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zenworks imaging, pxe menu editing and altering .bin file

Posted on 2006-06-25
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
Hi,

I would like to be able to customise the zenworks pxe menu so that i can boot different versions of the imaging kernel to accomplish certain tasks (restore particular image, run certain scripts in the linux engine). I need to be able to understand and hack up the .bin file.

the current default menu has an entry like this.
boot.dnx bootzen5.bin

I would like to be able to add my own .bin files into this menu and have different linux imaging environments run.

I can alter the linux.1 linux.2 initrd etc but don't know how to create / alter my own .bin files so the different initrd is run when the menu option is set.

I would like a method to open up and alter the .bin file or even a better understanding of how these files are created.

cheers.
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Question by:Cherrybrook
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:ShineOn
ID: 16981210
Usually a .bin file is a binary (compiled executable) file...

I thought there was a menu editor that shipped with ZENworks PXE imaging - at least there was with 3.2 and 4.0.   What version/SP of ZENworks are you running?

A couple of links for you, to Novell online documentation.

ZFD4 PXE menu editor: http://www.novell.com/documentation/zdpr/menueditor/data/a20gkue.html
ZEN 6.5 PXE menu editor: http://www.novell.com/documentation/zenworks65/dmadmin/data/amorbsz.html#amorbsz
ZEN 7 PXE menu editor: http://www.novell.com/documentation/zenworks7/dm7admin/data/amorbsz.html#amorbsz
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:ShineOn
ID: 16986651
To do more than what comes "canned" with ZEN on the preboot side, it looks like you might want to take a look at the Preboot Services Toolkit by PreWorx (the partner that provides the PXE pieces for ZEN.)

http://www.preworx.com/

Warning - it's not freeware or shareware ($1,250 USD for up to 100 users) and their website is heavily invested in macromedia flash for just about the whole site.

Another possibility would be Network Boot Tools http://www.emboot.com/products_NetworkBootTools.htm ($149 USD) that has an option for creating boot menu files and pre-os boot images.  Don't know if they're ZEN-compatible or not.

If you'll notice, most of the .bin files are exactly the same size, and that's for a reason - they're all pre-os boot images.
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Author Comment

by:Cherrybrook
ID: 16988523
Thanks so far guys. :)

So am i right in thinking that if i had a pre-os boot technique (boot cd / disk) then there would be a way to create a .bin file to suit.

Is there a method to create the .bin pxe boot image ? (other than purchasing a 3rd party product)

System : Zen 6.5sp2

btw : The bootzen5.bin seems to be a caldera dos boot then a linux load and run from tftp.
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LVL 35

Accepted Solution

by:
ShineOn earned 250 total points
ID: 16988693
The bin file is a pre-os boot os, that boots before the linux images load to run the ZEN imaging process.  I believe it is based on DR-DOS (caldera dos, novell dos, whatever) and it's used essentially as a bootstrap to prep for the imaging system RAM-disk-loaded Linux that does the imaging process.  

I don't know if there are free pre-os compilers or whatever you'd call 'em.  I posted what I could find with a brief search.

You might try a binary/hex editor like XVI32.   If you only change what must be changed and don't change the file size, that should work, since you're essentially loading a binary image of a dos boot disk to the PXE NIC, so the .bat files are plain-text within the file.  Just look for where the "loadlin linux.1 5 initrd=linux.2" string is.  If you avoid using a filename longer than 7 bytes, you should be good.

If you don't want to do runlevel 5, change it to runlevel 3 or whatever. (the number after "linux.1")  

Of course, save it as another name so you don't hose your "normal" runlevel 5 image.

XVI32 is free, available at http://www.chmaas.handshake.de/
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Author Comment

by:Cherrybrook
ID: 16988913
Thanks. I think that is the best way out for me.

I can create multiple versions of initrd to do what i require and then edit the .bin file with a hex editor to download each one under a different menu command in the pxe menu.

I believe boot images can be easily made but the method escapes me..... essentially it is basically a type of iso of a bootable disk or cd. (i think) :)

Cheers.
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:ShineOn
ID: 16989073
I think it's like a boot rom image, but as you say - it escapes me
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