Dell Poweredge 2550 bad CD drive

By hoffmeyer4
Jul 15, 2009
  1. I bought a Dell Poweredge 2550 off of Ebay. It works great except that the CD rom was bad. These are my notes on how I loaded an operating system.

    It had a combo CD and 3.5 floppy drive through an IDE board.
    CD rom was a 24X. The only two CDs that it would boot from were an HP 6730 restore CD and an ultimate boot cd(Google ultimatebootcd if interested).
    I created a floppy boot diskette, but the drive would not read it or a Windows 3.11 boot diskette.
    The IDE connection is a Dell custom made backplane board, so a regular IDE cable cannot be attached.

    It has 3 hard drives that are controlled by RAID 0(RAID 0 links drives together – see this article for explanation:,289483,sid5_gci1261814,00.html)
    I was able to boot from the HP cd and format the drive to FAT32. However, it still would not read other CDs such as Win98, Win ME, or Server 2003.
    I have a HP6730 that I used to copy files to the drive that I used for installation. It had 2 drives – a 10GB and a 6GB. The 6 was used for file storage.
    The HP had Server 2003 installed on it at the time on the 10GB. I didn’t want to lose this until I knew that the process would work.
    I bought an IDE controller card and installed this in the server. I connected a 32X cd. The server would recognize it, but still would not boot from it.

    For this process, you will need another computer with 2 hard drives. You will also need an IDE controller card.
    On the HP
    I copied any files on the 6GB to the 10GB. It might sound silly to mention this, but my the 6GB will be formatted and used, so be sure to get any files off of it.
    I formatted the 6GB to FAT32.
    I disconnected the 10GB IDE cable in order to protect the files on it.
    I set the 6GB as the master drive. I then booted with HP restore CD and allowed it to do a system restore to the 6GB. The reason that I did this was because the 6GB had been setup as NTFS. The restore CD that I had would not read NTFS drives; it would only read files on a FAT32. The ultimate boot CD also has tools that will boot and read FAT32 like the restore CD did.
    I made a directory called WIN98. I copied all files from a WIN98 upgrade cd to this directory( I do not have a full install copy of WIN98).
    I made a directory called WINSRV03(Windows standard server 2003). I copied all files from the server 2003 cd to this directory. Server 2000 or 2003 are available on Ebay. As another alternative, Microsoft has Server Home edition which can be used for free for 120 days. It will cost $100 after that.
    I shut down the HP and removed the 6GB drive.
    I connected the 6GB drive to the server ribbon cable connected to the IDE controller.
    The server booted from the 6GB drive when it recognized that there was a boot partition on it. It booted to the Windows 98 that was loaded on it from the restore CD.

    I booted with the server with the HP restore CD. After the CD rom driver was loaded, I did a control-C to break the bat program that the restore CD runs. This took me to a DOS prompt. I had already run FDISK and formatted the RAID SCSI drive, but I will repeat the steps here.
    I ran FDISK and created a FAT32 primary partition on the server drive. After this, the server will have to be rebooted. I did the control-C again to break the HP restore bat program. I formatted the server drive. [BE SURE THAT YOU ARE FORMATTING THE CORRECT DRIVE. This should be easy because the server drive should be C: and the 6GB should be D:. Do a directory to check them. If DIR does not read drive C:, then you know it is the server drive because it cannot be read until it is formatted.]
    I then ran the Win98 install from the 6GB drive. When asked for the location to install, I changed it to be C:\Windows(the server drive). I then let it install Win98 on the server. An obvious question might be: Why not just install Server 2003?. I tried that, but with my HP restore CD, it would not run the Server 2003 setup(The message “Cannot run from DOS prompt” appears). I had to go through Windows 98.
    When Win98 was up and running, I then ran the Server2003 setup from the 6GB drive. There were messages about converting the Fat32 C: drive to NTFS. Let it do the conversion. There were no glitches in the installation. After server 2003 was installed, I wanted the server 2003 file to be available for any Windows components that I needed to add. I made the directory C:\WINDOWS\OPTION\WINSRV03 and copied the entire contents from the D:\WINSRV03(which came from the CD) to the this directory. I then changed the registry settings in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\Sourcepath to point to the directory C:\WINDOWS\OPTION\WINSRV03\. If this is not done, it will constantly look for the D: drive for the setup files.
    I shutdown the server and removed the 6GB drive.
    I have a network at home, so I connected the server to the network, created a shared drive, and copied any other needed files or programs to the server.
    If your CD rom drive will not work at all on the server, you can follow the steps to create a bootable IDE drive as above with a version of Windows, connect the IDE drive to the server, and then boot from it.
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