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Windows XP install using BartPE


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First, sorry if this forum is more for WinPE than BartPE, but I feel I would have the same problem with WinPE.

I am currently trying to launch my unattended Windows XP from bartPE and I have a problem that I can't seem to solve...

My XP Setup files are on a network share.

I format the C: drive.

And then launch my commandline to launch the winnt32 from WinXP, which is as follows :

winnt32.exe /syspart:c: /tempdrive:c: /unattended:winnt.sif /makelocalsource /s:[networksharename]\i386

The setup process launches inside of BartPE, and when finished, I reboot from the bartPE session.

Then, the text-mode setup of XP takes place, without any problem.

Once the files have been copied, it reboots.

But then, instead of going to the GUI-mode setup, I am presented with another text-mode setup screen, which says :

"CAUTION : A Windows folder already exists that may contain a Windows installation"

and then ask me if I want to remove the existing folder or quit the installation...

To be honest, I don't understand at all why I can't get to the GUI mode setup.

I've done searches on message boards and google and my command-line doesn't look so much different than others (and I tried a lot of variations, without success).

So far, I am doing my simulations on a virtual machine.

Any idea ?

Thanks a lot for your help !

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  • 3 weeks later...

"CAUTION : A Windows folder already exists that may contain a Windows installation"

and then ask me if I want to remove the existing folder or quit the installation...

Yes, I've seen that with Bart PE:

- Bart CDR boots off CDR OK

- but stops on that screen before the bottom progress strip

What is happening is that Bart (or rather, the underlying OS the Bart CDR was built from) detects cues on the HD that indicate an installation is in progress.

In the context of malware cleanup, it looks like a successful attempt to DoS Bart as mOS, but if you press F10 to ignore the installation in progress, ir will carry on just fine (without messing anything up).

In your context, which is setting up a new PC and rebooting to continue HD-based setup, the problem is that Bart CDR boot is not falling through to HD boot as (say) an XP OS CD would do.

With the above mileage as "Fail" and successful Bart boot as "OK", state chart:

Fail As-is

Fail Set primary partition as inactive

Fail Spoof primary partition type to CP/M

OK Zero out HD's MBR (physical sector 0, CHS 0,0,1)

OK Zero out primary's PBR (logical sector 0, CHS 0,1,1)

Fail Rename away C:\$LDR$

Fail Rename away C:\$WIN_NT$.~LS subtree

OK Rename away C:\$WIN_NT$.~BT subtree

The mechanism appears to be MBR -> PBR -> C:\$WIN_NT$.~BT or some particular file within C:\$WIN_NT$.~BT, so that knocking out any one of these items fixes the problem. Whether the installation process writes non-standard changes to PBR or (less likely) MBR is another matter; chances are the standard logic seeks C:\$WIN_NT$.~BT, just

as standard Win9x boot logic seeks C:\WINBOOT.SYS (which will be copied over C:\IO.SYS if found, BTW)

In the context of malware cleanup, etc. you'd press F10 and carry on, then rename away the old C:\$WIN_NT$.~BT subtree.

In your context (where there really is an installation in progress!) you'd do one of:

- remove Bart CDR to facilitate HD boot and continuation

- build Bart to enable the fall-through to HD boot

Normally, I'd not want a mOS (maintenance OS) to accidentally boot the sick/infected/at-risk HD, so I'd turn off that fall-through behavior. But in this context, you may prefer it.

Bart handles that through a standard plug-in, but I can't remember what it's called (sorry!) - have a look through Bart's site and documentation. Something similar can do the same control for MS WinPE <-{Obligatory on-topic bit} :-)

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