navissa
2 Iron

What to do first after fresh install...

Hi,

I am planning on installing a clean version of Windows 7 on my T620. Yes, I understand that the T620 is not supposed to run Windows 7, but, with the excellent help of this forum, I was able to get it done! It wasn't that hard actually... in retrospective you know, ha ha. 

Anyhow, my question now is, what software do you guys recommend to install, right after installing a fresh copy of Windows 7? I am talking about programs like Dell OpenManage Power Center V3.0, Dell Windows Debugger Utility, Dell Lifecycle Controller LC2 and what not?! There are so many of them! I am sure I don't need 99% of them, but which ones do I "need"? 

I am using my computer for everyday stuff, nothing fancy. A little bit of video editing here and there, but that's about it. Maybe I just need the one program that checks if your system is up to date and installs driver when needed...?!

thanks,

Georgios

p.s. What are you guys using for bare metal backups? Anything, or RAID only?! I tried Acronis, Macrium and a few others but none of them finds my HDD on boot-up?! But that's a different subject.

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12 Replies
skylarking
3 Zinc

RE: What to do first after fresh install...

If your not using the machine as a real server, you shouldn't require all those remote access management and support features dell provides. So you don't need to install much after the client os. In any case quite a few, if not all of dell's management apps require a real server os and won't install on a client os. About all that is helpfull is something to manage your raid array from within the client os and as such it's best to can use the software intended for Dell's workstations to accomplish this... Updates are simple enough to handle manually on one machine...

As for backups, repeat after me... RAID IS NOT A BACKUP... RAID IS NOT A BACKUP...

The purpose of a raid system is more to do with availablitiy than to protect from a catastrophy. For example, one hdd crashes and your server will still function when using raid5/6... but a tech will be sent to the server and replaces the faulty hdd at which point the array will be automatically rebuilt, all while the server is doing it's job. Compare this to a big power surge will fries the server where panic sets in and a tech is sent urgentyly to site to install a new system and recover the system from their backup tapes. Raid will not and can not help in all situations so must never be relied upon as a backup...

Now as for backups, it seems there was some issues with bootable Semantic Ghost discs not finding raid arrays as they didn't have the needed drivers. There was some web chatter on how to fix this and google should help find it but i'm not sure if the latest package provides a fix. Possibly Macrium has the same issue when booting - cant see raid array due to missing drivers...

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theflash1932
6 Indium

RE: What to do first after fresh install...

Well, running Windows 7, you can't run most of the software on the T620 download page, as it will not run on a non-server OS. Which programs you "need" depends on what you plan to do with the server. As far as systems management tools, you are out of luck and will need to rely solely on the iDRAC for information and notifications.

Make sure you have drivers loaded for all the hardware in Device Manager and for anything that might be using a "generic" driver.

As for backups, there are lots of programs to use (I personally despise Ghost), but you can use Windows 7's built-in backup, which is what I use in 99% of cases. I will emphasize what was already said about RAID: it is not a backup. It should not be considered as part of your backup strategy at all.

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navissa
2 Iron

RE: What to do first after fresh install...

If your not using the machine as a real server, you shouldn't require all those remote access management and support features dell provides. So you don't need to install much after the client os. In any case quite a few, if not all of dell's management apps require a real server os and won't install on a client os. About all that is helpfull is something to manage your raid array from within the client os and as such it's best to can use the software intended for Dell's workstations to accomplish this... Updates are simple enough to handle manually on one machine... 

Hi,

I did not know that not every app works on Windows 7, but it makes totally sense. Since I am not running it as a Server, I guess I really don't need all those fancy apps. That's good. You say that updates are simple enough to handle manually on one machine. Probably, but not for me. I really don't know what components  are in my T620. Going to the driver download page for a T620 doesn't help either. There are a million different drivers and apps to download, and I have no idea which ones I need. I used to pretty much download every single one of them and see if I could install it. If it worked, fine. If not, I would not try again the next time, ha ha. That cannot be good for your system...  It would be nice to have either a program tell me what components I have, so I can then manually look for updates, or a program that updates everything on its own. I know Dell makes something like that! A Dell Tech used to ask me to run a certain program, which would collect all the information of my system. He would then look at the Log file and see what is up to date, and what not. I can find the damn name of that program anymore! 

 As for backups, repeat after me... RAID IS NOT A BACKUP... RAID IS NOT A BACKUP...

The purpose of a raid system is more to do with availablitiy than to protect from a catastrophy. For example, one hdd crashes and your server will still function when using raid5/6... but a tech will be sent to the server and replaces the faulty hdd at which point the array will be automatically rebuilt, all while the server is doing it's job. Compare this to a big power surge will fries the server where panic sets in and a tech is sent urgentyly to site to install a new system and recover the system from their backup tapes. Raid will not and can not help in all situations so must never be relied upon as a backup... 

YES, you're right! RAID is not a Backup! I believe you mentioned that before, but I keep forgetting it... 

 Now as for backups, it seems there was some issues with bootable Semantic Ghost discs not finding raid arrays as they didn't have the needed drivers. There was some web chatter on how to fix this and google should help find it but i'm not sure if the latest package provides a fix. Possibly Macrium has the same issue when booting - cant see raid array due to missing drivers...

I have the same issue. No matter what program I tried, they cannot find my HDD. Even when I supply the driver, they still cannot find my HDD?! I tried Google and Acronis Support but nothing worked... Anyhow, I am going to search again for a solution. Would changing the RAID configuration from like 1 to 0 help?!

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navissa
2 Iron

RE: What to do first after fresh install...

Well, running Windows 7, you can't run most of the software on the T620 download page, as it will not run on a non-server OS.

Copy that...

 Which programs you "need" depends on what you plan to do with the server. As far as systems management tools, you are out of luck and will need to rely solely on the iDRAC for information and notifications.

Hey, I think that is the program I am talking about?! You run iDRAC and it collects all the info of your system, right? YOu can then look up what components and drivers you have, correct? That might be all I need?!

 Make sure you have drivers loaded for all the hardware in Device Manager and for anything that might be using a "generic" driver.
OK

 As for backups, there are lots of programs to use (I personally despise Ghost), but you can use Windows 7's built-in backup, which is what I use in 99% of cases. I will emphasize what was already said about RAID: it is not a backup. It should not be considered as part of your backup strategy at all.

I have to give Ghost another try. Maybe it works now with my system?! I never really tried the Windows 7 build in backup. I have to take a closer look and see what it can do. I am used to the way bare-metal backup work. Anyhow, glad to see that Skylarking and you are still around. Thanks for the help!

G

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navissa
2 Iron

RE: What to do first after fresh install...

About all that is helpfull is something to manage your raid array from within the client os and as such it's best to can use the software intended for Dell's workstations to accomplish this...

One more question about the above statement... Managing your RAID array from within the client os doesn't mean you can change from RAID 1 to RAID 0 on the fly, right? Every single time you change the RAID configuration, it deletes all your date, correct?

thanks,

G

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theflash1932
6 Indium

RE: What to do first after fresh install...

You say that updates are simple enough to handle manually on one machine. Probably, but not for me. I really don't know what components  are in my T620. Going to the driver download page for a T620 doesn't help either. There are a million different drivers and apps to download, and I have no idea which ones I need. I used to pretty much download every single one of them and see if I could install it. If it worked, fine. If not, I would not try again the next time, ha ha. That cannot be good for your system... Embarrassed It would be nice to have either a program tell me what components I have, so I can then manually look for updates, or a program that updates everything on its own. I know Dell makes something like that! A Dell Tech used to ask me to run a certain program, which would collect all the information of my system. He would then look at the Log file and see what is up to date, and what not. I can find the [admin note: profanity removed per TOU] name of that program anymore!

If you need help determining what needs to be updated and which files to use, let us know what you are trying to update, and we can help you find them. Most (but possibly not all) the driver and firmware update packages will run in Windows 7 (just use the drivers for 2008 R2).

Dell does make two utilities for updating everything at once: RM (Repository Manager) and SUU (Server Update Utility). You will not be able to update the system from within the OS with either of these utilities, because the OS is not supported. You can, however, run both of them as bootable utilities to update the system outside of the OS.

DSET is probably the tool you used to collect system information, but it also will not run in Windows 7.

OMSA Live can be used as a bootable utility to run DSET and/or collect system information. You can also get most system information through the iDRAC.

No matter what program I tried, they cannot find my HDD. Even when I supply the driver, they still cannot find my HDD?! I tried Google and Acronis Support but nothing worked... Anyhow, I am going to search again for a solution. Would changing the RAID configuration from like 1 to 0 help?!

Changing the RAID level will not help. Even on controllers that support non-RAID, drivers for that controller would still be necessary. You need to use software either natively capable of communicating with the specific controller OR gives you the ability to load/add the appropriate drivers.

I am used to the way bare-metal backup work.

Windows 7's built-in backup does "bare metal" restores too.

Managing your RAID array from within the client os doesn't mean you can change from RAID 1 to RAID 0 on the fly, right? Every single time you change the RAID configuration, it deletes all your date, correct?

Managing RAID from the OS is more like monitoring the health and status of the disks in the RAID array. Yes, you can [sometimes] change the RAID levels/properties, but that is not often done, and isn't usually something you can/would do over and over. You would need to know the rules of which RAID levels can be converted and which ones can't, but you can ask if you plan to or need to. Most RAID changes from the OS are done live and on the fly, leaving data intact.

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navissa
2 Iron

RE: What to do first after fresh install...

If you need help determining what needs to be updated and which files to use, let us know what you are trying to update, and we can help you find them. Most (but possibly not all) the driver and firmware update packages will run in Windows 7 (just use the drivers for 2008 R2).

Well, the problem is that I don't know what files I need, or which hardware needs to be updated. A good start would be, if I knew what hardware I actually have. That should not be that hard to find out. Once I know that, I can go and manually pick the latest driver, i.e. the Power Supply. I know it is 1100W but that's all I know. When I go to the Dell's Product Support Site for T620 drivers, there are five 1100W power supplies?! Which one do I have?! 

 Dell does make two utilities for updating everything at once: RM (Repository Manager) and SUU (Server Update Utility). You will not be able to update the system from within the OS with either of these utilities, because the OS is not supported. You can, however, run both of them as bootable utilities to update the system outside of the OS.

DSET is probably the tool you used to collect system information, but it also will not run in Windows 7.

Actually, RM and DSET installed fine on my system, and I am able to run them! BUT, I am still a little bit lost. RM for example, has to many option for me to choose from, so I have no idea what to do... However, if RM is one of the programs I can use, to automatically collect all updates for my system and my drivers, I am of course willing to sit down and figure out how to use it. I just tried it and it downloaded 100+ folders on my desktop, ha ha. 

I never tried SUU.

I have a DSET report but it still makes it hard to figure out what hard ware I have, e.g. when I look at what power supplies I have, it does not give me any specific serial number or model number...

OMSA Live can be used as a bootable utility to run DSET and/or collect system information. You can also get most system information through the iDRAC.

Gonna have to look into that...

 Changing the RAID level will not help. Even on controllers that support non-RAID, drivers for that controller would still be necessary. You need to use software either natively capable of communicating with the specific controller OR gives you the ability to load/add the appropriate drivers.

Well, after installing the latest Server version of Acronis, I am able to fully use it! No more "cant find hard drive" issues!!!

 Windows 7's built-in backup does "bare metal" restores too.

Man, I had no idea!!! I just checked that out and it works great! Not srue what the pros and cons between Acronis and the Windows 7 recovery is, but it can be found out! Thanks!!!

 Managing RAID from the OS is more like monitoring the health and status of the disks in the RAID array. Yes, you can [sometimes] change the RAID levels/properties, but that is not often done, and isn't usually something you can/would do over and over. You would need to know the rules of which RAID levels can be converted and which ones can't, but you can ask if you plan to or need to. Most RAID changes from the OS are done live and on the fly, leaving data intact.

Thanks for the info! Since I do not have the problem with Acronis anymore, I really don't want to change the RAID array anymore. However, it would be interesting to do it a couple of times and run HDD speed tests to see which RAID gives me the best performance when it comes to video editing...

thanks!

Georgios

p.s. I am still not 100% sure which program will automatically update my system, but it sounds like it is either RM or SUU, right?! If it is SUU, how can it do that automatically if it cannot run from the OS?!

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theflash1932
6 Indium

RE: What to do first after fresh install...

Yes, the first step is to become familiar with your hardware. Just like any computer, maintenance depends on your familiarity with computers in general and your model specifically.

The power supply firmware is different for different vendors, so finding out the brand you have would be your first step and only unknown. Device Manager will probably tell you, but if not, you can just open the box and look at the PSU. Your order details may also say which one was shipped with it. I just want to point out that those files are FIRMWARE updates, NOT drivers.

RM would be used to CREATE bootable media for updating all the firmware. Sync with Dell.com, choose the T620 bundle (LINUX ONLY), and export as a bootable ISO.

SUU can usually be run from within the OS to update all firmware AND drivers, but it is really unlikely it will run in Windows 7. If you want to use SUU, you will also need SMTD - boot to SMTD, choose Update Firmware, then insert the SUU DVD when prompted for the updates repository.

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navissa
2 Iron

RE: What to do first after fresh install...

Sorry. It took me a while to get back to you... 

Those files are Firmware updates and NOT drivers. Copy that!

Not sure if I wan to try RM?! The idea of having to boot in order to update my system bugs me. For no reason, ha ha. 

I believe I installed SUU the other day and when I click the desktop shortcut it opens my browser and I see this:

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