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 PostPost subject: Way to install all DOS/Windows/Linux unattended from server        Posted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 6:02 am 
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Thu Aug 24, 2006 6:28 pm

I've recently been looking into network booting after seeing several articles (Ubuntu on Tap). It is possible to do this with all versions of Windows, but the later versions require RIS or WDS to install remotely. However, I have found a couple hints on the web that might lead to a method of booting the installation for any version of windows or DOS.

Why would you want to do this? Well...
-no more need for CD's
-no more lost CD's
-no more problems with older machines that don't boot from CD's right
-on-demand access to any OS you want to install
-easily update unattended installation
-boot computers with no FDD into DOS
-boot computers with broken installations
-boot/install older operating systems for web/program compliance
-install OS's into VMWare or similar
-upgrade BIOS easier (for DOS based bios flashers)
-Run older games on-demand
-Test unattended installs without wasting discs
-Test software or viruses without risking computer

I have a lot of time on my hands, but since I am currently jobless, it probably isn't a good time for me to devote that much time to non-income producing activities. Anyone interested in getting this project on its feet?

Basic PXE booting for XP systems: (Extended from above link, also has information on creating a boot menu for multiple OS's)

Additional on XP:


Additional on Vista:
I was thinking about extracting the DVD bootloader and using that over a PXE boot similar to

Windows 98:

DOS PXE resources (for XP and earlier) (more universal network drivers for PXE boot) (Universal boot disk for networks; possibly combine with universal packet driver with universal being a fall-back driver) (PXElinux website) (This can be used for most OS's that'll boot from DOS, or DOS itself) (For Windows XP restores, but has general usage info) (OS installer selector boot disk)

Additional on DOS/Universal:
"You can put all of your network boot floppies on the network and
choose one to boot from the PXELINUX menu. Or, you can add the
"keeppxe" flag in the PXELINUX configuration file and use a universal
DOS network driver (do a Google search for "undis3c.dos"). You see,
since PXE already loads a network stack with a standardized interface,
a single DOS network driver can support ANY network card with PXE.
This is also what my network boot disk does, and it works great on a
wide variety of systems."

(couldn't find any solid evidence other than running netinstall or netboot from an OSX server)

Additional on OSX:
Perhaps pxelinux.0 can turn control over to chain0 (HFS ramdisk?)
Extract the bootloader from the install DVD and modify, but bootloader (image?) must be smaller than 512k(K?)

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:24 am 
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Sat Aug 19, 2006 1:25 am


ROM-o-matic will create portable PXE stacks for NICs that don't have a built-in one (those can be loaded off a floppy, a CD, using GRUB, etc.). Plus, MEMDISK will allow you to load an entire FD/HD image into RAM using PXELINUX or ISOLINUX (I used it a few days ago to convert a Windows 95 QEMU image into a live CD). If you can create a small enough OSX image (or possibly one containing a bare system that loads the rest off NFS), you can use MEMDISK to boot OSX off the network.
I'm sure you'll be able to (with some effort) modify BootX (the OSX boot loader, which is open source) to load over PXE, and the XNU kernel to use an NFS root file system.

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