Ok, so we have a customer where we installed a new LAN about a year ago.  Well, they are opening a new office down in Phoenix, and the owner got the brilliant idea that in order to trim back their start-up costs, they’d just have the new office use their old Server & PCs . . . we laid out every argument imaginable on why it would be beneficial to deploy new hardware / software – but in the end, the owner would hear nothing of it – they wanted their old machines reformatted, re-installed and completely prepped so they could simply be plugged in when they arrived at the new office. 

So Monday morning I picked up the old hardware & software, and we started re-installing.  I let Lee (one of our techs) go to town with the workstations (Pentium 133 boxes / 4GB HD / 32 MB RAM / Win98 / Office97 Pro) and I started in on the server (PII 233 / 256 MB RAM / NT4 Server).  Needless to say, the God’s decided they were going to have fun with me when it came to this project.  Lee had 4 PCs completely reformatted, reinstalled & patched before I was at a point where I could get the *#@$%^!& NT setup to run . . .    First, it has literally been years since I have installed NT4 Server.  This box had a SCSI CD-ROM, the system would post, and detect not only the CD-ROM, but that there was a bootable CD in the drive, but wouldn’t boot to the CD.  No problem, I’ve got the NT setup floppies – so I boot to the floppies, they detect the SCSI Controller & on-board ATAPI CD-ROM controller.  No problem – until I hit Enter to continue and setup tells me that because there is no CD-ROM, it can’t continue. 


So, I throw the scenario out to the other SBS MVPs, and the most popular response was to make sure I had drivers for the CD-ROM.  So I tear it out of the box, pull the make / model and go online.  It’s a Toshiba drive, and according to Toshiba, it is 100% standards compliant, so there are no drivers necessary.  As long as the host OS can see the SCSI Controller, it’ll work. 

Yeah right – tell that to this piece of (*&^ box . . . .

So, just for shits & giggles – I download the drivers for the controller, reboot the server and load the Adaptec drivers for the controller.  No dice – still tells me no CD-ROM present (mind you that bios is still indicating a bootable CD in the drive when the system boots)

So this thing wants to play hardball does it?  Fine – sooner or later it will realize like so many others that I’m a stubborn PITA and in the end, I will not only overcome – but whip it into complete submission in the process  :^)   I go to the back room and pull a new IDE CD-ROM that I happened to have on the shelf, and replaced the SCSI drive.  Booted to the setup floppies, followed the bouncing ball and when I hit Enter to proceed from that last screen, I get the same message that setup cannot continue because no CD-ROM is present.

AARRGGHH!!    <insert random cussing & serious temptation to start smoking again here>

I verify that the CD-ROM is showing up in the CMOS – yep.  Just to be safe, I tried another IDE cable – no dice.  So I go back to the back room, and pull another CD-ROM out of an old (and I mean OLD) PC who’s mobo just recently died, swapped out the new CD-ROM for the used special, and booted for the ump-teenth time to the setup floppies.  Lo & behold – this time it worked!

So setup finally finished, and I configured DNS, DHCP, WINS, etc. – In the end, I spent all of Tuesday afternoon and most of Wednesday morning on this little PITA project.  I’m tempted to bill the customer extra time to cover my undue stress & suffering . . .  ;^)   Now all I have to do is throw that new CD-ROM in a test box to see if it does in fact work, or if I need to have it replaced under warranty .. .

As for the moral of the story, this made me realize how spoiled I’ve become with SBS 2003 . . .  who says real admins don’t use wizards???    :^)