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Installing Windows Server 2012 R2 on an HP Microserver

September 10, 2013

Spent some time this morning trying to crank the newly-released (last night) RTM release bits of WS2012 R2 onto one of my Microservers. This N36L with 4GB of RAM is my physical domain controller, the specs sound small but those in the know will be aware that a DC actually requires very little horsepower generally, and being a test lab, actual load will be slight compared to a production site.

The issue I have run into, and it’s not a biggie, is that the onboard NIC does not appear to work properly. Supported, maybe. Drivers, possibly. Works? Doesn’t appear to. Disabling the NIC in the BIOS reportedly allows boot, but re-enabling it afterwards with some driver trickery still prevents boot. I’m not going to spend long on a microscopic diagnosis of this, I’ll just grab either an NC112T card or two, or perhaps even a couple of NC360T’s, checking of course if these work with R2. The onboard NIC on a Microserver (older gen) doesn’t support jumbo frames, so a PCI-e offboard card is tempting anyway. Will report back if and when I test.

The specific symptom of the issue is a failure to get past 82% while ‘Getting Devices Ready…’, and 84% for others. It just sits and spins forever, never getting any further.

Reference data from : http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/b73d4be4-df04-4563-8147-7e87a5c5705c/r2-installation-hangs-at-84-getting-devices-ready?Thread%3Ab73d4be4-df04-4563-8147-7e87a5c5705c=Microsoft.Forums.Data.Models.Discussion&ThreadViewModel%3Ab73d4be4-df04-4563-8147-7e87a5c5705c=Microsoft.Forums.CachedViewModels.ThreadPageViewModel

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10 Comments
  1. Tukimin permalink

    I tried to install R2 on my machine and was having the same issue.. microsoft doesnt address the issue on the R2, end up I completely scrapped off 2012 R2 and install 2008 R2 and it fixed the issue.

  2. It’s obviously a driver issue, I didn’t report back for which I apologise but work has been taking up most of my time recently. Disabling the onboard NIC in the BIOS does solve the issue of getting it installed, and adding an NC112T or NC360T (correct model for the dual-port NIC?) is supported. There are several benefits of the offboard NIC in terms of features, one of the main ones is support for jumbo frames, which can make a considerable difference if your network hardware supports it, most do nowadays. The problem with your solution is you don’t get to use the later OS’s which is what my lab is for. Granted it’s a workaround but a good one and inexpensive, check ebay.

  3. Tuyen Dang permalink

    I have just run into the same issue this afternoon. Your post saves me time. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  4. No problem, thanks for the comment and glad it helped.

  5. nAFutro permalink

    New BIOS mod made by nAFutro
    should be 2012 R2 compatible!
    https://www.dropbox.com/l/oDqTEBplQTMwr4pQwAa12c

  6. HP have released a official BIOS update which resolves this issue/compatibility for Windows Server 2012(R2).

    Download here: http://bit.ly/KXez4e

  7. Good spot, Daniel, the ability to use these inexpensive little boxes to lab the latest OS would be a great bonus! Many thanks.

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