Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    Plutonium Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    12,107
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Network Boot Disk

    I don't think this belongs in the Networking board, so I'll put it here since it involves a download of "software," in a manner of speaking. The current issue of Fred Langa's newsletter contains a link to Nick Christou's web site and a short story about creating a network-aware boot disk. I must warn you that the site may be swamped, 'cause I'm downloading as I write and the download (DSL) is running verrry slooowly. I have not yet tried Nick's "product" but I will as soon as I can. This is a topic near and dear to my heart!

    Since I've been using PowerQuest's Drive Image for many years and it is a "DOS" functioning program, several years ago I wanted to be able to create a boot diskette that would "see" my small, in-home network so I could create my hard drive images to a "backup" machine on my net. Man, you can't believe how LITTLE help I was able to get on that subject around the internet. Finally, after getting tiny bits of this and that from Microsoft, PowerQuest and a few other sources, I was able to put together a boot disk, albeit NIC specific, that does the job. I've guarded that disk with a passion and have, I'm afraid to say, run in to a few NICs with which it doesn't work. Here's what it says on Nick Christou's site: (I'm taking out some linefeeds so this post won't be too long)
    <hr>::features: Windows 9x, NT, 2000 and XP workgroup and domain support! Fully configurable - or let the disk configure itself! PING and IPCONFIG compatible utilities included! Interactive SETUP program! Random computername and AutoLogon! FAST boot time, and options to boot without network support! FAST full duplex network capabilities (where hardware permits)! Use profiles for different configurations! Multinational keyboard capabilities! Built in PCMCIA support for ALL laptops! Configure hardware for your network card, or Autodetect! Safe Mode for drivers that refuse to load properly! HOSTS and LMHOSTS support! Advanced memory handling, and virtual drive technology! Auto Logon facility.
    Ability to run a predefined set of batch commands after login!<hr>
    What has always surprised me is how little interest I could find in this topic, so I thought maybe I was the only dummy in the computing world and everyone else already knew how to do this. Oh well, FWIW..... (P. S. The site MUST be swamped. The download is only two-thirds finished. You might want to wait till tomorrow to try Nick's site. Mebbe his bandwidth is being crushed!)

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    12,107
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Re: Network Boot Disk

    Well folks, I've been reading Fred Langa for a long time and have a lot of faith in most of his recommendations, but this ain't one of 'em! I was tempted to delete this post entirely, but decided to wait a day and see if someone has any luck with this lead. If someone hasn't reported a successful use, I think I'll delete the post tomorrow. The downloaded copy I got doesn't work, at least not on my system. It doesn't do any harm, hence I don't feel any urgency to delete the post. It just doesn't go anywhere. The download creates a bootable floppy disk OK, which uses the old DOS menu system in the Config.Sys to ask whether you want to Configure, run the network and so on. I chose "Configure" thinking it probably (at a minimum) needs info from me. It reads my hard drives for a long time, I assumed looking for the NIC *.dos driver, which I had made sure a copy of was available. Then a message pops onto the screen about "...loading configuration options." At that point I let it sit there for about an hour, doing nothing, that I could tell.

    I think I'll stick with my "home-grown" network boot disks. Maybe someone will be luckier than me.

  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Newark, New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    999
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Network Boot Disk

    Heya Al,

    Couple of things, first, are you running a domain?? I assume you are also running TCP/IP???

    If you have a NT CD, there's a client directory which will walk you thru making a boot disk.

    Lemme knoiw.
    Mike Wolfman
    Jack of all, Master of none
    Bow before me, for I am root.
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tfiles/112673-wolfsig.jpg>

  4. #4
    Plutonium Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    12,107
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Re: Network Boot Disk

    You may have missed my underlying message, Mike, but I thank you for your interest. I already have a good, working DOS network boot disk. As a matter of fact, I have several for different machines with different NICs. I was only looking at this Fred Langa tip for the possible benefit of others - and maybe to see if it's better than what I already have. Not sure yet if this Nick Christou site is going to pan out until someone else tries him out.

    Funny that you should say what you did though, because back a few years ago when I first created my "home-grown" boot disk, I STARTED with the files that Microsoft provides. I didn't have access to NT at the time, but MS makes the files available for DL on one of their web pages. The instructions from MS (as usual) left a LOT to be desired and I never could get the disk to work. That's when I began piecing together "tips" from PowerQuest and other places. Doing it this way takes a little work. You have to create your own Config.Sys, Autoexec.Bat, Protocol.Ini and System.Ini and these are all things that an "average" user might not be able to tackle. That's why I was hoping that this guy's link would somewhat-automate the job.

  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    12,107
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Re: Network Boot Disk

    Here I am replying to my own post again! But, judging from only thirty-something views and just Mike and me having anything to say, this may be just about as unpopular a topic as it was when I first started trying to do it way back when! However, in fairness to Nick Christou, I should say that I went back to his site and did a little more reading. The reason I did THAT is that with the diskette you create, there are a couple of .TXT files that are not really text files but rather binary files. I tried to read them with Word without success. That's how come I tried to run the diskette anyway and chose the "Configure" selection, thinking it would ask me for whatever it needs. After going back to the web site and doing a bit more reading (RTFM, Big Al!) the web site manual says you DO have to do some manual configuration before you run the diskette. You need to copy the xxxx.dos file to it, choose a computer name and whatever.

    So, to be fair, I'm going to try it again, in spite of the apparent low level of interest. I guess I can't stand the temptation to twiddle!

  6. #6
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Renton, Washington, USA
    Posts
    12,560
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts

    Re: Network Boot Disk

    You are NOT alone, I am just waiting to see your results, so you are not talking to yourself. <img src=/S/evilgrin.gif border=0 alt=evilgrin width=15 height=15>

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  7. #7
    Uranium Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Los Angeles Area, California, USA
    Posts
    7,453
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Network Boot Disk

    Me, too.

  8. #8
    Plutonium Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    12,107
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Re: Network Boot Disk

    Well folks, I tried really hard but I can't get the guy's system to work. The document on his web site says to copy your driver file, in my case e100b.dos (an Intel NIC) to the floppy, boot and then choose Configure. When I do that the system hangs and never does anything else. I don't know if his routines are flawed or if there's something about MY system it doesn't like. I see where he's using a Quarterdeck memory manager and I always hated their stuff. In any case, I gave it my best shot and can't seem to get it to run long enough for me to enter the rest of the info required into the configuration. Someone else will have to try it. As I said, it doesn't do any damage, it just won't finish the boot and configuration process.

    As an aside, since I already have a working network boot disk, I'd be happy to share what I have by putting it up on my web site if anyone is interested. I would first have to write some sort of readme file to tell you what needs to be changed and in which files. To be honest about it, Fred Langa asked me a couple of years ago to do just that, but I was a tad hesitant since I don't have time to become a network tech support guy for lots of people. But here in the Lounge, I'd be willing to give it a shot if anyone is interested. First however, it would be at least interesting knowledge to see if someone can get this guy's system to work.

  9. #9
    Plutonium Lounger
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    10,550
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 7 Times in 7 Posts

    Re: Network Boot Disk

    And me,

    I have created many NIC specific boot disks - every one a nightmare.

    StuartR

  10. #10
    Plutonium Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    12,107
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Re: Network Boot Disk

    <hr>I have created many NIC specific boot disks - every one a nightmare.<hr>
    Which makes me think I should count myself lucky that I was able to create mine and ride away quietly into the sunset. After I made that last post I realized that the first thing one has to do is create a BOOTABLE diskette and the ones I use were created with Win98. Obviously, for copyright reasons, I couldn't include in my "make it available on my web site" version the required boot files. So, I would be subject to the fluctuations in OS from which downloaders would create THEIR boot disks. Unless of course, a few of you are willing to "test" with me. In that case, I'd still be glad to give it a try.

  11. #11
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    549
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Network Boot Disk

    Hi Al, this topic is out of my league, but I do know several tech's who say the same thing, that the concept is great, the resolution not found yet. Particularly with different O/S. You are not talking to yourself, it is interesting to know this stuff, coz I have occasionally given it a thought myself, then decided quickly its "way too hard" and continue to live with my computers as they are. As long as they keep on working I stick with - it aint broke so I don't fix it. Then again I am totally technically challenged! <img src=/S/igiveup.gif border=0 alt=igiveup width=31 height=23>

  12. #12
    Plutonium Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    12,107
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Re: Network Boot Disk

    And just to echo yours and Stuart's comments, I had forgotten how loosey-goosey the process is! I tried yesterday to do a little "preparation" in case there appears any interest in me posting what I'VE been using. Well, in order to experience what a stranger would see, I made a "bootable diskette" on THIS XP Pro machine, copied the files to it, from my WORKING diskette, made with Win98. Guess what, my OWN system doesn't work on the machine it's supposed to work on, when the bootable diskette was created with XP Pro! Bummer. And I use the diskette made with Win98 to boot this machine to the network and run my Drive Image backups every week!

    Like I said in my earlier post, I guess it's a bit of a hopeless cause. Well, my intentions were good, but.......

  13. #13
    Silver Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Brantford, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,391
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Network Boot Disk

    I NEEDED a network bootable disk today, and remembered this thread. I tried the one mentioned here in this thread (which by the way, has moved to http://www.qualit-uk.com), but it didn't work out.

    Anybody have any luck with this yet??
    Christopher Baldrey

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •