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Linux can't boot from NFS server on Windows

Posted on 2004-12-01
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Last Modified: 2010-04-20
Ok, I have a toughy...

I have a machine that needs to use bootp & NFS to connect to a remote computer to boot up its operating system (Montavista Linux 3.1).  The working server setup we had before was a Redhat Linux 9 machine supplying the dhcp/bootp and nfs services.  Now what I need to do is figure out how to make this work with Windows as a server.

My first attempt was with tftpd32 (tftpd32.jounin.net) and ProNFS v2.3.  I quickly learned tftpd32 didn't support bootp and I could never get ProNFS to work correctly.

My second attempt was to use my Windows 2000 server's built in DHCP server and the now free Services for Unix v3.5 from Microsoft.  I am now able to use bootp to get an IP address and connect to the NFS share.  The computer first loads init and then freezes.  I checked the permissions of the files on the NFS server and everything is set to 777, so it can't be a permissions problem....  I even did a network trace with Ethereal to see what's going on.  I see it grab init and then it never makes another request.

Am I just asking for trouble here?  Has anyone had any success with a Windows machine supplying an NFS share that a computer can actually boot from?

One last problem I have had...  When I unpacked the tarball with the whole partition for this remote computer, some files were overwritten.  They did not appear to be critical files though.  Basically they were files of the same name but differing cases (like 'bigfile' and 'Bigfile').  Obviously Windows thinks these are one and the same as it doesn't allow the same file name with a different case.  Is there any way to change this behavior?

One last thing - I can't put any money into buying additional software, so purchasing Omni-NFS or other NFS products is out of the question.  I need open source/freeware apps.  All I got was this computer running Windows 2000 Server.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!

Jeff
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Question by:masterbaker
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jlevie earned 1000 total points
ID: 12718854
> When I unpacked the tarball with the whole partition for this remote computer, some files were overwritten

That's almost certain to cause problems. You'll really have to have an OS for the NFS server that understands that file name case matters.
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by:wesly_chen
ID: 12719339
>  need open source/freeware apps.  All I got was this computer running Windows 2000 Server.
Hi, you can download
Windows Services for UNIX 3.5 (free!!!)
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/sfu/downloads/default.asp
and install it on your Windows 2000 server.

There are some links to user guide, please read it to configure your NFS server on Windows.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/sfu/

Good luck,

Wesly
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by:wesly_chen
ID: 12721588
By the way, when you install "Windows Services for UNIX 3.5", it will ask
"change default behavior to case sensitive". Check it!!
In other words, this one takes care of case sensitive issue for NFS.

Wesly
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by:masterbaker
ID: 12740235
There appears to be a difference between recognizing case and actually supporting case sensitive files.  I had already seen and set the feature you mentioned Wesly, and I still cannot have two files in Windows with the same name but difference case (ie: myfile and MyFile are considered the same file name and cannot exist in the same dir).

I tried another NFS server (Omni-NFS) and ran into the same lockup.  It appears there is something that is preventing my Linux machine from booting from Windows.

Has anyone ever been successful in setting this up?

Thanks,

Jeff
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by:wesly_chen
ID: 12740404
> recognizing case and actually supporting case sensitive files
I got what you said.
It looks like the NTFS doesn't allow the same filename with different case at the same place.
But mapped NFS drive can since it is not NTFS.
If this is the case, then you might need to setup a Linux/Unix box for NFS server.

Wesly
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by:jlevie
ID: 12740431
I'm not sure what would happen if you unpacked your tar image into an NFS mount point from a Linux box. If the windows NFS server "did the right thing" when in case sensitive mode" you could have the results needed. However, there could still be a problem during boot when the images are being tftp'd since that service on windows would be accessing the files in native mode rather than through NFS.

Why don't you just grab some old +300Mhz box and slap Linux on it?
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by:masterbaker
ID: 12740473
I'll try unpacking the tar image from a Linux machine and see what happens.  

We are using a Linux solution now to provide NFS, but we'd like the option to do Windows as it makes the setup far simpler.  This whole setup is supposed to be a demonstration of our product and those setting it up will more than likely have Windows machines they can use and not Linux.

If we can't get this working easily then we'll just have to scrap it and figure out something else.

Jeff
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by:jlevie
ID: 12740580
If it is just to do demos with another possibility might be a custom DSL Linux CD. The only issue with that might be in providing the space for the NFS boot image. If it would fit on a CD you could make it work on a two drive windows box, which isn't an uncommon configuration (one CDR & one CD/RW).
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by:masterbaker
ID: 12766465
I ended up dumping the Windows solution as it never was able to work.  On to plan B...

Thanks for your help guys.

Jeff
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