The Salty Economist

Things I Should Have Learned in High School
posts - 56, comments - 0, trackbacks - 0

Installing Windows Server 2016

So Yesterday, I started the saga of Installing Windows Sever 2016 on a brand new Shiny DELL Server. I though this would take an hour or two. Boy was I wrong. Here is my story.

Problem #1. The Server 2016 .ISO installer was too big to fit on a DVD.

Well, this is just plain stupid. By itself, this shows the utter disregard that Microsoft has for its customers. So, I don't have a USB drive handy, so I go bug my wife. Low and behold, she has a brand new one. I'm not polite; I don't ask to borrow it. I just assure her that I am taking it and I'll get her a new one. It has like 15GB free, so I think that I am in good shape. I go to copy the Server 2016 .ISO to the USB drive and it barks at me saying there is not enough free disk space. I try again, and get the same result. I then Google some, and I get the answer: "This is due to FAT32 limitation. Files larger than 4GB can NOT be stored on a FAT32 volume. Formatting the flash drive as NTFS will resolve this issue." I ask, why in this day and age would anything be formatted FAT32? So, I then figure out how to format it as NTFS. This is really simple. Just plug the USB drive in, open Windows Explorer and right-click on the drive. One of the options is Format:

Just select Format.  In the Format Window, make sure NTFS is selected and click OK

Voilà!.  I can now copy my 6 GB+ .ISO package to my USB.

Problem #2. I Realize I Actually Need a Bootable USB Drive with my .ISO Package.

Me Bad. I should have realized that I needed a bootable USB Drive, along with my .ISO.

So, I Google some more and find this really good post about someone doing the same thing as me.

Here is the URL:

My sever is actually a Dell T130, but it is still insightful.  I will embellish on the Post.

In order to make a bootable USB, with an .ISO image, first download a free utility: Rufus!

1) Format your USB stick  to UEFI and GPT by downloading the tool from:

2) Start the tool as administrator

3) Select (Browse) to you .ISO file.

4) Select the USB storage device (Already selected by default if only one device). Make the partition scheme to be GPT.  Make the Target System to be 'UEFI'.

5) Make sure file system is NTFS.  Do a quick format.  Click Start.

6) This took 10-15 minutes for me.

No hiccups here.

Problem #3. I Need to Get my Server to Boot from the USB 

No too hard.

On Initial boot, I select F2 and went into System Setup, selected Boot Settings, and changed BIOS to UEFI.

I then selected F12 and went into boot manager.  I selected One-Shot BIOS Boot Menu.  I then selected my USB Drive.

Rebooted.  Yes!  It started to to boot from my USB...I could see windows looking the install files.

Problem #4. The Installer Fails! 

So, now I rubbing may hands, getting to run through the Windows Installer.  I pick US & English....

I now get to select my drive to Install the Operating System on.  I know this is picky, but I want to install it on Drive 0, but setup program says I can only install on Drive 1.  Why?  Because Drive 0 is MBR not GPT.  How do I fix this?

I follow Microsoft's Directions:

To manually wipe a drive and convert it to GPT:

(1) Turn off the PC, and put in the Windows installation DVD or USB key.

(2) Boot the PC to the DVD or USB key in UEFI mode. For more info, see Boot to UEFI Mode or Legacy BIOS mode.

(3) From inside Windows Setup, press Shift+F10 to open a command prompt window.

(4) Open the diskpart tool:


(5) Identify the drive to reformat:

list disk

(6) Select the drive, and reformat it:

select disk <disk number>
convert gpt

(7) Close the command prompt window.

Continue the Windows Setup installation.


OK!.  So, I restart the installer.  I can now pick Drive 0.  I delete the exiting partition(s) so that it is the only partition and is marked unallocated.

I then go on my merry way.

I then get to the screen when Windows copies the required files and starts expanding them.  This task gets 55% done when I get this big ugly message:

Windows cannot install required files. The file may be corrupt or missing. Make sure all files required for installation are available and restart the installation. Error code: 0x80070570.

That's what Microsoft thinks is a helpful message.  Absolutely NO indication what the problem is.  I mean this is a clean install on bare metal.  This should be simple.  I am disgusted. I try a couple more times and I can't past this error.

Google is no help either.  I get a few tips on things to try, but nothing works.

I finally, resign myself to download the .ISO file again (thinking it might be corrupted).  I go through the process of creating a bootable USB again.  This process nearly an hour.

I try again on the install.  It still craps out at 55%.  This is no coincidence.  There is nothing wrong with the .ISO file or the USB.

It's time to go home.

Day 2.  I discover iDrac.

I have a sneaky suspicion that there is a conflict with the USB Driver, so I look for an alternative.

So, the blog post above ( also mentions a way to do a server install from your laptop.  Whoa?  What the hell is this?

Here goes:

(1) iDrac is a pre-installed piece of software that Dell now installs on its servers.  The main purpose on the software is to allow you to manage your server remotely, kind of like Remote Desktop.  But, it works through a Web Interface that works even if there is NO operating system on the server.  The trick here is that iDrac allows you to boot up from a Virtual Media source, which can be an .ISO file connected to a remote computer.  This is cool.  I can see that this may be slow....but, we have gigabit Ethernet in our office, so it can't be that slow.

(2) You need to configure iDrac for your network. On the Server, in the System Setup there is an option for iDrac Settings.  One of the settings here is for the Network. Under Network, there are IP4 settings that allow you to set the Static IP for iDrac, the Gateway and the subnet mask. Assign it a static IP address that works on your network.  I assigned mine to be  Note: this IP is for iDrac, which is different than the IP that you might assign to the actual Windows computer.  Save and reboot.

(3) You can now hit iDrac on the server using a browser.  Open a browser and enter https://<server ip>/.  In my case  I end up with a dumb message about the connection is not safe, but click on advanced and continue to the site.

I now get a login screen:

The user name is root.  The default password is calvin.  You will be prompted to change the password the first time you log on.

Here is the landing page:

From here, you can review manage many of the server settings.  The functionality provided here could take up a book, but what we really care about is being able to boot up from a remote network drive, like the one on my laptop.

That capability is hidden behind the Tab "Attached Media"

It turns out that this Tab is only available in the "Licensed" version of the iDrac Software.

Well, that's really helpful.  So what does a license cost?

$450.24 Smack-a-Roos!  But, look I can save $18.76.  Dell, I gotta tell ya, that sucks.

But, all is not lost.  Dell, to their credit, provides a 30-Day Trial License.

There are a bunch of options, but most importantly is what version of iDrac you have.  So, what version of iDrac do I have?

Good, question.  I looked on all the setup screens on the server and could not find it, other than it said build version

But, I did finally find it here:

So I have version 8.  I then download version 8 download the file and unzip it.

In the screen above, there is a drop down for license options:

That let's you import a file by browsing to the file on your laptop and then clicking apply:

I do that, but get this big ugly:

Now I know my file is a regular xml file because I can open it in notepad.  So, I know the message is bullshit.

I actually go and right-click on the file, and notice that my computer wants to block it because it wasn't from around here.

So, I click Unblock.  I actually have no idea what this does.

Alas, that does not fix the problem;  I still get the same error message.  Though, the thought does occur to me that the error is somehow security/permissions related.

So, the next thing I try s to open the .xml file in notepad.  I copy the contents to another notepad file and save the new file under a new name Xeek.xml.  I then retry the import...and hold my breath.  It works!

I'm licensed.  But, I need to get my operating system installed in 30 days or I am out $450.

So, the next 2 steps are to (1) identify the attached image file path; and (2) reboot the server using the attached media.

(1) identify the attached image file path.

That is here:

Note:  There is no browse button.  You need to type the full address.

For the full image path, use the IP local address of your computer.  This is so the server can find your computer.  Computer names might work, but I know the IP will.  After the IP, append the file share and the .ISO name.

Here is mine:$/SW_DVD9_Win_Server_STD_CORE_2016_64Bit_English_-4_DC_STD_MLF_X21-70526.ISO

Then type connect.  Bang. we're now connected.

Now, the last thing we need to do is reboot the server using the attached media

In order to do this, you need to stoke up the virtual machine console:

Click on launch console.  "Launching the Console" involves downloading a viewer.jlnp file.

Once downloaded, click open.

I presume this is a Java application.  It just worked on my laptop, so I assume I had a recent enough version.  But who knows, I was just glad I didn't have to fight with installing the "correct" version of Java, which always is a pain in the ass.


After clicking "open,"  you taken through a bunch of security screens.  Just Click OK to everything.

Finally, the console appears: 

This is the console.  The screen you see is the System Setup screen on the server.  At this point, you have full control of the server and can basically do anything you could as if you were sitting down in front of it.

Notice at the top there is a menu item:  'Next Boot'

Drop down that menu item.  Here is where we can tell the system to boot from our virtual .ISO file.

Select that option:

So, our next task is to do a reboot.

From the Power menu item, reboot the server:



The system will now reboot from your virtual .ISO file.

Ah, I see the windows 'Loading Files' scroll across the screen.  I am in.

I go through the server setup like before....I hold my breath as it expands the files... 53% 54% 55%.... 56%.  I'm finally past 55%.

After that, getting the server up and running was a piece of cake. 












Print | posted on Thursday, October 18, 2018 3:57 PM |

Powered by:
Powered By Subtext Powered By ASP.NET