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Unattended install of WHS 2011 using HD smaller than minimum required


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I know most people already figured this out in one way or another, and many have moved to 2012 server, but it might be still be useful to people sticking to WHS 2011 like me.


Here are the steps I used to install WHS 2011 on my old HP EX470 with 50GB SSD. These steps also worked to install WHS 2011 on my new HP Microserver Gen8 with 60GB SSD in the ODD SATA in RAID mode. Enjoy.


1. prepare storage
1a. delete all partitions from the target HD to use for installing WHS 2011
1b. prepare usb flash drive with cfg.ini file and custom drivers.
Put all custom drivers in the \drivers folder in the USB flash drive. You will need at very minimum drivers for the storage in case you have the boot drive in a RAID.
If you got drivers in form of .zip or self-expanding .exe you need to store the extracted the files in the flash drive, Windows setup will not expand them for you.
Cfg.ini file content below. Note it points custom drivers to C:\drives assumes the USB flash drive will show up as C: drive during setup execution. I verified this works on Microserver Gen8 only.

PasswordHint=Password Hint
2. prepare a spare desktop PC or laptop for the first stage of install
2a. disconnect all HD from the target desktop PC and install the WHS hard drive
2b. insert WHS 2011 install disk in the desktop PC CDROM drive
2c. insert usb flash drive
3. perform first stage of setup
3a. power on desktop PC and let CDROM start install
3b. shutdown desktop PC when first reboot happens.
Pay attention to this because if you don't, and you let setup continue on the same machine after reboot it will use HAL for that hardware and you will not be able to use the HD to boot in the target server.
4. complete setup on target server
4a. install HD in the server
4b. power on server
wait about 30 mins to complete setup (this might take longer on slower hardware)
Once setup is done it still have other tasks to complete, but all that can be done thru remote desktop.
5. from desktop PC start remote desktop session to server to install updates and other config.
Edited by movedor
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Great writeup Movedor +1 -- thanks for sharing -- I hope to give it a try in the future..................


Just to complete the circle we have at least two other threads on unattended install:


Installing WHS2011 on a Small SSD in a MicroServer!!  Installing WHS2011 on a 60GB SSD!!

Edited by Joe_Miner
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the forum search is not great.

I generally do a google search and include 'homeservershow'.

that seems to be the best way to search the site. 

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the forum search is not great.

I generally do a google search and include 'homeservershow'.

that seems to be the best way to search the site. 


Sad, but oh so true. :huh: 

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yeah, unfortunately, Invision Power does a lot of things right with their package. Search is not one of them. :( 


But yeah, a google or bing search with "site:homeservershow.com" in it usually does the trick.

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