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Shrink PE so can ramboot on old 128MB RAM System via PXE?


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#1 latigo

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 07:39 PM

Hi All,
What I'm looking for is a way to network boot some old PCs to my BartPE build. The specs on these computers vary but on average, the specs are around:
600MHz Intel
128MB RAM
PXE bootable
no CD drive
USB 1.1 (Since 1.1, takes 15 – 20 minutes to boot from USB CD-ROM, I do not like booting this way)

Problem is, my PE build is 159MBs --- 31MB over the size of the RAM.

The current way I've got my PXE config is to download a ramdisk hard drive image to the client PC. I’m using TFTPD32 (with pxelinux menu), a cross over cable, and a harddisk image loaded into ram (RAMPE-R2.img) to boot a PC.
Heres my
WINNT.SIF:
[codebox][SetupData] BootDevice = "ramdisk(0)" BootPath = "\i386\System32\" OsLoadOptions = "/noguiboot /fastdetect /minint /rdexportashd /rdpath=RAMPE-R2.IMG" [/codebox] Here is the contents of my c:\ramboot2 folder (the folder that TFTPD32 points to) C:\ramboot2\i386\NTDETECT.COM C:\ramboot2\i386\SETUPLDR.BIN C:\ramboot2\NTLDR C:\ramboot2\NTDETECT.COM c:\ramboot2\pxelinux.cfg\default c:\ramboot2\pxelinux.0 c:\ramboot2\startrom.0 c:\ramboot2\RAMPE-R2.IMG (Hard drive image of my current PE) c:\ramboot2\menu.c32 c:\ramboot2\winnt.sif
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The first idea I came up with (for ease of PXE configuration) would be to take out anything unneeded out of my PE build / hard drive image. The main things that I need to have are in my PE build are networking ability, DriveImage XML, and RealVNC --- anything else can go.

I have attached Directory-File-Listing.txt (Which is a list of files in my current RAMPE-R2.IMG)
Let me know what other information you need / any questions you have.

I'm also open to other ideas about booting a PC over a network with such little RAM if the shrinking option is too hard / not possible.

Please Advise!

Thanks!

-Latigo

Attached Files



#2 MedEvil

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 08:19 PM

Even a PE needs for anything useful besides command prompt at least 64MB RAM. Subtract this from the 128MB, you have and you're left with only 64MB for the size of your image.
You can try psc's nativeEx_barebone project, which will give you a PE small enough, to start with.
Add what you need and see if you can still make it fit. :cheers:

;)

#3 latigo

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 08:22 PM

I'll take a look at nativeEx_barebone.

Any other thoughts from people?

#4 latigo

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 10:02 PM

Thanks MedEvil.
NativeEx may work out...

psc,
Is it possible to add DriveImage XML (Imaging software) (www.runtime.org) and RealVNC (www.realvnc.com) to your NativeEx barebone? If so, how would I go about doing this?

I'm still up to hear others ideas too!

Thanks!!

#5 MedEvil

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 10:11 PM

Go to livexp.boot-land.net and download the scripts you want, they will work most likely in nativeEx_barebone fine too.

:cheers:

#6 wendy

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 09:57 AM

One of the earliest builds of PE i had booted in 64 MB ram, but i suppose the way that PXE works, you may need to load the image and than start the required DOS.

#7 latigo

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 08:37 PM

I've got a NativeEx ISO that I tried booting as CD in my Winnt.sif and I get BSODs (0x0000007B) after the Please Wait... screen.

My WINNT.SIF has changed slightly so that it will boot an ISO (I think I did this right???)

[SetupData]
BootDevice = "ramdisk(0)"
BootPath = "\i386\System32\"
OsLoadOptions = "/noguiboot /fastdetect /minint /rdexportascd /rdpath=NATIVEEX.ISO"

Ideas?

-Latigo

#8 was_jaclaz

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Posted 13 January 2009 - 06:39 PM

Are you using the appropriate SETUPLDR.BIN and RAMDISK.SYS? :)
From Server 2003 SP1 or R2 (NOT "gold", NOT "SP2"):
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=4952

jaclaz

#9 latigo

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Posted 13 January 2009 - 07:16 PM

*Sigh* :)

Looks like your up to 2 ice cream cones or Cokes now... (Ooooo... or maybe one of each! :) )

I hadn't messed around with those files since when I'd gotten them right on my other PE build... I kind of forgot about them until you mentioned them... so...Yeah...I guess this NativeEx from scratch might need those files too. :) :)

I added those files then recreated the ISO in Winbuilder and -- Hurray! -- It boots.

Thanks again, Jaclaz

-Latigo




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