stevepedwards.com/DebianAdmin linux mint IT admin tips info

PXE Menu Issues and ISO Boot File Problems

I'm still struggling at this point to get correct info to make some of these menus work.
Those in bold work.
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default menu.c32
prompt 0
timeout 300
ONTIMEOUT local

menu title ########## PXE Boot Menu ##########

label 1
menu label ^1) Install pmagic32
kernel pmagic/bzImage
INITRD pmagic/initrd.img,pmagic/fu.img,pmagic/m32.img,pmagic/files.cgz
APPEND edd=on vga=normal

label 2
menu label ^2) Install pmagic64
kernel pmagic/bzImage64
INITRD pmagic/initrd.img,pmagic/fu.img,pmagic/m64.img,pmagic/files.cgz
APPEND edd=on vga=normal

label 3
menu label ^3) Install mint32
kernel mint/casper/vmlinuz
append initrd=mint/casper/initrd.lz
fetch mint/casper/filesystem.squashfs,

mint/casper/filesystem.size,mint/casper/filesystem.manifest,mint/casper/filesystem.manifest-remove,mint/preseed/cli.seed,mint/preseed/linuxmint.seed,mint/isolinux/vesamenu.c32

label 4
menu label ^4) WinPE_x86
kernel memdisk
initrd WinPE_x86/winpe.wim,WinPE_x86/etfsboot.com,WinPE_x86/ISO/bootmgr,

WinPE_x86/ISO/EFI/microsoft/boot/bcd,WinPE_x86/ISO/boot/boot.sdi,WinPE_x86/ISO/boot/bootfix.bin
APPEND WinPE_x86/winpe_x86.iso raw
APPEND load_ramdisk=1 root=/dev/ram ramdisk=20000

label 5
menu label ^5) WinPE_amd64
kernel memdisk
initrd WinPE_amd64/winpe.wim,WinPE_amd64/efisys.bin,WinPE_amd64/ISO/bootmgr,

WinPE_amd64/etfsboot.com,WinPE_amd64/ISO/EFI/boot/bootx64.efi,WinPE_amd64/ISO/boot/bootfix.bin
APPEND WinPE_amd/winpe_amd64.iso raw
APPEND load_ramdisk=1 root=/dev/ram ramdisk=20000

label 6
menu label ^6) Install ubuntu i386

kernel ubuntu-installer/i386/linux
append initrd=ubuntu-installer/i386/initrd.gz
include ubuntu-installer/i386/boot-screens/menu.cfg,ubuntu-installer/i386/boot-screens/vesamenu.c32

label local
menu label ^local) Boot from local drive
localboot 0

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WinPEStuck.jpg

Loading boot sector...booting...not really....just pissing you off...

It turns out that these two WinPE.ISOs (x86 and amd64) which were created according to the commands in the Win AIK, which are the same as the techmint page, create the ISO, which works as a bootable CD, but won't work using Mint's boot to USB, unlike PartedMagic's ISO which did the opposite!

With a mentality of "if in doubt, load everything possible" I got WinPE as far as copying and loading if not booting, as ramdrive parameters were what the screen complained was missing previously. The next possible problem that has arisen is that images may not be the correct format!

I discovered these tools somewhere, that check image info, and change non hard disk images to suit a boot environ - if the image is suitable in the first place, to create an "isohybrid", which places extra data in the image to make it work - if possible. Before changing the current ISO state with isohybrid, you can check it's current state with isovfy:

DellMint stevee # isovfy /tftpboot/WinPE_amd64/winpe_amd64.iso
Root at extent 16, 310 bytes
[0 0]
********Directory has unusual size
DellMint stevee # isovfy /tftpboot/WinPE_x86/winpe_x86.iso
Root at extent 16, 266 bytes
[0 0]
********Directory has unusual size

So, that won't help the booting situation probably! However, it could mean that the menu structure is actually correct, it's just a condition of the ISOs that is the problem.

Can it be fixed with these tools? Seems not...

DellMint stevee # isohybrid /tftpboot/WinPE_x86/winpe_x86.iso
isohybrid: /tftpboot/WinPE_x86/winpe_x86.iso: unexpected boot catalogue parameters

isohybrid /tftpboot/WinPE_amd64/winpe_amd64.iso

isohybrid: /tftpboot/WinPE_amd64/winpe_amd64.iso: unexpected boot catalogue parameters

man isohybrid

DESCRIPTION
Starting in version 3.72, ISOLINUX supports a "hybrid mode" which can
be booted from either CD-ROM or from a device which BIOS considers a
hard disk or ZIP disk, e.g. a USB key or similar.

To enable this mode, the .iso image needs to be postprecessed with this
utility.

OPTIONS
-h HEADS
Number of default geometry heads.

-s SECTORS
Number of default geometry sectors....

If PXE was not bad enough before, it's worse, as this implies you may have to structure the ram drive as well as the image to suit the conditions you are trying to boot from?!

 man isovfy

NAME
devdump, isoinfo, isovfy, isodump - Utility programs for dumping and verifying iso9660 images.

SYNOPSIS
devdump isoimage

isodump isoimage

isoinfo [ -d ] [ -h ] [ -R ] [ -J ] [ -j charset ] [ -f ] [ -l ] [ -p ] [ -T sector ] [ -N sector ] [ -i
isoimage ] [ -x path ]

isovfy isoimage

DESCRIPTION
devdump is a crude utility to interactively display the contents of device or filesystem images. The iniâ
tial screen is a display of the first 256 bytes of the first 2048 byte sector. The commands are the same as
with isodump.

isodump is a crude utility to interactively display the contents of iso9660 images in order to verify direcâ
tory integrity. The initial screen is a display of the first part of the root directory, and the prompt
shows you the extent number and offset in the extent....

So what does that say about what is going on with a "special" image, say, created by MS or PartedMagic - which inversely boot/not boot from CD and USB but DO work in some fashion, and how are you to know what the issues are let alone how to fix it?

The same WinPE images boot from CD to the WinPE prompt, which allows you to net use the Mint share, then CD to it, and run a Win7 setup.exe, for example no problem:

DSC_0028.jpg

DSC_0031.jpg

Note a password was not required as samba has

guest ok = yes

for this \Quadra share.

The Win command is:

net use S: \\dellmint\Quadra /user:stevee@dellmint

Now CD to the mapped drive S: that contains your Win7 setup files, and run setup.exe

DSC_0034.jpg

Ok, that proves the WinPE image is fine from a CD, and the network is available, so why won't it work when pulled across by PXE?

First what exactly is WinPE?

Windows® Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) 3.0 is a bootable tool that provides a minimal set of operating system features for installation, troubleshooting, and recovery. Windows PE is not a general-purpose operating system. Instead, it is designed for three specific tasks:

  • Installing Microsoft Windows 7. Windows PE runs every time you install Windows® 7. The graphical tools that collect configuration information during the Setup phase run in Windows PE. In addition, IT departments can customize and extend Windows PE to meet their unique deployment needs.
  • Troubleshooting. Windows PE is useful for both automatic and manual troubleshooting. For example, if Windows 7 fails to start because of a corrupted system file, Windows PE can automatically start and launch the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE). You can also manually start Windows PE to use built-in or custom troubleshooting and diagnostic tools.
  • Recovery. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and independent software vendors (ISVs) can use Windows PE to build customized, automated solutions for recovering and rebuilding computers running Windows 7. For example, users can start their computers from Windows PE recovery CDs or recovery partitions to automatically reformat their hard disks and reinstall Windows 7 with the original drivers, settings, and applications.

WDS is a possible issue on a Linux server?

Windows PE relies on a number of Windows technologies to function properly.

  • If you use Windows PE on a network, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and Domain Name Services (DNS) servers are useful, but not required.

31/7/15
OK! It turns out that there must have been errors in the creation of these ISOs (would only happen to me!) because from the tecmint PXE PART 1 - which I only just found - the menu structure is a simple as it gets:

label 4
menu label ^4) WinPE_x86
kernel memdisk
initrd WinPE_x86/winpe_x86.iso
APPEND iso raw

That's it! All my Fkin Around with menu options to no avail and the ISOs were duff!
When I re-created them by following the Win AIK commands to the letter I got an x86 ISO a different file size than the last which now works!

Now I have to re-create the amd64 ISO - removing the "Hit Key to Boot CD" line:
"To remove the “Press any key to boot from CD” prompt during boot, remove the bootfix.bin file from the \boot folder within your mounted image."
- and look at installing a script to automate the "net use" line and run setup automatically.

What a nightmare of a research job this whole affair was!

1/8/15

I have re-created both the x86 and WinPE_amd64.isos - without boofix.bin - so they don't need a key press to run,  and that all works too, so the working menu options are now:

————————————————————————————————————————————

default menu.c32
prompt 0
timeout 300
ONTIMEOUT local

menu title ########## PXE Boot Menu ##########

label 1
menu label ^1) Install pmagic32
kernel pmagic/bzImage
INITRD pmagic/initrd.img,pmagic/fu.img,pmagic/m32.img,pmagic/files.cgz
APPEND edd=on vga=normal

label 2
menu label ^2) Install pmagic64
kernel pmagic/bzImage64
INITRD pmagic/initrd.img,pmagic/fu.img,pmagic/m64.img,pmagic/files.cgz
APPEND edd=on vga=normal

label 4
menu label ^4) WinPE_x86
kernel memdisk
initrd  WinPE_x86/winpe_x86.iso
APPEND iso raw

label 5
menu label ^5) WinPE_amd64
kernel memdisk
initrd WinPE_amd/winpe_amd64.iso
APPEND iso raw 

label 6
menu label ^6) Install ubuntu i386

kernel ubuntu-installer/i386/linux
append initrd=ubuntu-installer/i386/initrd.gz
include ubuntu-installer/i386/boot-screens/menu.cfg,ubuntu-installer/i386/boot-screens/vesamenu.c32

label local
menu label ^local) Boot from local drive
localboot 0

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

It is not possible to boot the Mint Live ISO as it looks for the DVD drive during install. It would have to be re-baked with the correct structure to look to the ramdrive or whatever I believe, in a similar way the WinPE disks are built as I just learned about (next Post) - beyond my skill and interest right now.

Mint can create a working USB stick from it though, which is very fast so better than DVD for now anyway.

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