Troubleshooting an Installation

Although the vast majority of the time Windows Server 2003 will install without a hitch, some issues (a piece of malfunctioning hardware, a power failure during installation, or a faulty download of a dynamic update) can cause the installation process to fail. Luckily, you can recover from a bugged-out installation in at least two ways: starting over or using the Recovery Console.

Starting Over

Sometimes it can be easier to cut your losses and restart an installation from the beginning, particularly if an error early in the process is preventing you from proceeding. The installation process changes three things on your drive, all of which you need to reverse to restart the installation (unless, of course, you want to format the hard drive and therefore aren’t concerned with data loss):

  • Setup constructs the $win_nt$.~bt directory to store boot files, which instruct your computer to boot into Setup’s post-first phases (that is, all phases after the initial reboot). Remove this directory.

  • Setup modifies your boot.ini file with a line such as this:

    Multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\$win_nt$.~bt="Microsoft Windows 
    Server 2003 Setup"
  • Remove this line as well.

  • Setup creates the $win_nt$.~ls directory and copies all files to the system in this directory to have data to work with if it cannot access the setup CD. Remove this as well, if it exists. (Some installation scenarios don’t require its creation, such as ones initiated from a network share or a hard ...

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