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How to install Windows (7 or 8) thru WINPE, via PXE, onto ISCSI

winpe pxe ipxe iscsi

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#1 erwan.l


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Posted 29 August 2013 - 09:15 PM

Hi Gents,


Following this thread, I decided to dig the topic winpe+windows setup.


I therefore wrote this tutorial (How to install Windows (7 or 8) thru WINPE, via PXE, onto ISCSI).


Although having some little experience around windows, winpe, network boot, etc, I found the exercice extremely difficult and painful.

That difficult that I am even wondering if any IT out there is using that method :(


Therefore I have some questions that the gurus out there may be able to answer for me, here they come in a random order :


-why does my winpe reboot in a loop if i have no physical media (an usb pen will do)


-why will windows setup not want to install over my iscsi drive if no "real/local" hard drive is there

(and it will still give a warning even a real disk is the computer next to the iscsi target).


-why do i have to take care of the active flag for my partition when the standard setup (straight from boot dvd) will do


-why do i have to create my bcd store myself when the standard setup will do


-how can i prevent windows to create a system/reserved partition and is this related to the 2 above questions


-why does windows install fails (on second stage) a few screens before the end with this message ""Windows could not complete the installation. To install Windows on theis compuiter, restart the installation." when it does not occure with a standard setup.

Solution here by the way (call msoobe from the commad line to restart the last stage installation)


So many why :)

Any question(s) above that would be answered would make my day :)


Thanks Guys !



#2 Wonko the Sane

Wonko the Sane

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 12:11 PM


with all due respect (and you know how  I mean it :worship: ) these questions sound like a 4 year old in the "Why?" period. :w00t: :ph34r:


If the "why" can be changed into "no matter why this happens, but how could I try to workaround this issue", we may get to something :unsure:.


Regarding the first 2 questions (and probably also the following 3 ones) it seems like the iScsi provider you use is not "good enough" to be considered a "real disk".

Possibly if you add in your setup a (fake/temporary) virtual disk of a "low level enough" kind (like the Total Mounter or the MS VSS services drivers) you can do away without the actual "physical device" connected.

It seems to me like the Iscsi disk "connects" to the OS at a "higher than low-low" level.

The creation of a "system/reserved" (please read as "boot") partition is typical of *any* disk that the install routine sees as non-partitioned.




#3 erwan.l


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Posted 31 August 2013 - 01:52 PM

Hi Wonko,


These why were more like a "oh god why" : that feeling you get when you feel cursed  :cold:

Although sometimes I also end up as whining kid when things do not work like I want them to  :baby:

But indeed, you are right, I am looking for possible workarounds or indications of mistakes in my setup.


My main concern is that i have no pb installing win7 to iscsi when booting straight from DVD.

When I launch the windows setup from WINPE, then the issue occurs.


Not to mention that when installed via WINPE, the second stage installation (i.e once we have rebooted to iscsi to complete the last part of the installation like naming the computer, etc), the installation will again then misbehave which it does not when installed the standard way (i.e boot straight to dvd, choose iscsi target as disk).


You probably summed the issue : when booting to WINPE, the iscsi disk is not seen as a real disk by the windows setup whereas when booting straight to that windows setup, then the disk is actually seen as a real disk. 


As a whole, I performed something like 25 windows installation in a few days to come with a working procedure to "Install Windows from WINPE booted to ISCSI via IPXE".

The windows screens are now printed in front of my eyes and I even woke up last time dreaming about this  :dubbio:

Definitely not a method I would recommend !


Thanks Wonko for your feedback  !




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