Dell R300 painful Windows 2003 x64 install

Received a new Dell R300 2.8Ghz Quad Core, 8GB RAM, 2x500GB SATA drives, PERC RAID controller and needed to install Windows 2003 x64.  The CD/DVD (“Systems Management Tools and Documentation Version 5.5”) that comes with the Dell systems allows you to boot into the “Dell Systems Build and Update Utility” so that you can install an operating system.

The pain came when inserting the DVD into the drive it would not boot off the DVD and the system would just keep complaining about no operating system.

So, testing with the Windows 2003 x64 media it starts booting fine… until, needing to install the PERC drivers from a floppy.  No floppy in the system.

Dell support ask me to download the 5.3 version of the CD, which, after an hour of downloading turns out to boot and then say “platform not supported”.

Dell support asked me to  download their USBkeyprep util to create a driver usb key stick which would allow manually installing windows… however, trying to run the application errored with: Error processing the command line parameters

Called Dell support again and was on hold for quite a while… during this time I wondered if the media shipped with the system would boot via an external USB CD/DVD drive.  It turns out that it started to boot up fine.  It allowed me to go through the install process and hopefully Windows 2003 x64 will be installed.

Can’t work out why the DVD would boot on an external drive, but, not on the internal DVD drive… but, the internal DVD drive booted the windows CD?  Even specifically selecting boot from optical device from the F11 boot menu didn’t help.  Possibly something wrong with the Dell CD/DVD drive?

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