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pxes boot to server

Posted on 2008-10-17
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Last Modified: 2013-11-13
Hello,

Our school currently uses a custom developed software (pxes) which is app. 8 magabytes in size which is responsible to boot up the 'dummy' or client computers to our Server which runs Microsoft Server 2003. We have app. 20 computers running off the terminal server at the same time and it seems to work ok. I would like to improve the resolution on these dummy or client computers. I was told that our software would have to be rewritten to allow other resolutions to show. I was told that it was also possible to have a option as to which resolution you want when you boot. I know that we provided the ip address of the terminal server to the original developer but he is no longer reachable.  Currently the resolution is 600X800 which is of course, too low. Some applications don't even run at that level. A minor boost in resolution would be appreciated by both students and me. Please bear in mind that some of the client computers are very small around 0.7-1.5 gigahertz and I'm not sure if some are even capable of running high resolutions but I know it can be improved.
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Question by:wingcat
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by:arnold
ID: 22749089
The resolution of the display is a function of the settings on the image you are pushing, but also depends on whether the diskless computers have the ability to drive a higher resolution.

When the client system boots, is there an option to alter the display settings?

The changes remain with the boot image.
Not sure what process you went through create the current image, you may have to recreate the existing image to include the higher resolution.

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Author Comment

by:wingcat
ID: 22749534
I am assuming the client can handle a higher resolution. Even only bit higher would be nice. No there is no option to boot to different resolutions on startup.

The original boot image was made for us through a computer expert in winnipeg and he consulted with a third party who made it for us. I never knew who it was only that he is no longer available to redo it for us. I am willing to share the original boot image with anyone who could help us make another boot image that can give us a higher resolution.
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by:arnold
ID: 22752448
While unlikely, think it is important to ask.  Are the diskless computers loading an image that is a member of the AD domain?

What is the client computer hardware wise? What operating system do the clients run?  Is the only thing they run is the remote desktop application to connect to the terminal server?
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Author Comment

by:wingcat
ID: 22752698
Yes, we are running a domain. The computers aren't actually diskless they do have a hard drive with the image installed on the drive. We can also boot the computer from a CD and that works too so no physical harddrive is actually required but we do have hard drives in all computers and have the image on the drives.

The client computers do not have anything installed on them except for the image we are discussing. When we install the image, everything gets formatted and the linux startup runs. It basically boots up to the server 2003 log in screen and the terminal server takes over from there. So yes the only thing they run is the application to connect to the terminal server.

The clients are smaller older computers we pick up for free. Most of the computers are app. 1.5 gightz with at least 256 ram. They have a cd even though we can't use them in this environment (other then the initial install). They all have sound/nic/and we have 17 inch screens.

The reason for running in this environment is because of cost. We can add more computes for little expense. The only major expenses we had were purchasing the terminal server and then also the file server which stores our data. Also, if i add a new program, I only need to install it on the terminal server and everyone has access to it. This system has worked great for 4 years but I would like to have an option to which resolution we use upon startup. I was told it was possible to have several options but our images would be to be reprogrammed hence this problem.

Would it help if I uploaded the image for you to look at? That would likely show you more.
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by:arnold
ID: 22752845
Go ahead and upload the image.

Here are some resources that deal with creating a liveCD:
http://www.livecdlist.com/wiki/index.php/LiveCD_Creation_Resources

I suspect the image you are using is From the Damn Small Linux distro:
http://www.linuxforums.org/desktop/remastering_dsl:_a_short_howto_with_a_long_preamble.html

Another option is to use any liveCD (knoppix, ubuntu,centos,dsl) to boot one of these systems so that you can look at the boot parameters configured on the harddrive.
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by:wingcat
ID: 22752912
I will upload an image tomorrow when I am at school. Thanks for helping!
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by:wingcat
ID: 22754774
Here is the image file for the client computers. We boot up to the cd and install this software. It's app. 8 mgbts in size on the hard drive. The software makes the client boot up to the server 2003 screen.

oops. it's a little to big to fit on here.

Go to: www.winghamhbschool.com and look under the "recently updated" section of the following page. I uploaded it to the school site. You can download it from there.


Let me know when you have done it and I will remove it.

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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 22755310
OK, got it.
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Author Comment

by:wingcat
ID: 22756927
There was also a process that we had to go through to install it. He provided us with the install instructions. For example we had to mount the image, and had to do other commands. Was about a 5 min procedure.
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by:arnold
ID: 22769777
Could you try the following:
Boot a system where you have already installed the Image with a LiveCd (ubuntu, damnsmalllinux.org, Knopix).  

Given that I am unable/unwilling to install the image to try it out, it might not work at first.  But I'll try to recreate the image you provided to accomplish the change.

Editing  the lilo.conf file and adding a vga=ask option on the boot line may address the issue where you would be prompted for the resolution at boot.
run the following after booting the system with a livecd:
mount -t ext2 /dev/hda1 /mnt
cd /mnt/etc or use the file manger to access the file in /mnt/etc/.

One you make the change reboot the system and see whether you are prompted for the resolution.

I.e. the contents of the /mnt/etc/lilo.conf should be:
boot=/dev/hda

install=/boot/boot.b

compact

image = /boot/vmlinuz

	root = /dev/ram0

	label = PXES

	initrd = /boot/initrd

	#ramdisk=24000

	ramdisk=9700

	vga=ask

	read-only

Open in new window

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Author Comment

by:wingcat
ID: 22777713
I am having trouble following your instructions. Am I supposed to boot the machine to ubunto and then find the file lilo.conf? I tried altering the file as you said but couldn't save the file because of permissions. Am I doing the right thing here? I managed to find a file with the code exactly as you stated except for the vga=ask line.
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by:arnold
ID: 22777946
Where did you find the lilo.conf file?  /etc/lilo.conf or /mnt/etc/lilo.conf?
run:
mount | grep mnt
Does the resulting line indicate that the mount is read only (ro)?
If so, run mount -o rw -t ext2 /dev/hda1 /mnt
The above will mount the partition in read/write mode.
Another option if the partition is already mounted to remount:
mount -o remount /mnt
This should remount the partition in read/write mode.

If it does not work, please post the output of the mount command.
At the prompt, simply type mount and enter.
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Author Comment

by:wingcat
ID: 22778577
Just wondering if it would be easier if you would just rewrite the image with that particular line added and I could try to reinstall it and test it. Worst case scenario is it doent work and I reinstall the origional.

I will see what I can do this afternoon. I am using booting to ubunto and  not exactly sure where to enter the run commands you're giving.
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by:wingcat
ID: 22781989
Just want to check that I am doing the right thing with opening the lilo.conf file.

I found the one file in the hard drive directory (eg. "/lilo.conf")
There was a second one in a boot folder in the hard drive directory: (eg. "/boot/lilo.conf")

These files were on the hard drive I assume from when we installed the linux software. Are these the files that need changing or should I be looking elsewhere? The mnt and etc folders you are referring are not present but are present on the cdrom which I am booting off of. I did not find the file in there.
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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 22783319
The install file places the lilo.conf in several places including /etc, /boot.
I was able to modify the lilo file and create a new ISO.  Let me know you to get it to you.  You can use magicISO to make these and future adjustments.
http://www.magiciso.com/howto/howto.htm
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Author Comment

by:wingcat
ID: 22828076
Can you email it to me? Sorry about the delay, I did not see your last post. Is there a way of contacting you on here directly?
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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 22832384
How about you get and install the magiciso on your system and attempt the alterations as referenced in the howto.htm from the link above?  Trying this is a 10 to 15 minute effort. Then however long it takes you to burn the new image and try the install.  All-in-all I think it will be less then half an hour before you know whether the new image works as expected.  
When the current image boots, do you have an option to hit F2 or F3?  Is there a  boot prompt? If you do, these options often let you select the resolution.  

Can you provide a form on your site where the file can be uploaded and the form handler will email it to you? or provide an email address.
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Author Comment

by:wingcat
ID: 22832959
you can send to james@winghamhb.com

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by:arnold
ID: 22833696
The email has been sent.
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by:arnold
ID: 22862258
What the application to connect to win2k3 are you using?  Does it have an option to alter the resolution?
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Author Comment

by:wingcat
ID: 22932281
Not sure I understand your question? I thought the linux software connects us. After running the software, we see the 2003 login screen. There is no option on the server 2003 login menu.
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Author Comment

by:wingcat
ID: 22932517
I found an RDP 5.2 and the Transport is set at tcp. This is found in the server 2003 properties. It also has a setting to use client logon settings.

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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 22933001
What software do you run to get to the RDP prompt?  The settings need to be altered on the RDP client software.  Check whether the program you run has options to alter the resolution settings it sets for the establishment of the connection.

An option could be to get/build/install rdesktop from http://www.rdesktop.org/ and to test whether it will work with your setup.
The changes to the lilo.conf altered the options for the screen resolution, it however does not control the screen resolution for the RDP session.

The version of linux you use is from http://www.toms.net/rb/.
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Author Comment

by:wingcat
ID: 23020794
I found an RDP 5.2 and the Transport is set at tcp. This is found in the server 2003 properties. It also has a setting to use client logon settings.
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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 23020994
The client resolution is set by the client.
Lets try this, when the workstation boots, what do you do to get the connection to the terminal server?  Do you execute a command, which?  try running a --help after the command to see whether there are any options available such as resolution.

It would be impractical to let the server set the resolution of the RDP connection.  What if you were accessing the terminal server through a mobile 3.5 inch display and the resolution is set at 1024x768?  All you'll be doing is scrolling from side to side.
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Author Comment

by:wingcat
ID: 23022395
We don't run any commands. The client pxes software automatically knows which ip the server has and to go to the login because it's programmed into the software. We just start the  client and a let it run until it hits the server 2003 login screen.
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Accepted Solution

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arnold earned 500 total points
ID: 23025646
Unfortunately, the changes to lilo.conf deals with resolution of the display for the OS, but it does not alter the resolution for the RDP client.  

Prior to login attempts to the server, do you have an option to alter any settings?

Have a look at http://www.2x.com/pxes/ it seems that this is what you are using and maybe you can get an updated version.
The naming might be coincidental.
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Author Closing Comment

by:wingcat
ID: 31507375
Thanks for your help! I now know that it's not the linux startup that's the problem.
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