DS7.x: After installing Automation Folders, the system fails to boot -- Known limitations relative to OEM partitions.

Article:TECH122351  |  Created: 2010-03-17  |  Updated: 2014-10-30  |  Article URL http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH122351
Article Type
Technical Solution


On some systems, if you install the Automation folders, the system will no longer boot.  You might receive errors something like this:

A disk read error occurred
Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart



All versions of Deployment Solution, but specifically, this concerns DS 7.0, 7.1, 7.x.


Most of the causes of this involve OEM partitions and, essentially, customized boot loaders / custom MBR's from the manufacturers.  When we install either an automation partition (DS 6.x) or automation folders (DS 7.x), we have to be sure the boot loader or MBR is compatible with the automation environment.  To do this, we replace the boot loader with one from Microsoft.  For instance, as of DS 7.0, if you have an older boot-loader (i.e. XP), we update it to Vista, since the WinPE 2.1 we place in the automation folders is Vista "light".

What we've found is that some OEM's create custom boot loaders to manage their OEM partitions, and that when we replace this, the system becomes essentially un-usable - meaning that their boot configuration isn't compatible with a generic one from MS.


There are a few possible courses of action:

  1. Remove the OEM partition.  When you do this, usually the OEM includes code to replace their boot-loader with one from MS, and then we're able to realign the MBR without issue.  Remember that the OEM partition is largely superfluous if you're using Deployment Solution.  OEM partitions are created to be able to do a quick restore if the data on your main partition becomes damaged.  DS does the same thing, only you can customize the images in DS and you can't customize the OEM partition.
  2. Refrain from installing Automation Folders and/or partitions.  As of DS 7.1, we now have PXE available which can be used for the same purpose.  There are also CD's and other tools.  Many people prior to DS 7.x simply used PXE for all automation needs.  As of DS 7.1, we actually recommend the use of automation folders, but if you must have the OEM partiton, this is a viable work-around.
  3. If the partition is already installed, you may need to run FDisk /MBR to restore the bootable state of the system.  You can then uninstall the automation folder and it might restore the original configuration of the MBR.  If not, you may need to do something with the OEM partition to restore it (translation: contact the manufacturer).

Legacy ID


Article URL http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH122351

Terms of use for this information are found in Legal Notices