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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 10:18 pm 
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I'm having a bit of an issue trying to get 2012 R2 to start on my EX485. I've tried a whole bunch of things and not sure what I'm screwing up. Let me provide some background to help you help me (perhaps):

Current setup:
- stock EX485 with E5200 upgrade (495 BIOS trick already applied)
- a very damaged/torn up install of WHS2011
- 4GB RAM
- an assortment of 2TB drives in the bays (OCD says the drives must all be the same, but my wallet says, when life hands you free hard drives, you take them)
- no breakout board. This is pure headless joy

I would like to upgrade the now aging E5200 to some form of C2D chip. (E8400?) Input welcome on this. This is not part of my problem per se, but I am inquiring input because if I can't get 2012 to work, I won't waste the $ changing out the die to something better. I have the original PSU, have read mixed reviews of C2D power consumption in such small boxes, so I never really got a clear answer as to whether it is practical or cost effective. Considering I paid 200 for the box including a whopping 4 brand new 2TB hard drives back in early 2011, I really have no room to complain. That was the greatest deal ever in itself.

Back to my original problem: Since the server is still headless, obviously my options are somewhat limited. What I have done (and done in the past with WHS2011 with 0 issues) is used a second, also intel-based system to install (copy) the windows install to the system drive. When the first restart occurs, I pull the plug. (before it starts to configure windows hardware-specifically) I then let the server finish the install headlessly. However it never seems to finish with 2012 R2 Std. (worked in 2011) Based on the LEDs and fan noises, I can tell it's blue-screening and restarting in an endless reboot loop which tells me either a hardware failure (not true), or a driver issue out of the box. I've combed all over various home server forums and have seemingly found nothing. I did find one post here -->http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/4221-windows-server-2012-on-hp-ex495-mediasmart-server/ at the very very end of the thread where someone else had the exact same result as me, however there were no follow up posts/solutions.

...and that's where the story ends, as of now. If anyone could shed any light on this as to what I might be doing wrong, it would be much appreciated. My server is in dire need of cleanup but the software is so badly damaged, IIS broken, file sharing quit working months ago, only certain things work on it, permissions out of whack, etc. not worth cleaning. quicker to wipe and start over. However I would like to upgrade in the process. Any input welcome. I've given up at this point since I've been quite short on time lately.

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 8:22 am 
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All I could say is the Video connection would be well worth it in the long run (if you plan on staying with the media smart) Spare parts and an extra power supply would not be a bad thing and the sata to usb docks or cables are great for working with drives.
The 30-40 bucks for the video imho is well worth it so you can see what is going on.

I have upgraded the cpu on my boxes and enjoy the extra speed.

Let us know how it goes.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:20 am 
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I think a wipe is the best way to go. In my studying for Microsoft certification exams, while Microsoft fully supports upgrade paths, they say that if time and budget allows for it, you should start with a fresh build. When you upgrade, any preexisting problems are upgraded as well.

Regarding the headless horseman -- yes the EX4xx servers are great servers but after awhile it gets tiring troubleshooting problems blind. At least for me, my time is worth more than the price I paid for the debug boards (one on my EX490 and another on my EX487).

I also don't think Microsoft will support you with an upgrade. Back in 2013 I tried to upgrade from Windows Server 2012 Essentials to Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, and Microsoft said nay-nay. So if you can't go direct from 2012 Essentials to 2012 R2 Essentials, you definitely won't be able to go from WHS 2011 to 2012 R2 Essentials via upgrading. A clean install is, unfortunately, your ONLY option. I wrote this up on the Home Server Show site (you already found a different article from there) - http://homeservershow.com/forums/index. ... ntials-r2/

Now, I have Windows Server 2012 R2 on both my EX490 and EX487. I ran 2012 R2 Essentials for awhile, but now I run full R2 and have the Essentials feature enabled on the EX487 for my backups. I had no issues getting the servers set up using Microsoft's OOB drivers, although I had to download the Intel RST drivers (use the one in this article here: http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php/ ... 11/page-24) -- this lets you enable the pretty lights. The last post in the article on page 24 has an updated link to download the MediaSmart lights driver, which is verified working on 2012 R2 (and Essentials). Further up the thread, on the same page (24), you will see it's noted you need to enable .NET 3.5 on 2012 R2 as well for it to work. Also, at the top of the page is a big green section which contains the download links for the Intel RST driver and Microsoft VC++ 2010 runtime.

To sum it all up, here are my recommendations:

* Buy the debug board. Don't take my word for it though -- there are plenty of folks here who will back me up. It's worth it!
* Get the Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials media transferred from ISO to a bootable flash drive. This Microsoft tool will help: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download ... nload-tool
* Buy a good SSD. 128 GB or 256 GB is sufficient as it will be used as the system drive and user profile, not actual data storage.
* Insert the flash drive in the bottom USB spot and the SSD in the bottom drive slot. (You'll need a 3.5" to 2.5" converter; I have ICY Dock ones.)
* Install Windows Server on the SSD. Install Intel RST, VC++ runtime, enable .NET 3.5, run Windows Update (several reboots here).
-- Intel RST is not mandatory, but if you go with an SSD, the Intel RST will use the TRIM feature of the SSD (this is important).
* Install lights driver if you want it.

Matt

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HP EX490, 4GB, E5300, 15TB - Server 2012 - Sharing and Streaming
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:59 am 
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Thanks to both for the input. I will reply in order:

- I NEVER EVER NEVER NEVER EVER. NEVER. upgrade. I always clean install. Significant performance improvements across the board (less things left behind) The constant software changes are partly why it's in the state that it's currently in with a degraded image. There are so many components of Windows that are broken and damaged it is not worth the time to repair. A windows "upgrade" would defeat the whole purpose of this. To be clear, I am "upgrading" the CPU die, and "replacing" windows.

- The SSD isn't super critical for me, but would be nice. I have a 120GB Deneva 2 laying around I could throw in, but like you said I would need the physical drive adapter to properly fit. Or I could plug the SSD in and let it lay since it's on the bottom tray (I do this with 2.5's when there's a 3.5 underneath for it to rest on, this is just for quick retrieval of data and is by no means a permanent setup). I don't throw a whole lot on the System drive besides the OS (obviously), IIS contents, and a mail server (MDaemon). In any case, I have used ICY DOCK adapters before and they are quite nice. I will likely use this drive just because I have it. It's been sitting around for months. I burn through hard drives like toilet paper, so this would be worth it.

- The headless part I actually find quite interesting to play with, but that doesn't factor in diagnostics when things go wrong, besides a blinking health LED. I didn't want to buy it, but I probably will. RDP and TeamViewer have been my go-to's and have worked quite well. But I agree, if something really does go poof, I can't see the server, the server can't see me, etc. not a good combo. I've seen people find a way to fabricate the VGA adapter into the back panel, so I will look into doing that. I don't want anything dangling from the box, want to make it look nice and pretty. I have OCD, so stuff like that bothers me.

I think my issue is the install method. I always used to be able to slave drives into other machines, but maybe R2 is overly sensitive. I will give the flash drive method a try next.

Question: if my BIOS is already modded for the E5200 upgrade, can I throw in a C2D and be okay? or is there more I need to do? This is an EX487 with the BIOS mod.

Thanks again for your help.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:48 am 
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The EX48x is a weird machine and who knows maybe your BIOS Mod will take care of its weirdness but if you happen to see your server reboot and boot into its recovery mode then you will need to get into the BIOS and in the original BIOS you need to disable the SMI in two areas not sure about the BIOS your running now but I would think it would be safe to say those settings would remain there for compatibility purposes. For this reason a DEBUG Board is essential.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 4:00 pm 
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That's what a lot of people have been telling me. I flashed the BIOS using msawyer91's guide. I don't know the specifics of that BIOS build but it works fine with the current setup (E5200). I'm just worried if I throw in an E8400 that my box will get too hot.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:39 am 
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I noticed erail has an E5800 running in one of his EX48x's with a BIOS Mod. You can see this in his signature line viewtopic.php?p=80923#p80923

I have one in an unmodified EX49x and it runs a lot cooler then the E5200 and runs better.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 2:18 pm 
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That's definitely what I like to hear. Thats excellent - less waste heat and better performance - go figure. A win-win situation. I would imagine there is very little difference hardware wise (well, cooling hardware anyways) between the 480 series and the 490 series. Considering I can get an E8400 for 9 bucks free shipping, I don't see why not.

On a side note, lately I have not been a fan of HP products. I have replaced numerous logic boards on computers from the last few years, but yet these mini servers just work. Glad I have an item that actually passed through their quality control. I have personally hd 2 HP laptops (an HDX16 which was extremely reliable, and a dv6 touchsmart which got extremely hot, both which died because someone stepped on them) and now have a Retina MacBook Pro. Aside from the aging chips on the MediaSmarts, I absolutely love them. Great value for the price and have been very much reliable in my experience. Their mainstream computers however, not so much.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 6:19 pm 
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I actually have every model series HP MSS and DV here in my collection. I sort of out grew them quite some time ago but really think they are excellent solutions for those who do not require a large server solution. I recently replaced the EX470 I had at work with a DIY WHS2011 build that's a huge monster and everyone comments they liked that little EX470 over the monster because of all things it was cute.

I have however installed WHS2011 on a few MSS models and they have been running quite well with it. I have one here an EX48x with an E5200 in it and I tweaked the fans to run full speed but I had to disable the SMI to make sure it would not come into play when the server rebooted. I actually have Remote Potato Running on it and you know I am quite impressed at how well it actually runs. I will also mention I have Stablebit Drive Pool running on it and for an experiment I installed a 2x2.5 IcyDock in the Bottom Bay and configured up a couple drives in RAID 1 Mirror not because I wanted to but just to see how it would work out.

All in all its been a great run and yes these servers just keep running although they do have issues with PSU's but hey we now have suppliers to replace them and with the DEBUG Boards of which I own several its very easy to keep these puppies running for the long haul.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:18 am 
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In viewing erail's signature, he also has an EX485 with Q8200S CPU. Intel made both a Q8200 and Q8200S; the latter has a lower TDP (thermal design power) and is thus more energy efficient and throws off less heat. I've seen in other forum posts on this site as well as Home Server Show once you start getting into the quad-core processors, because of the MediaSmart Server's passive cooling, the lower TDP processors are better. If you go with a Q8400 CPU, which I considered at one time, it's likely to run quite hot. If you go back to eBay and look at the prices for the Q8400S, they're quite a bit more expensive.

I did see a Q8200S for $13. It's still got 5 days left in the auction though so it could (and probably will) go for quite a bit more as it already has several bids. The lower TDP processors are more expensive because of the lower TDP, meaning they can be used in applications where cooling is a concern. The MediaSmart Server is one such application.

If you applied the BIOS hack that I discussed, which it sounds like you did, you should be able to run pretty much any of the CPUs that others here are running. I've got an E5300 in both my EX487 and EX490. And plenty of folks have run the Q8200S and Q8400S. If you opt for the Q8400--not the "S" version, keep a close eye on it under load so it doesn't overheat.

Matt

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:47 am 
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You can find the Q8200S or Q8400S on eBay for not to much money. Most are in Hong Kong or China. I just picked up a couple Q8200S CPU's for $79 that I will pop into my EX49x servers to see how they work out. I am debating doing the BIOS Mod on my EX48x but have been reluctant to do so because I only have 1 of those model series but may do it and then upgrade the E5200 to something more robust like the E5800 or possibly a Q8200S or Q8400S. I have one customer who is wanting to upgrade his EX48x but I may offer him an already upgraded EX49x that way I can upgrade his EX48x and if something goes wrong I will not have an unhappy customer. Then once the upgrade is done I can just turn the EX48x around and sell it fully upgraded.

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~ AMD Phenom II X4 995 3.2 GHz
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:54 am 
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My EX487 has the BIOS mod applied and I've had an E5300 running in there for years. I haven't had any issues in that regards. My EX490 has an E5300 as well. The EX495 I just bought off a fellow member here has a Q8200; not sure if it's actually a Q8200 or Q8200S. I didn't ask specifically, although the screenshot he included just says Q8200. He ran it for quite a while so I doubt heat was ever an issue. So it's safe to say the EX49x handle the quads just fine.

In reality I think the EX48x and EX49x are *almost* identical in terms of hardware. A big, big difference is the latter has a Silicon Image controller for the eSATA port which supports 1-5 devices, whereas the former's eSATA port is just a part of the Intel RST controller.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:09 pm 
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I did read awhile back on the eSATA daisy-chain multiplier being different. I have yet to use eSATA, 4 2TBs is plenty of space for me, and eventually 6TB drives will come way down in price to where I can affordably upgrade it when the time comes. Right now I can get 4TB WD Purples for less than $120 per drive. If for some reason I would use eSATA, I can only see plugging in one drive anyways.

I would have to agree with them - it is very much a cute server. Pretty blinky lights sell (I miss the rainbow colored HP easter egg LED setting very badly), and if its mini sized, times that by 2. I am not doing anything heavy by any means. The heaviest load this thing handles is Windows Imaging integration. I have a USB universal windows installer drive which contains at least 150 windows images ranging from the lowest tier of Vista all the way up to 8.1 and 2012 R2 server images as well. It is extremely useful not having to hunt down discs or ISOs when installing or deploying any modern version of Windows. Windows setup loads, and I just pick an OS to install, and carry on. In any case, it does take some time to integrate all of these images together, which is what I usually dump to the server to do and let run overnight. Relatively speaking however, this isn't too taxing.

My power supply is amazingly still working and has been running 24/7/365 since early summer 2011. In regular desktops, HP uses the junkiest of PSUs (Bestec and HiPro). I have had to replace so many of these. Obviously this is no ATX box where you can pick and choose parts (some wiggle room, but not a lot), would be nice if they would go to brands like ThermalTake or Antec. very good products. Not sure of the brand inside my 485. I do remember from the 48x to the 49x they moved the fan from the front to the back. helped cut down on noise quite a bit from what I read.

The E8400 went in smoothly and works well. Did not buy the VOV adapter because I was not fond of the board layout based on what I saw in pics and could not see it easily fitting behind the backplane because it's so cramped. Maybe it would have, but I don't see the point if I'm not getting PS/2 or serial or anything else, it wastes so much space and obviously with these cases, space conservation is critical. I bought a simple VGA adapter on eBay, for less than half of the cost of the basic VGA VOV, and the DB15 plug is panel mounted in the back. I will post pics if I have time. It seems as though my speed issues weren't the E5200, but instead the system drive. The SSD did not stall at all inside the server, even with the E5200 inside. Even so, my total upgrade cost is $50. That alone is worth it. Also, no heat issues either with the E8400. SpeedFan shows the cores running in the lower-mid 40's C, I might tweak the fans slightly but if the PWM auto adjusts as the cores get hotter I don't see why this would be a huge issue. It will rarely be put under full load and if so, not for long periods of time.

I managed to get into the BIOS and tweak some things as well, such as enabling SpeedStep. This has the most BIOS features I have ever seen in a computer. Also, my issue with 2012 R2 Standard was that it was at the setup screen to enter in an admin password. I could not see it without the VGA adapter. Now that I have one, I was able to complete setup. There were no driver issues like I thought. I was very much so operating it blindly.

Here's the replacement CPU die:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/201265120388

Here's the VGA adapter:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/151548295072

and last but not least, the SSD Bracket (a cheapy, but for 9 bucks there's not a whole lot to lose):
http://www.ebay.com/itm/231362327725

Thanks again for all of the tips and advice. This worked out well and I didn't break the bank. I still have to work on establishing my new server setup software-wise (I have the old system drive installed and operational and I am slowly putting together the software on the SSD using another similar hardware system. That way I can work on building things properly without worrying about damaging what little works on the current drive. I never seem to have enough time.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 7:59 pm 
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I never liked WHS2011. It was quite fussy. There were a lot of simple operations like renaming some things for example, that broke numerous features of WHS2011. It seemed to entirely cripple the dashboard and nothing else, the rest of Server 08 R2 ran fine for the most part, and eventually started to degrade over time but still technically works. The media streamer had a mind of it's own, Twonky was way better in terms of scanning for media. Aside from the fact that it ran on Win7 as it's base (Server 08 R2, 7, same thing), I was never exactly fond of it. V1 had more character and I was able to do quite a bit with it much to my surprise. I'm certain other people have had better luck with it than me, but I'm really starting to like 2012 R2. Cleaner, less clutter, and aside from the joys of setting up my mail server again, it's working quite well. (switching from MDaemon to hMailServer, license expired for the old and don't want to put hundreds of dollars into a new version, I'm the only one at home that actually uses it). hMailServer SSL setup is not fun. I love Windows' ability to unify certs and keys into a single PFX file. A lot of the linux apps and other open source software needs each SSL component spoon-fed to it separately. Never understood that.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:48 am 
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msawyer91 wrote:
My EX487 has the BIOS mod applied and I've had an E5300 running in there for years. I haven't had any issues in that regards. My EX490 has an E5300 as well. The EX495 I just bought off a fellow member here has a Q8200; not sure if it's actually a Q8200 or Q8200S. I didn't ask specifically, although the screenshot he included just says Q8200. He ran it for quite a while so I doubt heat was ever an issue. So it's safe to say the EX49x handle the quads just fine.

In reality I think the EX48x and EX49x are *almost* identical in terms of hardware. A big, big difference is the latter has a Silicon Image controller for the eSATA port which supports 1-5 devices, whereas the former's eSATA port is just a part of the Intel RST controller.


I actually just installed a Q8200S in an EX49x and from the console it just shows us as a Q8200. I have to look again but I do believe the BIOS Displays it as a Q8200S. It will be interesting to see if you can confirm the actual processor because I also have the Q8200. I did purchase 2 of the Q8200S on eBay for my EX49x's one is running WHSv1 but I am contemplating setting up WHS2011 on the 2nd one using an SSD for the OS and of course a dedicated backup drive.

The EX48x I have is running WHS2011 with an E5200 with the stock BIOS and its running quite well but this server has a 2x2.5 ICYDOCK 3.5" enclosure running RAID1 Mirror for the OS Drive and I am thinking of changing the two mechanical drives out and replacing them with an SSD.

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Migrated from WHS2011 to WS2012E: HIGHLANDER

~ Norco 4220 Enclosure
~ Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
~ AMD Phenom II X4 995 3.2 GHz
~ 8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
~ 3 Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8


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