Win2k Q&A: Why Doesn't My Network Boot Disk Work?

Win2k Q&A: Why Doesn't My Network Boot Disk Work?

November 6, 2000

Thomas Shinder

Q: We are planning a roll-out of Windows 2000 Professional in our organization. To prepare for the roll-out, we preconfigured 250 Disks with Primary Active partitions formatted as NTFS. We did this via our in-house disk duplication facilities which was able to accomplish the duplication is just a few hours. After the disks were duplicated, they were placed in the target computers. We wanted to perform an over the network unattended installation using a network boot disk we created. When creating the disk, we used the Windows 98 boot disk generator program, and then placed our custom code onto the disks. The disks worked fine during the network boot-up and were able to connect to the installation share point without problems. However, during the initial file copy phase we continue to get an error saying that we don't have a partition large enough to install Windows 2000.This does not make sense since we know that there is a Primary Active Partition formatted as NTFS. Why do you think the problem is?

A: Your problem is a tricky one. There are two problems in your setup. First, the hard disks are being created with, I assume, an NTFS 5 partition. Second, you created your boot disks with the Windows 98 boot disk creator. What is happening is that your boot disk works to connect you to the network installation share point, but when the initial copy phase takes place, there is no where to put the temporary files, because the Windows 98 boot disk does not have a file system driver for NTFS 5.0. You would have been better off using FAT16, or better, FAT32 on your preformatted drives. In this way, the Windows 98 boot disk would have the proper file system driver to read and write to the partition, and Windows 2000 supports both of these file systems.

You might also want to include in your installation script a line to convert the file system to NTFS after installation is complete. After the file system is converted to NTFS, use the basic workstation security template and apply any incremental templates. This will allow you to take advantage of NTFS security and help you lock down your systems. When you convert your disks from FATxx to NTFS, security is not automatically places on systems files and folders. You need to apply the security templates in order to accomplish this feat.

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