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Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview Hangs on “Devices getting ready 84%” Fails to Complete Install on HP MIcroServer Gen7 (N36L, N40L & N54L)

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Server 2012 R2 Fails to Install on HP MicroServer

Server 2012 R2 Fails to Install on HP MicroServer

It seems that a number of people are having difficulties in installing Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 on their Gen7 N-series MicroServer. It’s caught many off guard as Server 2012 installs without an issue.

The MicroServer N36, N40L and N54L all share the same embedded NC107i PCI Express gigabit NIC. The NC107i uses the Broadcom BCM5723 chip which doesn’t have an updated driver included with the Server 2012 R2 installation media. The missing drivers will cause the installation process to hang at the spinning dots screen.

The current workaround is to disable the on-board NIC and install an add-on card. If this sounds familiar then you’ve probably tried installing ESXi on a whitebox PC 8-). Joe Miner over at Home Server Show describes the following steps he took to get this to work properly:

  • Flash the custom BIOS to unlock the hidden BIOS screens
  • Install a supported NIC in the PCIe slot (Joe used the Intel EXPI9301CTBLK
  • Go into the BIOS and change the settings to match
    • Boot Settings -> Embedded NIC Port 1 Control – [Disabled]
    • Boot Settings -> Wake-On LAN – [Disabled]
    • Chipset -> Atheros AR8132M NIC – [Disabled]
  • After a reboot, Server 2012 R2 should install fine

Not everything is probably needed to be disabled in the BIOS but it looks like Joe didn’t take any chances. This is still a workaround and is going to be an issue for those that have already used the spare PCIe slot for something like a P410 HP Storage Array. You may have some luck trying to use a USB to Ethernet adapter but not sure if you would want to run Ethernet over USB 2.0.

HP have documented this as a known issue and are currently working with Microsoft to resolve prior to the official release of R2.

If anyone has been able to use the on-board NIC, we’d love to hear from you.

7 thoughts on “Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview Hangs on “Devices getting ready 84%” Fails to Complete Install on HP MIcroServer Gen7 (N36L, N40L & N54L)”

  1. Quote: “You may have some luck trying to use a USB to Ethernet adapter but if disabling the USB 3.0 controller is required then not sure if you would want to run Ethernet over USB 2.0.”

    The HP MicroServer does not have any USB 3.0 ports. 😉

    The option to disable the NEC USB 3.0 Controller is simply a menu item which appears in the modified BIOS and which is hidden in the original BIOS, since the HP MicroServer does not have any USB 3.0 ports.

    Disabling the Atheros AR8132M NIC in the BIOS is sufficient I believe when installing Windows Server 2012 R2, as this specific network adapter is not supported yet.

    I have flashed the BIOS of my HP MicroServer N40L with a modified version myself as well, but if memory serves me correctly, then you can disable the Atheros AR8132M NIC in the original BIOS too, so you would not need a modified BIOS.

  2. HP have re-issued the document where they acknowledged this issue. The document is now dated October 2013 and drops any reference to this issue.

    Needless to say, the issue still exists and HP have told me that new drivers will be available some time in December, but that Windows Server 2012 R2 is not supported on my Gen7 (N36L, N40L, N54L) microservers and hence they wont be tested. I can tell you Windows 8.1 has exactly the same problem on these machines as well.

    Lets just say I am not terribly happy as I need to but NIC’s for the machines that have a spare slot and cannot upgrade the others.

    1. I have installed Windows Server 2012 R2 on my HP ProLiant MicroServer N40L, having only disabled the Atheros AR8132M NIC in the BIOS. It works perfectly, even the disabled NIC… Yes, the NIC works even when disabled in the BIOS. No need to install a driver for it, but I installed the HP NC107i PCIe Gigabit Server Adapter Driver (cp021170) for it anyway. Working perfectly.

      1. Arie, Thanks for your reply.

        I have tried what you have done again with no success.

        Can I ask, do you have any other network adapter in your N40L?

        In my case, if I disable the Atheros AR8132M NIC in the Bios, Windows Server boot fine, but I dont see the NIC in Device Manager. If I enable it in the Bios, the boot hangs during Windows Server Startup.

        1. I have a HP NC360T PCI Express Dual Port Gigabit Server Adapter in my HP ProLiant MicroServer N40L as well. Even when I disabled the Atheros AR8132M NIC in the BIOS, it still showed up in Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter and it was working fine out of the box. I have not enabled the Atheros AR8132M NIC in the BIOS afterwards either. It could be that it has to do with my HP NC360T PCI Express Dual Port Gigabit Server Adapter. I use the same hacked BIOS as you do. I must add though that I am using the MSDN install media for Windows Server 2012 R2; perhaps it does not work with the retail install media? I have only tested the MSDN install media myself.

      2. There is a BIOS update for my HP MIcroServer Gen7 N40L that ensures everything works 100%.

        After updating the BIOS, into the BIOS to enable RAID. Rebooted and went into the AMD onboard RAID BIOS (Ctrl+f) and setup a RAID1 with 2 drives.
        Booted using Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, no additional drivers were needed for Windows to see the disk array. Went through the install and it completed, rebooted. I logged in and there were no problems at all!☺

        I then installed the AMD RAIDXpert utility. For the sake of a test I pulled one of the drives…
        Notification popped up saying drive pulled and the array is in a critical state…
        Plugged the drive back in, it sees it as a new drive. The auto-rebuild started. carried on installing bits/drivers (onboard HP NIC drivers etc.) and configuring Windows Server 2012 Essentials.
        Took a little while about an hour (about 15GB on the system drive and rebuild rate set to medium). The notification kept popping up every 10% giving me an update of the rebuild progress.
        All down to the new HP MicroServer G7 BIOS:
        Version: 2013.10.01 (A) (15 Nov 2013)

        It worked so well! I am so very pleased!!!!!!☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺

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