This weekend I learned that the Dell OEM media for Microsoft Small Business Server SBS 2003 does not give you the opportunity to boot into the Recovery Console as other versions of the media do. Instead, the disk goes right into an install. No chance for a Recovery Console or for an inplace reinstall.
If you only need the Recovery Console you can boot from a different SBS 2003 media, or even Windows XP media. If you need to get to other options, like partitioning and formatting, you can use the following procedures.
MS Technical Support provided a work around. Using another computer, edit the file cddrive:\i386\WINNT.SIF and delete the section for [unattended]. You may have to expose hidden or system files to find this file. Save this revised file to a floppy disk.
AutoPartition = 1
****remove the next 2 lines********
Unattendmode = “defaulthide”
ProductID = “QWRKF-IRemovedMostOfThis-828XJ”
JoinWorkgroup = Workgroup
Make sure the bios settings on your server call for booting in the following order:
3) Hard Drive
Insert the SBS2003 Dell CD1 and the floppy disk in the appropriate drives and reboot the server.