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Network booting using image of Restore CD RRS feed

  • Question

  • Is it possible to use the WHS to allow a client to network boot to an image of the Restore CD?  If so, how?  I accept it may not be "supported", but as we all know "not supported" is not the same as "won't work"!

    Thanks

    Sunday, June 6, 2010 4:19 PM

Answers

  • I'll be honest: I think you're going to conclude it's a silly amount of work that you will have gone through, and which you will have to go through again when Microsoft next updates the Restore CD. I honestly don't see why you wouldn't just boot the CD (possibly from flash) if you need to restore. If you can get PXE booting to work, or anything like it, you'll almost certainly have a NIC that will be supported directly.

    That said, look for the Etherboot Project (I think), they had a more scalable and reliable way to do this, if I recall correctly.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Marked as answer by BobC_01 Sunday, June 6, 2010 11:28 PM
    Sunday, June 6, 2010 5:47 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Yes, it's possible, if you want to go to the effort of setting your network up to support PXE booting. ("The effort" isn't trivial.)

    But what you really want to know is "Has anyone done this?" and  "How do I configure it?".

    For the first, not that I know of. As far as I know, PXE booting is primarily used in large organizations, and even then only where it's essential that there not be local storage (diskless workstations), or that local storage only be available post-boot (think "military", "government", "research", etc. for the types of organizations that might use PXE).

    For the second, give it a try and let us know how it turns out. You'll probably need a different router, since most consumer routers won't have support for PXE.

    And yes, as you note it's "unsupported". :)


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Sunday, June 6, 2010 5:03 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Ken, as usual!

    I've installed a TFTP server on the WHS (TFTPD32) together with MEMDISK  and using a Virtual Machine on my Client to test, I can can boot to the WHS for a Lan boot and I can get choose an option to boot the WHS iso image (or bin, same difference), but although it appears to load the ISO I don't get much further than a screen full of dots!!

    Screenshot

    I think I need to track down the ISO specific version of MEMDISK (MEMDISK-ISO), but can't find it anywhere.

    Part way there........!

    Sunday, June 6, 2010 5:18 PM
  • I'll be honest: I think you're going to conclude it's a silly amount of work that you will have gone through, and which you will have to go through again when Microsoft next updates the Restore CD. I honestly don't see why you wouldn't just boot the CD (possibly from flash) if you need to restore. If you can get PXE booting to work, or anything like it, you'll almost certainly have a NIC that will be supported directly.

    That said, look for the Etherboot Project (I think), they had a more scalable and reliable way to do this, if I recall correctly.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Marked as answer by BobC_01 Sunday, June 6, 2010 11:28 PM
    Sunday, June 6, 2010 5:47 PM
    Moderator
  • I don't consider any amount of time I spend learning to be silly.  If it doesn't work then fine move on.  Any new restore CD will be downloadable in an image format reading for burning anyway, so it'll hardly be a major issue!

    Besides, now that I've proved I can get a PXE and TFTP set up on the server "in principle"  (i.e. not loading under a virtual machine), I tried to boot my PC to a Network option, and I just cannot get it to boot off its NIC at all!  Perhaps I've fallen at a different hurdle!  See, already I've learned that things are never simple!

    Sunday, June 6, 2010 11:12 PM