Installing Win2K12 R2 on my Dell R720

I need to turn this R720 into a Windows server to do some Hyper-V stuff.  First I had an issue with ISO booting in iDRAC, and then when I got to the point in the setup for dealing with the disk it had problems with my HDD and SSD.  This was an ex-ESXi box, so I had used SystemRescueCD to erase the partitions.  I figured I needed some sort of driver for the H710 adapter. I figured the Load driver option would be a bit difficult with working over iDRAC.

But I tried a number of things and I had to actually call Dell support.  It did not take me long to get to someone who knew what he was talking about.  The first thing I learned is that they recommend to not install from ISO but install from or via the LifeCycle Controller.  He mentioned that would make sure that the proper Dell Windows support files would be in place for the install.  Cool.  We tried that and it did not work any different.

Long story short here - is the key info.

  • I could see the disks, so no drivers were needed.
  • Disable of my SD (which I used to have ESXi on) allowed things to work. I can enable them if necessary once install is finished.
  • After the install of Win2K12 R2 I would have still needed to update drivers.  But how many I am not sure.  With my doing this via the LifeCycle I know that a number of drivers where in fact installed.
  • When Dell drivers have Update in the name or description it means it will run in Windows and so you need Windows to deal with it.  If it says Hardware in the name or description it means you can put it on floppy or USB and load it when necessary.
  • BTW, there will be an OEMDRV drive left over when you are done using the LifeCycle Controller.  Related to the install of drivers I think.  I am told it will only be active for 18 hours.  Meaning it will disappear after 18 hours.

And what makes me smile, is that I thought installing Windows on the R720 would be mostly the same as virtual.  But not so much!  All the stuff I do in the template I am now doing in this new machine.  I need to figure out Dell patching.  My OpenManage snap-in for vCenter that patches my Dell ESXi hosts is not going to help on this physical Windows host.  At least my GPO helps a lot with much of the config.  Now I am ready for Hyper-V.

You can find the TWP on iDRAC with LifeCycle Controller for more info if you are interested.

And here is some screenshots in case it helps.  The first two are the disappearing F:.

And the next is the odd problem with the SD’s enabled.

I cannot get past this screen, and yet when I have the SD disabled, and the drive 3 disappears from the screenshot I can New, and Format, and hit next successfully.

Hope that this helps, and if it helps I can add screenshots and more info.


  • 12/5/15 - I used this document to download and install the Repository Manger and build an ISO that I could use to update this server.  I actually just extracted the ISO on a network share and it was easy to do a full update of the host.  That is important to note - doing the install with the LifeCycle Controller got things working but did not do so with all of the most current drivers.  So for me I had Power Supply, disk firmware, iDRAC firmware and more to be updated.  So that was sort of easy with this if you ignore all of the other stuff.  And yes, there is lots to ignore.
  • 12/4/15 - You know that 18 hour thing?  It worked.  Did not time exactly the 18 hours but close and it is gone.


=== END ===

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