Installation Problems with Dell PowerEdge Servers - FIX

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Dec 1, 2011
There is a curious and very annoying anomaly with Dell PowerEdge servers which causes problems when trying to Install the 64-Bit Versions of FreeNAS.

When booting from the CD the installation will hang with one of various screen messages that the Installer is having problems probing for a floppy drive controller fdc0.

If you attempt to run the installer with AHCI turned off, Option 2, the installer will eventually hang with one of various screen messages that it is attempting to load an installer image at a memory address.

Various attempts to work around this by using the installer in safe mode, verbose mode etc proved (to me at least) to be exercises in frustration, although there are some posts on various FreeBSD forums that describe methods of accomplishing it.

A parenthetical comment on another BSD related forum suggested a fix that I have successfully used on various Dell Servers (PE 1750, 1850, 1950, 2850, 2900, 2950, 2970).

Here it is:

In system setup (F2) make sure that at least one Serial port is enabled. The simple way to to this is to make sure that in the System Management section of the Bios setup, the console is set to COM 1, and the Serial Console is ENABLED. Any settings for console redirection appear irrelevant.

This successfully resolved the problem for me.

I suspect that this will also work with Dell workstations and desktops which have serial ports, and have a suspicion that it will also work on Intel OEM motherboard systems as well.

I hope this helps anyone faced with the same problem I had which caused two weeks of hair pulling and is my current favorite explanation for my early onset baldness!!!
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