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Hardware compatibility

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Hardware compatibility

One of the most important steps to take before running Setup on a server is to confirm that your hardware is compatible with products in the Windows Server 2003 family. You can do this by running a preinstallation compatibility check from the Setup CD or by checking the hardware compatibility information available from Microsoft. Also, as part of confirming hardware compatibility, check to see that you have obtained updated hardware device drivers and an updated system BIOS (or for an Itanium architecture-based computer, the correct firmware).

Regardless of whether you run a preinstallation compatibility check, Setup checks hardware and software compatibility at the beginning of an upgrade or new installation and displays a report if there are incompatibilities.

Running a preinstallation compatibility check from the Setup CD
You can run a hardware and software compatibility check from the Setup CD. The compatibility check does not require you to actually begin an upgrade or an installation. To run the check, insert the Setup CD in the CD-ROM drive and, when a display appears, follow the prompts for checking system compatibility. You will be offered the option to download the latest Setup files (through Dynamic Update) when you run the check. If you have Internet connectivity, it is recommended that you allow the download.

For more information about downloading the latest Setup files, see Using Dynamic Update for updated drivers and other setup files.

Another way to run the compatibility check is to insert the Setup CD in the CD-ROM drive, open a command prompt, and type

d:\i386\winnt32 /checkupgradeonly

where d represents the CD-ROM drive.

Checking hardware and software compatibility information available from Microsoft
Another way to confirm that your hardware and software are designed for products in the Windows Server 2003 family is to click the appropriate links for compatibility information in Support resources.

Note that one type of hardware no longer supported is the microchannel bus.

Checking drivers and system BIOS or firmware
Check that you have obtained updated drivers for your hardware devices and that you have the latest system BIOS (for an x86-based or x64-based computer) or the correct firmware (for an Itanium architecture-based computer). The device manufacturers can help you obtain these items. For information about the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) standard for the BIOS, see Understanding the ACPI BIOS for an x86-based computer.

Finally, if you have devices that do not use Plug and Play, or you are aware that your Plug and Play devices are not implemented exactly to the standards, consider taking a device inventory of the hardware devices in your computer. For more information, see Taking an inventory of devices that do not use Plug and Play.

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