PLEASE NOTE, I TAKE NO CREDIT FOR WRITING THIS ARTICLE, ITS ORIGINS ARE/WERE FROM geekeleet.com. IT SEEMS TO BE DOWN AND MY REFERENCED LINKS TO IT WERE FAILING SO I HAVE REPOSTED WHAT THEY HAVE HERE. THAT IS ALL.
If you have been reading along, you’ll know that it’s been about a week now that I have been trying to install Windows Server 2008 onto an IBM x335. Until last night, I had been completely unsuccessful. The first time I ran the installation all went smooth. Well mostly. The installation appeared to be going as expected. The program told me that it had formatted the hard drive, unpacked and copied all of the files to the system directory, completed installation of the operating system, and rebooted a couple of times. Then it would show the Windows Server 2008 splash screen with the progress bar, but it would just get stuck there. I left it overnight the first time and in the morning it was still at the splash screen.
I did what any self-proclaimed geek would do, I tried to troubleshoot it. I tried loading in safe mode, which gave me my first big and important clue. When booting to safe mode, the console displays a list of the drivers that it successfully loads. It always froze as soon as it displayed the crcdisk.sys driver. My research indicated that this was an indicator that this driver was loaded without a problem, so I went on a mission to find out what driver was loading next, and failing. I spent way too much time on Google and really didn’t get anywhere. There were tons of MSDN forum posts about this, or similar, issues. The commonality between them seemed to be either IBM equipment or raid arrays. Still, none of the suggestions were helpful.
The answer though was so simple, I feel quite foolish even mentioning it. I will though, so that you don’t need to feel foolish hunting for it. This particular server is about 6 years old and is no longer being supported by the manufacturer. I did however find the most current firmware and drivers on the manufacturers website. The firmware is pretty easy to do, you need to download UpdateXpress (version 4.05 for this particular model) and burn it to a CD. This bootable disk will continually reboot and update firmware for each piece of hardware until they are all up to date. The second thing to do is download the raid drivers and create a boot floppy disk. Floppy disk you say? Yes, I say. It may be possible to load them onto a USB key, but I went with the traditional option.
Now here is what I did to complete the installation:
* Launch the installation of Windows Server 2008 again
* When presented with the option to select the installation partition, click on the Load Drivers link located at the bottom left-hand corner
* Select the floppy disk (or wherever you put the drivers)
* Select the driver that corresponds to your hardware
* Finish the installation
After many painful hours of troubleshooting, Windows Server 2008 finally installed. In the end it was nothing more than the raid drivers and was easily rectified. Make sure you are using updated drivers for your hard drive or controller to avoid this experience. Good luck with your installation and remember that this will work with Vista as well.