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PXE boot Linux to start ISO

Posted on 2006-11-21
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Hello,

I am in the need of running a Windows PE environment to restore Ghost Images.  I want (need) to boot within a PXE environment to load the image back, however a requirement is to run that from WinPE (the normal MS one). This is to avoid the usage of CD's and DVD's.

The idea I had is to boot from a Linux floppy disk image (1.44 Mb) to run a ISO player to start a bootable ISO with WinPE.

So what you get is:

PXE -> Linux boot -> Virtualisation Player like VMWare to play the ISO -> Restore Image from the WinPE system.

Is this possible at all?  If so, how?  Are there any standard package around I can easily implement?

Thanks in advance!
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Question by:DaGo21
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6 Comments
 
LVL 4

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by:DaGo21
ID: 17990323
Let me help you guys ;)

What I found sofar, and how I would like to do it:
1) Build a .img file to load Linux (I prefer Gentoo or RedHat) - with DHCP network support
2) Get QEMU installed in that IMG file
3) Load the IMG via the PXE environment, boot the IMG file
4) In the Linux Environment QEMU will launch independent and start a ISO file from a network share (WinPE)
5) We do the rest ...

The problems I have:
a) how do I get QEMU in the IMG file;
b) to start the ISO file from the network (The ISO is located on: \\<ip>\restore$)
The share is on the DHCP subnet, Gateway +9 e.g. 192.168.1.1 would be 192.168.1.10 or 10.0.0.129 would be 10.0.0.138

Any experts know the answer ?
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by:alextoft
ID: 18004394
Why exactly do you need WinPE to restore an image? You won't have an easy time trying to get a PE iso to boot via PXE. The only way is via RIS, Microsoft's abominable attempt at network installs. Why not just make a bootable dos floppy with the MS client for DOS on it, then write a batch file to map the network share, run the DOS version of Ghost off the network to restore the image. Create a floppy image using dd if=/dev/fd0 of=floppy.img and boot that via PXElinux. There's no need for WinPE in this equation at all.

Personally I trashed Ghost for this task. It sucks anyway. Partimage is free, faster, and far more flexible.

I downloaded Damn Small Linux, decompressed it (it's cloop compressed), then made a gz of the root and extracted the kernel. Boot it via PXElinux, loading the gzipped root into a ramdrive, then using a script written earlier, smbmount the network server and restore the image with Partimage.
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by:DaGo21
ID: 18101285
I found something out:

Desployment Server from Altiris can boot WinPE and DOS environments.  I will now aim for this one and perform a pilot session.

The issue is I require to do it remote, and need a 32Bit environment.  Also the re-image process is much faster that way. I am also looking to ImageX from Vista (WinPE 2.0).

I will request to refund this Q.
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by:DaGo21
ID: 18113432
DarthMod:

The solution is using Altiris Deployment Center as mentioned in my last post.  I am able to boot-up in a WinPE environment successfully, so I do not have to come up with the Linux work-around.

That's the solution.

Regards
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Question closed - 500 points refunded.

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