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How to install the Windows Operating System on a Dell Server when other methods fail

How to install the Windows Operating System on a Dell Server when other methods fail

This article covers the situations where the Operating System will not install. These include methods to troubleshoot in the early phases of the installation to gain successful results. The methods covered include:

  • Using a USB Flash Drive
  • Loading the driver in the middle of the install (the Shift + 10 functionality)
  • Getting around Win PE
  • Slip Streaming
  • Links to custom installation methods.

Option 1: Using a USB Flash Drive

The USB method of loading drivers is still prevalent. Use a USB flash drive to load the mass storage driver and the network adapter. This is a manual way to load drivers when other methods don't work. There are many free tools to obtain a USB flash to load drivers. There is also one available from the Dell Drivers and Downloads site. This driver was originally created in 2006 and may generally be appropriate for installing Windows server 2003. There is also a newer version available at the Dell Drivers and Downloads web site, that contains a newer version of the DELL USB F6 driver Utility.

The installation steps are included on the Dell web site and are also included below:


  1. Click Download Now, to download the file.

  2. When the File Download window appears, click Save (Windows XP users will click Save this program to disk) and click OK.
    The Save In: window appears.

  3. From the Save In: field, click the down arrow then click to select Desktop and click Save. The file will download to your desktop.

  4. If the Download Complete window appears, click Close. The file icon appears on your desktop.


  1. Double-click the new icon on the desktop labeled USBKeyPrepA07.exe.

  2. Follow the On-Screen installation instructions to complete installation.

For further information on how to utilize the utility, navigate to the readme located in the Programs menu under USBKeyPrepF6.

Option 2: The Shift + F10 Functionality

Another way to troubleshoot install issues is to use the Shift + F10 functionality in newer operating systems like Windows 2008.

To use this feature, perform the following steps:

  1. Boot to the operating system media disk.

  2. Go to the point where the installer asks where you want to install Windows. Do not click anything here.

  3. Press the Shift-F10 key to bring up a command prompt.
    At this point there is functionality to use DOS, and some command line commands to troubleshoot problems causing the installation to fail.
    One common usage of Shitr+F10 is to navigate to a thumb drive in DOS (x:\temp) where x is the driver letter.

  4. At this point execute the following command: drvload driver.inf
    driver.inf represents the network or RAID driver, or other drivers you wish to install.

Option 3: Win PE

Another issue that may be creating a problem with the installation is Win PE, Win PE may be x86 and the Operating system may be X64. This may occur for any number of reasons, including customer images and usage of certain OEM Windows copies. To work with this situation, it is necessary to have both the 32 and 64 bit versions of the drivers on the USB key at install time.

Option 4: Manually Load Drivers with the windows DVD

See the Microsoft Knowledge article cataloged as Microsoft KB954701.

Option 5: Slip Streaming

The final method for loading the operating system is drastic. It was very common a decade ago. It is called slip streaming the drivers into the operating system. Steps to perform this task entails using a disk burning tool to copy the entire windows installation media to a central location, injecting the driver, and then re-burning the image to new DVD. Fortunately this can be somewhat automated with a free third party tool like NTLite, for example. Using the NTLite tool is not supported by Dell. If you need NTLite support, refer to the NTLite Site.

If you wish to use more exotic ways to install Windows, you can also build your own installation. This is beyond the scope of this document, but does offer another way to install Windows. Reference Microsoft TechNet and knowledgebase articles for more online help.

Quick Tips content is self-published by the Dell Support Professionals who resolve issues daily. In order to achieve a speedy publication, Quick Tips may represent only partial solutions or work-arounds that are still in development or pending further proof of successfully resolving an issue. As such Quick Tips have not been reviewed, validated or approved by Dell and should be used with appropriate caution. Dell shall not be liable for any loss, including but not limited to loss of data, loss of profit or loss of revenue, which customers may incur by following any procedure or advice set out in the Quick Tips.

Article ID: SLN132449

Last Date Modified: 01/04/2017 12:05 AM

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