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Thoughts, suggestions on building a Windows XP image for pxelinux

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#1 Hybrid461



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Posted 12 August 2010 - 06:44 PM

I've been trying to get a hard disk free workstation running XP locally (in RAM), which is pulled down from a linux box with pxelinux on it. I created a Windows XP install in vmware on a 4GB disk, the install itself is 2GB. Following this guide for Windows 98: http://silent.gumph....xe.html#trouble. I load the XP virtual disk into a linux virtual machine. I run various dd commands to pull out the boot sector and rearrange the information to run off pxe. One problem is the load time, a 2GB image does take about 16 minutes to load on PXE. I can downsize it with things like nlite.

However, once it does load, it just says no opearting system found. When i looked at the files of the boot sector and partition table, they did not look like the examples in the guide. Which made me think it wouldn't work in the first place. So i basically don't know where to approach the image from there.

A live CD iso is certainly usable. It just needs certain functionalities like .net, and windows installer, as programs need to be installed in this solution and run.



#2 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 07:43 PM

mkdosfs doesn't make bootable images, and definitely NOT Windows booting ones.

Please state what the problem is and what OS are you using/can use, and I am sure that a solution can be found.

If I were you, I would check first thing these two Forums:
(take your time bwrowsing them, there are already a number of solutions/methods that may be of use in your case)

You DO NOT need a big image to test if it boots (first part of booting - REAL MODE - which is where now you are stuck).
DO things in steps.
All you need is an image containing:
  • BOOT.INI with at least two entries

If you get to see the two entries in boot.ini THEN you will have a valid procedure to create the image.

THEN try a simple thing, like RC (Recovery Console):

ONCE you have success in the above, tackle the "full XP problem".

More generally there is a handful of scripts/commands on the forum to create valid HD images, if you can run 2K or XP:

And even an automated program that you may be interested in:


#3 Hybrid461



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Posted 12 August 2010 - 07:51 PM

mmmm lots of reading. haha

Well the guide I linked, on the first page that had you test with a bootable floppy image created on windows. Apon doing that the virtual CPU stopped working for the machine when loading the image.. I tried it on a laptop as well, where it just froze when loading the image.

I am trying this with Windows XP Pro, SP2.

Thanks for the links, I'll take a look and see what might work, and go from there.

#4 Sha0


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Posted 29 October 2010 - 03:45 AM

Can you boot any floppy or HDD image with PXELINUX and MEMDISK? DOS is nice to test. Wonko's suggestions are definitely nice.

#5 wendy


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Posted 02 November 2010 - 09:29 AM

One must understand that OS/2 and its derivitives [eg windows nt], look back to the hardware outside of bios, so they can not be tricked into thinking some chunk of ram is memdisk. They need some internal driver to intercept this command.

There is always something like Viet's memdisk for OS/2 [the mainstay of eComStation booting], and i think there is a driver for loading windows nt into floppies as well.

One has to be also wary about what computer bioses are prepared to accept. Although there are such things as standards, in practice these are largely ignored for non-default operating systems. The option for a cdrom to show a boot menu is in the eltorito standard, but most hardware ignore it.

This is why programs like syslinux exist in the first place: to do what OEMs forgot to.

Linux etc implement a uniform boot model (eg grub, lilo etc all can boot linux without jumping through hoops: it's not in Microsoft's commercial interests to implement documented standards anywhere).

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