SBS 2008 installation
The installation process is split into two sections:
- Installation of the operating system and other files to the disk
- Installation of everything that makes it SBS 2008
You cannot separate the two or stop the second half from happening; although, you will be required to provide input to the server at each stage.
Operating system installation
If you are performing a migration from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008, you must have your USB memory stick with the SBSAnswerFile.xml file loaded onto the root directory.
You must also have a network cable plugged into the SBS server, connected to a hub or switch, for the installation to succeed.
Migrating to SBS 2008 in a virtual environment
If you are installing SBS 2008 into a virtual machine, such as under Hyper-V from Microsoft then you cannot simply plug in a USB memory stick as USB ports are not available within the virtual machine. For the install process to read it, either you must add it as a pass-through hard disk or you can create a Virtual Floppy Disk with the file on it. To add the USB Disk as a hard disk in Hyper-V, mark it as offline in the DISKPART tool and then add it as a drive before starting the virtual machine. For detailed instructions, take a look at http://davidoverton.com/r.ashx?12.
If you have a DVD for the system, insert the DVD and boot the system and follow the instructions to boot from a DVD for your system. You will normally have to press a key to start the process. You will see the grey bar progressing across the screen as the DVD is read. If you have a system from a hardware manufacturer then the operating system may already be installed on the hard disk. If this is the case, simply turn on the machine.
If your machine will not boot from the DVD and you have a DVD drive on the system, then check the BIOS settings to ensure that the DVD is the first boot drive.
You will then be asked to set the Language to install, Time and currency format, and Keyboard or input method to match your needs.
If you are migrating, you must ensure that you have installed the USB memory stick before you click on the Install Now button. However, if you are performing a clean installation, then simply press the button.
If you wish to carry out a trial installation that gives you 30 days without activating your installation and fixing your hardware to your product key, do not enter a product key into the Product key box. If you are performing your final installation, then enter the key from the SBS 2008 package or the Certificate of Authenticity on the system case if SBS was pre-installed on the server.
If you do not enter a product key, you will be prompted to enter the key within 30 days. You can extend the time without a key, but ultimately, you will need to activate SBS 2008 to continue using it.
Next, accept the license and click on Next.
Select the Custom (advanced) installation option.
You should see one or more disks presented to you in a list. There are two schools of thought here on how to configure the first disk. One school has all the data on the first (or primary) partition and the other creates two partitions and splits the data and the operating system. The idea here is that the system partition can be correctly sized and backed up with a different strategy to the data partition. You can also easily move the second partition onto larger disks should there be a need to in the future.
There are merits to both arguments, but if you only have a single disk, I would simply select this and install SBS 2008 to this disk without partitioning first. For SBS 2008, this should be absolutely fine as your data needs are not going to grow too rapidly. If you do have significant data requirements with multiple disks, then having the data and system separate does make sense.
No hard disks showing
If you do not see a hard disk shown in the screen, maybe because you need to load RAID disk drivers, click on the Load Driver button and insert the CD or floppy disk that came with your computer or motherboard. Provided your system supports Windows 2008, this will resolve this problem.
Let’s have a look at the following screenshot:
Click on Next and the actual installation will finally start and take over an hour to complete. You will find yourself watching the progress on a screen similar to the one shown in the following screenshot. There is no interaction to this process, which means it can just be left on its own; however, it is best to check in ever so often to ensure that an error message has not interrupted the installation. The only error I’ve seen was when there was a read error from my DVD (I had scratched it!). I cleaned the disk and re-started the install again without any issue.