7 Replies Latest reply on Oct 26, 2016 10:14 AM by phoffmann

    Reboot from WinPE back to WinPE?


      Hey folks. I have a question for all you smart folks. We're trying to automate our BIOS updating to run inside of WinPE, including setting all of our BIOS settings using the Dell Command utility. While I've figured a way to update the BIOS, our preferred way to automate BIOS settings would involve rebooting from WinPE into WinPE. However, when choosing this option, I get the following error message:




      The idea is to copy the BIOS installer, run the silent configuration, set the BIOS options (SATA to AHCI, Fastboot to Thorough, etc), reboot back to WinPE, in the process of rebooting the BIOS is updated, WinPE boots back up (with the proper BIOS options set), and continues where it left off.


      I would like to accomplish this without having to provision the hard drive with our boot wim and dealing with scripting bcdedit and such.


      Any advice is greatly appreciated!

        • 1. Re: Reboot from WinPE back to WinPE?
          phoffmann SupportEmployee

          ... what about turning this into 2 Provisioning packages, and then applying them as a bundle?


          Split the problem up as it were?

          • 2. Re: Reboot from WinPE back to WinPE?

            I'm not entirely sure what you mean by that... could you explain the process? I know about including templates into one another, but that would still (by the logic I'm understanding) require placing a reboot to PE in the pre-OS installation portion.

            • 3. Re: Reboot from WinPE back to WinPE?
              phoffmann SupportEmployee

              Oh - NOW I understand.


              OK - so "Virtual boot" won't work for you - because that works on the principle of dumping a mini image on to the HDD and booting off of that (hence "virtual boot" since you're not really PXE booting). It's meant as a one-off type affair - and you don't really have "the right" OS environment to do a VBOOT in WinPE (the virtual image being in the ram-disk effectively).


              What you COULD do is just put in a "regular" reboot ... the device should still automatically booting into PXE (since it's got a job running), and pick up from where it left off. That ought to just work regularly.


              The VBOOT (essentially) switches the boot record over to boot to "itself" as a one-off, and then automatically restores boot order during its load somewhere, so as to make sure you go back to your OS if needed. You won't be VBOOT'ing 2x in a row but the 2nd boot being a PXE boot is perfectly fine, no? Should still get you into WinPE - and automatically so - as the Core will know "aha - this guy has out-standing pre-OS steps ... so when I see his PXE request, I need to tell the XPE rep to boot him into PXE).


              Does that make some sense?



              You *MIGHT* be able to chain 2 VBOOT's one after the other, but I'm pretty convinced that the vboot partition is gone pretty darn fast after it's loaded into memory. IT depends on how much hackery you're happy to do with low level partitions & such. I suppose it's "technically possible" to crowbar things in, but not sure it's a great idea.

              • 4. Re: Reboot from WinPE back to WinPE?

                Ah, I see what you're saying. Unfortunately, I don't believe the simple reboot is going to work for us, as we do not use LANDesk's PXE Representative to PXE boot our WIMs, so it wont intercept the boot... we use Windows Deployment Services for PXE, since it doesn't have the "Press F8 to..." prompt. We sometimes image 20-40 machines at a time. 3 seconds per interaction per machine stacks up in man-hours.


                I think, if I am going to be able to implement an "automatically set the BIOS options and reboot back to WinPE", I am going to have to do the following order:


                1. Apply BIOS update
                2. Apply BIOS config
                3. diskpart script to format the drive
                4. imagex to deploy the boot wim to the drive
                5. batch script to bcdedit the boot information for the drive


                What I'll likely do is put this in a separate template, and include it to my standard templates.

                • 5. Re: Reboot from WinPE back to WinPE?
                  phoffmann SupportEmployee

                  Heh - you're not familiar with our PXE pre-targeting stuff then .


                  The boot menu is optional - not a requirement.


                  Check out -- [Tech Brief On-Demand Webinar 2016] Provisioning with LANDESK Management Suite -- I go through the PXE pre-targeting process there.

                  • PXE process is explained (in a simplified form) around minute 17 of the video.
                  • PXE pre-targeting is shown (and explained at heart) at minute 10 to 11:30 (-ish) of the video.


                  In essence it amounts to this:

                  - You schedule a provisioning task against a machine


                  ... if the machine is on, it'll run it.

                  ... if the machine is OFF, it'll fail the task, but will AUTOMATICALLY be booted to PXE boot when it comes up (assuming PXE boot is the 1st boot device).


                  What happens is this:

                  • LANDesk PXE rep sees a PXE DHCP request on the network
                  • PXE-rep queries the Core - "hey - I found this MAC address - what should I do?"
                  • Core checks its tasks - if a device needs to boot into PE, it'll tell the PXE rep ...
                  • ... and so the task starts - with no need for interaction.




                  This has been in the product for ... uhh ... 15 odd years.

                  • 6. Re: Reboot from WinPE back to WinPE?

                    There's a LOT of stuff I'm not familiar with we've only been an OSP shop for about 10 months; prior to that, we were MDT. Now, we've been using LANDesk since I started working with this company, almost 5 years ago, but even our seasoned LD admin didn't mess with OSP until the last year. I've not been to Bootcamp (at least not for LANDesk... I am familiar with Fort Jackson though), so everything I've learned was learned from the forums and documentation, with the exception of when an LD engineer came out to help us get started on our templates.


                    I will definitely check out the video when I have a spare 45 minutes.




                    Also, as a side note, our VLAN is almost completely segregated. The only thing that can reach into our VLAN is the LD Core; we can reach out all we need, but we're very limited on incoming traffic.

                    • 7. Re: Reboot from WinPE back to WinPE?
                      phoffmann SupportEmployee

                      Cool - I've "designed' that video & training material stuff that's attached as a "firehose" training to be taken in several doses (tried to cram *A LOT* in there).


                      So don't despair if you want / need to watch a little segment of it & go play with that segment to make sense of it. That's EXACTLY how I hope it ends up being for most, as I figured it'd be better to shove in a lot of stuff in there, and have people work through it at their own pace.


                      I hope the possibilities of things will become a bit clearer once you've seen the video (and - as much as I tried to cram in - there's a LOT that I couldn't) that it'll give you good ideas of what sorts of stunts you can pull off .