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Installing Windows Server 2012 onto HP G5 Hardware

March 24, 2013

First stage, getting some Windows Server 2012 installs onto the HP DL360 and 380 G5 servers I have. After various combinations of not being able to see OS ISO’s on USB keys, I settled on this system :

1) Update the firmware on the box using the HP SmartUpdate Firmware DVD (FW930.2011_0503.59.iso). Burn the .iso to a DVD, boot from it, and the automatic option worked for me, although I did double-check as a proof of concept by running it in Interactive mode to see if any updates were outstanding. This brings the hardware up to date.

2) Burn the Windows 2008 R2 x64 .iso from Technet to a DVD. Use the HP USB Key Utility to write HP Smartstart 8.70b to a USB key with sufficient space (c.670MB). Boot SmartStart from the USB key. Follow the prompts through to the install option, insert the DVD containing the OS DVD, and run through the installation questions to the point of installing. Wait for the OS to install.

This is where I am currently, next steps planned are to update the OS to current patch levels, ensure hardware driver versions are as current as possible, and run the upgrade install to Server 2012. The reason I’m doing it this way is that SmartStart for G5’s does not support Server 2012 as an install. From the notes on SS, it would appear that support for Server 2012 installs is catered for on G6’s onwards.

Note to self, perhaps life would be simpler if I traded some G5 hardware for G6, there appears to be little price difference on eBay, and hardware support, including drivers, would possibly make the task easier….

Note on issue using DVD and USB, or USB and DVD to install using SmartStart :

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Document.jsp?objectID=c02981742&lang=en&cc=us&taskId=101&prodSeriesId=4186428&prodTypeId=3709945

I found it simpler in the end to use some blank DVD’s, not something I’ve used in a long time, but being as I’m repeating this procedure many times, it seemed slightly more economic to burn a few ISO’s and reuse them, than to buy a handful of USB keys.

Another note on SmartStart 8.70b, it doesn’t like the install.wim file on the slip-streamed 2k8 R2 SP1 image, “The win.xml file was not generated correctly.This may have resulted from a failed file copy of install.wim.” A quick Google, one extra wasted blank DVD and a wasted half hour later, the non-SP1 image should work fine. Only sets me back a short amount of time on the patching 2k8 R2 install, so no biggie. It is also pointed out that it might just be easier to install the OS flat without SmartStart and to PSP it post-install to achieve the same end effect, but I like to use the SmartStart method of creating the disk array, so I’ll take the hit of time.

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