Thursday, December 30, 2010

Windows Server 2008 R2 on an HP Proliant DL380 G5

Here is a long story about the problems I encountered trying to build a quick lab environment at the office. For a little background, back in the days of Compaq Proliant servers and the early days following the HP merger, I knew this hardware pretty well. But anything after the G2 era, my focus was not on the server hardware, but on the applications and storage.

I pulled two HP Proliant DL380 G5 servers out of the storage room, installed eight gigs of memory and filled the drive bays with a mix of 72 and 146 gigabyte drives. Except for the minimal ram, they seemed like they would make fine lab servers.

I popped in a trusty Windows Server 2008 R2 DVD and let the install begin, and walked away. I returned to what seemed like a minor glitch, an error message that read "The computer restarted unexpectedly or encountered an unexpected error. Windows instlation cannot proceed. To install Windows, click "OK" to restart the computer, and then restart the installation"

What seemed minor was not so, a simple reboot didn't fix it, and I got the same error when trying to install on the other server, but this time I didn't walk away during the instillation, I watched, and realized that I had a bigger problem, the dreaded blue screen of death.


Stop: 0x000000FE (0x0000000000000008, 0x0000000000000006, 0x0000000000000006, 0xFFFFFA8006ffa000)

A bigger problem, yes, but it seemed simple enough, as these issues are normally just a driver problem and I figured that installing with the HP Proliant SmartStart CD would do the trick. I didn't have one handy, so I downloaded the latest version, 8.6, from HP's web site. Unfortunately, a whole new problem emerged as the SmartStart installer could not detect the HP SmartArray P400 controller and no drives were available for installation. Easy, I thought, I'll just try the previous version of SmartStart, 8.5, but that didn't work either. I decided to try one more version of SmartStart, the earliest version that supported Windows Server 2008 R2, which was 8.3, which successfully recognized the controller and let me continue with the installation. Unfortunately, the outcome was the same as my previous attempts with just the Windows DVD, a blue screen failure during setup.

Thinking back to the day when I worked with server hardware more regularly, I figured I should update the BIOS, Firmware, etc. as I knew they were quite out of date. The DL380 G5 was at BIOS Version P56 with a date of 11/8/2006 and the SmartArray controller was at version 1.18.

I thought that HP had released bootable CDs that you could use to update your firmware components, but I wasn't able to find it in my time frame, so I did the next best thing, downloaded the 32 bit edition of the SmartStart CD, keeping with the 8.3 version that recognized the array controller before. I installed Windows Server 2003. Windows Server 2003 installed just fine and I was able to use that as the base operating system for installing all the firmware updates the server needed.

Once the hardware had been updated, I returned to the 64 bit HP SmartStart 8.6 CD to install Windows Server 2008 R2. As I expected, the 8.6 CD recognized the array controller, and I was able to install Windows Server 2008 R2 without a hitch. Finally, I can do what I had planned to do during this slow week between Christmas and the new year.

I don't miss this, but I'm glad I had the past experience to call upon.

Old Firmware:
BIOS Version P56 11/8/2006
HP Smart Array P400 v 1.18
HP NC-Series Broadcom NIC v1.9.6
Disk Drives HPD9
Disk Drives HPD5

New Firmware:
BIOS Version P56 04/26/2010
HP Smart Array P400 v 7.22
HP NC-Series Broadcom NIC v2.1.5.9
Disk Drives HPDA
Disk Drives HPDD(C)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this Joseph you saved me so much time. I had the same issue installing Windows Server 2008 x64 on a HP Proliant ML570 G4.

I have since found the HP Firmware update DVD download link and just wanted to share.

Thanks again,


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much, both of you :-)

RipZ said...

Thanks guys! After update firmware windows 2008r2 works fine!

Anonymous said...

I've been having this issue to on 4 different dl380 G6 servers using different 2008 R2 disks. I get different errors each time but it always freezes. I can't wait to try this out and hope it works.

Anonymous said...

I left the comment just above this post. I finally got 2008 r2 64x installed!!! I had to use the SmartStart 8.7 CD. It went through and installed it's drivers, but would not recognize the image I was using as a valid image. I thought I was stuck, but the drivers must of done the trick since the image installed with no issues. Two weeks plus of agony gone! Thanks guys...The HP rep wanted me to setup raid1 and clear nvram???

Rumbzum said...

I had the same problem. Flashing BIOS didnt help turning off Intel Core 3 neither. But new HP Firmware update DVD(9.3 at 22.9.2011) works perfectly.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for this. I had same problem, Proliant DL 380 G5, and Winserver 2008 x64.
Saved me a lot of frustration and time.
Terry, Norway

Anonymous said...

Thanks alot...

Emma, London said...

Brilliant work! You save me so much grief getting w2k8 R2 x64 on my DL380 G5. Updating the BIOS and firmware was the missing piece of the puzzle for me.

Anonymous said...

I know the original post is quite old now, but i stumbled across this and just wanted to report that with the start smart disc/firmware updates i was able to get Windows Server 2012 RC working on my DL380 G5....sweeeet.

Anonymous said...

This solution wasted 3 hours of mine. Please do not apply this solution as it is a fake post.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I got frustrated, this post is not fake, and solution works very well. Thanks!!!

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Anonymous said...

Спасибо большое!!! Очень помог. День мучался, после Вашего совета всё встало.

Anonymous said...

Just update Firmware by HP latest firmware 10.10 PHP iso, It works fine !

Simon said...

Excellent blog post. Thanks very much Joseph... you just helped rebuild a new machine for a live environment. I, too, used the 10.10 ISO to update all the firmware/BIOS in one go. Cheers.

Errick Olaez said...

Thank´s a lot men you save my day... after install update firmware can install windows server 2008 r2 in a Proliant DL380 G5.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for pointing me in the right direction. HP finally stated that there was a bug in the ilo firmware that causes a BSOD. Please see the following document and link:

Implementing Microsoft Windows Server 2008 on HP ProLiant servers integration note, 2nd edition, page 23 (

Issue 3: A blue screen error may display during installation of Windows Server 2008.

Description: A blue screen displaying a “BUGCODE_USB_DRIVER” error may display upon installation of Windows Server 2008.

Workaround: If this error occurs, download and install iLO 2 firmware Version 1.29 (or later).

Download the update:

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for your post. I used this knowledge with a HP ML350 G5. :-)

Luis Méndez Escobar said...

hey Joseph, your blog help me to solve this problem.
Here is what I did.
1.Downloaded the Smart Update Firmware DVD ISO version 10.10, from this link because it was no longer available on the hp web site.

2. To boot the server from the above iso and updated automatically all the drivers.

3. To boot the server with the smart start 8.70 x64 bits and installed windows 2008r2

4. It came through fine. thank you

Amela Jones said...

What font are you using? I love it. Keep up the good work.

IT support Bedford

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