Windows Server 2008 - Deciding between a DVD and Windows installation

The kind of installation you perform also affects some of your pre-installation decisions. Of course, you should always make a backup of your system before you begin any installation task. However, when you plan to reformat your hard drive, it doesn’t hurt to export as many settings as you can to make the installation of the new operating system easier. The following sections provide insights into when you should choose one installation technique over another.

Installing on a new system
If you have a new system, or have upgraded the hard drive to something bigger, your only real choice is a DVD setup unless you want to rely on one of the more exotic solutions, such as a network installation. A manual DVD installation has the advantage of letting you configure Windows Server 2008 specifically for a particular system, but it can prove time consuming. Booting from the installation media has the advantage of ensuring that your system memory is as clean as possible. Having a clean environment greatly improves the chances of a successful installation and reduces the risk of encountering odd installation problems. The cleaner the environment in which you work when installing Windows, the better.

Understanding the benefits of using the Windows installation technique
The problem for any administrator who currently has the hardware to run Windows Server 2008 is figuring out which installation type to use. The one reason to perform a Windows installation is the need to keep the existing settings for your server. If you can install Windows Server 2008 right over the existing setup, you’ll find that you don’t have to work nearly as hard to get Windows Server 2008 ready for use. In fact, if your setup is simple enough, you may be ready to go immediately after you perform the installation. Having only one really good reason to use the Windows installation may not seem like much. However, considering that a complete installation can occupy the better part of a week (after you get your applications installed as well), it’s a significant reason and you should consider it whenever possible.

Installing over an existing Windows installation may seem like a perfect solution for an administrator who is already short on time. If you’ve recently reinstalled Windows, you’ll probably find that the environment is clean, as is the registry. You don’t have remnants of other products around to confuse the installation program and cause you woe after the installation. However, when your system has run for a long time on the same installation or you’ve added and removed numerous applications, the environment is no longer clean and your registry probably contains many entries that can cause problems down the road. If you find yourself in this situation, then you should probably consider performing a DVD installation rather than an installation that begins with Windows.

When you install over an existing Windows installation, you get one more benefit: The installation program can go online and check for updates before it begins the installation process, which means that your installation will have all required patches and fixes from the outset. When using the DVD installation method, you’re stuck with whichever version of Windows Server 2008 appears on the media, which means that your server could be subject to infection immediately after installation. (At one time, a virus actually attacked new servers before they could get to Windows Update to install required fixes and patches.)

Update installations, those commonly performed using the Windows installation method, generally require more time to complete than a DVD installation. The reason for the time difference is that the installation program must spend more time saving settings and working around configuration issues when performing an update. Make sure to set aside enough time to allow the manual installation to complete. The additional installation time is more than offset by the time you save configuring the system, so don’t consider the additional time as a negative when it comes to using the Windows installation technique.

Understanding the benefits of using the DVD installation technique
There are a number of other scenarios where you must use a DVD installation. For example, if you currently have a 32-bit installation and need to install the 64-bit version of the product, you must perform a DVD installation. Because Microsoft is making a move toward 64-bit applications, now may be a good time to get rid of that old 32-bit installation and upgrade to 64 bits of power. Of course, you have to be sure that your hardware will work with a 64-bit setup and that you have all the required signed 64-bit drivers before you take this step.

Another DVD-only installation scenario is one in which you have the hard drive partitioned to provide a small boot drive and a larger data drive. When the boot partition is smaller than 10 GB, you should consider performing a DVD installation because the boot drive is barely adequate to hold Windows Server 2008.

Windows Server 2008 also spends more time checking your system for potential problems than did previous versions of Windows. It may detect an issue where you must perform a DVD installation. Someone will almost certainly put up a Web site that provides techniques for overcoming this “limitation,” but you’re better off performing the DVD installation. Windows Server 2008 really does do a better job than previous versions of Windows in detecting potential problems and helping you overcome them. If you try to overcome the installation program’s safety features, the only one who loses is you — circumventing the safety features costs you time and potentially money somewhere along the way.

Source of Information : For Dummies Windows Server 2008

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