Error with installation XP on T7400

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Error with installation XP on T7400

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Hi,

I have a Dell T7400 Workstation and I'm trying to install Windows XP x64 on it. At first I had the problem of the well known blue screen caused by the SATA hdd's or the SAS configuration so I installed the right Dell drivers with a floppy (by pressing f6 when setup starts). This fixed the innitial bluescreen. The problem now is that after I tell setup to install XP on the desired partition and setup is starting the install, I once again get a message that no harddrive could be detected (not via bluescreen but still anoying)

Can someone please help, I feel like I've tried at least a 100 things.

Also I once did install XP on a second Dell T7400 the same way which was fine. The only difference that I can detect between the two T7400's is that the harddrives are of a different manufacturer (the first a 'Dell' and the second a 'Hitachi') I tried to compare BIOS of the two systems but I could not find a problem.

Please help

Verified Answer
  • When using nLite, make sure at the appropriate time to select Multiple Drivers, select ALL drivers listed, then select TextMode. 

    WobbesInc
    The first is that with the old T7400 SATA-0 and SATA-1 are both enabled and with the new T7400 only SATA-0 was. That difference I blamed on the fact that the old one has 2 DVD-drives in it and the new one only one.

    The DVD drives shouldn't be attached to the SAS 6/iR ports, they should be attached to the regular SATA ports, so that difference shouldn't make any "difference".  Just make sure you have it connected to one of the three SATA ports:

    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/wsT7400/en/UG/html/about.htm#wp1212121

    The SAS 6 supports up to two Virtual Disks (arrays), they can be RAID 0 or RAID 1, or one of each.  Your older machine probably has four drives in it - two in a RAID 0 (probably for the OS) and two in a RAID 1 (probably for the data).

    If you have only two drives in the new machine, then you can only select one or the other - RAID 0 has NO redundancy: one drive fails, data on both drives is gone; RAID 1 is a mirror: if one drive dies, the data is still intact on the remaining drive, and the system stays running as if nothing happened, allowing you to replace the failed disk with no down-time (other than the time to replace the failed drive in the chassis).

    WobbesInc
    But the second difference I could detect was that in "Drives\SATA Configuration", in the old one "ATA" is highlited and with the new one "AHCI" is highlited. What does this mean?

    Since the regular SATA ports are for your optical drive and you have no other hard drives connected to them, there is no reason to have it set to AHCI, so go ahead and set it to ATA.  If you leave it set to AHCI, then you have to slipstream another driver (chipset) for Windows to be able to see and talk to the DVD drive in AHCI mode.

    FYI ... on any other system, if you are simply connecting SATA hard drives to onboard SATA ports, you will want AHCI turned ON and you would use nLite to slipstream the chipset drivers into your install, but you don't have to worry about that here, as your drives are connected to another controller (SAS 6/iR).

     

     

All Replies
  • Are you using a Windows XP 64 bit with Service Pack 3 disc?

    Philip Yip

     

    Windows Reinstallation Guide and Related Wikies See here for other wikies such as Customising and Using Windows 8.1, Dell Wireless Cards and Unofficial Drivers.

  • Which controller are you using?  Onboard SATA?  Onboard SAS 5/6/iR?  PERC 5/6/i?

    XP SP3, as nat suggested, may help, but you will need a minimum of SP2 for any of the SAS controller drivers.

  • Thanks for your replies! As far as I can see I'm using an onboard SAS 6. As I'm not at office today I'll check my Windows version tomorrow, though I think I have SP2.
  • If using the SAS 6/iR, make sure you are using the following driver:

    www.dell.com/.../DriverDetails

    You can use a floppy at the F6 prompt during Windows Setup, but I would recommend rather that you use nLiteOS.com to integrate the driver (and SP2 and/or SP3 if needed) into your installation media (F6 would then not be required).

    The SAS 6/iR supports RAID and non-RAID, so if you wish to run with a RAID array, you MUST configure RAID in CTRL-C BEFORE you attempt to install the OS.  There is NO way to switch between RAID/non-RAID later.

  • The Windows version I have is SP2 and indeed I have SAS 6/iR. I already tried the driver you suggested, but not with slipstreaming. So that is something I'll try.

    The second issue I'm having is (speaking of RAID) I have two hdd's (146Gb) and in my windows 7 (currently running) I can only see 1 hdd. When I hit ctrl+c on startup I can see two Fujitsu hdd's (140Gb each) and it says they're both RAID. I can't find why I can only see one hdd.

    My third question is something I looked up on wikipedia but can't really understand: I thought SAS made two hdd's work as one but now I understand that is what RAID does. Now I learned that SAS is a sort of replacement for SCSI but why is SAS better? And is it?

  • 1) If your firmware is very old, you may need to look at an older version of the driver.  What is your SAS 6/iR firmware at?  Why are you downgrading to XP?

    2) The SAS 6/iR is "hardware" RAID, and as such, does 100% of the RAID and disk management.  When you create a RAID 1 (which is a mirror of two disks), the array is considered a Virtual (or Logical) Disk.  That Virtual Disk (VD) is presented to Windows as a single "disk" for use by Windows.  Windows is completely oblivious of the existence of RAID, the type of RAID, or the number of underlying disks that make up the RAID.  This is why Windows only shows/sees a single disk.  The only way you can see the member disks is by using an application that can talk to the RAID controller to request that information.  On the Precision lineup, that application is the RAID Storage Manager:

    www.dell.com/.../DriverDetails

    3) SAS is fairly new, and stands for Serial Attached SCSI.  It uses the same robust, enterprise-level internal drive commands as SCSI, but has a "serial" interface, as opposed to the "parallel" interface of old SCSI technology.

    en.wikipedia.org/.../Serial_attached_SCSI

    SATA is the "serialized" version (SATA - Serial ATA) of the old IDE/ATA/PATA standard (PATA - Parallel ATA), so SAS is to SCSI what SATA is to IDE/PATA - allowing for much faster transfer rates, as well as other features, such as NCQ, hot-swap, etc.

    SAS is backward compatible with SATA, meaning that a SAS cable/backplane connector will take a SATA drive (but the reverse is not true):

    Other than the internal SCSI commands, there are NO other similarities with SCSI; there is no compatibility whatsoever between the two technologies - connectors, power, etc.  While SAS and SATA connectors and other features/requirements are similar, there are few other similarities between the two - SAS uses the SCSI command set, while SATA does not, so even though you may connect both to the same cable or backplane, they cannot be used in the same RAID array together (separate arrays, yes).

     

  • Many thanks! I could not destill that information from the wikipedia (I'm not much of a computer whizz)

    I hit ctrl+c at startup and the firmware information I hope you were talking about is: MPT Firmware Revision 0.25.47.00-IR. At the top of the screen it says: LSI Corp Config Utility   For Dell SAS 6   v6.22.03.00 (2008.08.06)

    The reason I'm downgrading is because I'm using CAD software (NX5) that's installed on multiple pc's and I'm using a floating licence on a dongle. According to the helpdesk of NX this type of licence with my version of NX doesn't work between XP and Windows 7. So untill the new version of NX is out, I have to use XP on all pc's.

  • I just tried the slipstreamed Windows installation but I got a bluescreen again  :(

    I compared the Bios again with the T7400 I installed XP on about 2 years ago and I could detect 2 differences:

     The first is that with the old T7400 SATA-0 and SATA-1 are both enabled and with the new T7400 only SATA-0 was. That difference I blamed on the fact that the old one has 2 DVD-drives in it and the new one only one.

     But the second difference I could detect was that in "Drives\SATA Configuration", in the old one "ATA" is highlited and with the new one "AHCI" is highlited. What does this mean?

  • When using nLite, make sure at the appropriate time to select Multiple Drivers, select ALL drivers listed, then select TextMode. 

    WobbesInc
    The first is that with the old T7400 SATA-0 and SATA-1 are both enabled and with the new T7400 only SATA-0 was. That difference I blamed on the fact that the old one has 2 DVD-drives in it and the new one only one.

    The DVD drives shouldn't be attached to the SAS 6/iR ports, they should be attached to the regular SATA ports, so that difference shouldn't make any "difference".  Just make sure you have it connected to one of the three SATA ports:

    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/wsT7400/en/UG/html/about.htm#wp1212121

    The SAS 6 supports up to two Virtual Disks (arrays), they can be RAID 0 or RAID 1, or one of each.  Your older machine probably has four drives in it - two in a RAID 0 (probably for the OS) and two in a RAID 1 (probably for the data).

    If you have only two drives in the new machine, then you can only select one or the other - RAID 0 has NO redundancy: one drive fails, data on both drives is gone; RAID 1 is a mirror: if one drive dies, the data is still intact on the remaining drive, and the system stays running as if nothing happened, allowing you to replace the failed disk with no down-time (other than the time to replace the failed drive in the chassis).

    WobbesInc
    But the second difference I could detect was that in "Drives\SATA Configuration", in the old one "ATA" is highlited and with the new one "AHCI" is highlited. What does this mean?

    Since the regular SATA ports are for your optical drive and you have no other hard drives connected to them, there is no reason to have it set to AHCI, so go ahead and set it to ATA.  If you leave it set to AHCI, then you have to slipstream another driver (chipset) for Windows to be able to see and talk to the DVD drive in AHCI mode.

    FYI ... on any other system, if you are simply connecting SATA hard drives to onboard SATA ports, you will want AHCI turned ON and you would use nLite to slipstream the chipset drivers into your install, but you don't have to worry about that here, as your drives are connected to another controller (SAS 6/iR).

     

     

  • Many thanks theflash1932!!

    XP is up and running :D I seems that I did something wrong with nLite the first time.

    And for completion of the thread:

    I have two hdd's and they're in a RAID1 configuration apperently

    Also I switched the SATA ports from AHCI to ATA

    It has become clear that nLite works better than installing the drivers with floppy pre OS.

    Again thanks!

  • WobbesInc
    It has become clear that nLite works better than installing the drivers with floppy pre OS.

    Floppies can be very flaky ...  not sure how we put up with them for so long!

    Glad you got it sorted ... take care.

  • A very interesting thread, I've had a similar problem and tried slipstreaming the drivers, I ended up not bothering with the sas drive and using the sata drives instead.  I'm in the process of ordering windows 7 and hope this will help matters.  This is what I have so far.

    Workstation, Dell T7400

    1) Tried ata drive in sas position, ubuntu found it and installed straight away with no problem.

    2) For the life of me I could not get xp to install to that drive, would not find it.  The sas controller displays it and it's obviously there as ubuntu installed.  I tried slipstreaming the drivers from Dell along with SP3 and still had no joy.  Gave up and put xp on the sata drive in sata socket.

    3) Now have 2 sas drives waiting to be used, as soon as I get windows 7 pro, I will try again.

    Meanwhile, if anyone can suggest something to help me find this drive in xp I would be grateful.  Thank you.

  • I installed windows 7 on my T7400 and I had no problems whatsoever. As I wrote earlier, slipstreaming the drivers into windows XP professional x64 worked fine for me. I only had a windows version with SP2 by the way.