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(Solved) booting nativeEx Barebone by PXE


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#1 Benzin

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 01:34 AM

Greetings, im not shure this is the right forum to post this, but i cant see an nativeEx forum, and i know that LiveXP is based on nativeEX, so hopefully this is the right place. :lol:

Im trying to build a nativeEX image to boot over PXE for some file recovery, diagnosis, ghosting etc.
I had succeeded in PXE booting XP images before, but those images where made with BartPE Builder, they worked fine, but the smallest one (with extra drivers and apps) is over 200mb, and i want a smaller one to use in computers with low RAM. So i tought using Winbuilder to build a nativeEX image wich is quite small, and then figure out how to add drivers and apps to it.
The thing is i been stuck for days trying to boot the image over pxe, here is what i have, what i have done, and the error i get.

Using Winbuilder 080 running in Windows 7 professional, using a WindowsXP SP3 CD as source, i run the script with all options set to their default values, the only change to options i made is check "Boot from RAM" instead of "Create ISO" under the create image section. I selected the "i provide the files" option and pointed to the directory where those files (ramdisk.sys and setupldr.bin) are located, i got those files from Windows Server SP1.
After several hours and build fails, i learned that i first had to install the Imdisk virtual disk driver (it would have been "nice" if this was mentioned somewhere in the script´s documentation).
And finally, i was able to successfully build the image, and ti worked fine when emulated / tested from winimage.

So i moved it to my TFTPRoot folder, and pointed my WINNT.SIF file to it.
The other computer connects to the TFTP server, downloads the image from it, and just after the image file is downloaded, i get an error:
INF File txtsetup.sif is corrupt or missing, status 14

Setup cannot continue. Press any key to exit.

I dont think there is a problem with my TFTP server configuration, because im able to boot the BartPE images perfectly, so i figure it must be something with the image itself.
Just in case, here is the directory structure onf my tftproot:


xpwb.iso (this is the image file created with winbuilder)

NTDETECT.COM

NTLDR

startrom.com

startrom.n12

WINNT.SIF

my winnt.sif file:
[SetupData]

BootDevice = "ramdisk(0)"

BootPath = "\i386\System32\"

OsLoadOptions = "/noguiboot /fastdetect /minint /rdexportascd /rdpath=xpwb.iso"

Architecture = "i386"

And my tftp server (tftpd32) points to the startrom.com file


Maybe i need to set (or unset) some option on winbuilder before building the image?, maybe i need a diferent configuration on my tftp server to boot this image?
Please help me out (before i pull out all of my hair! hehe)

Thanks in advance

#2 Ariom

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 04:37 AM

Try changing "rdexportascd" to "rdexportashd" in OsLoadOptions=

I HOPE it works.

I Experienced it before, until i figured it out myself.

Ariom

#3 pscEx

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 10:08 AM

After several hours and build fails, i learned that i first had to install the Imdisk virtual disk driver (it would have been "nice" if this was mentioned somewhere in the script´s documentation).

Thanks for the hint, and excuse for my negligence.

The warning is now included in the GUI and will be uploaded soon.

To your real question I cannot help because I'm unfamilar with the PXE functionality.

But for me BootPath = "\i386\System32\" is ununderstandable, because the main boot files are in \I386.

Peter

BTW: I moved your post to the NativeEx forum.

#4 Benzin

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 08:24 PM

Ariom, psc, Thank you for your replies.
I tried changin the osloadoption in winnt.sif from "rdexportascd" to "rdexportashd", but no luck. i get the same error.
I also tried changing BootPath = "\i386\System32\" to BootPath = "\i386\" (in case the BartPE images have a diferent file structure or something) but no go either. :lol:

I just cant figure it out. The image works perfectly when emulated with qemu.

Thanks.

#5 pscEx

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 08:54 PM

As already told, I'm really not an expert in PXE, but I would now compare the txtesup.sif built by BartPE and nativeEx.

To do tests, you must not rebuild the whole project. Just change the actual txtsetup.sif in the target directory and rebuild the PE with the nativeEx >> Tools >> Finalize batch script.

Peter

#6 MedEvil

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 10:38 PM

What the heck are you guys doing?

txtsetup.sif is corrupt or missing, status 14

This simply means txtsetup.sif can not be found at the place setupldr is looking for it.

So appearantly some misconfiguration.
Which is no surprise to me, as i can't make heads and toes out of the snipets eighter.

From what i've understood, you're trying to use a(1) winnt.sif to load a HDD image, which is inside an ISO.
That sounds impossible to me.

One would need one winnt.sif to load the ISO and then another inside the ISO to load the HDD image. Aint working that way!

Setupldr can handle only 1 winnt.sif and 1 txtsetup.sif, which means, that winnt.sif has to point to the image which contains txtsetup.sif

Try it like this:
directory structure of tftproot:
HDD-Image (this is the HDD-Image file created by winbuilder)

NTDETECT.COM

NTLDR

startrom.com

startrom.n12

WINNT.SIF
WINNT.SIF
[SetupData]

BootDevice = "ramdisk(0)"

BootPath = "\i386\System32\"

OsLoadOptions = "/noguiboot /fastdetect /minint /rdexportashd /rdpath=HDD-Image"

Architecture = "i386"


:lol:

#7 Benzin

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 02:14 AM

Thanks again for your replies guys.
I will analize and compare the structure of both cds (bartpe and nativeEx), to see what i can find.

MedEvil, i assure you it is not impossible, using that exact configuration of files on the tftproot and that exact winnt.sif file (pointing to xppe.iso instead of xpwb.iso) i have been booting .iso images of XP made with BartPE, and it works perfectly.
In all honesty, i cant tell you why it works, because ibe just recently started learning about PXE, boot managers, ram disk and such (my areas are hardware and programing in .net).
I became interested in PXE, did some research, learned about that method on the net, tested it and it worked, but i honestly dont fully understand (YET) why or how it works. :lol:

You know (as a side note), i think the reason im having so much trouble gettin this to work, is because i dont fully understand the principles / mechanics of the windows boot process. Shure! i know and understand the "general scenario", but not the details. I absolutely HATE working with things i dont fully understand. Even the "victories" (like when you finally get something to work), are tasteless, when you got them by guessing or by following instructions on things that you dont understand.
Perhaves is time for me to do some more in-dept learning

Thanks for your help guys.

#8 dera

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 05:40 AM

my ramdisk.sys comes from windows server 2003 SP1
my ntldr comes from windows server 2003 SP1 - and it is the 'setupldr.exe' renamed to 'ntldr'


check 'TXTSETUP.SIF' if this section exists:

[ScsiClass.Load]
ramdisk=ramdisk.sys

#9 MedEvil

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 12:45 PM

MedEvil, i assure you it is not impossible, using that exact configuration of files on the tftproot and that exact winnt.sif file (pointing to xppe.iso instead of xpwb.iso) i have been booting .iso images of XP made with BartPE, and it works perfectly.

Of course it works perfectly with BartPE, because BartPE is not in a HDD-Image in the ISO, but directly in the ISO.
Add ramdisk.sys to the build and add the line to txtsetup.sif like dera said. Then choose 'Create ISO' instead of 'Boot from RAM' and nativeEx will work the same as BartPE.

:lol:

#10 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 08:29 PM

@Benzin, read this thread:
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=4952
AND given links in there.
You should get all the info you are now missing, both about general theory and actual working settings. :cheers:

:cheers:
Wonko

#11 Benzin

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 01:21 AM

SUCCESS!!! :cheers:

1.- I switched back to "Create ISO" instead of "Boot from RAM" under the "Create image" section.

2.- I opened the TXTSETUP.SIF file, and shure enough, the [ScsiClass.Load]
section did NOT have the ramdisk=ramdisk.sys line, i added it on top of the other ones.

3.- (As i did before), i replaced the RAMDRIVE.SYS file from the XP cd, with the one in Windows 2003 SP1.

4.- ran the Create iso script, put the iso on my tftproot folder, and viola! it worked.

Then...

I noticed i had no network support, of course! nativeEX is not finding the drivers!, so i went to the Components->System->Network->PENetwork section, and in the "Add drivers from this directory (including subdirs)", i selected a folder where i previously decompressed the latest driverpacks.net NIC and Mass Storage packs, and i checked the "Copy drivers for all found device classes not only net class".
Is this the right way to add drivers to the build, if not, can someone tell me the proper way?


Rebuilt the iso, and (again) viola! :P it worked, and this time, i had full network support. :cheers:

Now, im facing a diferent problem, i hope someone can point me in the right direction.

Sometimes, the local drives do not appear on explorer, i dont think this is a missing driver issue because 1.- it appears to happen randomly, 2.- i have included the latest mass storage driver pack in the build, 3.- if i go to disk management under control panel, administration, the drives & partitions are there, i assign letters to them (C, D, etc), but they still dont show in explorer, and 4.- on the same computer, sometimes i boot, and the drives are there, next boot, there not.

Anyone know why this happens? why i sometimes cant see the local drives?

Thank your very much for your help.

#12 Sha0

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 01:32 AM

Sounds like you might be running low on memory. How much RAM do you have? How big is the .ISO?

#13 Benzin

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 03:04 AM

Sounds like you might be running low on memory. How much RAM do you have? How big is the .ISO?

Hi, the iso file (with LAN and mass storage dirver packs, and a couple of apps) is 208MB, ibe tested it in 4 computer now, my dell netbook wiht 1GB of ram, a Gateway laptop with 512MB or RAm, and 2 desktops, 1 has 3GB and the other 1GB of RAM.

Strangely, the ONLY one in wich the problem doesnt appear (ever), is the Gateway laptop wich only has 512MB of ram, the other 3 have the problem, one boot i can see the drives, then the next one i cant.
Maybe the problem lies in the hardware detecting routines?

All help is appreciated.

#14 dera

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 06:15 AM

it is only a tip for the disappearing HDD - i am not sure if this can help or not
try to check your PE software registry hive
in 'HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup' key
delete the value 'MinimizeFootprint' (if exists)

Edited by dera, 06 May 2010 - 06:27 AM.


#15 Benzin

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 08:00 PM

Now i defenetly think its a hardware detection problem. I booted a computer with the nativeEX, and the USB keyboard and mouse didnt get detected. i had to hit the reset switch.
I think maybe some hardware detecting routines might be missing?

The good news is, this new issue along with the previous one about the local drives not appearing, are now fixed :lol:
I swiched to use the LiveXP project instead of nativeEX, and tested it on the same computers, all hardware appears to be properly detected, and the drives appear fine in explorer.
I downloaded the LiveXP project, removed some stuff i dint needed, such as browsers, CD burning, etc. Added the same net and mass storage driverpacks from driverpacks.net, a couple of apps i do need, i built the project, made the same changes to fix the PXE issues (replace ramdrive.sys, edit txtsetup.sif), and created the iso. I ended up with an iso that (even with all drivers and the tools i need) is smaller than 200MB, and it works perfectly when booted via pxe.
This is exactly what i needed.

Thank you very much for your help guys :cheers:

#16 pscEx

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 07:03 AM

Like the name says, nativeEx_barebone is a very small project only containing the nativeEx Core, that is the mechanism to use all language dependent stuff from the source CD, and to boot in an emulator.

USB keyboard and mouse support is included, but not activated in factory settings.

Network is supported by hostNIC.script.
After booting the PE, this app catches the host's NIC driver and copies it to the PE. PENetwork then installs it like other drivers which are already in the PE during boot.
Of course the PE's system directories must be writable, e.g, using FBWF or Boot From RAM, or starting from USB pen.
Starting from ISO cannot use hostNIC.

(For emulators there are NIC drivers for qEmu, VirtualBox, VMWare: qEmu driver is activated in factory settings, the other ones have to be activated by user click. Here hostNic is not necessary and does not help.)

There is no support for ATA and audio.

LiveXP uses nativeEx as basis.
Said exaggerated, it is a nativeEx_barebone project with appended drivers and apps.

Peter

#17 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 08:05 AM

Said exaggerated, it is a nativeEx_barebone project with appended drivers and apps.

I think at it as a nativeEx_dressedflesh....:lol:

:cheers:

:cheers:
Wonko




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