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RickR

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  1. Well, I did it. I was finally able to get WinPE to PXE-boot from a Linux (Debian) server. It turns out that I was having difficulty in two areas: 1. Building the right version of WinPE and its support files and 2. Choosing the right tftp server and configuring it properly. So here's what I found. I ended up building WinPE from Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 RC2 in the usual manner. RC2 is available for general download from Microsoft. I slipstreamed it into my Win2K3 install tree. The WinPE build resulted in a set of what I call boot support files (NTLDR, ntdetect.com, startrom.com) that worked properly with my tftp server. I expanded the startrom.com from the file startrom.n1_ rather than from startrom.co_. This keeps the boot process from requesting that you hit the F12 key to boot. By the way, NTLDR and WINPE.ISO had to be capitalized to conform to what the boot support files (startrom.com and NTLDR, I think) are requesting. I'm not sure this is true of all tftp servers (I'm a Linux novice), but it's what my tftp server expected. Speaking of a tftp server, I used tftp-hpa because atftpd (the tftp server I was using) choked when the WinPE file got above 90 MB. This resulted in the client machine showing a failure message that didn't expose the reason for the failure. Be sure to set the verbosity of your tftp server as high as possible and monitor the server's error log as the boot progresses. You can find out a lot about why a boot is failing that way. Also be sure the winnt.sif, startrom.com, NTLDR, <IMAGENAME>.ISO, and ntdetect.com files are in the right place. That is, in the target directory specified by your tftp server (often this is a settable option). Once I had the boot support files in the right place, I still had problems when WinPE itself tried to load. I had earlier built a WinPE iso that successfully PXE-booted using tftpd32. I believe I built this image using the RC1 version of Windows Server 2003 SP1. That image in turn initially had a problem with Diskpart.exe. It wouldn't properly create partitions. So I built the WinPE file set using the slipstreamed RC1 install tree using mkimg.cmd without creating an iso. Next, I substituted a version of Diskpart.exe that came with my original WinPE distribution from a Windows OPK disk. Then I used oscdimg.exe to create my iso file. I used the boot support files that were created using SP1 RC2 to load this image and everything worked. So now I have an image of dubious ancestry, but at least it boots and does what I need it to do. There may be a better way of getting everything together, but since I don't have the BETA WinPE stuff from Microsoft, I'm feeling my way along. Any advice about streamlining the build would be appreciated. Finally, a request. I really want to get my iso image under 90 MB so I can use the atftpd server instead of tftpd-hpa. All I want to be able to do is run Diskpart.exe, map to a network share and run the Windows Installer (winnt32.exe) for Win2K and Win2K3. What things can I strip out???
  2. Well, I've been successful getting WinPE to PXE boot using tftpd32 under Windows, but I'm still having problems getting it to PXE boot under Debian Linux. Right now, I'm trying to use tftpd-hpa as my tftp server. It brings across startrom.com, but then the client machine screen reports: "TFTP Download Failed". I perused a hex dump of startrom.com and found this string in there, so I'm assuming that startrom.com is getting tftp'd across, but failing when it tries to bring NTLDR over (or make it execute). Chris, can you tell me which tftp server your team is using? I think if I knew which tftp server someone got to succeed, I could puzzle the rest out. If I can get it to work, I'll be happy to post my results here as well. Thanks, Rick
  3. Hi Chris, I hope this won't come out as double reply, but I might have screwed up and accidentally sent you a partial reply. Anyway, after my last post yesterday, I did some more experimentation and was able to get much farther along. Most of the files got transferred, and the client screen displayed: "Setup is inspecting your computer's hardware configuration...". However, then it displayed "NTDETECT failed". Not so good. A similar topic came up on a different BB ( Look Here ) I looked at the log file for my atftpd server, and there were some entries there that look like the below: Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8954]: received ACK <block: 515> Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8954]: sent DATA <block: 516, size 512> Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8954]: received ACK <block: 516> Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8954]: sent DATA <block: 517, size 0> Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8954]: received ACK <block: 517> Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8954]: End of transfer Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8954]: Server thread exiting Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8970]: Serving BOOTFONT.BIN to 10.100.191.1:60687 Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8970]: received RRQ <filename: BOOTFONT.BIN, mode: octet, tsize: 0> Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8970]: tsize option -> 30 Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8970]: sent OACK <tsize: 30> Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8970]: received ERROR <code: 8, msg: Bad TFTP options> Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8970]: Aborting transfer Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8970]: Server thread exiting Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8971]: Serving ntdetect.com to 10.100.191.1:60688 Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8971]: received RRQ <filename: ntdetect.com, mode: octet, tsize: 0> Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8971]: tsize option -> 47548 Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8971]: sent OACK <tsize: 47548> Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8971]: received ERROR <code: 8, msg: Bad TFTP options> Jan 20 17:09:35 rct tftpd[8971]: Aborting transfer So what I'm thinking is that something's wrong with my tftp server. I'm using Debian atftpd version 0.6.2. Can you possible tell me which particular tftp service you're using and it's version. I think that's the source of my problems. Thanks again for all your help. Rick
  4. Thanks Chris, any help you could send my way would really be appreciated!! When you booted it off a Windows server, where did you get your setup information? The link below looks like what you might use if you're pxe-booting off Windows: From 911CD
  5. I've got the latest version of WinPE, created using the Windows 2003 SP1 (RC1) files. It works fine, boots from CD, comes up on the X: drive, etc. Here's my problem, however. I want to be able to pxe-boot WinPE from a Linux-based server. I've tried using PXELINUX and MEMDISK to do the pxe-boot. What happens is that the boot process starts up, MEMDISK is pulled across to the client machine, then it in turn pulls over the gzip-compressed disk image, uncompresses it, and tries to boot it. At this point on my client machine I get a message which says "Loading boot sector... Booting...". And then it hangs. So it appears that there are problems when MEMDISK tries to boot the image it just pulled over. I believe my WinPE disk image has been constructed improperly. I've tried several different ways to create the image, but none seem to work. I get the feeling I haven't tried the ONE TRUE WAY yet. Does *anybody* know the proper way to construct the hard disk image so that MEMDISK will boot it properly? Thanks in advance to any one that can point me in the right direction or give me an outright answer. - RickR


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