Misadventures with Installing Windows 2008 R2

Normally I work almost exclusively with Exchange as that is the product I am involved in supporting.  When I want to install Windows I either connect the unformatted machine to the network and let RIS push the install down or I run a VM creation tool we have inside Microsoft.

Tonight I have been installing Windows 2008 R2 SP1 and I have run into three specific problems.  I thought I would document them all in one place.

First a little background.  The machine is a Phenom 945 with 16GB of RAM and four 1TB drives.  It was mostly built from parts I had lying around.  I intend to use it as a Hyper-V lab machine for those nights when I need to work from home and it is inconvenient to use my lab machine in the office remotely.  The drives were set up using the RAID controller on the motherboard (that should be adequate for the very light use this server will see).

Problem #1 - I knew about the 2TB limitation on boot partitions in Win7/W2K8, but my first mistake was assuming that W2K8 would let me make one small partition and then allocate the rest later.  At the start everything looked good.  I had selected RAID 5 and Windows showed me a single (almost) 3TB partition.  I tried to create a 250GB volume on it, but Windows divided the space up as follows:
100MB - System partition
250GB - Partition I created
1400GB - Unallocated
760GB - Unallocated

This wasn't going to work at all.  The Fix:
-reset the computer and go back into the RAID configuration
-Delete my one large RAID 5 partition
-Create a 200GB RAID 5 partition
-Create a RAID 5 partition with all the remaining space
-Reboot and run setup again


Problem #2 - Now the partitions were misnumbered in Setup's partition Manager and Windows complained that it could not create the System partition.  The message was: 

"Setup was unable to create a new system partition or locate an existing system partition. See the Setup log files for more information.”

In the end it turned out that this was caused by the USB key I was using to install the RAID drivers.  I had inserted the key as I booted the system.  I thought it was interesting when I did my search on the key for the RAID driver that the key was labelled C:, but I didn't give it any more thought.

The Fix - As suggested in http://support.microsoft.com/kb/938984 I removed the USB key, and went looking for the Driver CD.  I rebooted and did the setup from the top.  When prompted for the RAID drivers I inserted the Driver CD, installed the driver and then tried to proceed once more.


Problem #3 - I formatted my new partition, but at the bottom of the Window was the message “Windows cannot be installed to Disk 0 Partition 2 (Show Details)”.  The details say “Windows is unable to install to the selected location.  Error:  0x80300001.” After a couple colourful metaphors I set to work on fixing this as well.

The Fix - I had already switched back to the Windows DVD.  However I had not clicked Refresh near the lower left corner of the Window where you define and select the partitions.  Once I clicked Refresh it took setup several seconds to carry out the operation and I was able to proceed.


15 minutes later the server was booted and I was busy adding the Hyper-V role.  The final configuration?

Disk 0:  100MB System Reserved, 186.16GB for C
Disk 1:  2606.65GB for D.  When I went into Disk Management I select GPT for this volume


None of these problems was particularly difficult, but they were frustrating to work through and there were several more reboots than the steps above show as I tried different things.  I don't know how many other people will hit all three of these problems.  However, since I hit them all this evening, I thought I should share them together in a single package, in case it saves another person some of the frustration I experienced.  Well, at least I gave my reset button a stress test during this misadventure 🙂

Comments (2)

  1. xterm says:

    Definately helpful! Short, precise and complete!

    It would have taken me hours to find out, that I have to remove the usb-stick!

    Thank you!

  2. brad says:

    Wow, I literally had the exact same issues – every last one of them when configuring my new server. I seriously have been pulling my hair out for two days before finally getting everything figured out. Too bad I didn't find this post BEFORE setting up the RAID, I could've avoided a big nightmare.

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