Argh. NT4 doesn’t talk to hardware interrupts and can’t see drives via the BIOS the same way DOS and Win9x can. That Dell server with serial ATA RAID, even with a FAT16 partition ready, even installing from a directory on that partition, cannot handle the drive.
I obtained a driver that had an ever so slight possibility of making the whole thing work. What happened? NT could not see the floppy drive to add a final insult to the whole debacle.
So it turns out we will need to get Windows 2000 Server to make this work. Not Windows 2003 Server, because the network remains a mix with NT4 and 2000 is okay with that.
I’m very disappointed.
Turns out it sees the floppy if you hit F6 at the right time when NT4 setup starts. However, trying both Dell’s Windows 2000 driver for SATA and one from Adaptec for a similar controller, I got “file caused an unexpected error (0) at line 1213 in d:\nt\private\ntos\boot\setup\oemdisk.c” and that ended the attempt.