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Coming back to a ML10 v2 - where to start?


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I have an ML10 v2 that has sat in the box for 3 years that I was wondering if it could still be put to use.  Obviously my support contracted ended years ago, but I recall buying another annual license that must be lying around somewhere to activate.  Is HP still providing firmware and/or support?  I boxed it up when I was moving and never got back to it as the last firmware I had put on it diabled one of the NICs and I never figured out what went on.  I'd been trying to load the GUI-less Hyper-V server as the main OS and that had been a fail as well.


To top it off, I am pretty sure I was following a guide from We Got Served, which is no more, so I am lost.  Where does one find similar guidance for setting up win server essentials?


Do I have to do anything with HP at the firmware level before I move on to putting on an OS?


I don't see any positive impressions of Essentials 2019, so does that mean go with 2016?  I was originally migrating a WHS 2011, but that is long dead now.


Thanks, all!

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The ML10v2 is still a viable system. HPE has firmware and drivers. You need a valid warranty to download BIOS, but all other drivers are free. I think the latest critical BIOS update is free, no warranty required, as it addresses vulnerabilities.

The issue you may be running into while trying to load Hyper-V server maybe the storage controller. Out of the box the ML10v2 has the B120i RAID controller enabled. I believe you need to load a driver for the B120i while installing Hyper-V. If you are not planning on using the B120i, you could change the storage controller from B120i to AHCI.  

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Best practice of course if you can update to the latest firmware ...

… though I never bother unless there is a blocking fault.

Good luck with finding your license.

Certainly worth spending anew (if reluctantly) to get an ML10 v2 working again!

Suspect there would be no shortage of offers for a nearly-new ML10 at a decent 2nd hand price!!


When I started up my DELL workstation for the first time I found only 1 of the 2 network ports working.

As it turned out 1 was deliberately disabled in the BIOS - just needed to be re-enabled!

Thankfully DELL does not use the despised HP BIOS licensing  method and provides a Windows utility for BIOS updates.


In the interests of getting something going … why not try to install Windows 10 as a starter?

Download W10 from another PC (I am assuming you have another Windows PC) using the media creation facility at


to a USB drive.

Mount the drive. Copy in the B120i storage controller driver files.

Boot to USB, load the B120i driver, and install W10 from there.

If I remember correctly one can install a copy of W10 without license or activation.

Obviously there will be restrictions … but at least you'll know you are in business.


Can't help with server stuff … never needed anything that W10Pro cannot do.



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Thanks, Windows 10 is not the worst idea.  I should be able to transfer a license off some other aged hardware.  I did boot the ML10 and I had indeed installed Hyper-V Server 2012, but I don't know that I ever actually managed to load any images into VMs.  No loss to overwrite that.


The NICs looked active in the bios, so not sure there.  Not that I can recall why I thought one was disabled to begin with - must be the notice that comes up when you login into hyper-v server locally. I do notice there are IRQ conflicts but I don't suppose those matter anymore.


Do I need to install a proper video card in the ML10 if using windows 10?


Should I have a preference between internal hard drives and external enclosures for my storage spaces media?  I have a couple 10TB WD externals that can be shucked down to the red nas drives inside.


Thanks!  going to figure out if I have a transferrable Windows 10 license.

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If you have the Intel i3 variant then Intel graphics is on-chip, if you have the nicer XEON variant then you will have integrated Matrox G200.


It looks to me like the ML10 uses LFF = 2.5" HDD's … which are more expensive than 3.5" and limited in capacity to 4TB.

Since you have 2 lovely external 10TB drives I'd keep them (though I don't know what else you have up your sleeve) attached to your two USB 3.0 ports.

I'd be looking for a small (even down to 256GB), cheap SSD to put in one of the LFF bays as a boot drive. That will give you fast boot up, good work-in-progress speed and reasonable speed for any VM's you create (W10 has Hyper-V and the new sandbox feature but it has to be the Pro version).

I wouldn't use Storage Spaces with only 2 drives: use 1 drive for data and the other as a backup device. Take advantage of the externality and keep the backup in the garage or some such.


Gotta check the above in the QuickSpec for your machine:

- graphics within

- LFF = 2.5" low capacity disks

- USB 3.0 (not 2.0 which would be waaaay toooo sloooow)

- W10Pro has enough virtualisation for you (and of course you could then Remote Desktop in)

then you're good.


And I think you can try W10 Pro without a license as a 'look-see' before committing cash later.


Edited by JackoUK
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I think I have 4x3.5 bays and 2x5.25 bays.  I think I have a 1TB WD Black drive in there for O/S but I didn't go into the storage controller to inspect it.  You make a good point about a movable external for backups.  I could then use the internal bays for the 3tb drives in the old WHS box.


Originally I wanted the hypervisor layer first because WHS 2011 is limited to 8GB RAM, so I needed that to go in a VM in another OS.


My O/S donor box is so old the cmos battery was probably dead, and it would not boot.  Hung waiting for input from a PS/2 keyboard, which I no longer own.  Going to have to find a dongle, or figure out how to identify the key on that old IDE drive another way.

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Aha - forgot about those 2 x 5.25 bays.

Many on this forum have had good results with ICYDOCK products.

If you are prepared to spend a little you can buy fittings to turn a 5.25 bay into a 4 x 2.5 bay … and similar.

Providing you have the SATA ports on the motherboard (or buy a PCI SATA disk controller) you can play all sorts of tricks.

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The video on the ML10v2 is Matrox G200 regardless of the CPU. There are drivers that work with Windows 10.

You can add a graphics card if you need better graphics.

I believe the ML10v2 came with non-swappable or  swappable (backplane) 3.5" drive bays.

The only issue you may have with 'shucking' the 10TB drives is the '3.3v sensing pin' issue;


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Thank you both for the great suggestions.  I am just going to keep asking questions, if you don't mind.


First, update: 

The machine I thought was my OS donor was actually an older box that was waiting to be wiped and recycled.  The donor box has a digital entitlement so I am assuming it will just activate on the ML10 when I install there.  Debating whether I want to try a Hyper-V Server 2019 install first or just load win10 as the host layer.   It would probably be more for an educational tool than serving a purpose, unless perhaps there is no way to manage win10 headless.


I also found the unopened ILO Advanced license envelope in the box as well. I got it from a 3rd party off Amazon back in 2015.  Not sure if it will work, or even be needed.



I have 2 8 GB memory modules in it now, not HP, so not SmartMemory, but it works.  I have available 2 x 2GB HP memory and the original 1x 4GB HP memory.  I had bought the 2x2GB assuming that the box was going to come with the same, not a single 4GB module.    I currently have both 8 GBs on the same memory channel (adjacent slots), which confused me as I thought I'd have placed them in color matched slots, one on each channel.  What would be optimal use of these available modules?    One 8 on each channel?  both 8s on same channel?  8s on a channel and both 2s on other channel?  Sell/trade the genuine HP for larger aftermarkets?

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