Sunday, February 12, 2017

WD Sentinel DS6100: Perform a clean install of Windows Server 2016

In a previous article we showed you how to perform a clean install of Windows Server 2012 R2 on a WD Sentinel DS6100. In another article, we also showed you how to install the Western Digital components to bring a WD Sentinel DS6100 with a clean install back to its original factory functionality. Performing a clean install of Windows Server 2016 is a very similar process with a few oddities. We'll going to run through the process in this article.


Before we start. Please note that performing a clean install of Windows on your WD Sentinel DS6100 is not something supported by Western Digital. You do this at your own risk. If you have any data on your DS6100 you want to keep, make sure you back it up. Clean installing an operating system includes wiping your hard drives. We also highly recommend backing up the recovery image in the recovery partition of the DS6100. We have written a guide on how to do this here.

Gather your resources


To perform a clean install of Windows Server 2016 on your WD Sentinel DS6100, you will need the following:

Get a copy of the Marvell 94xx SAS/SATA RAID Controller driver


The WD Sentinel uses a RAID controller which Windows Server 2016 and Windows PE does not have the driver for. In order for Windows Server 2016 and Windows PE to see the boot drives in your WD Sentinel, you'll need to inject a RAID controller driver into their respective images.

You can find these drivers in the WD Sentinel firmware/software package you download from the WD support site. The drivers are located in a .cab file called mvsdrv.cab packaged in sentinel_firmware_2_2_10_18.zip.

Create the Windows PE boot disk


One of the quirks with installing Windows Server 2016 on a WD Sentinel DS6100 from a USB is that you'll need two of them. The first USB will be a FAT32 formatted boot disk because the WD Sentinel can't boot off NTFS. The second USB will be a NTFS formatted Windows Server 2016 installer because one of the files on the install media exceeds the 4GB file size limit of FAT32.

To make the FAT32 boot disk, follow this guide we've written earlier for the WD Sentinel DS6100 with some exceptions. Use the latest Windows ADK and the drivers obtained in the previous section.

Create the Windows Server 2016 install disk


There are two parts to this bit. First we need to inject the RAID driver from the previous section into the Windows Server 2016 installation media. Then we need to put that installation media on a USB stick.

Copy the Windows Server 2016 installation media to a local working directory. We're going to assume you have place this in C:\WorkingDir\Win2016. We are also going to assume a copy of the RAID drivers have been extracted to C:\WorkingDir\mvsdrv and that an empty folder C:\WorkindDir\mount also exists.

Run the following three commands to inject the RAID controller driver into the first image (Index:1) inside install.wim.
  1. Dism /Mount-Image /ImageFile:C:\WorkingDir\Win2016\sources\install.wim /Index:1 /MountDir:C:\WorkingDir\mount
  2. Dism /Image:C:\WorkingDir\mount /Add-Driver /Driver:C:\WorkingDir\mvsdrv\mvs94xx.inf
  3. Dism /Unmount-Image /MountDir:C:\WorkingDir\mount /Commit
Since there are 4 images in total on a Windows Server 2016 install media, repeat the steps for each of the other images (Index:2-4). Below is a list of what index is which image.
  1. Windows Server 2016 Standard
  2. Windows Server 2016 Standard (Desktop Experience)
  3. Windows Server 2016 Datacenter
  4. Windows Server 2016 Datacenter (Desktop Experience)
Once the RAID drivers have been injected into the Windows Server 2016 install media, you can simply just copy the installation files to a NTFS formatted USB. If you want to make the USB bootable so you can use it with other computers, we have written another guide on how to do that here.

Perform the clean install


After you have made your Windows PE bootable USB and Windows Server 2016 installation media for the WD Sentinel, plug the Windows PE bootable USB into one of the USB ports on the back of your WD Sentinel and turn it on while pressing and holding the recovery button. Once Windows PE has loaded, plug the Windows Server 2016 installation media you created and run setup.exe.

To work out what drive letter the Windows Server 2016 install is on, run the diskpart command and then type list volume. Type exit to quit diskpart.

Install the WD components


The WD Sentinel DS6100 out of the box comes with Widows Server 2012 R2 Essentials preinstalled along with components from Western Digital that make features such as the LCD and fan work. These components will need to be reinstalled after a clean install of Windows and can be found in the sentinel_firmware_2_2_10_18.zip file mentioned earlier.

Before installing the WD components, you'll need to install the Windows Server Essentials Experience role which is required to make the WD components work. We wrote an article on how to do this for Windows Server 2012 R2 which you can reference for Windows Server 2016. After installing the Windows Server Essentials Experience role but before configuring the Windows Server Essentials Experience, install the following WD components from the zip file.
  1. LpcDriverSetup.msi
  2. WDSMbusDriverSetup.msi
  3. PCHThermalDriverSetup.msi
  4. WDSystemConfigSetup.msi
  5. WDProductConfigService.msi
  6. WDBonjourSetup.msi
  7. WDAfpSupportSetup.msi
  8. WDHealthMonitorSetup.msi
  9. WdLcdSetup.msi
    Note: Run WdLcdSetup_PreInstall.bat before installing WdLcdSetup.msi.
  10. WDSoftwareUpdateProvider.msi
  11. WdStorageSetup.msi
  12. WDMonitorSetup.msi
  13. WDBranding.msi
  14. WDHomePageSetup.msi
  15. WDSUSetup.exe
    Note: Run C:\Windows\system32\pkgmgr.exe /iu:IIS-CGI after installing WDSUSetup.exe.
  16. WDDriveList.msi
    Note: This one was added for firmware 2.2.10.18.

Known issues


After successfully performing a clean install of Windows Server 2016 and the WD components, you may notice that not everything is working. Since installing Windows Server 2016 is not something that Western Digital officially supports, there may not be solutions to these problems. We've listed some of these problems here.

  • Unlike the Windows Server 2012 R2 process for performing a clean install, the fan will spin at maximum speed until the WD components are installed and the Windows Server Essentials Experience is configured.
  • If you install WDBranding.msi, the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard says Windows Server 2012 instead of just Windows Server. You can resolve this by uninstalling that component.
  • We have found that the WD Tray (WDSUSetup.exe) may need to be reinstalled after configuring the Windows Server Essentials Experience to get it working.
  • WD SOFTWARE UPDATE FAILED appears on the LCD screen and you'll also find that you are unable to check for firmware updates. We are unsure why this happens even with the latest firmware but suspect is has something to do with WD Product Configuration service failing to start. Currently no known workaround.