Can’t Install OS from Bootable USB Drive on Dell Poweredge T430

Can’t Install OS from Bootable USB Drive on Dell Poweredge T430

 

Today I ran into a real muthaF of an issue; we purchased a brand new Dell PowerEdge T430 server for a client, it shipped, we un-boxed and then when we proceeded to ATTEMPT to install Windows Server 2016 via USB we ran into a “small” problem, we couldn’t install a Windows Server OS from a bootable USB drive on a PowerEdge T430.

dell server no bootable device

Every time we attempted to boot to the USB drive, it gave us an error about ‘no bootable media’.

I’ve used this bootable USB drive on other servers and even attempted it on my laptop to confirm it was a bootable USB thumb drive.

I tried other ports, screwed around with BIOS settings, tried installing the O.S. through the Lifecycle controller menu and then finally resorted to the Google machine and finally called Dell support who notified me that…

Dell PowerEdge T430’s out of the box BIOS 2.4.2 build doesn’t support UEFI on USB Drives.  

What does that mean in layman’s terms? It means Dell is a bunch of dipshits and they released a brand new server with a BIOS version that doesn’t support installing a Windows Server Operating System via your standard USB configuration.

How does a BIOS version get released that can’t support installing the OS from a standard bootable USB drive format, I mean fucking really!?

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So, here are your options when it comes to installing a Windows Server Operating System on your Dell Server:

 

Option 1:  Create a DVD of the O.S.  This is a fine solution except for the fact that the ISO of Server 2016 is 6.8 GB and a lot of people are probably googling this in a scenario where they don’t have a dual layer DVD on them.

Option 2:  I received a comment from one, Mohsen Badrani, who recommended a program that will properly format a USB drive to adhere to the standards set forth by the buttholes over at Dell.  

  1. Format your USB stick  to UEFI and GPT by downloading the tool from: https://rufus.akeo.ie/Can’t Install OS from Bootable USB Drive on Dell Poweredge T430
  2. Start the tool as administrator
  3. Select the USB storage device then make the partition scheme and target system type to be GPT “partition scheme for UEFI”.
  4. Give it the ISO image of windows server 2016 or whichever O.S. you are installing and let the tool create the bootable USB.
  5. In the server boot settings make it UEFI and then make the partition GPT.

 

If for some reason those options don’t work, here is a last ditch option for you…

 

Nuclear Option : Install the Windows Server OS via the iDrac

For those of you unfamiliar with the iDrac, it’s a fairly convenient piece of hardware in Dell servers that allows you to remotely control the server via a Web GUI. You can power the server off/on, take remote control at the BIOS level and do some really cool stuff that comes in handy for remote admins lime myself

So, if you can’t get the DVD, like me, or you don’t have a USB stick because you are working remotely, the iDrac mighty be your only option.

Problem with this is that you will need to install a trial 30 day license of the paid iDrac product (which Dell had to send to me during our support session).

We had to put the Server 2016 ISO on my laptop, boot the server to virtual media using the iDrac and then wait FOREVER while the OS installed over the network.

 

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If you want to know how to install a Windows Server operating system via the iDrac here you go:

 

  1. Copy the ISO of the O.S. you want to install to a local machineno bootable media fix dell server
  2. Configure the iDrac from the BIOS settings of the server
    1. Plug a network cable into the iDrac NIC on the server
    2. Give the iDrac card an IP address via the BIOS
  3. Now, from your local machine, go the Web GUI in Chrome using the IP Address of the iDrac card
    1. The login is root/calvin
  4. From the Virtual Console in the iDrac, go the ‘Virtual Media‘ menu on the iDrac remote session and select the ISO
    1. Remember, this requires a fully licensed iDrac
  5. Go to the ‘Next Boot‘ menu and choose the ‘Virtual CD/DVD/ISO’ option
  6. Reboot the server from iDrac and it should boot directly to the installer or at least recognize it as bootable media

Note – We actually had to run the OS install by booting to the Lifecycle controller instead of directly from the USB to get it to work and then we still had to choose ‘manual mode’

If your doing the iDrac option be aware that the process is extremely slow. Hopefully, you can go the DVD route or Rufus, or perhaps by the time your reading this there is a new BIOS version out there and can avoid this headache.

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21 Comments
  • Kitt McNamee
    Posted at 12:18h, 20 July Reply

    I’m in the same boat right now! And I tell you what, the BIOS approach doesn’t work either. I’ve tried both UEFI, BIOS, and DVD. Upon booting from DVD, I get an error stating there’s an error or missing file. This is after of course, two separate ISO files, DVDs, USB drives, etc. Still can’t get the OS to load. So not looking forward to calling Dell in the morning. I’m so frustrated, and I have 4 of these servers I need to roll out. Thanks for letting me vent.

    • admin
      Posted at 11:03h, 21 July Reply

      No problem, when I spoke with Dell support I made sure to complain about a BIOS release that had such a major issue. I even got a call back from a manager who wanted to get more info and I lit into him as well

    • Nick Stango
      Posted at 07:40h, 23 August Reply

      Worked for me. Via Rufus ISO but uninh GPT, in the bios go to bios boot set to GPT finally saw the external USB drive and installed server 2016.

  • Jon Fox
    Posted at 14:42h, 04 August Reply

    I can’t have THAT call because I now have to wait 10-15 days for the product registration process to complete to get “support”. So I have a multi-thousand dollar brick for now…

    • admin
      Posted at 14:44h, 04 August Reply

      I happen to have a support contract we may be able to use…

  • Jason
    Posted at 15:22h, 11 August Reply

    Dell Bites for doing this to us. I had to use the virtual drive method through the remote java console. love the use of Clown Shoes as a direct comparison to these guys for releasing it this way.

    • admin
      Posted at 10:24h, 14 August Reply

      Clown shoes only begins to describe a company that would release a server without the capability of having an OS installed via USB. My real thought is probably closer to clown shoe asshats that shouldn’t have god damn jobs

  • Sendak2
    Posted at 15:22h, 14 August Reply

    We had the same issue back in April on a R330.. I was in Phoenix for a 3 day install of a new server at a branch office. We tried every media we had, even drove to a few different stores to find double density disks. Finally realized we could do this via virtual media in the console of the iDrac. It was at this point I discovered the server was ordered with a Basic license instead of Enterprise as is our standard. We got Dell to provide a 30 day Enterprise license which allowed the use of the virtual media. The whole process sucked up the whole afternoon, evening of the first travel day. The following day the server would boot properly because the iDrac didn’t read the system properly. Another 2 hour support call initiated. Eventually we got the whole project completed in the 3 days but were working a lot later than expected and missed out going to Top Golf one night!

    • admin
      Posted at 15:45h, 14 August Reply

      Let it all out Sendak 🙂 We have a Top Golf out by me in Chicago so I sympathize with missing out a drinking and golf due to the fact that Dell engineers are bunch of fuckers.
      I’ve got a crazy amount of hits on this post so hopefully someone someday comes up with some hacky fix that will allow people like you and me to avoid this misery in the future (or if Dell gets their heads out of their asses)

  • RantMan
    Posted at 20:56h, 11 September Reply

    Dell; all I see is clown shoes, and fuck’n fuck knuckles! LOL

  • Mohsen Badrani
    Posted at 15:32h, 08 October Reply

    I have just got a small tool to fix this issue,

    promise i will prepare a guide and upload the tool which used to install Windows server 2016 on the Dell server with UEFI and GPT.

    Just wait till tomorrow.

    • admin
      Posted at 10:24h, 09 October Reply

      Thanks Mohsen, myself and the 20 people who hit this blog post a day eagerly await your guide

  • Mohsen Badrani
    Posted at 03:26h, 11 October Reply

    Install windows server 2016 on Dell server using USB stick UEFI and GPT.

    Steps, download the tool from the below link:

    https://rufus.akeo.ie/

    Start the tool as administrator

    Select the USB storage device then make the partition scheme and target system type to be GPT “partition scheme for UEFI”.

    Give it the ISO image of windows server 2016. Let the tool create the bootable USB.

    In the server boot settings make it UEFI and then make the partition GPT.

    For convert partition MBR to GPT please ask me if you need help doing this. [email protected]

    You are all good to go boot from USB 😊

    another solution is there to burn windows server 2016 on DVD R+DL dual layer, ISO image which is enough to burn the image on. but a bit difficult to find it in the market.

    use option A is better.

    • admin
      Posted at 09:59h, 11 October Reply

      I have not tried this so please, if someone can confirm this works let me know and I will adjust my post to include these instructions.

    • Ibrahim Rasheed
      Posted at 09:57h, 31 October Reply

      Thank you Mohsen, helped me so much after spending two days figuring out how to boot UEFI based Server 2016 on my old Dell R530. Your step by step guide works just like magic.

      • admin
        Posted at 10:14h, 12 November Reply

        I went ahead and updated the blog post with these instructions

  • Jean
    Posted at 02:39h, 24 October Reply

    Hi, I created stick using Rufus from my 5.someting odd GB Windows2016 ISO to boot UEFI and it worked Perfectly!

    • admin
      Posted at 10:49h, 31 October Reply

      Glad we’re able to help. Mohsen is the real hero, cause my dumb ass was pimping the iDrac setup option.

  • Boyd Elrod
    Posted at 10:56h, 10 March Reply

    MOHSEN BADRANI, you the MAN, dawg! Also, many thanks to Admin/LME for continuing to host this fix, as I was about to pull out what is left of my hair during a deployment! No thanks to Dell for hamstringing us with this setup; nobody uses optical media these days. To LME admin, thanks for a good laugh while reading your descriptions of the Dell techs and tactics – very fitting.

    • admin
      Posted at 09:11h, 11 March Reply

      You are most welcome

  • Mike g
    Posted at 06:25h, 24 August Reply

    I find myself in the exact same situation with a new T330. I formatted a usb drive using Rufus but it still is not seen as a boot device. I’ve been through every setting imaginable. I’ll try the virtual drive option next

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