This article explains how to install an Operating System (OS) on Dell PowerEdge Servers, incl. step-by-step instructions and OS installation videos, e.g. Windows Server 2016 installation with LifeCycle Controller. It mainly applies to servers of 11th to 14th generation (e.g. R610, R620, R630, and R640) but also provides information for older devices.
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.
For installing the operating system, a source media has to be available to the server. The installation files can be provided through:
For installing the operating system on a virtual disk, ensure that a Software RAID or PowerEdge RAID controller is installed and at least two (or more, depending on the desired RAID level) hard-disk drives are available. In specific scenarios, OS can be installed on SD cards.
Two methods are available for installing an operating system:
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.
Steps to follow:
Detailed information about OS Deployment steps can be found in the LifeCycle Controller manual.
Figure 1: PowerEdge 12G Lifecycle Controller GUI
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:
Manual of System Management Tool and Documentation can be downloaded here (English only).
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 import the PERC driver during the OS installation.
Article HOW11629 shows an example of PERC driver loading during the Windows installation.
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:
An unsupported operating system may cause failures during the installation process or not work properly with hardware components.
Select your PowerEdge server to check which operating systems are supported:
For enabling all functions of an operating system, licenses (Windows and ESXi) or subscriptions (Linux) might be needed. Here you find links to the most common vendors of supported operating systems:
Subscription resources for:
If drivers for hardware components are not included in the operating system, download the missing software from the Dell homepage:
Go to www.dell.com/drivers and choose the desired system type by entering the Service Tag or selecting the product type manually.
Select the installed operating system, enter a matching Keyword in the intended field and press Enter.
Now the corresponding drivers are shown below. Click on the download sign to receive the desired file.
Figure 3: Software search on Dell homepage
Since the 14th generation of Dell PowerEdge servers, a factory password is set for preinstalled VMware ESXi. The root password is the Service Tag of the machine. This can be changed during deployment. For previous server generations, there was no password set.
Find more details in the dedicated article Dell 14G PowerEdge: What is the Default VMWare ESXi Root password for R740, R640, and 14G Servers.
|Need more help?|
|Find additional PowerEdge and PowerVault articles|
Visit and ask for support in our Communities
Create an online support Request
Article ID: SLN129177
Last Date Modified: 09/28/2018 04:38 AM
Thank you for your feedback.