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Dell Diagnostic Partition & Windows HS RRS feed

  • Question

  •  

    If I install Windows Home Server on the new Dell server I bought, will it destroy the Dell Diagnostic Partition or will it not see it?
    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 4:17 PM

Answers

  •  jshoemaker21 wrote:

    I understand this. I want this partition. My question is, is there anyway to install WHS WITHOUT formatting the disks?

    No. Windows Home Server will wipe the partition table and create two partitions on the system disk when installed. There is no way around this.
    Monday, January 28, 2008 8:30 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Since some computer manufacturers (I think Dell is among them) use the drives boot blocks to support the diagnostic partition/restore partition you would loose access to it anyway, but WHS partitions the WHOLE drive so it would be gone.  My suggestion is to buy another drive to use in the experiment.  That way if you change your mind you can always go back to the way things were.  If you decide to keep WHS just add it to the pool. 

     

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 4:31 PM
  • So does the mean the DIagnostics partition will stay in place?

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 4:33 PM
  • No I don't think so.

     

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 4:35 PM
  • Does anyone else have experience or input. Please advise thanks

     

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 4:38 PM
  • If you install Windows Home Server on the the server you bought while that drive with the diagnostic partition is installed, you will lose the diagnostic partition. If you remove that drive temporarily, but install it later, the diagnostic partition will be okay as long as you don't add the drive to the storage pool. If you do that, the diagnostic partition will, once again, be destroyed.
    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 4:39 PM
    Moderator
  • Wow what a pain. I'd be better off installing Windows XP Pro.

     

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 5:06 PM
  • If my memory is right, you'll loose acces to the parttion because that rewrites the boot blocks.  I don't think dell uses BIOS for access to the diagnostic partition, but the boot blocks.  Once the boot block is modified the menu will be gone. 

     

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 5:22 PM
  • So now I'm stuck with a copy of HS and want SBS, anyone want it? Or can you help me save that Diag partition?

     

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 9:10 PM
  • It's a Dell you are going to lose that partition whatever you install.  Asci es la vida.

     

    Thursday, January 24, 2008 12:01 AM
  • Hi jshoemaker21

     

    I bought a PE 840 and installed WHS (no probs so far). True, you will lose the partition but I reasoned I still have the diagnostic software on the cd set supplied with the server (or you can down load from the Dell web site)

     

    So if need be, you can run diagnostics from the cd, or re-install it later if you decide WHS is not for you!

     

    Good luck, what ever you decide.

     

    Thursday, January 24, 2008 1:56 AM
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    Not true. I have installed 03 and not lost the partition. It would be pointless for them to include it if it was going to be lost when an OS is installed.
    Thursday, January 24, 2008 2:20 PM
  • Thanks for your reply. I can reload the diagnostic partition from the cd?

    Thursday, January 24, 2008 2:22 PM
  •  jshoemaker21 wrote:

     

    Not true. I have installed 03 and not lost the partition. It would be pointless for them to include it if it was going to be lost when an OS is installed.
    The difference is that Dell partitions the disk for you, with a small diagnostic partition and an "everything else" partition. You can install Windows Server 2003 in that pre-existing partition. You can't do the same with Windows Home Server; it wipes and repartitions the disk it's installed on.
    Thursday, January 24, 2008 4:11 PM
    Moderator
  • I have two Dell servers set up with WHS, both 'lost' their diagnostic partitions, but I figured that the version on the Dell web site was of a later date, (so I assume more up to date,) and runs just fine under WHS from a USB DVD drive I have laying around.

     

    Colin

     

    Thursday, January 24, 2008 6:05 PM
  •  ColinWH wrote:

    I have two Dell servers set up with WHS, both 'lost' their diagnostic partitions, but I figured that the version on the Dell web site was of a later date, (so I assume more up to date,) and runs just fine under WHS from a USB DVD drive I have laying around.

     

    Colin

     

     

    Colin, you beat me to it!

     

    I believe (and I'm happy to be corrected if wrong) the diagnostic partition contains the Dell Utility software that can be selected as a boot option, during power-up, to help diagnose hardware problems - it doesn't require the Windows operating system.  There should be a copy of this same software on the cd set supplied with the server (or available as a download).

     

    I just checked the cd set that came with my Dell server and it is on the "Sevices and Diagnostic Utilities" disk.  This disk will auto-run on any Windows machine and if you run the Dell Utility software it then gives you the options, amongst others,  to create a bootable USB device or cd image or floppy disk set.

    Should you subsequently need to run the diagnostics you can then boot from the media of your choice.  So I would guess all you lose is the convenience of having it  pre-installed on a separate partition.

     

    jshoemaker21, I hope this helps.

    Thursday, January 24, 2008 8:50 PM
  • I believe if you have Partition Magic and/or (the latest) Norton's Ghost you can do this.  You will need a smaller hard drive temporarily other than your Dell drive.   You first take an ghost image snapshot of a freshly installed WHS to the smaller drive, and you can restore that image to the Dell drive.  When you do you have the option of placing the partitions after any existing partitions (in this case the Dell diag partition, which needs to be the only one on the drive).  Either PM or NG will expand the D: partition to fill out the drive when you copy.


    I haven't tested this, but it should work.  I've done this kind of thing many times.  I have WHS running right now on a 80GB system partition with no issues via Partition Magic.

     

    Ryan

    Friday, January 25, 2008 12:13 AM
  • The funny thing is I have formatted many machines and not lost the Dell Diagnostics. I work for the state, we have 5 Dell models. We format every machine before we do an image...... Every machine we have formatted still has the Dell Diagnostics on it when you press F11 for the boot menu.......

     

    Friday, January 25, 2008 3:49 PM
  • Formatting will only affect an existing partition. The Dell Diagnostics is on a separate partition to where you have been installing the OS. WHS goes one stage further during installation and clears all existing partitions before setting up the two it needs for C: & D:, which it then formats.

     

    I have set many Dell servers up with their Server Boot CD's (which create the diagnostics partition). My PowerEdge 500SC was set up the same way before installing WHS and now it only has the partitions WHS created. As said before, that doesn't stop you booting the diagnostics from a CD if needed.

     

    I would have like to retain the Dell Openmanage functions on the WHS, as this gives live hardware status including fans, temperature etc. in a web browser, but I didn't find a way to do it. I wasn't sure I wanted to try an install after WHS was running for fear of trashing it.

     

    Friday, January 25, 2008 4:14 PM
  • Thanks Dave. I just think its funny to do a full disk format, delete all existing partitions and have the Dell Utilities still be there with XP Pro and 2k3. We delete EVERYTHING from the disk, but Dell Utilities is still there. Whereas WHS goes one step further and deletes the hidden area. If that how it work thats how it works. I would really like to retain the tools on the HD, it just doesn't seem  possible. Is it possible to put the partition back in placer if I decide to take WHS off?

     

    Friday, January 25, 2008 4:24 PM
  • I think if you start the rebuild with the Dell CD's that came with the server, you will get the factory diagnostics partition back. If you haven't got the CD's, you may be able to download images for your server from the Dell website.

     

    You would normally get about 3 CD's with the server - Server Assistant, Systems Management and Product Documentation. The Server Assistant is bootable and I recall that will put everything necessary on a clean, new hard disk.

     

     

     

    Friday, January 25, 2008 4:47 PM
  • Thanks Dave that really helps. I do have those Cd's! Any idea why when we format the complete disk to install windows Xp or w2k3 the partition still exists even thos we delete all partitions and do a full format?

     

    Friday, January 25, 2008 5:02 PM
  • Format only affects a single partition. You need something like Fdisk to manipulate the partitions (i.e. add, remove or make bootable). This is the same as when you have a disk split into a C: and D: drive. You can format the D: drive again, but it doesn't affect the C: drive. The Dell diagnostics partition is just the same, but it doesn't get allocated a drive letter so you wouldn't normally see it. If you go into Disk Manager in XP or W2K3, you will see it though.

     

     

    Friday, January 25, 2008 5:13 PM
  • Thats why its there. Sorry I wasn't thinking. When we delete partitions then format the disk. It's not taking the Dell partition because it is there, just not alloocated a drive letter, whereas WHS takes EVERYTHING. That stinks, alot. Would you jsut go with SBS or are you happy with WHS? I'd install it just as long as I get the dell partition back when I decide to upgrade.

    Friday, January 25, 2008 5:31 PM
  • I wasn't too worried about losing the diagnostics partition. I think I have used one once in about 5 years. I have normally tolerated its existence, but it goes back to the days when systems were booted from floppy and the diagnostics was too big for one disk. Hence it made sense to have it handy on the system in case you needed it.

     

    Now you can just boot the CD and get the same result anyway.

     

    Friday, January 25, 2008 5:53 PM
  • As Dave says, you have it (duplicated,) on the CD and the hard drive in it's hidden partition. I don't think I've ever bothered with the one on the hard drive, it's just as quick to boot from a CD, as it is to boot again from the drive, plus you have the most up-to-date copy. I also use that CD with a Bart PE, so keep customers drivers etc available with the diagnostics.

     

    Colin

     

    Friday, January 25, 2008 6:00 PM
  • Yeah, I understand that. I just would like to have the abbility to put it back on the HD...... Is WHS cracked up to what its supposed to be anyway? Or would I be better with SBS. I hear horror stories of WHS and hard drives being removed and replaced. I don't know whats true.

     

    Friday, January 25, 2008 6:18 PM
  • It depends what you want it for. You are likely to get a biased answer here as most are hard-core WHS users.

     

    I would suggest starting a new topic explaining what you want to use it for and asking if WHS or SBS would be better. I don't like parting with my hard-earned cash, so I have gone for WHS as the cheap option (along with its technical aspects).

    Friday, January 25, 2008 6:27 PM
  • I do understand this. I want the partiton and if I lose it I just want to know if it can be restored if I delete WHS

     

    Friday, January 25, 2008 6:35 PM
  • I dont like parting with money either. I just want a file server and media server that wont be a headache. I want to be able to take out/add a HD if needed without having any issues. It is for my house.

    Saturday, January 26, 2008 6:58 PM
  • Who cares?  You boot the Blue drivers disk and you get the same diagnostics.
    Saturday, January 26, 2008 10:43 PM
  • The same Dell Diagnostics is located in the "resource CD" that comes with your Dell. just put it in the drive, boot from it, and boom, you got diagnostics.
    Monday, January 28, 2008 7:27 PM
  • I care. Anyway. I do know this...... I would like to know if there is anyway to install WHS WITHOUT formatting the drives?

     

    Monday, January 28, 2008 7:38 PM
  • I understand this. I want this partition. My question is, is there anyway to install WHS WITHOUT formatting the disks?

    Monday, January 28, 2008 7:39 PM
  •  jshoemaker21 wrote:

    I understand this. I want this partition. My question is, is there anyway to install WHS WITHOUT formatting the disks?

    No. Windows Home Server will wipe the partition table and create two partitions on the system disk when installed. There is no way around this.
    Monday, January 28, 2008 8:30 PM
    Moderator