An HP smart start tip from Kevin Royalty

Today’s tip courtesy of Kevin Royalty:


If you are like me, you like to do things as efficiently as possible when building an SBS server, whether it be a migration or fresh installation.  We also happen to be an HP Reseller and use the HP SmartStart tools to do our server installations.  Below is something I discovered that should be helpful to those of you similar to me in the community


Use HP SmartStart to install SBS 2008 from DVD or Flash drive.  Below are some of the screenshots you may encounter – note that the serial number entered is completely invalid (thanks to Tim Barrett of NoGeekLeftBehind for telling me that this works) and will come into play later.  Note also that I’ve enabled all the necessary stuff in the SmartStart install so we can monitor/manage the HP hardware.





Now we get to wait while the SBS DVD (or flash drive) installs.  If you entered the invalid key, you’ll be prompted to enter your key again. 



Uncheck the “Automatically activate windows when I’m online” checkbox and leave the key field blank (next, NO) to install in “Trial” mode.  You might use this for a migration, or a lab, or if you don’t have your customer license in hand yet.

Once you see the below screen, you are at a “fork in the road” and have a couple of decisions to make.



1)      Is this a “fresh” SBS install

      a.       Do you have an “answer file”

                             i.      If yes, hit SHIFT-F10 to get a command prompt, and insert your media with the answer file.  Copy it to the root of C:.  Close the command prompt and hit “cancel”.  The server will reboot (you can power it down if you wish once it starts to reboot).  Once it reboots it will follow your answer file and complete the install.

     b.      If NO to A, click Next and continue.  Answer the questions manually.

2)      With a migration, you need your answer file.  Hit SHIFT-F10 to get a command prompt, and insert your media with the answer file.  Copy it to the root of C:.  Close the command prompt and hit “cancel”.  The server will reboot (you can power it down if you wish once it starts to reboot).  Once it reboots it will follow your answer file and install in migration mode.

One Thought on “An HP smart start tip from Kevin Royalty

  1. Just to add another bit of information to this:
    by shutting down the server after you get to the last screenshot, you can take the server from your workbench/office to the client site and pick up where you need on your project.
    also, since the install isn’t yet “keyed” you can image the system, and then lay this out on another HP server and save yourself some time.

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