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Endpoint Management Community Blog

Tweaking VMWare to Work with WinPE 2.x and Microsoft Vista

Created: 27 Nov 2007 • Updated: 29 Nov 2007 • 10 comments
Nelo's picture
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As we prepare for a new deployment of Deployment Solution 6.9, IT personnel may encounter difficulties using WinPE 2.x in conjunction with VMWare network drivers. In addition, as more and more users try to virtualize their environments, Microsoft Vista users might find themselves without networking in VMWare Virtual Machines.

There is little known work-around for this issue: make the virtual machine load up the Intel e1000 network driver. Forcing this change will make virtual machines think they have an e1000 network driver and load up the network. This also prepares Virtual Machines to run automation jobs in a pre-boot environment using this driver instead of the VMWare drivers.

The following works for VMWare WorkStation 5.5 and 6.0 and VMWare Server 1.0+. By make the following alterations, WinPE 2.x will work seamlessly with network drivers.

  1. Make sure VMWare is not running. Stop any VMs running and close VMWare.
  2. Browse to the Virtual machine files and open the .vmx file with your favorite text editor.
  3. Add the following to the <Path to VM> .vmx file:
    ethernet0.virtualDev = "e1000"
    
    

    This is right after the ethernet0.present = "TRUE"

  4. Save the changes.
  5. Start your VM.

Virtual Machines with installed OSes such as MS Vista or MS XP might have an issue with the drivers after this change. Change the network drivers and point to c:\windows\system32 for the drivers. Or download the latest e1000(Intel) driver.

Comments 10 CommentsJump to latest comment

riva11's picture

Did you have experience if this issue occur also in the ESX environement ?
Thanks

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Nelo's picture

With ESX 3.5 when you create a Vista virtual the e1000 is used by default. The problem is if you created a XP virtual and the moved to Vista then you could apply the tweak.

--nelo

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bsullivan's picture

[quote=Nelo]With ESX 3.5 when you create a Vista virtual the e1000 is used by default. The problem is if you created a XP virtual and the moved to Vista then you could apply the tweak.

--nelo[/quote]

Anyone get to be able to boot a DS 6.9 boot disk with WinPE 2.1 on VMWare ESX 3.5 guests???

I have tried the e1000 hack and that doesn't work at all. I shouldn't even have to do that. All of my ESX guests are server 2003 OS so I do not want the NIC changed.

I just want to use a DS 6.9 boot disk and push an image to my guest

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Nelo's picture

I believe when you create the NIC setup in ESX 3.5 it asks what driver you want to use. You could use the E1000 by default.

Nelo

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Greeneye's picture

Note that the minimum requirement for WinPE 2.0 and 2.1 is 512 megs of ram. If you use less then that you may experience problems that are very similar to driver issues.

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Greeneye's picture

Also, in VMware 6.0 if you create a VM and specify it as a Vista machine it will automatically add the e1000 identifier to the nic.

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Nelo's picture

The original VMWare Workstation 6.0 does not do what you stated. Later versions of VMWare Workstation 6.0 do :)

--nelo

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SK's picture

Wouldn't this be simpler if VMWare simply provided drivers that are compatible with WinPE 2.1, as I don't really fell like modifying this file for all of my VM's...

Isn't there a tool that will do this?

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads.

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Nelo's picture

VMware workstation 6.0 (not the initial release) addresses this. It uses the intel NIC by default. ESX 3.5 addresses this too. However, the problem is when you have a Windows XP or Windows 2003 Server on a VM and you want to update to Vista or Windows 2008 then you will have to do this tweak. That is my experience and maybe VMWare addresses this differently.

--nelo

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arjain's picture

Hello All,

I am trying to run Win PE on vmware 6.5 having windows Xp sp3 installed.
i have made changes in vmx file.
after making changes when i boot machine in Windows Xp env it get proper ip.
but when the machine is booted in Win PE (ver 2) it does not get ip.
--
the machine is in domain.
VMware Workstation 6.5.2 is used.
after installation 2 vmware adapter appears VMNet1 and VMNet8.
if i try to connect using VMnet1 then the ip range gets change, as the machine is in domain i can not change the range.

Kindly help in providing ip in Win PE env.

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