I had originally planned on using my R220 as a pfSense box and using the old desktop to host another operating system such as Hyper-V or Proxmox to tinker around with. What I didn’t account for, was that the H310 in the R220 took up the one and only PCI-E slot. This meant that if I wanted to use my I350-T4 in the server, I’d need to remove the H310. I could’ve done this and used the internal SATA connectors, but I remembered from my pfSense reconfiguration that if it wasn’t broken, I shouldn’t try and fix it. So, I decided that I would leave the pfSense box as is and use the R220 for something else.

Windows Server 2012 R2

The 2012 edition of Windows Server is by far not the latest and greatest operating system offered by Microsoft. The thing that pushed me to using this version was that the R220 had a license for the Standard Edition of Windows Server 2012 R2. Renewing the license every 180 days didn’t seem like it would be that much trouble, but I might as well use the license that was included.

I downloaded the ISO from the Microsoft website and proceeded to flash it to a USB drive with Rufus. With the flash done, I could then proceed to installing the OS.

Installation Troubles

I plugged in the USB and went through with the install. I selected the Standard R2 Edition with GUI as I wasn’t that familiar with any of the Windows Server products. When I got to selecting which drive I wanted to install to, no drives were recognized. I had a 120GB SSD plugged into one of the H310’s SATA cables, and the drive was recognized by the controller when I booted up the server. I restarted the server and tried again, but there was no change. I thought I might’ve bricked the card, but before assuming the worst, I moved the SSD to another power connector and SATA connector from the H310. After booting up into the installer again, the drive was recognized and I could continue with the install.

IP Configuration

The installation proceeded with no issues after that and I was able to created a password for the Administrator account. I opened the command prompt and typed ipconfig to find the IP address. I then gave the server a DHCP lease and unplugged the ethernet cable. Once I inserted the cable again, the server had the new IP address.

Remote Access

Since I didn’t have iDrac Enterprise on the system, I wanted to remote in with something similar to RDP if possible. It seemed that all I needed to do was enable remote access and use a client to connect to the server. I found the remote access settings after pressing the Windows button and searching remote access. I enabled it and then installed Microsoft Remote Desktop on my Mac. I was able to connect to the server without issue.


Next was utilizing the license I had. I click on This PC and then right clicked to find the Properties. I tried to Change Product Key but I got an error that said That key can't be used to activate this edition of Windows. After some Googling, I found this answer from TomTom on serverfault. I did the following commands to try and activate my license. I proceeded with the ServerStandard edition.

DISM /online /Get-CurrentEdition
DISM /online /Get-TargetEditions
DISM /online /Set-Edition:ServerStandard /ProductKey:XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX

I ended up getting Error 87 as I didn’t accept the EULA. I added /AcceptEula to the end of my previous command so it became

DISM /online /Set-Edition:ServerStandard /ProductKey:XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX /AcceptEula

Luckily this time, it worked and I pressed y to restart.


With that, my initial configuration of Windows Server 2012 R2 was done. I plan to learn more about the operating system when I have time. I didn’t expect to run into so many problems, but I’m glad that now I have a blank state to learn about the features that Windows Server has to offer.