Huge Advice When Upgrading Windows Server 2003 R2 to SP2

27. June 2007 20:33 by Csaborio in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)
I just found out (the hard way) about something (that I could not find documented anywhere) that should be done when you are upgrading a WIndows 2003 R2 SP1 box to SP2 if you are planning on using WDS.

If you upgrade Windows Server without belonging to a domain, WDS will NOT work when you try and configure it. You will get a very useful error instead:

WDS Error Code: 0xe0000102

which can be translated to: "You should have been on a domain prior to installing SP2!"

AFAIK, there is no turning back. I tested this theory using virtual machines and it holds - no domain, no WDS, no cigar.

How to get a machine to use a specific pxeboot file with WDS?

1. May 2007 15:36 by Csaborio in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)
We are racing against time to get an application ready that needs to deploy images with WDS and Active Directory.  This is the latest problem I have encountered:

Ok, so based on this article ( , when using WDS and having the machine boot, you can bypass the F12 keypress by replacing pxeboot.ini by pxeboot.n12.  This works like a charm, all machines that boot into the PXE server bypass the F12 key.   However, I would like to specify which machines should boot fron and pxeboot.n12.   I generated an Excel sheet that has the info required to prestage the client on the AD.  This is what I have entered on the 4th row:

SERVER01   GUID    Location....  \\wds_server_name\reminst\Boot\x86\pxeboot.n12

This pre-stages the machine on AD and based on what I have read, will point the machine (identified by its GUID to boot from the pxeboot.n12 file).

I have used the script called "PrestagRISCInt.vbs" (found here: and issued the following command:

cscript /InputFile:C:\Foo.xls /Server:hpc-dc

After a short wait, I get the following message: "Success creating new computer accounts in Active Directory based on UUIDs!"

When I boot tha machine, it still requests F12 to be pressed, which means that it is STILL using to boot.  

I have followed all the instructions carefully, any idea on what the problem might be? 

Go Away, F12! (or how to disable F12 at bootime to boot into WinPE)

30. April 2007 05:52 by Csaborio in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

While looking for a way to fully automate the installation of wim image file to a server, we immediately stumbled upon a small problem.   When doing a PXE boot, the boot rom imaged asked for the F12 key to be pressed.  If the key was not pressed, the machine booted normally into Windows - so much for the automation idea, huh?

Fear not, as Stephen sent me a link that explains the following from a RIS installation:

"...To enable a fully automated RIS-based installation, it is necessary to substitute the Startrom.n12 boot file for the default boot file..."

Further reading revealed this vital piece of information:

To configure all clients serviced by a RIS server with an automated installation, rename the startup boot files as follows:
• Change to Startrom.bak
• Change Startrom.n12 to

These files are located in the following directory location on your RIS server:


There are certain differences between the RIS and WDS installations, but nothing big.   First off, the location of the files for boot time (given that it is a 32-bit box is the following):


There you will not find and Startrom.n12, but rather and pxeboot.n12.

If you rename pxeboot.n12 to, your machine will PXE boot and will NOT ask for F12 key press.   Ok, now that the problem is solved, we can go back and try to find solutions for the remaining 500.