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Installing WHS2011 on a small SSD in a MicroServer


Joe_Miner
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I found that the method outlined in the article at http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/4049-installing-whs-2011-on-60gb-ssd/ didn't quite cover everything when I attempted to use an ini file to install WHS2011 onto a 60GB SSD in the MicroServer.

 

Using Keller’s article as a “template” I followed the steps below to install WHS-2011 on a 60GB SSD in my MicroServer:

 

1. Removed all hard drives from the MicroServer except for the 60GB that will be my WHS-2011 OS drive. (The SSD is attached to the SATA II port on the Mother-Board and is positioned below the ODD bay and above the 4 drive cage – held in place with blue electrical tape)

 

2. Formatted a NTFS USB Flash Drive, and create a file on it using notepad in the root called cfg.ini. (Insuring there is nothing else on the USB)

 

3. Opened the cfg.ini in notepad.

 

4. Cut and Paste the following into the cfg.ini file below:

 

[WinPE]

ConfigDisk=1

CheckReqs=0

WindowsPartitionSize=MAX

 

NOTE: If the SSD is bigger than 104GB you will have to change “WindowsPartitionSize=” from “MAX” to a number less than 104132 – “MAX” will not work if your SSD is bigger than 104GB! (I learned this the hard way by trying to install on a 128GB SSD that I originally had in the MicroServer. I ended up going with the 60 for better performance in the MicroServer and I had someplace else I could use the 128 :D )

 

5. Closed the file and save it on the USB Flash Drive.

 

6. Insert the USB Flash Drive with the cfg.ini file into an empty USB port on the front of the MicroServer.

 

7. Attached my external DVD burner/player into another empty USB port on the front of the MicroServer with the WHS-2011 install DVD in it.

 

8. Powered up the MicroServer.

 

9. Hit the “F10” repeatedly to go into the BIOS setup for the MicroServer. (I'm use to Gigabyte which used the DEL key to go to the BIOS -- took me awhile to figure out what I was doing wrong! :D )

 

10. Check the Boot Order of the MicroServer (It took a lot of fails for me to figure this out) and make sure the order is: SSD, DVD drive, USB – before starting I had removed both volumes from the SSD -- I assigned the USB Device Boot Priority to [Low] in the BIOS

 

11. Once the Server had booted off the install DVD the Installer read the CFG.ini file and began the automated install process. NO User Input was required. If it asks if this is a New Installation or Repair an Existing installation – something is wrong.

 

12. When the “Installing Windows” screen was displayed and “Copying Windows Files” said that it was about 5% done -- I pulled out the USB Flash Drive.

 

13. From that point on the install went like any other.

 

14. The installer did not need drivers for the MicroServer – Once the installation was done the NIC was already active.

 

NOTE: If for any reason the install fails be sure to check the cfg.ini file and be sure it only has the instructions above (if the installer had already processed the ini file it will add a line of code, “Processed=true” at the end of the instructions that you will need to remove before trying again). If the install did fail I would guess it is most likely the BIOS boot order or your tried a SSD bigger than 104GB without changing the “WindowsPartitionSize” variable.

 

Be sure to also check out the article: How To Install Windows Home Server 2011

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That's strange, I just installed whs 2011 with flash drive 9so I don't have to mess with attaching the slow DVD) onto my 120GB SSD just fine. I used mostly the same method.

 

The only difference I see is that I formatted the usb with fat32 and installed from usb drive, neither of which should matter.

 

Maybe you have a flakey 128GB drive?

 

I use this video for making my usb install drive I found long ago from technet:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/video/installing-win7-using-a-usb-stick.aspx

 

Then I created the cfg.ini exactly like you have.

 

-=Mark=-

also, if your SSD had data on it beforehand, you NEED to secure erase it or the MLCC chips freakout from not being properly erased.

 

I use Parted Magic boot CD forsecure erase:

http://partedmagic.com/doku.php?id=start

 

I found this method from Kingston's forums when I had huge issues with their SSDs:

This is odd, I can't find Kingston forums. Did they close them down?

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That's strange, I just installed whs 2011 with flash drive 9so I don't have to mess with attaching the slow DVD) onto my 120GB SSD just fine. I used mostly the same method.

The only difference I see is that I formatted the usb with fat32 and installed from usb drive, neither of which should matter.

Maybe you have a flakey 128GB drive?

I use this video for making my usb install drive I found long ago from technet:

http://technet.micro...-usb-stick.aspx

Then I created the cfg.ini exactly like you have.

-=Mark=-

also, if your SSD had data on it beforehand, you NEED to secure erase it or the MLCC chips freakout from not being properly erased.

-snip-

 

Cool! That is interesting. I guess “your mileage may vary” plays here. :D

 

WindowsPartitionSize-MAX with the 128GB SSD caused a WindowsPartitionSize failure for me. When I set WindowsPartitionSize=61440 it worked for the 128GB M4 SSD. Actually, any value less than WindowsPartitionSize=104132 has been reported to work for the large SSD’s.

 

When I got it to work at 61440 I didn't try it with larger sizes (except 100000) to see at what point it would fail. Our SSD's are different sizes so it could be your 120 formatted to below the cutoff point and so maybe the 104K value isn't correct. That's just wild speculation on my part. The important thing is we both got it to install.

 

I used a external DVD drive because that’s what I had and I was installing a retail copy of WHS2011 so I had the DVD from the package. Since I was trying to follow Keller’s process as much as possible that fit nicely.

 

There’s nothing wrong with installing from a flash drive and If you plan to do a lot of installs it is certainly the fastest overall – just a bit different process.

 

I doubt that my Crucial is flakey (though I may be :P ). Right now, My Crucial M4 128GB is my OS drive (attached to SATA III Port 0) in my HyperV server.

 

I’ve upgraded the firmware of all my Crucial’s to the latest (000F). My main reason for going with the Corsair in the MicroServer was the much better Write performance of the Force-3 on the SATA II Port 5 of the MicroServer.

 

I didn’t believe a secure erase was necessary.

 

Before each attempt I plugged my SSD’s into my Docking Station attached to my desktop and unallocated the partitions.

 

During boot the MicroServer would see the unallocated HD and would move to the DVD and start loading 2011. During installation 2011 would partition and format the unallocated drive.

 

After WHS2011 was loaded I checked (using Crystal Disk Info) that TRIM is active on the SSD. Stablebit Scanner also shows TRIM active.

Edited by Joe_Miner
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  • 2 months later...

I think I found the MAX partition size issue. I just had to reinstall WHS 2011 on my old 60GB SSD I got back from my sister's old rig and when I just now installed WHS 2011 I got the max size error, but it said my max was 46,999 limit. I thought that was wierd and remembered the cfg file needed editing and removed the, "Processed=True" and then reran the install and it went just fine.

 

Maybe you had the already run the install once and on your editing the partition size you had this true statement and removed it then? not sure. But it worked for me.

 

-=Mark=-

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  • 1 month later...

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