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Remoteboot and fdisk a client

Posted on 1998-07-21
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Last Modified: 2013-12-16
How does one remoteboot (RPL) a client and the fdisk its hard drive?  When I try this, FDISK just returns to the C:\ prompt (C: being the server).  Has anybody done this?

Jim
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Question by:jtpryan
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by:johncook
ID: 1757234
The easiest way to accomplish this would be to create a special Boot Floppy which contains the entire process, and the continuation steps you want to occur after the fdisk has been accomplished.
It will make your life easier if you have a CDROM with your setup information on it, to allow setting up the computer to a point that you can remote back in to continue the setup.
You could also create a disk partition to hold this same information.

Does this help.

John C. Cook
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Author Comment

by:jtpryan
ID: 1757235
John,

I'm sorry, I should have mentioned this, but this is a thin client, no CD, no floppy.  I thought this was implied by what I was doing, but as they say "those that assume...".  
No, I need to do this with the server as my only resource.

Jim
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by:johncook
ID: 1757236
I forgot to ask are you remote administrating over a LAN/WAN or Modem?

I neglected to mention that you would need to use Batch files to launch and sustain( I know you probably already know this but)

A method I have used.
Create two batch files
one for the startup and fidisk(autoexec.bat)
one for the continuation and setup.(boot2.bat)

contents of autoexec.bat
@echo off
.normal start up files and information...
.
rename a:\autoexec.bat boot1.bat
rename a:\boot2.bat autoexec.bat
perform your fdisk
rem end of boot1.bat


contents of batch2.bat
@echo off
.normal start up files and information...
.
Continuation of your setup process
.
rem set batch files back to their original names
Rename a:\autoexec.bat boot2.bat
rename a:\boot1.bat autoexec.bat
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by:johncook
ID: 1757237
ooops my comment crossed yours. disregard

OK, then wha server and client are you using
Novell 3.x or 4.x
NT ..ver?

John C. Cook
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by:johncook
ID: 1757238
Alrighty then,
Your boot rom for your NIC card brings the client back up - correct?
And you are left looking at the clients C drive..

Am I in the ball park here?

John C. Cook
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by:johncook
ID: 1757239
Man I keep thinking of more questions, sorry.

I see, you said you were left looking at the 'servers' C prompt. Are you saying that the network connection to the client has been terminated...or can you still access the client?

If you can still access the client then the onus is on you or your batch process to restore the system configuration files to the client.

Keep the info comming and I am sure we can assist you...If no me then someone else WILL have the answer you need.

John C. Cook
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by:johncook
ID: 1757240
More info

To perform a diskless install of Win95, you need a server based
install already on the file server. You also need a real mode
connection to the network (either on a boot disk, or a virtual floppy on the file server via a boot EPROM on the network card). You merely install all the Win95 files into your home directory, wherever that is. Unfortunately, this only works with real mode network clients; you can't use 32-bit network components on a completely diskless workstation.
   
   If you use a boot EPROM, you need to make a virtual boot disk with the Win95 system files (IO.SYS etc) on it. Use whatever utilities come with your network server to do this. Other details are in Microsoft's Knowledge Base article Q133349.
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Expert Comment

by:johncook
ID: 1757241
sheesh, are you tired of this yet...
With a novell server the process will be similar to the win95 method.. your boot disk(virtual floppy) will reside on the server and will be accessed by your boot rom.


OK I won't send any more untill you respond....


John C. Cook
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by:johncook
ID: 1757242
Say I lied...
the information about the win 95 install came from a FAQ at this URL:
http://www.lib.ox.ac.uk/internet/news/faq/archive/windows.win95.faq.part02.html
Credit where Credit is due.


John C. Cook
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Author Comment

by:jtpryan
ID: 1757243
John,

Thanks for all the dialogue.  Let me be more specific.  I have a floppyless, CDless client with a non-partitioned 2.1Gb HDD and a rplrom.  I rpl to the NT 4.0 server which is running the remoteboot service.  Once the client has logged in you are left at a "C:\>" prompt.  This is in reality a directory on the server.  You are running DOS 6.22 at this point.  The goal now is to FDISK and FORMAT the HDD and copy over the 16 bit NetBeui drivers so you can reboot on the HDD and connect to the server and install 95 or whatever from a shared area up there.  The problem is, when you type "FDISK" it simpy clears the screen and goes back to the "C:\>" prompt.  I have found that there are some shareware or other utities that will do this, but we want these machines to appear as generic as possible to our customers.
I don't want a diskless install of 95, not even a shared install, but a full install.  Hope this cleares it up.

Thanks again,
Jim
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by:davidbchen
ID: 1757244
I have done stuff similar to what you are trying to do but all I can do is make some suggestions as to what maybe the problem.  I've had to install Win95 off a Novell file server in a floppy diskless/cdromless, environment.  However, I have not had the need to fdisk the drive to install win95.

Here are some things to check for:

1.  Make sure Fdisk is not corrupt.
2.  Fdisk may in actuallity be running on the server (Being in NT, fdisk doesn't work and may simply return to a prompt.)
3.  If space in the boot rom is availble, try making a virtual drive that contains the fdisk on the boot rom.  How this is acomplished, I don't know.  (What I do know is that this requires a rom burner)
4.  Using a floppy drive and using a boot disk to fdisk it in the first place might actually be more time efficient than trying to figure this out.
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Expert Comment

by:dmcushing
ID: 1757245
Here are a few things you may want to try as well:

Does an FDISK /MBR rewrite a master boot record to the drive?  If not, it is not seeing the drive in your diskless workstation properly.

Also, try the FDISK /STATUS to see if FDISK is seeing your drives *at all*

You may also want to start FDISK with the /X parameter to ignore any extended information from the drive that may be confusing it.

Let me know if this helps you out at all :)

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Author Comment

by:jtpryan
ID: 1757246
The end result of all of this is that it can't be done.  I was told this by the folks at LanWorks (the maker of the boot rom).  A third party utility must be used.

Thanks for all the help.

Jim
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Accepted Solution

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plastic_74 earned 200 total points
ID: 1757247
OK here are some trick I hope it can help you out :

I have a software which my company purchase it at IBM, the software is call PROXY. Where it can overwrite the hold remote system, and remote HDD. If you don't want to purchase this so called software then....

you can try SYS the diskette to your System OS and have the autoexec.bat edit to fdisk automatically.

A:\> edit autoexec.bat
---inside autoexec.bat----

@echo off
fdisk c: /pri:2500 /ext:2000 /log:2000.  
This has yielded a Primary dos partition of 2500MB and a Logical partition of 2000MB

*remember to save your file

Thats all, good luck.
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