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I have an Apple Xserve at my place of employment, that I stumbled across one day going through some old equipment. The Xserve has one card installed on it, being the NIC, and is labelled with the static IP adresses that it has assigned, but other than that it is totally 'headless'. I would like to put it to use ( by either rolling it over to a Linux, or Windows Server 08 environment... 0_o ) but have yet to figure out how to get into the system to manage it.

I'm a frequent at StackOverflow, but this is my first SuperUser post, so please let me know if this should be on one of the affiliate sites.

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It is likely a remote connection application like vnc was installed. Hopefully someone at your place knows the login credentials. Otherwise you may need to find a way to hook up a monitor and keyboard to it. – Lipongo Sep 16 '12 at 14:00

The manuals are available from

As I recall, there are ways to recover the system using the DB-9 serial console port.

But honestly, using FireWire Target Disk Mode is probably easier. Plug in a USB keyboard and hold down "T" at boot, then plug in another Mac using a FireWire cable, and the Xserve's drive(s) will show up as hard drives on the other Mac. You access the filesystem and reinstall OS X from there.

Are you SURE that none of the built-in ports are for a display of some sort? It may be a Mini-DVI or mini DisplayPort connector that you're not familiar with. I'm pretty sure that all the Intel-based Xserves had built-in GPUs on the motherboard, so if you really have an Xserve without built-in graphics, you may well have an original Xserve G4 (as in "single-core PowerPC G4 processor at 1.0GHz") from 2002. It's not gonna run Windows, and probably isn't worth the power bill to keep running. The smartphone in your pocket has a faster processor than that decade-old G4 and your smartphone uses far less power.

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I'm running a DP G5 Xserve also, but I let it run OS X Server. Sharing is set open to access from Mac and Windows based, so why would you change it?

Boot it on, set your PC/Mac in the same network ID peer-to-peer (with subnet wide open :) ), and access it with vnc. Using this method, you can set all new parameters (IP, sharing,groups, ...) I added 3 disks of 2TB io the default 250 GB, which is the maximum for mine. If you need to re-install, you can also use the power/reset buttons to start it in Target-Disk-Mode

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How exactly is this an answer to the author's question? – Ramhound Oct 18 '12 at 11:26
I think he's saying 'just use VNC with the default options, or use Target-Disk-Mode'. Looks like ways to access the system to me. – Journeyman Geek Oct 18 '12 at 11:36

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