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HP-Elite-8300 ultra slim will not PXEboot whilst SFF does - BIOS-UEFI-Windows boot manager

I need to roll out images to two sets of almost identical PCs.  All are HP Compaq Elite 8300.

One group are USDT (ultra slim desktop).  The other are SFF (small form factor).
All have the same latest BIOS.  I have installed Win 8.1 Enterprise on one of each model in the same way.  Before I installed Win 8.1 I deleted all partitions and allowed Win 8.1 to create its own 3 partitions:
300MB Recovery,
100MB EFI-system,  

PXE Boot works on the SFF, but not on the USDT.  I should say that the FOG imaging server which provides the PXE boot file is turned off.  What I see on the 2 clients is that the SFF is clearly trying to find the PXE boot file for a while before booting further to the internal harddisk.  The USDT makes no attempt to locate the PXE file.  It just boots straight into the internal harddisk.

They have a slightly different BIOS Boot Order list.  Here is the USDT:

UEFI Boot Sources
- Windows Boot Manager
- Atapi CD/DVD
- USB floppy/CD

Legacy Boot Sources
-Network Controller
-Hard drive
---USB Hard Drive
- USB floppy/cd

This list is identical on the SFF except for "Windows Boot Manager"
"Windows Boot Manager" is missing on the SFF which has no problem PXE-booting.

If I disable "Windows Boot Manager" on the USDT, then it attempts to PXE boot (fantastic), but then after a while it tries to boot further to the internal harddisk and gives an error message "GPT-formatted disk. Legacy boot not supported".  I have no idea what this means or how to get PXE working without getting this GPT problem.

I have contacted HP but find that the guy there is not interested and doesn't even read my emails before giving a completely irrelevant response.  He said "On Cisco routers you have something called Spanning-Tree Portfast that needs to be enabled for it to work."

The USDT is not even TRYING to PXE-boot.
I don't understand why "Windows Boot Manager" is in one BIOS but not the other and why it appears to kill Network Boot.

Both BIOSes have:
SATA emulation: AHCI
Network boot: enabled
Secure Boot configuration: Legacy support:"enabled", Secure boot:"disabled"
Remote wakeup boot source: Remote Server
NIC PXE option ROM download: PXE
Option ROM launch Policy - PXE Option ROMS: "Legacy Only" (can be UEFI Only)

I have just tried this last option as "UEFI Only".  It works BUT then I must be present by each PC when it boots to press Escape.  Then I am presented with a list of boot options. I can then select IP-4 Network Boot.  It then looks for the PXE file for around 1 minute before booting successfully into the internal hardisk.  BUT I HAVE TO PRESENT AT EACH PC TO PRESS ESC AND MAKE THE SELECTION.  There must be a way of automating the PXE on the USDT as it is already on the SFF.

I desperately need this solved NOW.  I have to roll out these images in early Easter.
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3 Solutions
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
you have to turn off secure boot in the bios to allow pxe booting
Alistair7Author Commented:
Secure Boot was in fact already disabled by default on both models:

Secure Boot configuration: (shows two fields)
Legacy support: "enabled"
Secure boot: "disabled"

I tried disabling "Legacy support" here but that just removed all of the legacy boot options in the Boot Order window, leaving only the UEFI Boot Order list to determine the order.

There are only 2 ways I can get PXE to work.

1 - Disable the "Windows Boot Manager" under UEFI boot options.  But then I get the error "GPT-formatted disk. Legacy boot not supported"

2 - Select "UEFI only" under
Option ROM launch Policy - PXE Option ROMS: "Legacy Only" (can be UEFI Only)
But then I must be present at each PC to press Escape and then Network Boot.

It's something to do with this "Windows Boot Manager" option which only exists on the USDT which wont PXE.
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Alistair7Author Commented:
Correction I said:

It's something to do with this "Windows Boot Manager" option which only exists on the USDT which wont PXE.

That's not true.  It WILL PXE but only by pressing the Escape key and then Network Boot.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
can't you move boot from network pxe ABOVE the windows boot manager in your boot options?
Alistair7Author Commented:
That worked David.

The reason I did not think of moving Network above "Windows Boot Manager" is because there never was a Network option under UEFI for me to move before.

When I changed:
Option ROM launch Policy - PXE Option ROMS: "Legacy Only"  to "UEFI only", then 2 Network options magically appeared under UEFI Boot Sources:  Network IP-4 and IP-6.
I just moved IP-4 up and it work.  The same screen as before appeared asking for Escape, so I just waited and then it went straight into PXE.

I'm not jumping for joy yet because I'm not convinced that this UEFI version of PXE Boot is going to work with my FOG imaging server.  I know FOG has issues with UEFI.  The UEFI PXE Boot text that appears on the screen while its looking for the PXE file looks very different with a different font.

So I'm holding my breath.

But thank you so much David for sticking with me on this.  I'll let you know how it goes in the next couple of days.

And thanks PGM for your URL.
Also make sure that your BIOS/UEFI firmware are up-to-date.

What HP support told you does not make sense : spanning tree (aka stp) must be turned of or set to "portfast" for pxe to work.

Your issue with UEFI is certainly related to the fact that UEFI is smart enough to chainload to an OS loader or even make a copy of said OS loader in its own space and use it as a boot option. However, you should be able to configure your clients to use a legacy boot process and thus a legacy pxe.

If you have issue with pxe itself and configuring pxe/dhcp, just ask, I'll be monitoring this question  and I'll try to help as much as I can. I do have a certain experience of legacy pxe.
Alistair7Author Commented:
Problems solved.  There were 2.  One was the network boot issue and the other was that my FOG image deployment server cannot yet tackle GPT disks.

Solution: was the same for both models:

Deactivate UEFI with F5 in the bios of both USDT and SFF models.  Had to remove ALL TRACES of GPT formatting on the disks, even the SFF which appeared to already have an MBR disk.  Had to use “SystemRescueCD” and “sgdisk -Z /dev/sda” to wipe the boot sector. Then installed Win 8.1 again with default partition settings. Then FOG accepted the disk structure – a pure MBR disk.

With UEFI disabled in the BIOS, legacy network boot worked as expected.

I have been so disappointed with the support I have received from HP - one guy in particular.

Thanks so much David, vivigatt and pgm.  Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.
>I have been so disappointed with the support I have received from HP

Unfortunately,that is the norm for HP rather than the exception these days.

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