Installing Windows 2008R2 on a Dell R730xd

Unfortunately Dell does not support Microsoft Windows Server 2008R2 on the latest Dell R730xd anymore.
When asked they say it has to do with declining support from Microsoft for the specific OS.
The Operating systems that are still supported are :
– Microsoft Windows Server 2012
– Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2
– Microsoft Windows Server 2016

I still wanted to install Windows 2008R2 on the machine as my Exchange DAG cluster does not support another OS because of cluster agent compatibility.

So :
I got myself an image of Microsoft Windows Server 2008R2 in my specific required flavor.
Grabbed a 32-bit H730 driver of the dell website, extracted the contents to a folder and used the idrac ‘Virtual Media’, ‘Create Image’ to have the .img file ready.

Important !!!!
The machine prefers UEFI for a BIOS mode which means you will need to enable the video Boot rom.
(source: https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/779348-dell-r730xd-can-t-get-past-windows-is-loading-files)
It was somewhat hard to find, but you MUST turn that option on.
If you dont, you will hit a blue screen wall when booting the setup and a few clicks in.

Boot from the virtual image and DONT use the lifecycle Controller.
When it prompts for the proper driver for the storage controller, make sure the .img is connected to the virtual floppy.
Dig into the file to the Payload folder
It will find the percsas3.inf file and install your raidcontroller.

From there on it is a next,next,finish installation as we are all used to.
Should you encounter a ‘Error: 0x80c00001’ re-check the virtual image or the windows installation.

Good Luck!

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