As much as we would like to get it right the first time or even the second or third time this rarely happens even more so when you are working with a new technology. So from all my initial forays into installing Windows Home Server 2011 I have decided pass on what ultimately worked for me in this Step by Step Tutorial of a Bare Metal Install or even a Re-Install of A Windows Home Server 2011 Server. Hopefully this will elevate some of the pain I went through.

Prerequisites Needed…
– Keyboard, Mouse, and Monitor
– PC/Server that meets the Windows Home Server 2011 Minimum requirements
– Windows Home Server 2011 Install DVD & License Key


The How to information is intended as a guide or helping resource to those who are to do a Bare Metal Install of A Windows Home Server 2011 . There is no 100% guarantee that this will install correctly the 1st time installing your home server Operating System. I assume no responsibility for any consequences of the install and the user will assume the full risk of any adverse effects of a bad installation.

Before Getting Started…

Before going any further please move any important Data off your System Hard Disk onto either another Internal Drive of your home server or another form of Media altogether (External Drive, ROM, etc.…)

(This Next Step is Optional)

Unplug all your internal drives (Along with any external drives) from your Mother Board with the exception of your designated Primary System Drive. If this is a re-install or you just want to insure that the primary drive you have chosen by the WHS 2011 Installer, This will give those of us who are paranoid the feeling of security that the drives with your valuable Data is not accidentally chosen as the primary drive by the WHS 2011 Installer. The likely of this happening is small but just an added step just in case.

Once your Windows Home Server 2011 DVD has been inserted into the DVD ROM and booted into the Setup Screen please do the following…
1) Click on “New Installation”

2) Look over all the Hard Disks on your server and insure that the Primary System Hard Disk you want is the one chosen (If all the hard disk have been disconnected it should be your only choice).

3) Check the “I understand that if I click install, all files and folders on my primary hard drive will be deleted” (Even if you still have your other drives still plugged in they should not be effected by the re-install).

4) Click “Install”

5) Now sit back, relax and grab a book and wait approximately the next 30 to 45 minutes while the 1st half of the installation continues. Your Server will automatically reboot itself when ready.

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John has been in the IT profession for over 20 years along with being certified in both Comptia Security + (2008 edition) and a MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) on Both Windows XP & Server 2003 Administration, He currently works as an Windows System Administrator for Northrop Grumman in the Greater Los Angeles Area and manages 3 Windows Active Directory Private Networks (Two 2008 R2 and One 2012 R2) along With 2 VMware EXSI 5.5 Servers in the US. He has been an avid fan and follower of Windows Home Server (Now the Essentials Role of Windows Server) and Visualization Since 2009. He is currently trying to exploit the full potential of Microsoft's Windows Server Operating System to the Home & Small to Medium Business Community along with the power of Visualization. When not being a Nerd and a Geek he likes to watch Movies, Read Comic Books, and most importantly spend time with his family.
  • John (ITBeast) Keller

    Just FYI, This How To Guide also works for Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 installations as well. Just got done doing one this weekend using this guide as well.

  • Aswoc

    Will this instruction work if I already have WHS 2008v3 installed and running?
    Do I just follow this instruction and overwright existing WHS Software? I’m at witts end.thanks

    • John (ITBeast) Keller

      Hi Aswoc

      This instruction will work with both Windows Home Server 2011 and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials only.

      If you follow the instructions per the how to guide The Windows Home Server 2011 Installer will reformat and repartition your primary hard drive and destroy all Data that maybe on your primary hard drive, therefore you may want move any data that is currently on there.

      If you have any further questions please let me know.

  • sicknote

    A great instruction set but what about the next steps – do you have a guide for connecting other PC’s & XBOX around the house to the server….?

  • Franksredhot1

    Awesome, article. FYI, I tried this and forgot to remove one of the larger hard drives and it started to install on that one. I shut it down and tried again but couldn’t get it working. After some time I opend the cfg.ini on another computer and saw that it was modified by the install. I removed the added line “processed=true” and then it worked. I spent about 30 minutes in the bios messing with boot priorities thinking there was something there.

    Thanks for all the work.

    • thanks Andy 🙂

    • ITBeast

      I’m glad I was of help

    • ITBeast

      I’m glad I was of help