Hey all. I just wanted to share my experience with installing Windows 2008R2 Standard edtion OS on a new Dell PowerEdge T420 server.
We purchased the T420 server without the PERC controller and also without an OS because Windows 2012 is the only option at this point. We wanted to stay with Windows 2008 for reasons I won't get into here. Anyways, we purchased a Dell Windows 2008R2 installation disc from a vendor we deal with. Trying to install the OS was definitely a chore and should not have been this tough. Hopefully this helps someone else out because searching the internet for a solution, there was a lot of misinformation out there as to the reason why the OS won't load. Dell tech support was no help either, I had to come up with a solution on my own.
Here's the solution:
1. We started out with installing the Dell disc that comes with the server. Dell Systems Management Tools.
2. Let the installation go through it's process, but don't try to install the OS from here. You will only end up getting the error "A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing"
3. We need to have a USB flash drive for installing the OS from. You can get instructions from here:
The link does mention Windows 7, but this procedure is the same no matter what OS you are installing.
4. After making the bootable USB drive, then insert the installation media into the CD/DVD drive of your PC and copy the entire contents over to the USB drive.
5. After the copy is done, plug the USB drive into the server and make sure to have the server boot from the USB device.
6. The installer at this point will run from the USB device and should not complain about the CD/DVD device drivers any longer. Installation so go through fine unless it asks for another driver.
In my case Dell support either kept pointing the finger at the S110 PERC controller, which we do not have on this server. Or they claim the CD/DVD was burned too fast and to burn it slower. Which in our case, this is a OEM disc that was created for Dell. So save yourself the headache and try the USB method first. In my case this was the resolution.
In general, 99% of the time that you get the "CD/DVD driver missing" message with Windows 7/2008R2, it is because of faulty media (bad download, bad burn, bad media, etc.). The only time it is legit is if Windows really can't talk to the controller for the optical drive for lack of driver support. If the DVD drive is connected to the onboard SATA ports, and Windows does not have native drivers that will work, then drivers need to be added. ALL T420's come with the S110 controller - it is a rebranded version of Intel's chipset RAID. If it is enabled, Windows will need a driver for it. If it is not being used, it should be disabled.
In any case, I'm glad it worked out for you.
I fully understand that if I burned the disc that the faulty media might be the problem. I didn't burn the disc because it is a OEM Dell install disc purchased from a 3rd party. If the media was faulty, then trying to copy the files to a bootable USB drive would have resulted in a copy error of some kind. Which never happened.
I also tried the S110 drivers that Dell provides and that didn't resolve the issue either. This was the first area that Dell tech had me try. Which I did before calling them. Either way it didn't work. Even tried the complete driver package Dell provides in the download section for this server. Made absolutely no difference.
Tried installing the OS from the LifeCycle controller as well. That turned up with the same issue of the CD/DVD drive missing. I would think that if the S110 driver was the issue, then by installing the OS from the USB drive I would have hit the problem of not seeing the hard drives correct? The hard drives and CD/DVD drive is all connected to the same equipment. Installing from USB went through without a hickup. The CD/DVD driver missing problem occurs when the installation starts collecting information before you even get to the question of where do you want to install the OS.
Regardless, I hope this information helps anyone else out that hits this problem. I know my search led me to finding my own answer.