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PXE Packet Driver

Created: 26 Apr 2006 • Updated: 21 May 2010 | 13 comments

Hi --

I'm using GhostCast Server 8.2.0.1117 on Windows XP to deploy XP images to around 50 machines at a time using multicast. Generally this works very well, but I've run into problems using this setup with a particular set of hardware (Dell Dimension 4700 with Intel Pro/100 VE integrated NICs). I make TCP/IP network boot images using the Symantec Ghost Boot Wizard.

When running multicast or even multiple unicast sessions using the included Symantec PXE packet driver, the session hangs after a few seconds and then begins dropping clients and then the transfer speed drops dramatically. After investigating a little, we determined that the PXE packet driver was not autonegotiating 100 FULL correctly, causing network collisions and the subsequent client droppage.

I have tried forcing the the PXE packet driver to use 100 FULL by editing the autoexec.bat file in the boot image to read:
\net\Undipd.com 0x60 AUTO FAST FULL
but the Undipd.com executable does not take command line arguments.

I have tried using Symantec's included Intel PRO 100 as well as the Intel NDIS2 drivers downloaded from Dell for my network card, since I can use these to force 100Full, but multicasting using this driver never seemed to work all that well, even with hardware that worked with the included Symantec PXE Packet driver. I have also tried using the packet driver developed by Crynwr (http://www.crynwr.com/e100b11b.zip), but this hasn't been successful either. Is there something that Symantec's PXE driver does that allows multicasting using Ghost to work that these other drivers aren't doing?

Before I go chasing more network ghosts, I'm wondering if there's anything you can suggest for me to try (or if Symantec has a newer version of their Undipd.com packet driver that supports passing arguments to force negotiation of network speed and duplexing.

Thanks,
Brian

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Chris Anderson 7's picture

Seems like a couple of other people in the forum are having similar problems. Copying verbatim a suggestion by a symantec staff from another posting here. Maybe it can help you.




Are you using GSS 1.0? If you are, the following suggestion could help.

Check whether your network card and your harddisk controller are assigned the same interrupt (IRQ) number. If they are, try moving them around so they are assigned different IRQ numbers. You should be able to check/modify the assigned interrupts using BIOS.

Retry the imaging operation to see if the new configuration works. You might need to try several times to get a working configuration.




Chris

Chris Kerswell's picture

Has anyone else had this issue, or preferable come up with a solution!!

I have 30 odd Dell 210Ls which work fine when UniCasting and also when Multicasting using a boot disk (USB floppy) but show the above symptoms when network booting.

Ideas on a postcard please :o)

NB, there is no option in BIOS to set IRQs

Andrew Stephens's picture

Unfortunately there are no command line options on unipd.com to force the line speed settings, as this is not part of the PXE standard. Sometimes you can configure your switches to force it from the other end.

Using the PRO100 drivers should work, but if you are using Ghost from a virtual or Ghost Boot partiton you may need to change the "Plug'n'Play OS" setting in the BIOS to "no". This is because the BIOS will not initialise the card properly if it assumes that an OS will do it later, and some DOS NIC drivers assume that the BIOS has already done the work.

602019025's picture

Hi,

I have a similar problem. I used to ghost all my machines (Compaq, HP and IBM laptops and desktops) with the PXE Packet driver from Symantec Ghost v. 8.3. But with our new machines (IBM X60 and T60), this is not working anymore. The client just hangs - it never connect with the server (which is Windows XP). I have then tried with the DOS Intel network driver from IBM (e1000.dos). Now the clients connects but hangs when 1-30 MB has been transferred. The funny thing is that if I only connect a single client - the transfer is just fine. But as soon as there are 2 or more clients it hangs.

I have tried Multicast (which I used to use), Unicast and Broadcast. Unicast is a bit better - but clients still hang after about 30 MB.

I have tried disabling Checksum Offload on the server - no effect.

I have tried using emBoot Universal Packet driver - With this driver the clients connect but I can still only transfer to 1 client at a time.

I have tried forcing 100Mbit full duplex and network adapter slot - no effect.

I hope someone can help me out.

Best Regards

Brian

Brian Toy's picture

> Unfortunately there are no command line options on
> unipd.com to force the line speed settings, as this
> is not part of the PXE standard. Sometimes you can
> configure your switches to force it from the other
> end.
>

I notice that if I call undipd.com directly from the command line, it returns a list of possible command line arguments:
usage: undipd {connector} {speed} {duplex}
connector= speed= duplex=
-i -- Force driver to report itself as IEEE 802.3 instead of Ethernet II.
-d -- Delayed initialization. Used for diskless booting
-n -- NetWare conversion. Converts 802.3 packets into 8137 packets
-w -- Windows hack, obsoleted by winpkt
-p -- Promiscuous mode disable
-u -- Uninstall

Will Symantec re-enable these command line options in an updated release of the packet driver? If this isn't planned, I would highly suggest it, given the plethora of problems we are seeing here and given the fact that many of us cannot force 100FULL on the switch side in order to maintain backwards compatibility with older networking equipment.


> Using the PRO100 drivers should work, but if you are
> using Ghost from a virtual or Ghost Boot partiton you
> may need to change the "Plug'n'Play OS" setting in
> the BIOS to "no". This is because the BIOS will not
> initialise the card properly if it assumes that an OS
> will do it later, and some DOS NIC drivers assume
> that the BIOS has already done the work.

Unfortunately, the Dell BIOS (similar to many other OEM BIOSes) is extremely crippled in terms of what options can be modified. For example, there is no option to assign IRQs manually nor does the a Plug and Play OS setting have any beneficial effect. Whether the setting is enabled or disabled, the client can connect to the Ghostcast server and participate in single unicast connections but connecting as one of multiple multicast, broadcast, or unicast sessions results in the failures described above.

We're getting ready for another yearly round of reimaging at Cal, so if anyone has any suggestions about making multicast work with the Dell Dimension 4700 or other hardware with this issue, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks,
Brian Toy

Bruce Grimes's picture

Brian: I am having much the same problem with some Dell Optiplex 210 machines (30 or so, plus another 12 Dell Optiplex 170). We have been working with GSS 1.1 (Ghost Console 8.3) and the Universal Packet Driver seems to work fine.

We can connect with a Virtual Partition and run all the tasks we require (mostly creating an image and then restoring the image in a couple of classrooms we maintain).

However, we cannot get the Intel drivers to function.

If you've upgraded to 8.3 or made 8.2 work, please post something to this thread or respond to my thread on Intel PRO/100 VE NIC cards.

Thanks,
Bruce.

Eddie 2's picture

Hi Brian,

I am experiencing very similar problems when multicasting to more than one machine. The problem occurs on Dells Optiplex 210L which has integrated motherboard nic Intelpro/100VE. I can multicast fine to one machine but as soon as I try two machines one always fails. I did see improvements with the one computer scenario applying the -FNI switch. However, I still cannot get this to work with more than one system. The system also has SATA HD and Beta version of PXE was packaged with system. We use PXE to boot machines into Ghost console. But I dont think PXE is causing the problem.

All said, were you able to resolve the not able to image to more than one computer? I am new to Ghost, havent tried other means of booting into image mode, but if there is a working alternative I would be very interested.

Thanks,
Eddie

jrf71's picture

Hello,

I also am having either a PXE issue or TFTP issue. We currently have a lab that every machine boots to a PXE server, then the TFTP server sends the Ghost executable to the machine. We recently added a DELL Optiplex 740 to our lab, and when booting that machine via PXE this machine gets stuck at "Transferring image file..." in the TFTP portion of the boot. We put in a 3Com PCI card and got the same results, which is telling me that it's not the onboard NIC (Broadcom) causing the issue.

After doing some hunting in some forums I found something that suggested that there may be an IRQ conflict with the hard drive and the NIC, and the IRQ setting needs to be changed for the hard drive or the NIC. Unfortunately, there is no setting in the BIOS to change this, and I was hoping that someone posting to this forum may know how to change an IRQ setting for either of those devices in DOS. I can change them in Windows, but Windows handles the IRQs differently than DOS.

Any help is appreciated.

Bruce Grimes's picture

Jason:

Which versino of Ghost or Ghost Solution Suite are you using? We tried a trial version of GSS 1.1 and it worked better than earlier versions on the Dell Optiplex 210L and 170L machines. I think you can easily get a trial version and test it on a separate server to see if the Universal Packet Driver works better for you.

I have not tried version 2.0 yet (which supports Vista), but we might be upgrading soon.

Good luck.

jrf71's picture

I am using GSS 1.1. I don't believe the issue is the Universal Packet Driver driver since it is loading and connects initially to our TFTP to get the PXE menu. After the menu selection is made the Dell Optiplex 740 is supposed to connect to the TFTP and load the DOS Ghost executable and this is where it fails in connecting to the TFTP. This does work on all the other hardware in our lab other than the Dell Optiplex 740. This is why we believe that there may be an IRQ conflict with the hard drive and NIC in DOS.

Stranger2007's picture
Hi jason, You ever find a way around this. I haved tried different network cards, but it does'nt make a differance
Has anyone got around to px booting a Dell 740 (amd) ? I know it connects to the TFTP as the PX Server picks up its MAC address and on the client it should the DHCP ip and the one offerd to the Client.
joel.gibby's picture
We are experiencing simliar issues with the Optiplex 740 (AMD). Gets to "Transferring image file" then stalls. Our 620s (Intel) work beautifully.
 
Anyone?
sal0's picture
Joel,
Just update the bios on the Optiplex 740 and you should be good!!   Hope it works, it did for me! :) 
 
Thanks,
 
Salim Assaf