Monday, February 19, 2007

How to install W2K3 server on a floppyless server

Most servers today comes without a floppy drive.

If you want to install Windows Server 2003 on one of these servers and you have a hard drive controller that is not supported by default in W2K3 server, like most RAID controllers, the only way to install the driver through the standard setup program is from a floppy drive.

I have a floppyless server (HP Proliant DL140 G3) with the "HP 8 Internal Port SAS Host Bus Adapter with RAID" and I did not want to buy an USB floppy drive only to install the OS, especially after I read this post which says that you must use a HP branded USB floppy drive.

A HP forum search gave a link to this web site, where you can download a program called nLite, a "Deployment Tool for the Bootable Unattended Windows". Definitively recommended.

With this program you can make a bootable CD with you Windows setup files, integrate service packs and add your RAID drivers in advance so the controller is detected by Windows Server 2003 at setup time, without using the F6 option.
Edit on 2007/04/24:

I used nLite to install Windows XP on a floppyless ThinkPad T60 with a 120GB SATA drive and it worked like a charm.


Anonymous said...

Worked perfectly! Thanks for the tip, you saved us a lot of time =)

Anonymous said...

Its very strange that you cant get help from HP to install windows Server 2003 on there "small" machines like dl 140 or dl 320

They just ignore the problem !

The customers has to use tricks via third party tools to be able to install a System

Strange ... seems like someone would buy a car and has to get the help of a neighbour to put gas into the car ;(

Aleksandar said...

Man, you rule! Who uses floppy anymore?

I've just got a monster of a server and I need to go to Kinkos to get drivers on a floppy? That would be sad.

Thank you very much! It's an excellent approach and works like a charm.

Anonymous said...

After extensive searching, finally a solution. Worked flawlessly. Thank you so much!!

Jay S. said...

I'm using the same HP Proliant DL server was about to put in order for USB floppy. Thanks for posting this work-around. Great information and save my company time and a few $.

how to install a floppy drive said...

nice, looks like USB drives are taking over from the floppys :)

Momina Tabish said...


I have a running server and I cant afford to instal windows 2k3 server again. I just need to install a SATA drive for secondary storage.

Please give your suggestion.

It'll be a great help.


McThePro said...

@Momina Tabish

You just have to download the drivers from the SATA controller manufacturer's website, install them and Windows Server will "see" you new drive.

Momina Tabish said...

Thanks for replying. I downloaded driver from manufacturer's website but it does not support win2k3. I tried installing drivers for xp but no use.

Mine is WD7500aacs Sata Cavier Green GP (750 GB). One other problem is that it is being detected in BIOS as a PATA drive.

Suggestions ?



McThePro said...

If it is detected in the BIOS as a PATA, you should see it in Windows without installing anything.

Do you see it in Disk Manager ?

Momina Tabish said...

Thanks alot. The problem has been solved. :)

There was cabling issue with the hard drive. Its working smooth now.

Thanks again