***** UPDATE 11.16.09 – I added links to my site from geekeleet.com. geekeleet.com seems to be down
I spent some of last week and this week finally installing a copy of Windows 2008 on a decommissioned IBM xSeries 335 server from work in my home network. I thought I would share a couple of the issues I came across, but was able to get by with the help of a couple of people who ran into the same issues as me.
The first stumbling block I ran into was the fact that these servers (which are about 4-5 years old) do not come with a DVD drive. The reality is that until last year, our servers at work (Dells and HPs) only came with CDROM drives. So I was a little surprised that Microsoft decided to send out DVD only versions (actually what I downloaded from our Volume Licensing) of the OS. I can see this making things difficult for some people. Fortunately there are a couple of ways around this. One is to boot off of a USB device (DVD or a USB Thumb drive). If you want to try a USB thumb drive, check out this URL for instruction on how to make it bootable from jessecoburn.com. Unfortunate for me, the IBM xSeries 335 server that I have does not allow booting off of USB. My second option was to load via a network share. Here are the instruction for that from geekEleet. This worked great, but I ran into my second issue after the install, not during which made my life a little easier if I had known then what I know now, which takes us to the second problem I had…
After the server would reboot after the initial install, it would just show the status bar screen for Windows 2008. And sit there. And sit there. Occasionally access the drive. Then do nothing. I let it do this for about a hour, then powered it off. I figured there had to be something messed up, but what?! I assumed all of my drivers where fine because it saw all of the drive partition, the network card, and the video. I had no red flags during the install saying anything was incompatible or out of the norm. So I did a Google on the problem I was getting and couldn’t really find anything that was too useful. So I thought I would reboot the server one more time and see if I could get it to boot in trusty Safe Mode. Well, that finally gave me something to go with. It would boot and just hang at the “Loading crcdisk.sys” message. That helped me out because I could now do a more specific Google search. I found a bunch of articles that pertained to Vista and crcdisk.sys errors, but then I eventually came up with this article, again from geekEleet. The question I saw crop up a couple times was what driver should people be loading. I found out that I needed the “LSI Logic PCI SCSI/FC MPI Miniport driver v1.25.10 for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 – Servers” from IBM’s website. After I followed the instruction from geekEleet and used the driver from IBM, I was in business. Also, I loaded the driver from my USB thumb drive. That was really nice, I don’t have any spare floppy drives (or disks) readily available and I didn’t want to waste another CD just to load one driver. The Windows 2008 install allows you to load from CD/DVD, mapped network drives, or from a USB device. Real nice!
I hope if anybody stumbles upon the same problems as I (and others), that this will help point you in the right direction. Now I can start working on the Windows 2008 server and give it a spin.