The BIOS will guide you through the update. 

    Monday, February 4, 2008 3:49 AM