WDS/RIS server in boot loop

AndersBiro used Ask the Experts™
Hello, I have a WDS/RIS server in "hybrid-mode" which works fine about half of the time but quite often the network boot get stuck in a loop yielding the following reoccurining message:

Downloaded WDSNBP...

Architecture: x86
Contacting server: x.x.x.x
TFTP Download: Boot\x86\wdsnp.com

This is indeed a source of annoyance since I in these instances have to settle for a manual install instead and only seems to happen with certain computers.

This problem is known on Google but so far I have not seen a working solution so what causes this problem and how can it be dealt with?

Are perhaps certain PXE-versions not compatible with WDS/RIS or what is going on?

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Do you use Cisco switches?  There is a setting for Cisco switches which can interfere with the PXE boot for Windows WDS/RIS.


Yes, we do have a Cisco Switch at the concentrator level but since it encompasses all computers and quite a few still work perhaps this is not as likely or what Cisco setting did you have in mind?
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If I remember correctly, a setting in the cisco could cause problems with the DHCP lease negotiation or during the boot from network.  
When I encountered that problem all of the PC's had a problem with WDS/RIS, but all the PC's were identical hardware during a  new rollout.

just did a quick search and this article came up, sounds familiar with what I had last year with Cisco switches and WDS.


I am not sure the above link applies since it does not mention the init loop that I am experiencing... further more the Cisco theory seems a bit strange since the behavior seems dependent on the clients used rather than the network connection so perhaps the client NIC/PXE version is to blame?

I never encountered your specific problem, I was just giving input to a similar problem which I had and it turned out to be a cisco configuration on the switch in my case.

I would use trial and error to troubleshoot further.

Have you tried to put in a new NIC (take out old one or disable onboard) into a problem PC, then try to deploy an image to it.
If it fails, then I would use the same NIC and put it in a machine that already works.  Then try it again.  If it fails the the NIC is probably the cause, if it works then the NIC is probably not an issue.

If any of the machines that already work has a PCI NIC then I would take it out and put it in a machine which fails.  Then test it again.


As a matter of fact I did some testing and the one that did not work showed the following characteristics:

Broadcom UNDI PXE-2.1  v8.30.0

BroadCom Corporation NetExtreme BCM5752 Gigabith rev 02

Another one that did work from the same network connection had instead:

Broadcom UNDI PXE-2.1  v8.3.0
BroadCOM NetExtreme 57xx Gigabit

To me they seem almost identical (just almost though) so most likely this is a NIC issue that warrants some further investigation.


P.S. I also recognized that the one that did work actually used the TFTP Download boot path "/boot/x64/pxeboot.com" and not "Boot\x86\wdsnp.com" as the faulty one so perhaps the bootfile does not work if it triggered by an x86 architecture only?

You should check if there is any firmware update or another version for the network adapter.  
After some additional testing it seems like the problem only occurs at 32-bit x86 architectures while x64 works so the problem seems that the WDS-server does not handle the autodetected x86 option very well.
This can probably be remedied at the WDS-level and at any rate the  x86 machines are eventually phased out anyway so future imaging should not be an issue.

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