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WDS,UBCD & Syslinux ... bit misplaced and perhaps too hardcore!

Last response: in Windows Vista
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February 19, 2009 11:13:13 AM

Hello. The other day I stumbled upon syslinux as a solution to install centos on a server using our windows 2003 wds server. I didn't quite get the menu to work, but I'm in no rush with that anyway. However the syslinux documentation did say that it could boot most anything. Just point to a partition, a boot sector, a initrd and vmlinuz set, or let it start the regular wds boot image ....
I only managed to make the last part work, but that said I did have other things to do that day.

Anyway, I was thinking. Would it be possible to boot one of the floppy images contained on the ultimate boot cd version 4.11?
I'm rather new to this particular thing (syslinux), so I'm not really sure how I'd even test it. But a quick search on google shows that it appearently hasn't been done yet.

Is anyone here nerdy enough to know if, and how, it would work?

I've got a dl180 with a 900gb partition to store wim images, and I've added an annonymous ftp to the server roles and dropped a bunch of linux distros in there (because that's what I initially intended to use)
The rig is running windows 2008 standard by the way.

I used the guide below to get syslinux itself working - worked fine. I'm just too stupid to make the x86.conf file working properly (entries won't execute)
http://www.ohjeah.net/2008/09/24/pxe-and-kickstart-auto...
February 19, 2009 12:54:10 PM

Actually I've just made it work! It's patheticly simple!
I just opened the iso with isobuster and extracted the lot. Could've used winrar or 7zip for that matter.

Anyway. After extracting I found that the cd was already using syslinux as menu system - so it was a simple matter of editing (replace feature in notepad works wonders) the cfg files in the menus folder to point at /ubcd/ instead of /images/ as I didn't want to mix wim images with imz files. After that I just renamed the actual images folder to ubcd and copied the folders boot, menus and ubcd to the wds/boot/x86 folder - and copied the memdisk file to the root of the x86 folder as well. As last step I just added another menu entry in my existing syslinux config file pointing to /menus/main.cfg and done.
Now I know how it's done, I can probably duplicate it on the other wds server in a matter of minutes.
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Best solution

March 6, 2009 1:07:07 PM

Updated my article to be a little more specific, thanks.
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Anonymous
March 31, 2009 12:03:19 PM

do you have more details for setting this up and which files exactly that you are editing? I do not need to install linux but I have done the work in the linked website above and I am unclear on exactly how to make UBCD work correctly.

neiroatopelcc said:
Actually I've just made it work! It's patheticly simple!
I just opened the iso with isobuster and extracted the lot. Could've used winrar or 7zip for that matter.

Anyway. After extracting I found that the cd was already using syslinux as menu system - so it was a simple matter of editing (replace feature in notepad works wonders) the cfg files in the menus folder to point at /ubcd/ instead of /images/ as I didn't want to mix wim images with imz files. After that I just renamed the actual images folder to ubcd and copied the folders boot, menus and ubcd to the wds/boot/x86 folder - and copied the memdisk file to the root of the x86 folder as well. As last step I just added another menu entry in my existing syslinux config file pointing to /menus/main.cfg and done.
Now I know how it's done, I can probably duplicate it on the other wds server in a matter of minutes.

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March 31, 2009 12:28:41 PM

All you need is a wds server, pxelinux and the ubcd iso.
pxelinux works with simple ascii configuration files - like most of linux itself.
What you do is compy the relevant folders from the ubcd iso (extract using winrar, mount using daemon tools, or burn ; just get em out of the iso).
on the ubcd the actual images it loads are placed in a folder named images - this is inconvenient as wds uses the images folder for its own files, so I renamed the images folder to ubcd - and subsequently you'd have to change the paths in the text based configuration files for the ubcd menus too.
The files can just be opened with notepad, and you can use search and replace. (control+h) - generally any menu file with a number in it is a file pointing to actual images to load - the other files are just submenus.
It's rather easy if you remember that the files are just pointing the menu to load a specific boot image.

Anyway, there are a few limitations with regards to ubcd.
1) For one, menu entries that expect the cd to be in place won't work. Those items are generally all that start by loading dosubcd.igz - the problem's simple - it looks for the data on a cd, and none is inserted in your cdrom drive at the time. You could technically just create a 100mb dos partition in a vmware workstation, sys it with msdos 6.22 (or freeware equivalent) and copy the files from the cd to it. If you use tar to zip the partition (use a live cd in vmware, and copy sda to a file, then tar -czf it), it won't take long to boot in pxelinux. Might take a few tries to work though.

2) also anything that is based off of msdos 7 (windows me/xp boot disk) will fail to work unless you add bigraw to the entry. I had to use that to make my ghost bootdisks work on wds amongst other things. And don't try pcdos - that doesn't seem to work over pxe.

All in all it's fairly easy.
There is an example of how my mboard1.cfg file looks after altering it.
MENU INCLUDE /menus/defaults.cfg
LABEL back
MENU LABEL ..
KERNEL menu.c32
APPEND /menus/mboard.cfg
LABEL cpuburnin
MENU LABEL CPU Burn-in V1.00
KERNEL /boot/cpustres
APPEND initrd=/boot/cpustres.gz ubcd=cpuburn
LABEL stresscpu
MENU LABEL StressCPU 20021024 (requires CPU with SSE)
KERNEL /boot/cpustres
APPEND initrd=/boot/cpustres.gz ubcd=stresscpu
LABEL mprime
MENU LABEL Mersenne Prime Test V23.9/24.14
KERNEL /boot/cpustres
APPEND initrd=/boot/cpustres.gz ubcd=mprime

And here's how my pxelinux.0/default looks (passwords removed)

# File: wdspath\RemoteInstall\Boot\x86\pxelinux.cfg\default
# Default boot option to use
DEFAULT menu.c32
TIMEOUT 50
# Prompt user for selection
PROMPT 0
# Menu Configuration
MENU WIDTH 80
MENU MARGIN 10
MENU PASSWORDMARGIN 3
MENU ROWS 12
MENU TABMSGROW 18
MENU CMDLINEROW 18
MENU ENDROW 24
MENU PASSWORDROW 11
MENU TIMEOUTROW 20
MENU TITLE Main Menu
NOESCAPE 1
ALLOWOPTIONS 0

# Menus
# Windows
LABEL Windows
MENU LABEL Windows Installer
KERNEL pxeboot.0
# Ghost
LABEL ghost
MENU LABEL Ghostcast
KERNEL menu.c32
MENU PASSWD -removed-
APPEND ghost/menu.conf
# Bootdiske
LABEL bootdisk
MENU LABEL bootdiske
KERNEL menu.c32
MENU PASSWD -removed-
APPEND bootdiske/menu.conf
# x86
LABEL x86
MENU LABEL 32bit non-windows stuff (x86)
KERNEL menu.c32
MENU PASSWD -removed-
APPEND conf/x86.conf
# x64
LABEL x64
MENU LABEL 64bit non-windows stuff (x64)
KERNEL menu.c32
MENU PASSWD -removed-
APPEND conf/x64.conf
# Windows
LABEL ubcd
MENU LABEL Ultimate Boot CD
KERNEL menu.c32
MENU PASSWD -removed-
APPEND menus/main.cfg
LABEL Exit
MENU LABEL Exit
KERNEL abortpxe.0


Hope that helps - if not, ask again a bit more specific for what you need to know.
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Anonymous
March 31, 2009 12:45:41 PM

understood. you are using ubcd and not ubcdwin right? do you know how to make ubcdwin to work?
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March 31, 2009 12:57:54 PM

I have no knowledge of ubcdwin - I used the ubcd version 4 image downloaded from ultimatebootcd.com

I would expect a windows based ubcd not to work with pxe - as you'll probably run it from within windows? or is it a live windows (bartpe or the like) version booted from cd? if so, you can just copy the complete image to your wds and use pxelinux to boot the iso directly on a ramdrive (in the same manner I boot the ghost images)
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February 24, 2010 6:56:39 PM

Best answer selected by neiroatopelcc.
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