windows-home-server

Introduction

As we all know (or most of us anyways) when Microsoft began working on their newest version of Windows Home Server (and subsequently Small Business Server 2011 Essentials) they felt once again the need to treat the rest of the consumer population like uneducated children. So in Microsoft’s infinite wisdom they set a pre-determined absolute minimum size of what the system partition should be and subsequently the size of the secondary partition on the primary hard drive as well (which usually is determined by what is left over when the WHS 2011 or SBS 2011 E installer finishes making the primary partition).

Now granted nowadays you can usually buy a 1TB SATA drive for about $50 (US) or when you buy your PC or small business server that usually comes with a minimum between 250GB and 500GB SATA hard drive. So for most consumers this is usually not an issue. However in very recent years with the advent of the Solid State Drives (or SSD’s) your higher average Joe consumer, like the Hobbyist or even professional IT want to take advantage of the faster speed times and application responses that SSD has to offer. The only problem is with this is they are still very, very expensive to obtain. So if you want to install your primary WHS 2011 or even your SBS 2011 E on one of these babies since the minimum coded requirement for either operating system is 160GB you would need to buy a 256GB Solid State Drive for approximately $400 (US). Holy Crap Batman! I can build an entire Windows Home Server (or even buy one) for less than that. So how can I build a Windows Home Server 2011 or even a Small Business 2011 Essentials Server with the advance technology of SSD hard drives and not have to Mortgage our house and sacrifice our first born? One of our own Forum Members found that very answer (See Acknowledgements at the end of this article).

By using the automated install option available with WHS 2011 our Forum Member was able to install WHS 2011 on a 64GB SSD Drive. A 64GB SSD drive is still slightly expensive ($100 – US) but a far cry cheaper than if you would have gotten the minimum required 256GB SSD for the Operating System. From there Cheaper SATA drives can be used for Storage of Backups and Server data files.

Who this Article is For?

This article is to be used with WHS 2011 who want to install the before mentioned operating system on Hard Drives smaller than 160GB. This can be either Solid State Drives or even the traditional IDE-SATA drives.

Requirements

· A USB Flash Drive formatted NTFS

· WHS 2011 Install DVD

· A PC or Server that meets the minimum hardware requirements (with the exception of the hard drive minimum requirement)

· Monitor, Keyboard, and mouse.

Disclaimer

The How to information is intended as a guide or a helping resource to those who are trying to install Windows Home Server 2011 on Hard Drives that are smaller than the usually minimum required 160GB. There is no 100% guarantee that this will install correctly as described in this article. 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.

Instructions

1. Remove all Hard Drives currently connected to you system with the exception of the targeted SSD or traditional SATA Drive that will be used for either your WHS 2011 Operating System .

NOTE – Remember to insure all previous Data you want saved from the targeted drive is removed before installation or it will be permanently lost.

2. Format an NTFS USB Flash Drive, and create a file on it using notepad in the root called cfg.ini. (Insure there is nothing else on the USB)

3. Open the cfg.ini in notepad or any other text editor

4. Cut and Paste the following into the cfg.ini file below…

[WinPE]
ConfigDisk=1
CheckReqs=0
WindowsPartitionSize=MAX

image

5. Close the file and save it on the USB Flash Drive.

6. Insert the USB Flash Drive with the cfg.ini file into the targeted WHS 2011  Server’s empty USB Slot.

7. Power up your Server and insure that either your Windows Home Server 2011 install DVD has been inserted into your Servers ROM.

8. Once your Server has booted off the install DVD the Installer will read the CFG.ini file and begin the automated install process. There should be NO User Input required during this time.

9. When your Server Installer has finished its first part of the Install and goes to reboot for the 1st time REMOVE the USB Flash Drive and the Install DVD from your Server BEFORE your server boots back up ( As shown below). This will allow the Server upon rebooting to find your hard drive and continue the installation from there without further interruption.

restart

10. No Further action on your part will be required and the rest of the install will finish automatically, again without any user intervention.

11. Once the installation has completed please plug in any other drives and continue with completing your server build.

Acknowledgements

I want to give big thanks to Forum Member Mr. John Inwood (AKA Coalfield) for spending countless hours and referencing many different Microsoft forums for initialing finding the solution to circumventing the 160GB minimum requirement for WHS 2011. I would like to also thank Forum Member Mr. Gnomatic for refining the execution process of this solution. This article is based on their contributions.

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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.
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  • Here’s a supplement to your very well written and organized write-up, showing a similar process, on the similar “Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials” product,
    http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/2339-windows-storage-server-2008-r2-essentials/

    and a related article here:
    http://tinkertry.com/whywss2008r2essentials/

  • Larry Sanborn

    One little addition I stumbled on — when you past the lines into the cfg.ini, make sure that there’s a linefeed after the last line in the file. Otherwise setup ignores the file.

  • John (ITBeast) Keller

    Thanks for the update Larry

  • Jo Taylor

    New install today of WHS 2011 on HP DL380 G4 created a 64GB partition on my Drive Array A consisting of two 146GB drives. An unexpected result in that my C: Drive is being used with 16GB of WHS files and 48GB free. Another partition E: drive 213GB was created for server files. Ideally, I would like to have the Serverfiles on Drive Array B, which was created as D: Drive. So, if WHS needs 16GB of install space for files, why have a 160GB minimum disk requirement for the install?

    • John (ITBeast) Keller

      Hi Jo,

      Because the way Mircosoft designed the installer for both WHS 2011 and SBS 2011 Essentials was so there would be little intervention from the user when installing the Operating System onto thier machine and precoded the partition sizes into the installation, hence the requirement for a minimum 160GB hard drive. Remember, both of these products was designed for Joe User with little to no IT experience So Microsoft was trying to make it as easy as possible to install (at least in thier minds). However, by using the unattended ini file as detailed in my article the size restriction can be circumvented. This can also be addressed after the install by extending or shortening the drive after the installation as well… (http://usingwindowshomeserver.com/2011/08/13/extending-your-system-partition-of-your-primary-hard-drive-on-sbs-2011-essentials-or-whs-2011-server/)

      Also I hope that HP DL380 G4 your using does not have more than 1 physical processor or 8GB of RAM because if so your wasting resources. The Server 2008 R2 Foundation code it is based on will only support 1 physical processor and 8GB of RAM.

      If there are any further questions just let us know.

  • Arnold

    Worked like a treat on my 120G SSD – thanks so much.

    • John (ITBeast) Keller

      Glad it worked Arnold, Thanks for your Feedback.

  • Howard

    Hi All.
    I’m trying to install WHS 2011 on a 60 gb drive. It’s not working. I’m not terribly tech savvy. How does 1 insert a line feed at the end of the cgi file? Do I just put the usb drive in and the system reads from that first? Thanks for any help.

    Howard

    • John (ITBeast) Keller

      Hi Howard,

      Sorry to hear it is not working for you but maybe this info will help. What the “insert line feed” means is after you enter the last part of the unattended text file (cfg.ini file) just hit “ENTER” so the cursor can go down to the next line and then save the file. The USB Drive will get inserted first (With the cfg.ini file on the root of the USB drive) into your PC/Server and then boot from the WHS 2011 DVD. From there just read the rest of the How To and you should be good to go.

      Good Luck!

  • Howard

    Hi John.
    Thanks for your reply. I tried that. Google is my friend! Still no luck. I decided to just install it on a tb drive. Now I get a message that 2 gigs of memory isn’t enough. I’ve ordered more memory just in case. Does the cfg file need to be copied to the target drive before trying to boot off the dvd? Sorry for all the noob questions.

    Howard

  • John (ITBeast) Keller

    Hey Howard,

    Since your going to use a 1tb drive I would just go with the traditional WHS 2011 install per this article I wrote up http://usingwindowshomeserver.com/2011/08/08/step-by-step-bare-metal-install-of-a-windows-home-server-2011/ . Also FYI, 2 GB of RAM should be just fine for a normal WHS 2011 install (However more is always good) so don’t buy unless you want to.

    John

    • Jim

      Hey John,

      Using this method would it be possible to make WHS2011 bootable from a 16 or 32GB usb flash drive? (a la HP proliant microservers internal USB slot) ? if so, what’s the absolute minimum size that WHS2011 takes up? (i.e could I get away with an 8gb flash drive, and are all flash drives capable of being used as boot disks?)

      Ta

      Jim

      • John (ITBeast) Keller

        Hi Jim,

        While the theory might be possible I do not think it will work. THe reason being is that the WHS 2011 installer searches for internal drives only and the drive that is ussually selected is DRIVE 0 (Unless you have all the other drives internally unplugged except for the internal drive you want to be the primary whs2011 drive so then it does not matter what the drive port is).

        The reason why I said it would in thoery it may work is both SSD’s and USB Flash drives are made out of Solid State and at that you would not be able to go any lower than a 16GB USB Flash Drive beacuse WHS 2011 takes anywhere from 10GB to 15GB of drive space.

        The CFG.ini file basically ignores the size limitation rule so as long as you have space it would in thoery work however as I said before the install only looks for interal drives.

        • Jim

          Thanks for getting back to me re the flash drive question. Well, the proliant comes with an internal USB mounted on the motherboard which supports freenas etc booting so in theory could be a winner, result may be a 4 bay nas/home server for peanuts!

          • John (ITBeast) Keller

            Then go ahead and give it a shot. If it works let us know by posting this in our forums so the information can be passed on.

            Good luck and keep us posted.

  • Howard

    Hi John.
    I’m still going to try to install on the SSD. I don’t give up easily. When I tried to install on the 1 tb drive the install stopped because it said I didn’t have enough memory. I thought 2 gigs would be fine.
    Thanks for your input.

    Howard

  • Leslie

    I’m trying to install onto a 64GB SSD. I insert the disc and formatted USB drive with cfg.ini and boot from the disc. I go through the screen with the grey Windows is loading files bar, then the Starting Windows animation. On the next screen I select New installation which takes me to a screen showing my SSD as Disk 0, primary. I check the box that says I understand the drive will be wiped, and hit install. I am instantly told there was an error in the log it shows the following error.

    [11/3/2011 11:49:22 AM 2dc] ERROR: Specified partition size is too large to support a data partition, maximum possible is: 50716 MB (Alternatively, use MAX to span the whole disk)
    [11/3/2011 11:49:22 AM 2dc] ERROR: The value chosen for this setting is invalid
    [TRACE] UIBackend::Launch : Exited (0x80004005)
    [11/3/2011 11:49:22 AM 2dc] Failed to launch Windows Setup

    I see that there should be no user input before the step where I remove the drive and disk, but there’s no restart screen before it asks for user input. Anyone have any idea what my problem is?

    Thanks for any help,
    Leslie

    • John (ITBeast) Keller

      Leslie,

      Go to the forum post you created, I answered your question there.

      • John (ITBeast) Keller

        FYI…

        Leslie was able to solve his delimma by adding the additional following info to the cfg.ini file that the WHS 2011 installer reads durring the unattended install…

        [InitialConfiguration]
        Language=en-US
        Locale=en-US
        Country=US
        Keyboard=00000409
        AcceptEula=true
        AcceptOEMEula=true
        ServerName=SERVER
        PlainTextPassword=Password
        PasswordHint=Password hint
        Settings=All

        Other Forum members have done it per the orginal cfg.ini file with no problems however if you seem to run into the same problem Leslie did than give this a shot. I will try to update this document to reflect the change hopefully this weekend.

        Also note that Leslie’s additional cfg.ini file addition is very similar to what I did for the Small Business Server 2011 Essentials edition of this document.
        http://usingwindowshomeserver.com/2011/09/21/installing-sbs-2011-essentials-on-ssd-or-sata-hard-drives-smaller-than-160gb/

  • burnstribe

    Im trying to install onto a 120gb OCZ PCI revodrive – the drivers wont show up
    untill the windows installer allows me to load them in – but i need to run the cfg.ini to run first and it doesnt see the drive when it runs first – any suggestions

    • John (ITBeast) Keller

      Hello burnstribe,

      That can be a problem if the WHS 2011 installer can not see your drive natively and of course you can not add the drivers yourself manually durring the automated install. However there is a way, put the drivers for your SSD drive in the root of your USB flash drive in a folder called “drivers”. Then modify the cfg.ini file for the automated install to read as follows for the [WinPE] part of the file…

      [WinPE]
      Drivers=_:\Drivers
      ConfigDisk=1
      CheckReqs=0
      WindowsPartitionSize=MAX

      This should allow the SSD drive to be seen and installed. For more amplifying info please check out this link for the WHS 2011 cfg.ini file…
      http://onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/windowshomeserver2011/answer-file-install-2.aspx

      I hope this works for you.

  • edn4x4

    I successfully installed off a usb onto an 80g ssd using the above cfg that included the standalone install to bypass the drive size requirement. I was unable to install with just the WinPE config. Thanks a bunch Mr. Keller.

    • John (ITBeast) Keller

      No prob Mr. Edn4X4, I’m glad this article was able to help you with what you were trying to accomplish. Thanks for the feedback 🙂

    • Mrmikefm

      How exactly did you “include the standalone install to bypass teh drive size requirement”? I’m trying to do this same thing on a server, but I can’t get the installation to read the cfg.ini file at all.

      • John M. keller

        Make sure the USB port are unabled on your server and that the cfg.ini file is the only file on that USB drive. Hopefully this will help.

  • B1G_D4DDY

    I am trying to install on a 120gb ssd booting WHS2011 from a USB.

    I have created the cfg.ini and placed it in the top directory of the USB drive.
    I tried both of the following methods in the cgf.ini file:

    [WinPE]
    ConfigDisk=1
    CheckReqs=0
    WindowsPartitionSize=MAX

    and,

    [WinPE]
    ConfigDisk=1
    CheckReqs=0
    WindowsPartitionSize=MAX

    [InitialConfiguration]
    Language=en-US
    Locale=en-US
    Country=US
    Keyboard=00000409
    AcceptEula=true
    AcceptOEMEula=true
    ServerName=SERVER
    PlainTextPassword=Password
    PasswordHint=Password hint
    Settings=All

    Both do not work. It starts the installation process fine, copies the windows files fine, but crashes on the next step at 1%, every time.

    Here is the log:

    [11/20/2011 5:36:33 PM 30c] INFO: Beginning execution from folder: X:sources
    [11/20/2011 5:36:33 PM 30c] Failed to wait for PnP devices some drives and devices may not be visibile
    [11/20/2011 5:36:33 PM 30c] INFO: Found Configuration File F:cfg.ini
    [11/20/2011 5:36:33 PM 30c] INFO: Setup Running in Unnatended Mode from cfg file
    [11/20/2011 5:36:33 PM 30c] starting unattend mode
    [11/20/2011 5:36:33 PM 30c] INFO: Setup Collecting User Data ——————————————-
    [11/20/2011 5:36:33 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for DefaultLanguage
    [11/20/2011 5:36:33 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for DefaultKeyboard
    [11/20/2011 5:36:33 PM 30c] INFO: Skipping optional configuration, no value specified
    [11/20/2011 5:36:33 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for DefaultLocale
    [11/20/2011 5:36:33 PM 30c] INFO: Skipping optional configuration, no value specified
    [11/20/2011 5:36:33 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for DefaultTimeZone
    [11/20/2011 5:36:33 PM 30c] INFO: Skipping optional configuration, no value specified
    [11/20/2011 5:36:33 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for DefaultServerName
    [11/20/2011 5:36:33 PM 30c] WARNING: Unable to verify computer name availability due to network error 2136
    [11/20/2011 5:36:33 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for Drivers
    [11/20/2011 5:36:33 PM 30c] INFO: Skipping optional configuration, no value specified
    [11/20/2011 5:36:33 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for InstallDisk
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Disk b9330104-81cd-4773-b1e9-9e76819c1813
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Name: \?CdRom0
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Friendly Name:
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Address: Port1Path1Target0Lun0
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Device path: \?ide#cdromhl-dt-st_dvd-rw_gsa-h60l________________dc08____#5&316851c1&0&1.0.0#{53f56308-b6bf-11d0-94f2-00a0c91efb8b}
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Adaptor: ATA Channel 1
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Status: NO MEDIA
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Health: HEALTHY
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Device type: DVDROM
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Media type: 0x00000000
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Size: 0
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Bytes per sector: 0
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Sectors per track: 0
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Tracks per cylinder: 0
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Flags: 0x00000000
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Bus type: VDSBusTypeAtapi
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Partition style: UNKNOWN
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Extent 0 type 0x00000000 size 0 offset 0
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Pack (null) status 0x00000001 flags 0x00000000
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] [Unallocated]
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Disk c5d06c93-a353-4792-b69c-c8d9509d5bea
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Name: \?PhysicalDrive0
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Friendly Name:
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Address: Port0Path0Target0Lun0
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Device path: \?ide#disksamsung_470_series_ssd__________________axm09b1q#5&1eaea11c&0&0.0.0#{53f56307-b6bf-11d0-94f2-00a0c91efb8b}
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Adaptor: ATA Channel 0
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Status: ONLINE
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Health: HEALTHY
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Device type: DISK
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Media type: 0x0000000c
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Size: 128035676160
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Bytes per sector: 512
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Sectors per track: 14
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Tracks per cylinder: 135
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Flags: 0x00005000
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Bus type: VDSBusTypeAta
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Partition style: MBR
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Signature: 0xa308aca2
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Extent 0 type 0x00007fff size 7168 offset 0
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Extent 1 type 0x00000001 size 1041408 offset 7168
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Extent 2 type 0x00000002 size 104857600 offset 1048576
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Extent 3 type 0x00000002 size 127928369152 offset 105906176
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Extent 4 type 0x00000001 size 352256 offset 128034275328
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Pack (null) status 0x00000001 flags 0x00000000
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] [Online]
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Disk b0b56cde-6a2f-41ab-bf42-1b44780736a0
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Name: \?PhysicalDrive1
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Friendly Name: Kingston DataTraveler G2 USB Device
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Device path: \?usbstor#disk&ven_kingston&prod_datatraveler_g2&rev_1.00#0019e02d40cbf9a0665b0c3f&0#{53f56307-b6bf-11d0-94f2-00a0c91efb8b}
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Adaptor: DataTraveler G2
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Status: ONLINE
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Health: HEALTHY
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Device type: DISK
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Media type: 0x0000000b
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Size: 16001036288
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Bytes per sector: 512
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Sectors per track: 63
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Tracks per cylinder: 255
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Flags: 0x00001000
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Bus type: VDSBusTypeUsb
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Partition style: MBR
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Signature: 0x00000000
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Extent 0 type 0x00007fff size 32256 offset 0
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Extent 1 type 0x00007fff size 1016320 offset 32256
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Extent 2 type 0x00000002 size 15999172608 offset 1048576
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Extent 3 type 0x00007fff size 815104 offset 16000221184
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Pack (null) status 0x00000001 flags 0x00000000
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] [Online]
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: BIOS requested boot disk is DeviceHarddisk0Partition0
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for SystemPartitionType
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Populating internal setting from existing data
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: MBR firmware detected
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: GetFirmwareEnvironmentVariableW indicated required partition type 1 (Status: 1)
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for SystemPartitionActive
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Populating internal setting from existing data
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for SystemPartitionFormat
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Populating internal setting from existing data
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for MSRPartitionType
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Populating internal setting from existing data
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for WindowsPartitionID
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for WindowsPartitionSize
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Calculated pre system partition remaining space as: 127929769984
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Extending system partition over the remainder of the disk
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for WindowsPartitionExtend
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Populating internal setting from existing data
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for FinalPartitionID
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Populating internal setting from existing data
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: System partition set to span the disk skipping filler and final partitions
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for FillerCreationInfo
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Populating internal setting from existing data
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: No filler partitions requested skipping assembly
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Creating filler partitions using XML: (null)
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for FillerModificationInfo
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Populating internal setting from existing data
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: No filler partitions requested skipping assembly
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Modifying filler partitions using XML: (null)
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for InstallLanguage
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Populating internal setting from existing data
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for PID
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Skipping optional configuration, no value specified
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Getting configuration for PostInstallScript
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Skipping optional configuration, no value specified
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Setup Checking System Requirements ———————————
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Checking CheckReqs key in the ini file
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Found CheckReqs=0 in the ini File, will not enforce system requirements
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] ERROR: System does not meet minimum HDD requirements. Required 160 GB; Actual 128 GB
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: System meets minimum RAM requirements
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: System meets minimum processor speed requirements
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: System meets minimum processor core requirements
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: System meets architecture requirements
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Setup Configuring System Drive —————————————
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Checking ConfigDisk key in the ini file
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] Successfully cleaned disk \?PhysicalDrive0
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Setup Launching Windows Installation ———————————
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Creating the unattend file from the template
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Checking RunSetup key in the ini file
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Checking SetupCmdLn key in the ini file
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: No value supplied, using default value
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Handing cotrol to windows setup and marking the cfg.ini as processed
    [11/20/2011 5:36:40 PM 30c] INFO: Launching Win7 Setup from: X:sourcessetup.exe with cmd line: setup.exe /uilanguage:en-us /unattend:X:unattend.xml)
    [11/20/2011 5:37:45 PM 30c] ERROR: Win7 Setup Exited with 31
    [TRACE] UIBackend::RunWindowsSetup : Exited (0x80004005)
    [TRACE] UIBackend::Launch : Exited (0x80004005)
    [11/20/2011 5:37:45 PM 30c] There was an error launching unattended setup.
    [11/20/2011 5:37:45 PM 30c] Getting the reason for the failure.
    [11/20/2011 5:37:45 PM 30c] Failed generating the unattend file and launching Windows Setup
    [11/20/2011 5:37:45 PM 30c] starting the ui mode to show the error page since there was a failed attempt to run in unattended mode
    [11/20/2011 5:37:45 PM 30c] Initializing common controls
    [11/20/2011 5:37:45 PM 30c] Done initializing common controls
    [11/20/2011 5:37:45 PM 30c] Displaying the wizard

    Any ideas?

    Many Thanks

    • Anonymous

      Hi – can you post this question in our forums please so that others can see it and respond?

      Thanks.

  • RyanCody

    I am 15yrs old and It worked 1st pop for me… so happy.. I had an old Lenovo T61 Laptop I wanted to put Windows Home Server on put it only had 80GB HD, but it worked so I dont need to worry

    Thanks
    Everyone who helped to created this!! 🙂

    • Thanks for posting your feedback and I’m glad it worked for you. I’m very impressed that someone of your younger stature accomplish this feat, we still have some members that are still having some hurdles with it. Again great job!

  • Thank you very much for this article.

    • John M. Keller

      Thank you Arun for the positive feedback, were glad this article worked out for you!

  • André Wister

    Thanks alot for this guide, worked like a charm on my new WHS2011 setup now! 🙂

  • meigs

    Hi, thanks very much for the useful post. It worked very well. One thing I found, however, was that after the installation is complete the line “Processed=True” is added to the end of the cfg.ini file. If you try to install a second time delete that line. (Obviously I found out the hard way after a lot of struggle)

    • cghost

      Glad you noticed this! I was on my 2nd install and couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working. Thanks.

      • Jschattenkirk

        Me too! I deleted the line and it worked like a charm. I am very happy to be using my 60gb ssd.

      • Jschattenkirk

        Me too! I deleted the line and it worked like a charm. I am very happy to be using my 60gb ssd.

      • Jschattenkirk

        Me too! I deleted the line and it worked like a charm. I am very happy to be using my 60gb ssd.

  • lg

    I can confirm this also worked for me (I was trying install on a 120GB SSD) but I learnt that you can’t use an external USB DVD drive. I actually had to dig out and temporary connect an internal SATA DVD drive to get it to work.

    • Ben Camilleri

      Thanks for this comment, I tried installing with a USB CD Drive and it was not working – Please update the guide to stipulate that it will not work with USB Optical drive. Thanks again. Will be good to finally get some order to my multi drive chaos.

    • JazJon

      Thanks I’m glad I found this comment to help me out. I hooked up a 5 1/4″ SATA DVD drive to my HP N40L MicroServer. Under boot options, hard drives, I set my 2nd disk (USB thumbdrive) to disabled. This is only an option if you actually have the USB stick inserted white in the Bios settings page. I also set the USB boot priority to low. I made sure my 128GB SSD drive was the First hard drive to boot on the same screen I disabled USB. (under hard drives boot options) THEN under the actual boot priority list I made the DVD 1st and the SSD 2nd. This was the magic combo. I used the FRONT usb ports on the microserver. From top to bottom: Keyboard, Mouse, USB stick(3rd slot) Don’t be nervous when it’s stuck on Expanding Windows files 0% for several minutes it will pickup and finish

      • Raf

        Thanks for this summary. I have tried many times to install on Samsung 830 128GB SSD and never succeed until I red your post.

        What has worked for me:

        cfg.ini on 8GB NTFS Cruzer:

        [WinPE]ConfigDisk=1CheckReqs=0WindowsPartitionSize=100000

        In BIOS:
        – In Boot options Disable USB Flash drive under HDD submenu
        – Set DVD (in my case USB external Transcend) as 1st and SSD as 2nd under boot priority list.
        – make sure that USB boot priority to low

        Samsung SSD 830:
        Marge two partitions before installing WHS. Use Disk Management in Windows.

        • JazJon

          I’m glad I bookmarked this as I’ll need the instructions again soon. I ended up selling the N40L Microserver (CPU is way too slow) I’m going to order the Zotac ID82 mini-PC. I confirmed it has 1 mini PCIe express on the bottom for the board. I’ll then install the mini PCIe MPX-9125 eSATA Port Multiplier controller card that will allow me to hookup two 4 bay esata enclosures.

  • Ron Dewilde

    This article saved the day … after a failed attempt to get WHS 2011 to install onto a OCZ Vertex 3 60gb with 3 – 2tb drives attached … and countless hours waiting … all worked out as expected. Thx John

    • Ron Dewilde

      If you use the USB drive a subsequent time you must remove the line “processed=true” from the cfg.ini file or it will ignore the entries in the file. Due to a mistake I made I had to reinstall WHS 2011 a second time and did not notice that this line had been added to the file.

      • ITBeast

        Glad the guide helped out. Sometimes there are different variations of making it worked but it does work.

      • Anthony Maes

        I was doing everything, and using the same file, you are a genius.. this fixed the problem since the first time i had to stop the installation..

  • Jan Magne Gilje

    Hi,

    it did not do the trick for me. I’ve tried all combinations of issues mentioned in this article and related comments, but it always ends up in the interactive window where you have to choose to install or repair whs, and then the process fails on the disk size.

    The LED on the USB stick is blinking a few times during the initial DVD boot process, but the installation does not seem to use the cfg.ini file before it starts the installation process.

    I am using a ASUS atom mainboard, 4GB RAM and a Corsair Force 120GB SSD.
    WHS OEM system builders pack, server installation DVD.

    • ITBeast

      Hi Jan,

      I’m sorry the article it’s not working for you as you had hoped. I’ve also found putting the cfg.ini file on a CD sometimes works better than using the USB Drive.

      Since doing this article I have found this solution has a 80% Positive results but for some reason each persons rig unique and does not always have the same results.

      If I think of anything else you can try I will post it but other than what is posted on the article or what has been commented on the different varations it should work.

      Good Luck!

    • Mike Snow

      You need to go into your bios and force the bios to treat the usb as a floppy drive, depending on your asus board it will allow you to select floppy, or forced FDD. then this method will work. lterantively you have the OEM version, you can always use the OPK tools to create your own installation image, the OEM versions normally come with this disk to do this in the box.

    • Mike Snow

      You need to go into your bios and force the bios to treat the usb as a floppy drive, depending on your asus board it will allow you to select floppy, or forced FDD. then this method will work. lterantively you have the OEM version, you can always use the OPK tools to create your own installation image, the OEM versions normally come with this disk to do this in the box.

      • ITBeast

        Good tip Mike thanks for the post.

  • GWTony

    If this does not work for some of you, try using every USB port before giving up!
    This worked for me on an OCZ 60gig drive using an ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 motherboard. Strange that it took many attempts and would not accept the commands from the USB from any of the rear ports, Just before giving up I plugged it into one of the add-on ports on the front of computer case and it worked like a charm. If anyone is wondering about using that board, I had trouble installing the LAN drivers. THANKS for posting this!

    • Thanks GWTony.

    • ITBeast

      HI GWTony,

      Thanks for posting that usefull feed back and glad it finally did work for you.

      Like I’ve said on this article, it seems to work differently on everybody’s rig uniquely but it does work.

  • Levilear

    I have tried Leslie’s exact post and get the error below. I have the boot order as follows 1)CD (I am using the OEM install CD) 2)Patriot 60GB SSD 3)USB 4GB (It has been formatted in NFTS and only has the CFG.ini file). I’m working with a year old MSI motherboard. I tried the Patriot SSD brand new out of the box and I have tried to initialize it to MBR with another computer. I get the same error on two completely different computers so I think I must be leaving something out. The installer goes to the gray progress bar, then starting windows, then it asks for a “New Install” or “Repair Install”… I hit New and it says Disk 0 with the correct drive so I click on it and hit install and it instantly goes to the error screen (No progress bar or anything, just straight to the error screen) Then it asks for me to restart the computer. I have tried every USB port as well (I have front and rear USB ports). Any ideas???

    I tried the instructed CFG as above and I have tried it with this directly below the original:

    [InitialConfiguration]
    Language=en-US
    Locale=en-US
    Country=US
    Keyboard=00000409
    AcceptEula=true
    AcceptOEMEula=true
    ServerName=SERVER
    PlainTextPassword=Password
    PasswordHint=Password hint
    Settings=All

    [4/4/2012 9:47:22 PM 324] INFO: Beginning execution from folder: X:sources
    [4/4/2012 9:47:22 PM 324] Failed to wait for PnP devices some drives and devices may not be visibile
    [4/4/2012 9:47:22 PM 324] WARNING: No Configuration file found
    [4/4/2012 9:47:22 PM 324] INFO: Setup Running in UI mode
    [4/4/2012 9:47:22 PM 324] starting the ui mode
    [4/4/2012 9:47:22 PM 324] Initializing common controls
    [4/4/2012 9:47:22 PM 324] Done initializing common controls
    [4/4/2012 9:47:22 PM 324] Displaying the wizard
    [4/4/2012 9:47:22 PM 324] Loading the logo for home server
    [4/4/2012 9:47:22 PM 324] Setting the logo for home server
    [4/4/2012 9:47:45 PM 324] Populating the disk listview
    [4/4/2012 9:47:45 PM 330] INFO: Ennumerating valid values for configuration setting InstallDisk for UI
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Disk d5e73b48-f1ef-4e48-932f-da9895851ece
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Name: \?CdRom0
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Friendly Name:
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Address: Port4Path0Target0Lun0
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Device path: \?ide#cdromasus_drw-24b1st___a_____________________1.04____#5&3034d1c0&0&0.0.0#{53f56308-b6bf-11d0-94f2-00a0c91efb8b}
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Adaptor: ATA Channel 0
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Status: ONLINE
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Health: HEALTHY
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Device type: DVDROM
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Media type: 0x00000033
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Size: 4305752064
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Bytes per sector: 2048
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Sectors per track: 32
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Tracks per cylinder: 64
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Flags: 0x00000000
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Bus type: VDSBusTypeAtapi
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Partition style: MBR
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Signature: 0x00000001
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Extent 0 type 0x00000002 size 4305752064 offset 0
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Pack (null) status 0x00000001 flags 0x00000000
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] [Online]
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Disk 7ad9e79c-6bae-4df3-92fe-5942c7e59f35
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Name: \?PhysicalDrive0
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Friendly Name:
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Address: Port0Path0Target0Lun0
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Device path: \?ide#diskpatriot_pyro____________________________332abbf0#6&81187e1&0&0.0.0#{53f56307-b6bf-11d0-94f2-00a0c91efb8b}
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Adaptor: ATA Channel 0
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Status: ONLINE
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Health: HEALTHY
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Device type: DISK
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Media type: 0x0000000c
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Size: 60022480896
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Bytes per sector: 512
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Sectors per track: 63
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Tracks per cylinder: 255
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Flags: 0x00005010
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Bus type: VDSBusTypeAta
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Partition style: MBR
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Signature: 0x72d3704b
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Extent 0 type 0x00007fff size 32256 offset 0
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Extent 1 type 0x00000001 size 60021400064 offset 32256
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Pack (null) status 0x00000001 flags 0x00000000
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] [Online]
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Disk 9621a943-1a8d-474b-90b2-434dbe51bc29
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Name: \?PhysicalDrive1
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Friendly Name:
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Device path: \?usbstor#disk&ven_sony&prod_storage_media&rev_0100#7b2211012293002318&0#{53f56307-b6bf-11d0-94f2-00a0c91efb8b}
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Adaptor: Storage Media
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Status: ONLINE
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Health: HEALTHY
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Device type: DISK
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Media type: 0x0000000b
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Size: 4051697664
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Bytes per sector: 512
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Sectors per track: 63
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Tracks per cylinder: 255
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Flags: 0x00001000
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Bus type: VDSBusTypeUsb
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Partition style: MBR
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Signature: 0xc3072e18
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Extent 0 type 0x00007fff size 32256 offset 0
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Extent 1 type 0x00007fff size 471552 offset 32256
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Extent 2 type 0x00000002 size 4051193856 offset 503808
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] Pack (null) status 0x00000001 flags 0x00000000
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] [Online]
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] INFO: BIOS requested boot disk is DeviceHarddisk0Partition0
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 330] INFO: Adding the specified system disk \?PhysicalDrive0 to the top of the drive list
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 324] Boot disk found. Loading default string
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 324] Getting static control to display the string.
    [4/4/2012 9:47:51 PM 324] Displaying the boot disk status message
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Setting chosen value for configuration setting InstallDisk from UI
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] Launching Windows Setup
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Setup Collecting User Data ——————————————-
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Getting configuration for DefaultLanguage
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: No value supplied, using default value AUTO
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Getting configuration for DefaultKeyboard
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Skipping optional configuration, no value specified
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Getting configuration for DefaultLocale
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Skipping optional configuration, no value specified
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Getting configuration for DefaultTimeZone
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Skipping optional configuration, no value specified
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Getting configuration for DefaultServerName
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: No value supplied, using default value Server
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] WARNING: Unable to verify computer name availability due to network error 2136
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Getting configuration for Drivers
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Skipping optional configuration, no value specified
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Getting configuration for InstallDisk
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Using UI specified value
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Getting configuration for SystemPartitionType
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Populating internal setting from existing data
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: MBR firmware detected
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: GetFirmwareEnvironmentVariableW indicated required partition type 1 (Status: 1)
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Getting configuration for SystemPartitionActive
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Populating internal setting from existing data
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Getting configuration for SystemPartitionFormat
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Populating internal setting from existing data
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Getting configuration for MSRPartitionType
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Populating internal setting from existing data
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Getting configuration for WindowsPartitionID
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: No value supplied, using default value AUTO
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Getting configuration for WindowsPartitionSize
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: No value supplied, using default value 61440
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Calculated pre system partition remaining space as: 59916574720
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] ERROR: Specified partition size is too large to support a data partition, maximum possible is: 46900 MB (Alternatively, use MAX to span the whole disk)
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] ERROR: The value chosen for this setting is invalid
    [TRACE] UIBackend::Launch : Exited (0x80004005)
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] Failed to launch Windows Setup

    • julian brock

      if you still have the default setting of Windows to NOT show extentions for known file type.. your file might look like cfg.ini but really it’s cfg.ini.txt. While in explorer.. click organize/folder and search options/view. The setting is somewhere in there.

    • Fluxtatic

      Try it without doing it as an unattended? I had nearly the same problem, and thought maybe the drive had a corrupted MBR, as it had an installation of Win7 I was wiping. I gave up on that drive and used a much older 80GB drive with XP on it. Once I read you have to pull the install media and the drive with the cfg file when it reboots, no problems at all.

      WHS has much less BS in installation than previous versions of Windows, so I don’t see a great advantage in doing an unattended install, imo. I used unattended installs all the time on XP, given the 50,000 steps involved. WHS seemed to be about about – serial, username, p/w, hint, confirm time zone…maybe I’m forgetting a couple, but the install can’t get much more streamlined than it is. If it doesn’t work on unattended, give a manual install a shot. Otherwise you’ve got yourself a several-hundred-dollar paperweight, right?

      • Fluxtatic

        Forgot to say – thanks for this article, John. When this drive finally seemed to be working, I was nearly suicidal when Windows said the drive wasn’t big enough.

  • Levilear

    Solved: The CFG file was just a txt file instead of a true config file. Make sure it has the gear on top of the notepad. Feeling incredibly stupid, but it is working just fine now. Thanks for the idea John!

    • ITBeast

      Levilear,

      Glad the article helped you out. Sometimes as you will find the greatest opponent you will find in making something work is yourself. Glad you were able to resolve your hurdle and thanks for posting your solution.

  • Guest

    Just applied this to an HP N40L Microserver and a Corsair 60GB SSD…used an 8GB PNY flash drive, worked great. Thank you very much!

    • ITBeast

      Glad the article worked and thanks for the feedback.

  • Fdadfs

    This worked great for me on a Intel 520 120GB….saved me from taking my drive back and buying an unnecessarily larger drive. Thanks mucho

    • ITBeast

      No problem Fdadfs, I’m glad the article worked for you.

  • w1n78

    thanks, instructions worked perfect. got it installed on an OCZ Vertex 60GB.

    • ITBeast

      Glad it worked, Thanks for the feedback on our article!

  • William A Whitehead

    I am having problems installing Home Server 2011. I have copied the USB cfg.ini file from this article. I have run both the DVD and an 8 Gig USB install drive and get the following error:

    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] INFO: Calculated pre system partition remaining space as: 63917350912
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] ERROR: Specified partition size is too large to support a data partition, maximum possible is: 50716 MB (Alternatively, use MAX to span the whole disk)
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] ERROR: The value chosen for this setting is invalid
    [TRACE] UIBackend::Launch : Exited (0x80004005)
    [4/4/2012 9:47:57 PM 324] Failed to launch Windows Setup

    I also get the following:

    There was an erro launching unattended setup.
    Getting reason for failure
    Failed gather dated provided via unattend file.

    To repeat, I have used the cfg,ini file as listed in the article on a 128 Meg USB stick and in combination with an 8 Gig. USB Drive with Windows Home Server 2011 setup. Both get only as far as starting to read files before I get the same error log.

    How do I correct this?

  • Han

    How do you do this if you’re trying to install WHS from a thumb drive? Do you just pop in the cfg file in the root of the thumb drive that holds the installation?

  • Han

    How do you do this if you’re trying to install WHS from a thumb drive? Do you just pop in the cfg file in the root of the thumb drive that holds the installation?

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  • Paul DS

    Please note this works great, but if you fail to install for whatever reason (i lost power at about 67% expanding files) during the setup phase, it adds the line to config.ini on the pen drive – Processed=true automatically which prevents it from working when you go to retry, so you will have to redelete this.

  • dor-bar

    There’s an even easier procedure!! REALLY. I tried everything described in the article and related forum… no happiness! So I tried this;
    Instead of bothering with a “middleman” (read NTFS formated USB dongle) go direct. So, put the notorious cfg.ini file DIRECTLY on the drive which will hold the WHS 2011!
    DONE. The file will be processed and “consumed” during the install.

    BTW, excellent, excellent article and forum posts!

    • pofrani .

      does this work??

  • zach Coleman

    Is it jsut me or has no one else seen a $50 1 TB sata drive. All the drives I find are $90 +. Any good places to get them for less?!

    • I think the market is still recovering from the recent hard drive shortages and thus people have put their prices up! Hopefully soon they will come down.

  • Gokul

    amazing… it worked like a charm! thanks for this post !!

  • Jesse

    This worked great! Thanks [installed on 120GB Patriot SSD Sata III]

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  • mehowq

    Hi just to let you know that it didn’t work for me with ntfs formatted stick but FAT only.

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  • DAEMON9777

    If your board supports UEFI like mine did you have to format the USB to fat 32 instead of NFTS

    Also check the properties of the CFO file to make sure it’s actually seen as cfg.ini
    I tried 3 times before checking only to realize that by naming it cfg.ini it was actually being seen as cfg.ini.ini
    After those two changes golden.

  • makkan

    At first It did not read the CFG.INI and I entered the installation menue. When I looked at CFG.INI from Windows It was correctly named but when i lokked in dos/CMD mode it was actually named CFG.INI.TXT and i had to rename from the prompt using the command “REN CFG.INI.TXT CFG.INI”

  • w1n78

    just an fyi, i had to do this again today but with a USB DVD drive. it will not work. it won’t load the config file off the USB flash drive. i had to connect an internal SATA DVD drive.

  • Andreas

    thanks, worked very well for me !

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  • Celeste

    A bit of a late reply but I had a similar issue, I didn’t read any comments regarding RAID bios setting. Be sure to have that selected to AHCI rather than RAID setting. The reason for this is a driver is required for RAID in most cases and the operating system cannot read a drive that requires a pre-loaded driver.

    I’m sure there is a work around for this, for people who don’t have this option IE RAIDed SSD drives particularly 0 RAID… However I am too lazy to find that solution ;p

  • Sid

    It worked! One side effect was that it put everything in one partition instead of making a small partition for the OS and a large partition for the backups probably because of the MAX setting. A few minutes in the Disk Manager took care of that. Another way that might work instead of using the config.ini file is to go to a file on the install DVD in the sourcesSKU directory called SERVERHOMEPREMIUM.def. The [Requirements] section appears to contain the RAM, HD, and CPU requirements. I didn’t try this, but I suspect that if you edit the HD line in this file and reburn the install DVD, it would let you use a smaller drive.

  • BimDe

    Hey, thank you for this article, I’m going to install WHS2011 on my desktop as soon as the shipment arrives. I am wondering if I did everything right with the config file and the usb.
    I have a 120 GB kingston v+200 ssd and a 4 gb sony flash drive formatted to NTFS. However, my motherboard is somewhat newer and supports UEFI. And some of the comments below say that you should use a FAT or FAT32 formatted usb with UEFI motherboards. I am sort of confused on what to do. Any single answer?

  • Louis Ouellet

    Doesn’t work for me. Thé installation disc still require user input

  • sbosnell

    Couldn’t get it to work for me either. I had to format the USB drive to FAT32 instead. Also, when I tried the front USB’s it didn’t work. I removed all USB devices except keyboard / mouse and plugged the USB drive with the cfg.ini into a rear port and BAM, away it went.

  • chunk

    Thank you!!!!!!!

  • camnewyork

    THANK YOU!

  • CheechGone

    I used a USB Optical and this trick helped me after ten attempts. The trick was using a different USB than the previous two I had tried. I noticed in the comments that the USB drive was a problem so I wanted to make sure if someone is trying this that there is hope, at least on my Dell T20 Xeon and my Corsair 64GB SSD.

  • pedro

    Worked on a Toshiba NB550D with 4GB and a 60 GB SSD Kingston. And now, it never even stopped at a point where it asked to select the drive. But perhaps that was because, I’ve executed ‘clean’ against the drive from ‘diskpart.exe’ thinking that the Windows 2011 installation had some issue with a PC BSD 10 formatted drive. A normal warning / error such as “Minimum drive size is 160GB…” should have been displayed…

  • HTWingNut

    Thanks! I configured a bootable USB for Win Server 2011. I put the other blank USB with the cfg.ini file in it as suggested. I put both in the USB 2.0 ports on the mainboard. I went to install it and it still said it didn’t meet the 160GB criteria. Rebooted leaving the USB drives in place, and booted off the WHS 2011 USB drive, it seemed to have read the other USB too because it just started installing right away. Just from my experience, leave only the SSD or hard drive you want to use to install WHS 2011 on connected, disconnect every other drive. Once you get WHS 2011 installed, then start plugging in drives and configuring as desired.

  • justinmoss

    Worked for me [on HP N36L Microserver], however, it took some stuffing around. The last three changes I made (one of which made the approach work) were:

    1) changed the format of the drive to FAT32,
    2) changed the BIOS to treat the USB thumbdrive as a ‘floppy’, and
    3) mounted the USB key in the front slot of the machine.

    Anyway, I got there eventually – many thanks John.

  • pofrani .

    I just can’t get this to work. I have a Corsair Force GT 120gb. I have windows home server 2011 on a usb drive… it just won’t work. Can anyone help? I even tried to put the config file in the same place as the whs2011 usb but that didn’t do anything.

  • Mike – Construction Contractor

    Worked like a charm for adding a 120GB SSD drive. Thanks!

  • Bob Jung

    Hello, i am running a whs 2011 and was wondering when installing WHS newly on a SSD whats the benefit?
    Booting the Home server goes way faster, i know. But when its running, what speeds up?

    Normally my WHS starts with a few processes. (OS Drive 2TB, 64gb partition and rest WHS preinstall).
    Like BPFTP server, Air Video Server HD, OneDrive with a separate 1TB HD.
    Is the performance of the Server after boot not entirely depended on CPU, internal Memory and added HD’s?
    Setup WHS 2011.
    OS disc 2TB
    Server discs, 2x 2TB, 2x 3TB, 2x 4TB, 1x 6TB. All in hot swappable drive bays (2x 5slots).
    Hardware Core i3 2,93Ghz 4GB mem Headless.
    Main use of the server is watching movies from ISO files mounted via network on a Mac mini running W8.1 with Power DVD BlueRay, working smooth.

    I just want to know before I start reinstalling my WHS from scratch. (not really loads of work :), and its fun)

  • ayellowbeard

    I’m a WHS neophyte and after several hours of bashing my head against the wall trying to get this installed on my new 120gb SSD I found your little (big to me) fix! Thanks so much. The difference with mine is that I didn’t have a cdrom and so hoped that maybe I could just copy the cfg file onto a USB thumb drive after creating a bootable image to it and lo-and-behold it worked (short story btw)! Yay me!
    Thanks again and cheers!

    august

  • James Fullerton

    Hi John,

    One thing you may want to add to your (wonderful!) article – if for some reason your install fails, and you try again, WHS adds a line to the cfg.ini file which says:

    processed=true

    If you try again, WHS won’t use the cfg.ini file until you delete that line.

  • Kris Osborne

    Awesome, worked great. I actually created a WHS2011 iso and used that to make a bootable USB drive first. Then I added the CFG.ini file to another USB stick and put them both in the server. At first, it didn’t work, but I swapped the drives about and managed to get it to work! Also, as somone mentioned, check the CFG.ini file in a command promt to make sure it isn;t CFG.ini.txt as the .txt bit wont appear in Windows.

  • Gavin Rennie

    This worked for me on windows home server 2011! Thank you!