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Boot to XP install from ISO


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I'm pretty sure I already know the answer to this question, but since I have searched far and wide (including these forums) and never really got a straight answer, I figured why not ask.

What I want to know is, in other words, can I boot from an ISO image of an XP installation disc residing on a network share?

I think this would make maintaining an up-to-date installation easier because I would constantly be creating new CD's and throwing out old ones.

Keep in mind also that I have created network boot disks, and can access network resources from the DOS prompt. I am also aware that XP can be installed from a shared directory containing the installation files (although I have not had as much luck with this, but it is not really what I'm trying to do).

What I'm looking for is a way to boot from a floppy or CD perhaps, have it load drivers for the NIC card, get an address from DHCP, connect to the network resource with and ISO image of XP (created by NLite or other means), mount that image, and then continue the boot process from here, pulling files from the network drive as opposed to the CD/DVD drive.

Anyone know how to do this? (or confirm that it may not be able to be done?)

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My take on this would be (and I know nothing about booting from network, mind you), but if you booted into dos and ran a batch file extracting files from the ISO before installation began, this should be possible.

I know Windows WinRAR extracts ISOs, so maybe the Dos version would do the same thing?

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Just to clarify, RIS won't let you boot an actual ISO image...what it does is it takes your WinXP CD and copies all the necessary files to the RIS server. It then does some random things to them, making them ready to be used. After that is done, then you can boot to the RIS server either using PXE or a network boot disk. RIS then asks what you want to install (Only if you have more than one image loaded on the RIS server), and then proceeds to load setup.

It's important to understand that at no point is an actual ISO file accessed using RIS. Even when you are loading the files into the RIS server, this needs to be done from a CD. Of course, this could be a CD image that is hooked up to a virtual drive, but you can't just throw an ISO file at RIS and expect everything to work out.

Also, RIS will only work with 2000, XP, or 2003. You can also get BartPE and WinPE to boot off of RIS with some work. You won't be able to run any Win9x setup installs, or any custom bootable CD's. Many people want to try and boot their spiffy multi-boot CD's over the network using RIS, and it just doesn't work that way.

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