HP (not so) SmartStart 8.60 x64

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that my projects take up all my time and don’t pay the bills. This is why I have my day job, which I have to say I am pretty lucky to have. I am a senior admin at a large company in a small town. Does it get any better? No heavy traffic to battle, and a 2 minute commute. Sometimes though the job does come with some stress and frustration, take yesterday for example.

I was given the go ahead to build a new web filtering solution for the company with new hardware and Microsoft TMG. This was great! A new product and a chance to improve the system that we have had in place for about 5 years or so. I will be the first one to tell you that I am not a hardware/data center type guy so I called on the infrastructure guys in our department, gave them my minimal requirements and they got me the hardware.

This is the first tick off. HP sends you a server … and then a freakn’ ton of little boxes with hard drives and network cards. That was annoying! There was so much unpacking and recycling that day … I was sick of it. Either way the time came. 2 xeon processors a total of 12 cores, 12GB of RAM, and a freakn’ killer 3TB in RAID 5! I could not wait. I turn it on and look, look again … oh crap these things don`t come with CD/DVD drives anymore. Ugh, so I turn to the infrastructure team yet once again and they show me how to use ILO. If you don’t know what that is it is just a remote software/hardware tool that is built into HP servers.

So I create the virtual iLO drives and boot off the HP SmartStart 8.60 disk. Setting up the RAID 5 was a piece of cake! I have never had it so easy setting up RAID. This server thing doesn’t seam so hard, well at least it is a lot easier than when I stopped doing it 6 years ago. I walk through the step by step configure your server wizard and kick off the 2k8 R2 install. Then it happens.

Almost right away the HP SmartStart gags and chokes and spits out “Newly created partition is inaccessible – unable to continue – ” Locale invalid or has ANSI codeset: Using UTF-8 for international chracters. NTFS signature is missing.” So I try again, and again, and again without any change.

Wanna know how to fix this. USE USB Keys! And I hope you got a lot of space. Notice how keys is plural there?

Here is a quick rundown for you. Put the SmartStart CD into a PC and let the autorun kick off. While it is loading (it will take a while) find two USB keys, and plug in the smaller of the two into the PC. A window will pop up with an HP agreement. Agree and continue, click on the “Software” tab at the top of the window. Then start the “SmartStart USB Key Creator”. Click “Next”, “Agree” then “Next” again, “Next” another time, again you need to click “Next”, then select the source and destination then “Next”.

OH NO! The software stopped responding!? No it didn’t, do what I did and go for lunch and come back it will be done. Pop the new USB key into the server and boot off of it. Working? Well that’s good, but in my case this wasn’t the only thing I had to do. I also needed another USB key (so I had to unplug the mouse out of the server when installing due to lack of USB on a server) with the W2k8 R2 on it. So using SlySoft virtual clone drive I extracted the ISO onto the USB key and pointed the HP smart start to that drive …

Moral of the Story …
* If you don’t want to put together a server (hardware wize) or don’t want to deal with 20+ boxes get a Dell
* HP SmartStart is not all that Smart
* Doing Hardware work is still a pain in the ass after all the leaps and bounds in technology over the years

2 responses to “HP (not so) SmartStart 8.60 x64”

  1. fschuurman says:

    In my case (DL360G7, SM 8,7 x64) i got the same message. I was working through iLO and connected SM in my PC DVD player and booted the remote server. While i was working i deselected the DVD accidentally and reselected it. I was not thinking anything of it, only after the message and reading your post en fooling around i tried rebooting with a constant connection with the DVD player and the installation worked flawlessly. I am writing this for those with similar issues that maybe the disk(drive) is failty. So and option, besides the working USB solution, could be iLO (or 30-day trail) or a DVD replacement.


  2. This was a while back that this happened to me, but I do remember that I was using iLO and the DVD in my PC due to the fact that the servers that we bought did not have CD/DVD drives. Could be something with the disk, or another thing along those lines.

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