Approximately five years ago I remember watching a recording of a gPXE presentation which seriously impressed me - presentation included Michael Brown (I think!) PXE booting and loading a disk image via HTTP over the internet - wirelessly if memory serves. Being inspired by the presentation I played around with this myself - fun stuff!!! The other bit of the presentation that seemed even more incredible (to me!) was SANBooting a full Windows XP system - sadly I had neither the time, hardware, knowledge or information to attempt this.
Five years is a long time and now, thanks to erwan.l and the respective teams/individuals behind iPXE, AoE and VBlade (used with Erwan'l's GUI
) I too was able to boot Windows XP from a network drive. A very sincere thanks to you Erwan for making this possible - it's been fun.
Windows 7 has been less fun and very bloody frustrating!!!
I've spent a considerable amount of my free time and followed all the instructions I can find and it still hangs on the bloody splash screen. Any hints/tips? A confirmed to be working config file might help.My Windows XP SANBoot AoE Experiment
My plan was to install Windows XP on an old laptop (a Thinkpad X61), then copy it to a 2GB disk image and transfer it to my home server so that I could SANBoot it - note Home Server is a grand term for an old desktop system that runs headless and sits in a cupboard - I lost the use of the room it used to live in when my youngest daughter was born! Here's my rough notes -Client
Installed XP on the X61 laptop (RIS install using Tiny PXE Server) - the X61 BIOS was in AHCI mode - driverpacks were slipstreamed into the Windows XP source on the SERVER prior to the RIS installation - not sure this makes any difference, but I thought I'd mention it anyway!
Booted Windows XP on the X61 and installed the LAN driver and then set the pagefile as 128MB (fixed size) on drive C: - system rebooted - reboot following change to pagefile was probably not required. Reason for reducing the size of the pagefile was to ensure that the 2GB disk image didn't get quickly filled with a huge pagefile.
Following reboot - installed AoE Driver using the instructions here - http://etherboot.org...nboot/winnt_aoe
(Windows AoE driver downloaded from http://winaoe.org/
Checked the Service name for the Network Card on the X61 (identified it in under the Network adapters
listed in device manager
> right click > properties > Details (tab) - selected service
in the Property
drop box - in my case e1express
Opened regedit and navigated to HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\services\e1express
- changed the start
value to 0.
A number of instructions also mention installing CCBoot client - this wasn't required on my system.
Turned off the Windows XP firewall just to ensure that this didn't create any problems. Thats it in terms of configuring Windows XP on the client side.Disk Image
Rebooted the X61 and booted into WinPE - PXE boot using Tiny PXE Server.
Checked the drive letter of my local Windows XP installation - it was C: (remember I'm running WinPE - systemdrive is X:) - this is the path to my source files.
Mounted my 2GB disk image via ImDisk as drive R: - note that the disk image was already partitioned and formatted - in this case using compressed NTFS.
Mounted the only partition/volume in my 2GB disk image via ImDisk as drive R: - note that the disk image was already partitioned. The existing partition spanned the whole disk and was formatted using compressed NTFS.
Copied the contents of drive C: to drive R: using the batch file below -
echo copying files
xcopy %SOURCE%:\ %DEST%:\ /exclude:%~dp0exclude.txt /e /c /i /h /k /x /y /w
Contents of exclude.txt
:\System Volume Information
\Temporary Internet Files\
Now in the mounted disk image (drive R:) that now contains the copied Windows XP installation.
Now in the ImDisk mounted partition (drive letter R:) within my disk image that now contains the copied Windows XP installation -
Due to my system setup I needed to edit the path in R:\boot.ini from -
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional (hd0,1)" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional (hd0,0)" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
Mounted the system registry hive R:\Windows\system32\config\system
key and deleted all of the entries to ensure that the physical disk in the X61 was reallocated drive letters when the disk image was booted from the server later.EDIT - forgot to mention earlier that the disk initially failed to boot as ntldr (and possibly ntdetect.com) were compressed - uncompress them now if following these steps.
Unmounted the disk image and copied it to the SERVER.
Unmounted Drive R: (the partition within my disk image) and then copied the disk image to the SERVER.Server
Installed Vblade - basically I used 7-zip to extract vblade.exe and cygwin1.dll from winaoe.msi to the same directory as Erwan's vGui.exe - I didn't need to run the .msi file.
Started VBlade via the GUI and pointed it to my disk image containing the Windows XP files copied earlier.
Started Tiny PXE Server - I'll double check my config file later as I don't have access to it at the moment - the following entries were certainly in it -
aoe.ipxe script -
set keep-san 1
Despite using a disk with a different disk signature it worked without any issues.
Copying XP in this way to a disk image is well documented in the firadisk thread elsewhere on this forum.
This method allowed me to keep my laptop intact - I didn't have to worry about removing the hard disk or changing the disk signature to avoid conflicts before SANBooting XP.
I hope this information helps others.
P.s. Post edited to stop Wonko moaning