Loading Windows Server 2003 – Raid 5 (3 X 500Gb Drives)

20 pts.
Dell PowerEdge 800
Microsoft Windows Server 2003
RAID configuration
Windows Server 2003 configuration
Please forgive my ignorance, I usually deal in code and applications, servers and loading OS's onto them is like talking Klingon to me right now, but I'm learning. I was stupid enough to buy a Dell PowerEdge 800 server with 3 x 500Gb disks already installed (and configured) as a RAID 5. I could have bought Server 2003 already installed for $300 but oh no, I know best so since I made the wise decision to do it myself and I've probably lost $1,500 in time spent in banging my head against the wall and getting nowhere fast. As they say, 'we pay for our experiences'. It appears that the problem is that the Server 2003 setup utility isn't seeing the drives because when the server immediately boots I get a "No logical drives found" message. I'm certain that the HD's are there and that the RAID for them is configured properly, it would appear that the HD's (or RAID?) isn't being mounted properly hence the OS can't load and I get a very helpful "Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed on your computer" message. Would any of you brighter and no doubt more sensible people have any idea as to how I can break this infinite loop? I will happily pay for beer, make PayPal donations, send milk tokens etc etc to anyone who can assist. Thanks.

Answer Wiki

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During the boot process, do you see a prompt to enter the RAID setup utility? If so, go into that and make sure the RAID is indeed set up. They do not come set up from the factory, you have to configure them.

You will need a floppy boot disk with the raid controller drivers on it. Look through your package of software that came with it. You should find a cd for the motherboard. If the raid controller is onboard, run this CD in a xp machine, follow instructions to create a floppy disk for the raid controller. If the raid controller is in a slot, then look for a raid controller CD, and do the same thing as above. Then insert the floppy in the server, boot from CD, press F6 when prompted(watch the bottom of the screen) follow instructions.

If you don’t have an internal floppy drive in the server, you’ll have to get an external USB floppy drive.

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  • HoosierCAB
    Go to http://support.dell.com/, click on Drivers and Downloads. Enter the service tag of the server. Assuming the server has a DVD drive, download the 4 parts of "Dell DVD ISO - Dell Systems Management Tools and Documentation". Once you have that burned to DVD, you should be able to boot the server off it and configure the RAID, and install the operating system (using your install media), just follow the instructions as they are presented. No driver floppy needed.
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