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Install Win server 2008 on server with no DVD drive or USB booting

Last response: in Business Computing
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June 16, 2013 2:03:13 PM

im new to servers and of course the first thing i have to deal with is a problem!

So recently i got a used dell CS24-SC server, i got a great deal on it. but it was no Optical drive so i thought this would be an easy install i just pull the drive out my desktop and hook it up and put the disk for windows server 2008 in and boot it up. i was wrong i pulled up the boot device selector and the drive came up and then when i selected it it just came up with the message of "insert boot media in selected device and press a key". well i pressed the key and got the same message again so i guess that isnt going to work. so my next idea was to get a usb and set it up i could boot from it and that did not work either apparently this server does not support usb booting, but after a while of using the good old Google machine i found that if you pull all the drive out and try and boot it will let you boot a usb, this worked until i got to the part on where i select my drive and then i got the message saying that i could not use this drive because the bios did not support booting to it. i thought this was strange, since these were the on board sata ports, im guessing it has to do with the fact that i dont have the drives connected when i start the machine up. but that is the only way i can get the usb to boot. so the next day i talked to the tech guy at my school and he said to hook the drive up to another computer and extract the contents of the iso on to it and i did that just to get the "insert boot media in selected device and press a key" message again. so i took the drive out of the machine AGAIN and plugged it into my spare machine and installed windows on it and put it back into the server and windows could not starts so at this point i have no idea what to do.

i will either use windows server 2008 r2 64bit or windows 7 pro 64bit as i have both of these keys laying around from machines i have scraped

thanks for all your help!


here are the specs on the server
Dell CS24-CS
4 hot swap drive bays with 3x 750 GB and 1X 2 TB
16 GB of ecc server ddr2 ram
2x Xeon Quad-Core L5420 2.5GHz

mainly bought it for the storage space and hot swap but the extra horse power will be nice to have around
June 21, 2013 11:56:34 AM

If you have the option, try this:

1. take out the boot drive and put it in another system
2. start the install, up until the first reboot
3. as soon as the system reboots, switch the boot drive to the other system

A system that new should be able to handle booting from a USB optical drive, even if it can't boot from a USB flash drive. You can either try a USB to SATA adapter to a regular optical drive or pick up a portable USB optical drive from Fry's or Microcenter or some place like that.
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