17 December 2010

Remote Installation Service

Today I finally resolved a problem that bugged me for some time. A 2003 Server has been used to install Win XP to PCs on the network using the Windows Remote Installation Service (RIS). The RIS service was upgraded by Microsoft with the release of 2003 Service Pack 2 and is now called Windows Deployment Service (WDS). I recently started working through Win7 deployment scenarios. In the process I changed WDS from "legacy" mode to "mixed" mode.

When I tried to install WinXP again via RIS, I received an error:
PXE-T01 error > file not found TFTP

This message indicates that the client PC received at least one valid DHCP/BOOTP offer, but does not have a boot filename to download. After much head-scratching and Googling, I finally compiled the info to make it all work:

Add these DHCP Options:
060 PXE Client - enter: "PXECLIENT"
066 Boot server host name - enter the IP of the RIS/WDS server
067 Bootfile name - point to: "remoteinstall\oschooser\i386\startrom.com"

By default, DHCP option 60 is not shown on the server and needs to be added to the scope. If WDS and DHCP run on the same server, this can be done through the properties of the WDS, but since my DHCP was not I had to add it manually from a Command Prompt:

1. C:\Windows\System32>netsh
2. netsh>dhcp
3. netsh dhcp>server \\server_machine_name
4. netsh dhcp>add optiondef 60 PXEClient String 0 comment=PXE support
5. netsh dhcp>set optionvalue 60 STRING PXEClient
6. netsh dhcp>exit

Then return to the WDS admin tool and expand it to get to the Properties dialog for the server. Click the 'Boot' tab and enter 'OSChooser\i386\startrom.com' under the x86 architecture.

Restart both the WDS and the DHCP service and you should be able to boot from the network!