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I just wanted to know why I have problems booting Windows Server 2003 without graphic card in PC?

Some of you will probably say it's not possible at all to run PC without gfx card, but it certainly is possible - I can succesfully run Windows XP Proffessional on the same PC, (just by switching boot HDDs with OS on it) and it boots up smoothly on the same hardware.

I have a headless configuration, no mouse, no keyboard connected + Halt on: No Errors in Bios set up.

Why is XP booting while 2003 is not? Am I overlooking sth?

PS: I've tried to disable installed gfx card device in 2003 device manager, but it doesnt help. PS2: Hardware is an old MB: Abit BE6-II

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The easiest solution would be to buy a used motherboard which has onboard graphics, if you want to save on electricity. –  paradroid May 5 '11 at 14:44
    

2 Answers 2

does it boot with a graphics card? one 'advantage' of using a graphics card, even with a headless setup is that you can tell what errors are in it. With true headless systems, you probably could use a serial console, but i don't think that works for windows server.

For that matter, how do you know that XP is booting?

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OK, let's clear things out.Yes, they both (XP & W2k3) boot with graphics card. I know that XP is booting without GFX because: 1) i can see hdd led working 2) i can remotely connect to it via RDP with no problem. None of this is happening when i try this on the same hardware with Win2003Server (it was installed with gfx card, booted correctly, rdp is working correctly, then i tried to remove gfx card and it wont boot then). Does Win2k3 have any limitations in this matter that XP don't have? –  postx May 5 '11 at 13:29
    
And the reason I need gfx card to be removed is that this configuration behaves quite strange - it won't boot any OS if gfx card is IN IT AND monitor cable is not connected to gfx card output. Its unacceptable because I need to get rid of monitor. So i found it will boot without gfx card at all - but it only works with XP for now. –  postx May 5 '11 at 13:36
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My first guess is that it can be something related to HAL configuration. Can anyone confirm? Are there any go-arounds for this problem? –  postx May 5 '11 at 13:41

Assuming you are trying to save space (ie get rid of the monitor) rather than save money on the video card, then I would recommend leaving the graphics card in the machine (or replacing it with the cheapest card you can find) and if necessary using a vga dummy plug. This will make it so much easier if you ever need to connect a monitor).

(I've never personally had to use a vga dummy plug, as all my machines work without needing a monitor attached)

As to whether Win2003 should work without a graphics card, I'm not sure, but I do remember reading a review of Windows Home Server which said that it was based on Windows 2003 but with some modifications and according to this article one of the mods was to support headless servers. The implication was that Window 2003 itself did not support them. But this was not explicitly stated, and of course the reviewer could also have been mistaken.

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