HP N36L/40L/56L Microserver Upgrade

Not open for further replies.


Mar 24, 2018

I am new to this forum and wanted to share my HP Microserver Upgrade.

I originally used it new, loaded with Green and Red WD HHD's with a total of 4TB's. I was using WHS and then WSE2011 (free beta). Given MS$ arrogant and blatant shove of W10 down my throat, I decided not to purchase the WSE2011 when released. Even though I actually worked for MS for ten years on Windows NT and ME, the W10 shove broke my trust in MS products over all. For the last three years I have been slowly pushing myself into the Linux world (like, where was this OS all of my life) and realizing all of the other OS's have some root or link to Unix, and Yes, MS Windows has it's very own POSIX form of Unix.

Be this as it may, as soon as Elite Dangerous Horizons makes a Linux port of this game, I will abandon MS and Windows all together, and become a Linux Only user. All of my games now run in Steam, which runs in Linux and most of the games I care about run either in Linux directly, or Steam, I have no reason to use Windows. The Vulkan API and video drivers (directx replacement) for most new video cards will make MS Directx obsolete.

Just some of the reasons for my experimentation with Linux, Ubuntu Desktop and now FreeNas Server. I finally converted all my machines and games to Linux, all but one. In this effort, I updated my HP Microserver to use memory only drives and dumped my spinning HHD's. I now boot this HP Server using a 4GB ToughDrive USB Thumbdrive mounted inside the case, in the internal USB port. I then used another duplicate USB drive as the installer for FreeNas.

As I was installing FreeNas and pulling my hair for two days, I went looking for answers here and found a young lady, already bald from a similar experience, solve my current issue. Both of us were using HDTV's as primary displays and had adapted our HP Microserver from VGA to HDMI using an adapter. Unfortunately, using this adapter and transition will not display the "dos screens" or "text screens" just after the installation of FreeNas begins. The GRUB Menu with the installer choices would just go black on HDMI TV's, even if not converted by an VGA/HDMI adapter, because most HDTV's (unless they have a dedicated VGA port, and you use this port for graphic output) don't have the smaller resolutions needed to display text based bios's, grub menus or text screen output. They just go black when they leave a high res display for a text based menu.

I pushed on and connected my Microserver directly to a VGA capable display, and there it was. The GRUB Menu with the install choices. Once I pointed to my internal 4GB Thumbdrive, the gig was afoot. I might add that I was concerned my FreeNas install was stuck, as I only have 4GB of the 8GB FreeNas seems to demand. I did get a warning during install, but pushed forward. Due to my budget and the cost of very large SSD's, I chose to stay below 1TB in storage space while testing this configuration. Given that I used a 4GB USB thumbdrive and two SSD's, my drive and OS were all now solid state, with an increase in read/write speed fifteen times that of HHD's, as well as doing without the weight and heat generated by HHD's, coupled with the overall power savings these solid state devices offer. I did not need a full 8GB, (or 1GB per TB of storage). This has to have an impact on how much memory may be needed. So, by reducing the drive pool to 750GB, I stay below the memory demand needed, and my read/writes make up for the slowness of accessing HHD's.

So, I have a Microserver with a solid state mounted OS and Drive Pool, reducing power and increasing read/write speeds significantly. I then decided to hard mount my SSD's by purchasing some conversion brackets which just happen to fit my Microserver's original plastic hard drive cradles. If your interested in converting your Microserver to use SSD's instead of HHD's, you can use any SSD, but mount it in one of these from NewEgg (https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817994177)

I will eventually upgrade the system to 8GB, since it will take it, and increase the drive pool (with four new adapters for SSD's) to about 2TB. I just don't have that much data to store and only built this to do client backups and nightly downloads.

Now, I am a happy camper, with my Microserver updated and FreeNas onboard.

The only thing left now is to figure out how to use it.

Hope this helps someone :rolleyes:

Be well.
Last edited:
Not open for further replies.