Microsoft, Dell: Please stand closer together (OWN Alert)

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Dear partners, please stand closer together so I can get you all in the same shot. No, thats not the camera I'm holding.

Just wanted to alert you to a few things that have been going on at Casa de Vlad in our 11 data centers. We're having issues over a large portion of our Dell server base that has SCSI/PERC4 controllers installed and/or USB 2.0 drives installed. The behavior is as follows:

  1. System powers on and allows OS selection. Windows 2003 Server splash screen comes up, few seconds later black screen or reboot.
  2. When booted up using Safe Mode the system hangs on loading acpitabl.dat

There are dozens of solutions of which we have identified the following so far:

  1. Unplug the USB 2.0 drive. This worked on just a few systems and allowed the boot to proceed. On reboot it powered on as well. Will test again later.
  2. Clear SCSI controller card configuration and rescan the bus. This worked on a few as well.
  3. Power system down and perform a full fs check. Windows PE is your friend.
  4. At this moment we have over 200 systems that are going through a manual repair using Windows Recovery Console. Hope you set one up. The process of doing so is to replace update.sys file with the one from Windows 2003 RTM media. Generally located in %systemroot%\system32\drivers 

We are seeing the above on Dell PowerEdge 800, 1800, 1425 systems only running the Standard version of Microsoft Windows 2003 SP1. Identical systems running Windows 2003 Server Enterprise Edition, Web Edition, Small Business Server and R2 editions of Standard & Enterprise do not seem to be affected. Will update as we go along. Working closely with Microsoft and Dell to recover, sorry for the inconvenience.

Comments closed, pings allowed. Believe me, I know what you're going to say "Micro$oft security blows, switch to Linux, switch to Mac, switch to Amiga, Ballmer is evil, this wouldn't have happened on an HP…" There, I saved you 20 minutes.

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