Knowledge Base

How to install the operating system on a Dell PowerEdge Server ? (OS deployment)

This article explains how to install an Operating System (OS) on Dell PowerEdge Servers. OS Installation videos are provided at the bottom of the page, e.g. Windows Server 2016 installation with LifeCycle Controller.

Please read the 3 below points before starting the OS deployment:

Please check the supported operating systems with your PowerEdge model.
If needed, this article explains how to identify the generation of the server.
Before installing a new operating system, please update the server firmware to benefit all the features
This article explains how to update a PowerEdge Server.
When installing an operating system, the installation media has to be available to the server and a storage place accessible. The following prerequisites are met:

Installing the Operating System

2 methods are available when installing an Operating system:

1) Using LifeCycle Controller for Supported OS
  • Windows Server
  • Linux Based Distributions
For the previous generation of servers, 9G and 10G, the LCC feature was not released. The alternative is to boot from the "Systems Management Tools and Documentation DVD" to access the live deployment interface. Find more information about SMTD deployment.

2) Booting directly on the OS Media
  • VMware ESXI distributions
  • OS Installation on PowerEdge T20 / T30
  • Non-supported OS by LCC

1) Using the LifeCycle Controller

This is the preferred method to install the OS. The LifeCycle Controller simplifies the installation of the Operating System with the "OS Deployment" feature. When using this feature, drivers are pre-loaded before the installation process. The OS is smoothly installed as all components are well recognized by the OS.

Note: When accessing the LifeCycle Controller for the first time, a wizard will be displayed to assist the initial configuration. If needed, configuration steps are detailed in the manual:
Initial Configuration of the Dell Lifecycle Controller.

Steps to follow:
  1. Press F10 during boot to enter the Lifecycle Controller (LCC)

  2. Select OS Deployment in the left-hand menu

  3. Click Deploy OS

  4. Select Configure RAID First or Go Directly to OS Deployment depending on if you have a RAID set up already or not

  5. If applicable, follow the wizard to set up the RAID disk

  6. Select the Operating System: The boot mode can be set on BIOS or UEFI. The matching boot mode has to be configured properly in the "System Services" settings (F2)

  7. Select Manual or Unattended/Automatic install as needed

  8. Insert the OS installation media (DVD Drive, USB, Virtual Media of iDRAC)

  9. Follow the OS installation wizard (If Manual install has been selected)
Detailed information about OS Deployment steps can be found in the LifeCycle Controller manual.

Note: The list of Dell-supported operating systems changes based on the driver packs updated on the system. To update drivers, download the latest OS Driver pack associated to your server.

Figure 1: PowerEdge 12G Lifecycle Controller GUI

Alternative: Installing the OS on 9G and 10G Server with SMTD

For 9G and 10G Dell Servers, the LifeCycle Controller feature was not released. The alternative is to use the "Systems Management Tools and Documentation DVD ISO" file which allows after booting on the file to deploy a supported OS. This file can also be used to update any Dell Server just by booting on it.

Steps to install the OS:
  1. Download the ISO file and burn it to a DVD (or on a USB device)
  2. Boot on the DVD and proceed with OS deployment
  3. Follow the SMTD installation instructions and then insert the OS installation media.
Manual of System Management Tool and Documentation can be downloaded here.

When manually installing an Operating System, the PERC driver may be missing. In that scenario, the drives are not recognized and no disk or storage place will be recognized for the installation.
Please download and manually load the PERC drive during the OS installation.

Article HOW11629 shows an example of PERC driver loading during the Windows installation.

2) Booting directly on the Operating System Media

It is possible to boot directly from the OS installation media to install the operating system. Some components of the server may be not recognized as the OS media may not include all the needed drivers. Drivers can be downloaded from the Dell Support site and installed later once the OS will be installed.

Steps to follow:
  1. Insert the OS installation media (DVD Drive, USB, Virtual Media of iDRAC) and boot on it.
  2. Press F11 during startup to select the boot device.
  3. Follow the OS installation wizard
  4. Once the OS is installed, manually install the missing drivers.


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Article ID: SLN129177

Last Date Modified: 08/22/2017 04:01 AM

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