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StormTheDank
1 Copper

Trying to turn a Dell Poweredge 2950 into a PC. Windows installer won't detect disks.

Ok, so i got a server from where my dad works. A Dell PowerEdge 2950. The server where configurated with RAID. I turned it off in the bios but the Windows Installer(Diskpart) still won't detect any disks. Is there a way to completely wipe the server for everything(including RAID) and turn it into a normal PC?  

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4 Replies
theflash1932
5 Iridium

RE: Trying to turn a Dell Poweredge 2950 into a PC. Windows installer won't detect disks.

This is not a PC.

The 2950 requires a controller of some sort to be able to manage the drives. If you have a PERC 5/6, then you must configure disks in a RAID array/Virtual Disk before it will be presented to the OS. If you have a SAS 5/6, then it will also support non-RAID if left unconfigured.

What Windows version are you trying to install. You may also need drivers.

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StormTheDank
1 Copper

RE: Trying to turn a Dell Poweredge 2950 into a PC. Windows installer won't detect disks.

I am trying to install windows 10.  I find the bios very limited to actually do stuff in. And i dont really understand what a controller is. As you might have noticed i am very new to servers 😄 

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theflash1932
5 Iridium

RE: Trying to turn a Dell Poweredge 2950 into a PC. Windows installer won't detect disks.

I find the bios very limited to actually do stuff in.

Yes, but that is by design ... it contains very simple settings for the hardware that cannot be controlled from the operating system (Windows).

i dont really understand what a controller is

All computers have a controller of some sort. In a desktop, you plug your drive into the motherboard and the chipset has SATA functionality built in - that is a controller. We are talking about an add-in controller card here.

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skylarking
3 Silver

RE: Trying to turn a Dell Poweredge 2950 into a PC. Windows installer won't detect disks.

Your Server is a computer that has a central processor (two in fact), RAM, and storage connected to a storage controller.

Your PC, which is again a computer, also has a central processor, RAM and storage that is again connected to a storgae controller.

However the storage controller within a PC is usually provided by the motherboard chipset itself while servers almost exclusively use a dedicated RAID card that storage is connected to. In many cases, either types of 'computers' can provide RAID functions.

Common to both is a BIOS which brings up all sub systems and ultimately the Operating System so that you can use the computer to do the tasks you want it to do. They are a little different since servers must ensure reliability and remote access whereas PC's allow you to fiddle with clock speeds but BIOS is BIOS.

What you will find is that BIOS allows PCIe cards to boot their own firmware (bootROM) and thus perform special actions. There is a setting to allow bootROM on PCIe slots.

In the case of RAID cards within a server, pressing CTRL-C (or CTRL-I or some other key combination depending on RAID card in use) during boot process will result in the bootROM of your RAID card executing (and providing you with an interface so you can set up your HDD in an array).

And to be able to install an OS, you need to first have a storage volume set up on the RAID card. Also, the OS install disk or USB either needs to have the RAID storage card drivers available within the install media itself OR you need to provide them during the install process. Otherwise the install wont see any disks!

As you don't seem to know much about the 2950, it would be worth reading the Hardware Owners Manual which should clear up what the various hardware components do.

Get to know your hardware before trying to install an OS is probably going to save you some hair...

So, RT?M and then you can ask more logical questions once you've digested some info...

Oh, and do a backup so you will have something to roll back to should you have difficulties.

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