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Asked this in stackoverflow but they recommended I post this here:

Here is the situation I am in:

I currently have a Windows drive that boots XP. The BIOS does not support PXE booting so this is out of the question. Therefore, I was thinking I could install a customized GRUB bootloader on it instead such that it will have the option to PXE boot an image from a DHCP server connected to it and have the option to load Windows as it normally does (two items in menu). The catch is it may need to be automated (meaning no keyboard), so is there any way to run a script pre-boot during GRUB loading that determines if DHCP / TFTP servers are running and attempt to PXE boot an image from the network (and if not, say timeout of 10 seconds, regularly boot from Windows drive)?

If this is not possible, what are some other options / suggestions? I was reading up on grub4dos as well but I'm not sure that is what I need. FWIW, I'm free to do whatever I want to the drive. I'd really appreciate some help on this as I'm not sure where to start. Thanks!

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3 Answers

  1. go to rom-o-matic.net and get an iso for gPXE
  2. burn it to a CD or a flash drive
  3. set the bios boot sequence to try the cdrom/flash first, then HDD

this will try to PXE boot, and if that fails, bios should switch you to the next boot device, where you'll have Windows

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Sounds good dynasy, but how exactly do I get gPXE option in GRUB on the actual Windows drive? Let's say I didn't have the option of CD / USB once the machine is deployed. This works only if gPXE is on CDROM. I need it on the drive at boot up. Also, the purpose of GRUB (or what I wanted to achieve anyway) is that I never need to go into the BIOS because we do not want users going in there when deployed (ideally, GRUB will try to PXE boot, and if that fails, boot from hard drive). Should my first step be to get GRUB installed on this drive? What's my best way to go around that? Super GRUB disk? –  Jack Nov 23 '10 at 18:20
    
No idea if you can actually integrate gPXE into grub, but you might want to ask on the #etherboot channel on freeNode IRC –  dyasny Nov 25 '10 at 17:20
    
You should be able to get a version of gpxe with the drivers for your nic, and then chainload it from grub. You will need to use gpxe to boot your windows volume, though, since grub is not in the picture after you use it to chainload gpxe. –  jwiz Jan 2 '11 at 17:38
    
@Jack Why do you need GRUB if you have gPXE? Wasn't the point to PXE boot? –  Michael Hampton Jul 15 '12 at 15:48
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I'm thinking of something like this would work? http://www.etherboot.org/wiki/windowsntloader ? Unfortunately, the link in there is down as Geocities is dead.

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If your board or network card dont, or you are in a enviroment with a different broadcast domain that your server in Windows Deployment Services of Windows Service you can create a Discovery boot cd, and with this CD you'll can connect to the Server that will applies your OS Images.

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