High Level: I'm using pxelinux.0 and memdisk to boot a Windows PE iso. I then connect to an iSCSI lun and apply a Windows WIM.

More information: Normally netboot/i is used to automatically assign clients their initiator name and target when they boot. The options available are boot from iscsi, next bbs device, boot from CD, and my custom boot to WinPE iso. When I burn the ISO to CD and use the boot from CD option the client is connected to its LUN via the iscsicd.0 file provided with netboot/i. This results in the initiator name, target and a session being set and created in the WinPE environment. Letting the technicians treat the system as though it had a physical disk. Less headache for me.

The Problem: Trying to go true diskless, I need a way to load the iSCSI information via one of the netboot/i provided .0 files, then pass control back to pxelinux.0 which in turn will use memdisk and load the WinPE ISO. Currently the only way to set the initiator name and connect to the target is to set the initiator manually, add the discover portal manually and launch the session manually. This is a bit beyond me.

Why? While I could go through the whole headace of setting up a pxeboot directly to the WinPe.Wim file, it seems as though booting to the ISO is faster. Not to mention easier to add tools and scripts to the disk by simply mounting the ISO and adding/updating files.

  • It should be noted that if you're using WinPE for anything other than imaging or troubleshooting, you're in violation of the EULA for it. It is not meant as an interactive user environment. – MDMarra Jun 6 '13 at 22:45
  • Also, it's very easy to update a .wim file. Check out dism.exe. It's even easier than working with a .iso. – MDMarra Jun 6 '13 at 22:47
  • WinPE is being used to install an image to an iSCSI LUN.I don't need to update the wim, it has iSCSI drivers in it, I'm looking to automate the process of connecting to the LUN by using pxe files then handing off control to WinPE to load the image. Worst case I can use scripting and nslookup to set the initiators, but I feel there is a simpler solution. – pacmanwa Jun 7 '13 at 14:16
  • Oh, interesting. I've dealt pretty heavily with WinPE and the .wim format, but never for what you're trying to do. Good luck! – MDMarra Jun 7 '13 at 14:52
  • I assume you've tried using the boot to WinPE ISO option with the same ISO you burnt to CD? Do you know how netboot/i presents the information to WinPE when you choose the boot to CD option? Would it be possible to set up the iSCSI hard disk to boot the netboot/i WinPE.wim and use the iSCSI boot option? – Harry Johnston Jun 9 '13 at 22:48

Use iPXE instead of using pxelinux, then the winpe image can be loaded over HTTP(S) which is faster than TFTP.

Or use iPXE to boot directly from an iSCSI LUN

You might find the iPXE documentation useful

http://ipxe.org/howto/winpe http://ipxe.org/howto/wds_iscsi

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