WD DX4000: Building Windows Server 2012, part 2

Welcome to the second part of my guide on converting the DX4000 into a nice little Windows Server 2012 build. In this article, we will cover what is needed to create the auto unattended installation and a couple neat features (at the end). Like usual, please read the entire article before getting started. I tried to make things as linear as possible,… read first, then do.


I would like to start with the bad news and just get this out of the way. There are some caveats to converting the server. Mainly the fact that this is totally not supported by Western Digital in any form. You are on your own. Will this affect my warranty? Potentially. I honestly am not sure… I mean, it is just software… right? It’s not like we are cracking open the chassis and going all cowboy on things. But, we are removing the Western Digital system services that come with the original system. These things controlled fan speed, monitored temperature, gave some control via the front panel for LCD information, and several other things related to the basic Server Essentials web panel. So, just keep this in mind while we progress on this adventure.


When I first learned about the features being integrated into the 2012 platform from Microsoft, I have to admit… I was a little giddy. The system requirements were very reasonable and the DX4000 actually exceeded those specifications. Having been involved in data center services for quite some time, I found that the data deduplication capabilities were just too powerful of a feature to bypass. If you have ever researched or tried to find a good de-dup solution you’ll understand what I mean. They (as in vendors) make it not only ridiculously complicated but pathetically expensive.

Here is an excellent video regarding Microsofts’ implementation: Video Link
(please note his comments at time 15:00)

There were other not-so-mentionable reasons why I chose to do this, but they all added up to be worth the challenge of converting the system.


I had a few goals in mind when preparing this document and process, but my primary goal was to create a non-destructible way to image/re-image the operating system and preserve my data partition. Non-destructible in the sense that the data partition does not get touched at all.


Along with all the requirements from the first article, you will need to copy the following files from the original system to a safe place on your technician computer. Try looking in the Program Files\Western Digital\LPC Driver and WD LCD Provider directories:


Backing up to image:

Before starting to work on the auto unattended installation, I want to emphasize the need to save the original Windows partition. I mentioned this in first article and just wanted to provide an example on how.

Use the bootable WinPE USB flash drive created earlier and boot the DX4000 with the “magic” button. On your technician computer, create a network share. You can assign user security as needed, just make sure the account you will be using has modify or full rights. From the DX4000 console (in the TightVNC Viewer), mount a free drive letter to the network share. For example:

C:\> net use x: \\\networkshare

Enter the credentials as needed. You will need to make the “system” partition viewable if you want to capture its’ contents to an image. To do this, you’ll need to assign a letter to the correct partition using DiskPart. I apologize, but I do not have an example of this to share, please check the linked reference.

Here are a couple examples of DISM commands you can use to create a backup image of the system and windows partitions:

C:\> Dism /Capture-Image /ImageFile:x:\my-windows-partition.wim /CaptureDir:C:\ /Name:”My Windows partition”

C:\> Dism /Capture-Image /ImageFile:x:\my-system-partition.wim /CaptureDir:S:\ /Name:”My system partition”

Note Disk Layout:

Before you begin creating the auto unattended configuration file, it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the partition layout on the DX4000.  You can use DISKPART to list the partitions on the system and in doing so will find  a layout similar to this:

Partition ### Type           Size          Offset
————- —————-   ——-  ———
Partition 1   System              100 MB  1024 KB
Partition 2   Reserved          128 MB     101 MB
Partition 3   Primary           60 GB        229 MB
Partition 4   Primary           8 TB              60 GB

The “main” reason you will want to do this is to verify the partition which contains the operating system.  In this case (as shown above), the 60GB partition (or partition 3) will be the one we want to work on.  So make note of this!  We do not want to ruin our Data partition… that would be bad.

Building autounattend.xml for server 2012:

Using your favorite ISO mounting utility, mount the Windows Server 2012 ISO. Create a new directory in c:\winpe_amd named s2012 and copy all contents from the ISO into it. We will be using DISM to rebuild a customized image, so open the console with administrator privileges. Execute DISM and mount the boot.wim from the C:\winpe_amd\s2012\sources directory, note the added Index switch:

C:\> dism /mount-image /imagefile:e:\winpe_amd\s2012\sources\boot.wim /mountdir:e:\winpe_amd\mount /index:1

Follow instructions from the first article and modify this boot.wim to create a compatible winpe build. Remember to inject the Intel RST drivers and commit your changes.

Use DISM to mount the install.wim file that is located in the sources directory. Please note that this image has 4 indexes, each with its’ own special setup. We will be using Index 2 for this article as it provides us with the GUI installed. You can check the variants by using the following command:

C:\> dism /Get-ImageInfo /ImageFile:<path>\filename.wim

Inject the Intel RST drivers for the RAID controller and commit your changes.

Extending WinPE properties for auto unattended installation:

    We will following similar processes from the first article to create our unattended command file. Launch WSIM, keeping the catalog as-is, and open the answer file “unattend.xml” that we created previously. We can save a bit of time this way. Follow the instructions below to add the remaining properties and complete our auto unattended command file:

In “windows image” pane, drill down to the amd64_microsoft-windows-setup_neutral section, expand, and locate diskconfiguration > disk, right click and add to pass 1. In answer file pane, drill down the properties:

  • Delete “createpartitions”
  • select modifypartitions and change the properties:
    • Action : “modify”
    • Format: “ntfs”
    • Label: “Boot”
    • Letter: “C:
    • Order: “1”
    • PartitionID: “3”  (note: verify your windows partition!)
    • TypeID: “ebd0a0a2-b9e5-4433-87c0-68b6b72699c7”
  • Select “Disk” and change properties:
    • Action: “modify”
    • DiskID: “0”
    • WillWipeDisk: “false
  • Select “diskconfiguration” and change properties:
    • Willshowui: “onerror”

In “windows image” pane, drill down to the amd64_microsoft-windows-setup_neutral section, expand, and locate ImageInstall > OSImage > InstallFrom > MetaData , right click and add to pass 1. Also include ImageInstall > OSImage > InstallFrom > InstallTo. In answer file pane, drill down the properties:

  • Select “MetaData” and change the properties:
    • Action : “AddList Item”
    • Key : “/IMAGE/INDEX”
    • Value : “2”
  • Select “OSImage”, change properties:
    • WilShowUI : “OnError”
  • Select “InstallTo”, change propertie:
    • DiskID : “0”
    • PartitionID : “3”  (note: verify your windows partition)

In “windows image” pane, drill down to the amd64_microsoft-windows-setup_neutral section, expand, and locate UserData > ProductKey , right click and add to pass 1. In answer file pane, drill down the properties:

  • Select “ProductKey” and change the properties:
    • Key : “xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx” (enter your product serial key)
    • WillShowUI : “OnError”
  • Select “UserData”, change properties:
    • AcceptEULA : “true”
    • FullName : “<company-name” (enter your company name)

In “windows image” pane, drill down to the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE__neutra section, expand, and locate SetupUILanguage, right click and add to pass 1. In answer file pane, drill down the properties:

  • Select “SetupUILanguage” and change the properties:
    • UILanguage : “en-us” (or your appropriate language code)
    • WillShowUI : “OnError”
  • Select “amd64_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE__neutral” and change the properties: (again, use your appropriate language code as necessary)
    • InputLocale : “en-us”
    • SystemLocale : “en-us”
    • UILanguage : “en-us”

The WinPE section of the answer file should now be complete and look similar to the following:

Add specialized capabilities to the installation:

We will only require the use of TightVNC during the first portion of the installation process. This provides us with a way to connect to the server and check its’ progress or for errors. Just note, there will be “black out” periods during the windowsPE configuration pass when we will not be able to connect with the TightVNC Viewer. Once the WinPE pass is completed, we will enable RDP capability and use RDC from the technician computer to manage the system. Microsoft provides an overview of these passes in TechNet.

In “windows image” pane, drill down to the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup__neutral section, expand, and locate AutoLogon > Password, right click and add to pass 4. In answer file pane, drill down the properties:

  • Select “Password” and change the property:
    • Value : “<enter a password>” (used for administrator account)
  • Select “AutoLogon” and change the properties:
    • Enabled : “true”
    • LogonCount : “2”
    • Username : “Administrator”

In “windows image” pane, drill down to the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-TerminalServices section, expand, and add LocalSessionManager as well as RDP-WinStationExtensions to pass 4. In answer file pane, drill down the properties:

  • Under LocalSessionManager properties, set fDenyTSConnections to “false”
  • Under RDP-WinStationExtensions, set the properties for SecurityLayer to “1” and UserAuthentication to “0”

Complete OOBE pass settings:

While we did disable the firewall settings for the WinPE pass, we need to actually configure the firewall to accept RDP sessions during run-time. If not, then we have no way to access the system remotely once the configuration passes complete and the system is in operation mode. This is enabled during the oobesystem configuration pass and can be done automatically for us by added the following:

In “windows image” pane, drill down to the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup__neutral section, expand, and locate FirstLogonCommands > SynchronousCommand and add to pass7. Add this twice to the answer file. In the same section, locate UserAccounts > AdministratorPassword and add to pass 7. In answer file pane, drill down the properties:

  • Under one of the “SynchronousCommand”, change the properties:
    • Action : “AddListItem”
    • CommandLine : “netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group=”Remote Desktop” new enable=yes”
    • Order : “1”
  • Under the other “SynchronousCommand”, change the properties:
    • Action : “AddListItem”
    • CommandLine : “shutdown /L”
    • Order : “2”
  • In UserAccounts, Select “AdministratorPassword”, change the property:
    • Value : “<enter a password>” (use the administrator account password)

The above instructions will configure the firewall to allow us to connect with RDC from the technician computer. We have finished all basic requirements to create an auto unattend installation instructions. Save the answer file as “autounattend.xml” into the directory where we copied the contents of the original installation media (c:\winpe_amd\s2012).

    Format your USB flash drive to make it bootable, and copy the contents of this directory to it. Perform the “magic” button steps from the first article, sit back and relax… well done.

What to expect?

While the system performs the setup, you can periodically check it with ping to see if its’ alive and connect with TightVNC Viewer. There will be times when you are not able to connect, don’t panic. These “black out” periods are annoying, but just keep checking to see if the system is alive. After the oobesystem pass is complete you should be able to use Remote Desktop Connection to access the system. If you run into a problem, or are not able to access the server, just wait and make sure the drive lights are not flashing and power it down. Just be patient, and make sure the system is not performing a long operation during the installation. If I remember correctly, the entire installation took about 15 minutes and rebooted a couple times to complete.

Ok, are we done yet?

Not yet, the system is showing a message like “Loading OS, Please wait…”? Yes, we have a couple things to do to wrap this up. If you recall my notes regarding some caveats to doing this, we no longer have Western Digital management services controlling the LCD output and Fan speeds. The LCD is a minor annoyance; however, the fan speed situation is not good. By default, the system reset lowers the fan speed. Let’s correct that.

Setting Fan speed

Remember those requirements and I said to get 4 files from the original computer? (lcd.exe, inpoutx64.dll, sioapi.dll, and sioutil.exe) Well, if you didn’t and you made a backup image of the original system to your technician computer, you could mount that image and look for the files. Otherwise you will need to acquire the Sentinel Recovery ISO and find them there. However you acquired them, put them on the USB flash drive, and copy them into a directory on your DX4000 windows partition. I placed them in C:\LCD, but use what you want. Open a command prompt and change to that directory. Execute the SIOUTIL file with the following switches:

C:\> sioutil setfan sysfan 255

This sets the fan speed to the highest level (between 0 and 255). In my situation, this works fine as I live in the southern United States where it is freakin’ hot… everywhere. The ambient temperature of my room averages 25 °C, so my unit runs a little warmer than I prefer ( 32°C ±3), but it’s acceptable.

I took a little time to check the values for fan speed control (0 – 255) and I believe the following chart is fairly accurate:

I graphed the temperatures for my system when I initially started working to test the various fan speed settings. In the following chart, you’ll see a plateau reached around 2100 RPMs. You may find different results for your environment, so just keep an eye on it and adjust it to your needs. These tests were done in the middle of winter and the ambient temperatures in the room where lower than normal.

There are alternatives you can use to control the fan. Check the SpeedFan utility and Open Hardware Monitor, I just didn’t spend the time to figure out the fan control capabilities using them.

What about that LCD?

To keep this article short, I’ll give you the quick and dirty on this thing. Open a command prompt and change to the directory where you place those 4 files I told you about earlier. Execute the following to clear the display:

C:\> lcd clear

    To output a text stream to the display execute something like the following commands:

C:\> lcd 0 “ALL YOUR BASE”

C:\> lcd 1 “ARE BELONG TO US”

    And so, there you have it… your own personalized system message J Yes, that is a little silly and not so useful for us Admin types, but those are the basics. With a little sweat, you can create a PowerShell script to clear the display automatically and set the fan speed… perhaps using Task Scheduler.

Why did you make me download the ProWinx64 file?

    Well, now that you have 2012 running and are able to RDC into the unit, you can install the proper NIC software and enable teaming! Go for it…


Well, besides warning you about all that stuff regarding how I take no responsibility if something goes wrong and that Western Digital will not support you with this conversion. The customization of the auto unattended installation and use of the DISM tool is beneficial for many situations besides this one. The knowledge will carry over into other areas and I hope that you found this article at least interesting and informative.


I decided to do a quick and dirty example on how to control the fan and LCD so that anyone wanting to get started with this conversion can do so. However, I have spent quite a bit of time learning more about the system LCD microcontroller. Unfortunately, I do not have a full grasp of the SIO controller portion yet, so I will probably just leave the fan controller alone… for now. With that said, I do have a few PowerShell scripts that I’ve been working on to program the LCD. In the next, and last article, I’ll discuss this in detail and provide some sample scripts that will give any administrator the capability to provide useful information to the display.

Good Luck out there!

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Posted in WD DX4000
43 comments on “WD DX4000: Building Windows Server 2012, part 2
  1. john says:

    this page is really confusing

  2. john says:

    Sorry I didn’t mean to be vague, there is just a lot of information here and the specifics are not clear enough for a walk through. Having parts of sections out of order or incorrect confuse the reader. Please do not be offended, I am very grateful for the time and effort that you put into this. You helped me significantly and I completely understand the difficulties of documenting procedures for others.

    It would have taken me significantly longer to get 2012 std core on my dx4000 if you had not written this. The winpe vnc trick is very handy. I would like to see if that could be done in the different setup stages.

    • tswalker says:

      Hey John thanks again for the feedback.. I do appreciate that. Yeah, I guess this was mainly a helicopter approach not intended to be a total step by step, I just wanted to hit the highlights of areas that I thought may be important. I’m glad it was helpful.

      • rochavius says:

        tswalker, I really want to say THANKS with capital letters, because thanks to you, I was able to use this “headless” machine (quoting you xD) at work. I’m just at Part 1, now in home, reading the part 2, realize that I have to thank you for your work, doing the Investigation part, and posting it here. I hope to get to the end, (win 2k8 server R2), with no trouble.

        best regards, Rochavius

      • tswalker says:

        You’re most welcome Rochavius! I hope you find this helpful and ask any questions you may have… br, Troy

  3. rochavius says:

    Troy I’m having issues, I’ve test my unattend.xml in a laptop, to see why don’t work and when the installation is about to begin, and windows with an error comes up, saying something about my unattended installation file is wrong, may I send it to you, and you can check it out what the problem is?. Thanks Rochavius

  4. rochavius says:

    hi Troy, here is my unattended http://sdrv.ms/17aKBxg for you to take a look. It starts well but when is about to install it reboots, so I dont know if may be a bad partitioning configuration, or else. I have both disks empty, and drive 0 with a full ntfs partition (1), so you will tell me what is wrong…
    thanks pal!

    • tswalker says:

      it looks like there are two things going on.. first most obvious to me in the file is here:


      take the quotes out of the path.. instead of “/IMAGE/INDEX” it should be just /IMAGE/INDEX and the Value should be 2.

      also, the instructions were for replacing the windows partition, but not building all partitions. there are 4 partitions by default that are pre-installed by WD. and the “windows” partition is on 3 (the 60GB partition). It is very possible that you have over-written the system partition which contains all of the EFI boot information. You will need to check that.

      you can check it by booting up with your WinPE bootable USB that has the TightVNC service running, log in from remote computer, and then check the partitions with diskpart. if all of the partitions are gone, or there is no boot data on the system partition you’ll have to restore it from backup or through recovery.

      If you backed it up, you may be able to restore it.. otherwise, you have two options.

      1). start over and reimage the system using the WD recovery solution (instructions are on their website.

      2). recreate the entire system partitions using the autounattend process. You will need to figure out the partition layouts and needed files. I’m sorry I don’t have time to cover this, but instructions on how to do this are available on Microsoft’s website and on the web.

      oh, I also noticed you do not have the product key in the “user data” section.. that is necessary.

      the potentially good thing here is that you completely forgot the “DiskConfiguration” section which actually instructs the auto unattend to format the partition.. so it is possible that nothing was ruined on your system, but it is hard for me to tell that from here 🙂

      please take a look at the autounattend file I uploaded in earlier post and compare.. you can use that as a template for yours and input your specific details like machine and keys.. etc.

      hope that helps.

  5. rochavius says:

    Hey troy, finally I came up to deploy the system on the NAS, thanks a lot for your time, and for your answers. Just one more thing, i can’t find the files to config the fan speed, could you upload to your public cloud folder? if you still have them, thanks a lot for everything and, promise not to bother you anymore.

    BR. Rochavius

  6. tswalker says:

    I’m not certain I can do that as I know 3 of them are proprietary and developed by WD… I don’t think I can freely distribute that without breaking some laws perhaps? Did you try looking in their Recovery CD found here:


  7. Alexey says:

    What do you think, is it possible to install WS2003r2 x32 instead of WS2008/2012 ?

    • tswalker says:

      I honestly do not know, I think your biggest problem would be finding appropriate drivers for that platform. Considering it’s EoL was 2010, and extended support is in 2015.. I would definitely not recommend continuing to run that version of the OS.

  8. kChan says:

    Hi, firstly, thanks for taking the time to write all this up.

    I’ve been messing around with the autounattend.xml and testing it on a laptop. I’ve managed to get a complete unattended install of Windows Server which is fine, but when following your guide, I get the following error “Windows could not apply the Windows PE bootstrap settings specified in the unattend answer file.” I’m only running into this problem when trying to get TightVNC working. When I delete the RunSynchronous answer component, it runs fine.
    I was wondering where you put your TightVNC files(and registry config)? Currently, mine are in the boot.wim root directory.

    • tswalker says:

      Hi kChan,

      that error is probably just a simple path error… I had created a directory called TightVNC and dumped all of the required files into that from the root. You could put it anywhere you like though, doesn’t really matter as long as the path references are correct.. may just want to double check the XML file or in the editor.

      just as an example, here is the path object definition I have for one of the commands in the XML file:

      %SYSTEMDRIVE%\TightVNC\tvnserver.exe -install -silent

  9. Ryan says:

    Thanks for the great article. I managed to get Server 2012 installed, however the lcd clear command or the fan control command are not working. I enter the commands and nothing happens, no errors or anything. I have the files that were required and am not sure how to troubleshoot this. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you again.

    • tswalker says:

      I appreciate that, and thank you. Make sure you are in the same directory as where you added the files to execute them from the command prompt. One thing you can do is to add that path to those files to an environment variable (like %LCD% with a value of C:\LCD), and include it into the %PATH% variable, or however you like. That should be all you need as long as you have the files in the same folder.

      I think in the article I said I placed them into that directory (C:\LCD), and then my examples show them executing from the root C:\… I failed to mention I had added the path to the environment. 🙂

  10. Is the unattend.xml file needed in part 2 for the boot.wim? or will it just use the autounattend.xml?

    • tswalker says:

      yes, it is an integral part of the boot.wim to setup services during “boot” to begin the installation process or to use the WinPE environment… the autounattend file is strictly for installation.

  11. Dan Fain says:

    Ok I have followed the step up through 2 and still cannot get the OS installed. I can ping the box but cannot connect with TightVNC or Remote Desktop. If I power the box down, the drives are not flashing, and then power back on the original OS boots. Any ideas?

    • tswalker says:

      If you are able to ping it from the technician machine, we at least know that things are working for the base WinPE environment. At that point, if you are not able to connect via TightVNC, I would go back through and double check that the registry file you setup from the technician machine is correct, and that all the files are copied to the WinPE mounted directory. I did not put the instructions for making the registry file, as this is available from the TightVNC website… just make certain they’re correct.

      Next, I would compare the unattend.xml you’ve made, to the example I provided just to be sure there are no typos or errors related to the path in which you placed the TightVNC services and that this file does exist in the root of the WinPE mount directory used to build the image. This is necessary for WinPE to configure the services during startup.

      Really, it is just steps 4 and 5 that deal with the setup of TightVNC in Part 1. If these both check out, and looks good… there really should not be any reason I can think of for it not to work.

      • tswalker says:

        I would also add, that since it seems you are in the process of trying to get the OS installed from Part 2, you may want to just go back to Part 1 and test it to be sure that part of the process is working (that is to check TightVNC services are working ok from the WinPE boot).

        If that works, and you still cannot connect during Part 2, it could be one of two things… either the system is at a point during the installation where you are just unable to connect (I think I called that a “black-out” period), or you need to double check the setup for TightVNC. There will be times during the installation where you will not be able to connect.

        If the system is just hanging during Part 2, it sounds like the autounattend process is fubar, and you may need to double check that part (especially if Part 1 and the general WinPE bootup and TightVNC connectivity testing works out ok.)

      • Dan Fain says:

        Part 1 is working perfectly. I can remote in and connect just fine. Part 2 is where the issue is. I am using the same TightVNC settings for 2 as 1 so I do not believe that is the problem. I have compared my autounattend to yours and everything looks the same. Only difference for me is that I am loading 2012 R2 not 2012. For part 1 I used a different USB stick than I did for part 2 because I did not want to over write something that was working. I’m going back and trying that stick now.

  12. Alpha D says:

    Great article, much thanks for this insight else i would be pulling my hair right about now. I am also having a little issue of the OS after it completes the setup and is rebooting

    1. Setup does not resume
    2. I lose all remote connectivity.

    Is the System partition required for booting? I may have messed that up. How can it be recovered (I have tried a million times with WD Recovery strategy and it fails everytime for me) Can you please help?

    • tswalker says:

      thanks, the system partition is required so hopefully you made a backup of it like I showed above. To restore it, you would issue the /Apply-Image switch instead of /Capture-Image. You should probably boot with the WinPE USB from Part 1 (without all of the installation stuff from Part 2) and check the system remotely from your technician computer to verify it.

      If you messed up the autounattend configuration for the setup, and destroyed the system partition yet do not have a backup of it… you either one of two choices:

      Try to get the WD Recovery working, or….

      Configure the autounattend for this setup to setup both the System and Windows partitions from scratch without wiping the disk and destroying your data partition (if that is still important to you). I don’t have instructions to do this, but they are available in the technical reference:


      You are basically looking adding a bit more to the section above that shows how to configure the autounattend to only deal with the Windows partition.. but now you have to deal with the System partition (or a complete wipe and start from scratch). You may be able to find more information here:


      and/or by just googling “windows system image management” and “creating system partition”

  13. Alpha D says:

    Hi there,

    Thanks for the advice, manage to re-create the partitions and now the system has rebooted with the message “Loading OS Please wait….” From what i have read it takes some time (don’t know it that is your experience but we will see)

    Thanks again for all your assistance…Blessup

    • tswalker says:

      awesome, that’s a good sign! Hopefully the RDP configuration goes as planned, and you can connect soon… 🙂 and yes, the initial setup and what not does take a bit of time (about 15 minutes overall from start to end.. I think that’s about how long). But as long as it continues to respond to ping, at some point RDP in and check 🙂

  14. Dan Fain says:

    When you have a chance can you look at this and see if you have any ideas. I am getting the following error during the Copying Files phase.
    “Windows Could not set the id for a partition on disk 0. The error occurred while applying the unattend answer file’s setting. Error code:0x80042565”







    I cannot find anything on the web that addresses this. I pulled the drive and put in another system just to make sure I could get to the drive. I ran diskpart and verified the partition number.

    • tswalker says:

      Hey Dan, take out your product key (or fill it in with X’s) and drop it in onedrive or dropbox for me ( you can shoot me an email if you don’t want to share the link to it, troy _ s _ walker at hotmail dot com) and I’ll take a look at your autounattend config to see if I can note anything. Did you verify that the system and windows partition are valid from before and that they’re ok on the system?

  15. Daniel says:


    I’m having a problem with the partitions, setup fails. My DX4000 does not have any partitions anymore. Long story short, the RAID is fresh created (rebuild storage) so it does not have any partitons on it. because of this (as I understand from the xml) the setup cannot modify a partition that does not exist. What do I do in this case ? Do I really have to install back the original server 2008 just to have the partitions ? No other way around this ?


  16. Daniel says:

    Updating my previous comment, I managed to pass the partition creation/selection by:

    – creating a partiton with diskpart
    – setting WillShowUI to Always
    – after the above, the setup stopped at the select partition screen where I was able to delete the partition created with diskpart and create my desired partitions setup.
    – after that I had to change the partition ID from 3 to 4 in the xml.

    I hope it will finish the installation without any other errors.

    Thanks for the awesome guide.

    • tswalker says:

      Hi Daniel,

      Ya, these particular articles were about taking the existing file system on the DX and just dealing with the OS partition… to preserve any data partitions. Setting “WillShowUI” is helpful, and it’s nice as you can TightVNC in to do things 🙂 I’m not sure if it effect anything in the OOBE pass though.

      However, since you’ve got the partition ID figured out, you could adapt a script to help.

      I tackle a ‘scrub’ like build in this article: https://blugged.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/virtualize-native-vhd-custom-re/ which uses a VHD file for the OS.

      There’s a script I provide in the article that shows how you could automate it and some notes on dealing with the BCD Store.. it’s a bit more complex. But you get a lot of control that way too..

      Let me know how everything goes!

      • Daniel says:

        Hi, thanks for the reply.

        The setup was completed successfully but Windows does not start. I have on the display “searching…” and that’s it. It refuses to boot. I started the setup again just to have access to the command prompt, I checked the partitions, everything looks OK, the data is there (the new Windows), at this point I don’t know. Maybe it is coded in the firmware to boot from the 3rd partition ? I will try further and test but it’s going slow…


      • tswalker says:

        You may want to verify the EFI partition is setup properly and contains the necessary files. If you created the partition layouts manually, you can check the script I mentioned above for some layout options. I do know, that to get the LCD has a couple files required to be placed in the System partition so that startup.nsh calls in EFI to change the LCD.

        let me know if you need them, and I’ll email a link.

  17. Daniyyel says:

    Hello, sorry for the delay in responding.
    After it failed to boot from the 2012 server, I tried with the official 2008 WD build and it failed again. After this I took the HDD’s out, I cleaned them one by one with diskpart. After this I recreated the array and reinstalled the official WD 2008 server. Unfortunately nothing worked, after finishing the installation, my Sentinel displays “Initialization OK. Searching…”, so no boot again… I don’t know what to try next…

    • tswalker says:

      Hi Daniel, that does sound really strange. Are you able to access the system using TightVNC with the special boot USB?

      • Daniyyel says:

        Yes, I can access it while Windows is installing. After the installation, the device does not boot. 2012 or the official 2008, same result “Initialization OK. Searching…”.

      • tswalker says:

        If you are able to, can you provide a break down the partitions with diskpart… I show an example of this in the part 2 article under “Note Disk Layout:”

        Since you are building the array by hand basically, before you customize the unattend for setup, you need to construct the array, do the partitioning, and setup the EFI system manually.

        I have a feeling this may be the problem.

        It is also a possibility, that the Intel RST drivers were not added to the WIMs for setup, You can check those, I briefly cover that too in part 2 article under “Building autounattend.xml for server 2012:”

        Injecting the drivers to the install.wim is also needed for setup.. which seems like you already did, but might be worthwhile to double check they got into the right Index.

  18. Ingo Böhm says:

    Hi, first of all thanks for this awesome guide! After a few days of fiddling arround i sucessfully got my Win2012R2 DX4000 NAS up and running. Now there is on question popping up how will i be notified if a drive fails? is there a Hardware alert and if so, can it be acknowledged until the replacement drive is bought and installed. Oh and do you know if there is a probably thirdparty “Agent” the may notify me by mail?

    Cheers Ingo

    • tswalker says:

      You’ll need to install the Intel RST software which I believe can be configured to send notifications. It will put up an alert and notify you of the failed state.

      I’ve already gone through two 4TB drive with my unit, luckily not at the same time. The system ran in a very low performance mode when a drive went bad, so I shut it down until a replacement arrived. I swapped the drive out, started the system and ran the Intel RST recovery to rebuild the array.

      You must make sure that the array is initialized prior to having any problems though or you may not be able to rebuild the array when a failure occurs.

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