Is there weirdness with XP on Dell PowerEdge 400sc?

By lfruchter ·
Dear Wise Ones,

I loaded winXP sp3 on a blanked Dell PowerEdge 400sc server. I know, that's "unsupported" by Dell, but I assumed if my domain server saw that I had loaded the 400sc with the same license of Server2003 that it is running, then it would not allow the 400sc on our network. (Am I correct in assuming Microsoft would exclude a 2nd server with the same license OS? My public school just doesn't have the $100 for a new license of Server2008 right now...)

The OS loaded wonderfully and I got the drivers to get the video card and NIC operating properly and I updated both the BIOS and the chipset. The 400sc still says the "Multimedia Audio Controller" and the "PCI Input Device" need drivers, but I'm only using this box to host a FileMaker database (silently), so I don't figure I need the audio driver and I can't for the life of me figure out the driver for the PCI business.

Here's my problem: the machine operates beautifully until I leave it alone for a while. After about 15 minutes, it behaves as if it's going to sleep, even though I've deactivated all the low energy states (turn off monitor, turn off hard disks, system standby, hibernate). Once the monitor switches off, nothing will bring the machine back to a usable state and the remote FileMaker users can no longer connect to the database. I have to switch off the machine and then start it up again in order to use it at all.

Does this sound like a "server on XP" problem? It doesn't seem to me that it's anything to do with that whole "wake on LAN" rigmarole, does it? Something in the BIOS? Some fault in my machine independent of the OS?

I'd be very grateful for any help. This is the perfect machine to host my little school reporting dbase and I'd hate to have to move it to a slower workstation with less RAM.

Thanks for any suggestions,
Lev in BK

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by TheChas In reply to Is there weirdness with X ...

I don't see any reason why you should not be able to run XP on this system.

I would start by downloading the legacy chip-set drivers from Intel for the specific chip-set that is on the system board. Installing them should take care of the PCI device and should improve if not resolve the hibernate issue.

I would then take a hard look at device manager and try to identify and resolve any device and driver issues. I often view devices by connection when I need to identify an unknown device.


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You can always use the Unknown Device Identifier

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Is there weirdness with X ...

To identify the Chip/Devices that need drivers

As the Chas has already said provided that there are XP Drivers for these Chip Sets there shouldn't be a issue with running XP though you will most likely have to go looking for the correct drivers as Dell isn't likely to have them on their Web Site.

Though you may run into issues if you need more than 10 Concurrent Connections to this machine at any 1 time. Even if you do not need 10 Concurrent Connections which is XP Pro's upper Limit it may not release connections when they are broken and limit the number of concurrent connections. This however is just the way that XP works.

Of course you always realize if money is tight you can use one of the many Linux Server products out there for no cost which may be a better option for your needs if you need lots of concurrent connections. If you have XP Home you have a upper Limit of 5 Concurrent Connections. You didn't mention which OS you where using.


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Maybe not the drivers?

by lfruchter In reply to Is there weirdness with X ...

Thanks for all the advice. As mentioned in the original post, I'd already updated the drivers from the Dell site, but I was happy to get the Intel chipset driver as well. Unfortunately, that affected neither the "PCI Input Device" situation nor the strange freezing that's going on. The machine does work wonderfully -- networks flawlessly, serves the database perfectly to remote users, graphics up to speed -- it just insists on freezing after 15 minutes or so.

I've got to get this database up and running so I'm going to set up another box to host it. I suppose I could test the PowerEdge 400sc by installing my copy of Server2003 on it without connecting it to my network: see if it freezes running the approved OS all by itself. I would really love to get this thing working because it IS a server and IS the right machine for my FMP database. I've been told that FMP doesn't run on Linux. Can anyone confirm this? I do know that Linux is the answer to all the ridiculous situations the NYC DoE puts us in. With my teaching duties I just haven't had the time to get my Linux chops together and start nuking ALL the machines we get and stop installing all our over-priced, under-useful software licenses. Thanks for the reinforcement.

Any other answers for a freezing 400sc?


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Is there weirdness with XP on Dell PowerEdge 400sc

by tmathew_6822 In reply to Is there weirdness with X ...

I find the same problem with freezing, I dont think it is going to sleep. It just freezes when that happens the monitor goes black, the keyboard and mouse are unresponsive. I can hear the fan in the unit, but have to power off and on to get it back. Doesnt happen all the time, some time it runs for hours other times it happens within a few minutes apart. I am running windows XP prof., another it happens minutes apart. (it happned now while I was still typing this, thankfully FF saved what I typed!). Another issue is it is not taking the xp key that I have on the machine. I called MS and they confirmed the key, yet the machine is not accepting it. I even tried to activate online but still it wont go through

Does any one have a solution for the freezing issue and xp key issue. Appreciate any help


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