Friday, April 13, 2007

XPe boot-wish-list

To continue my post about MBR problems.

I believe XPe documentation doesn't describe this topic in the details it should have to. In some places in the documentation they assume you've got XP Pro running on the device. Which means you've already properly partitioned and formatted the local storage to boot from using XP Pro Setup.
Below is my personal wish-list about what should be included in the next Service Pack for XPe if Microsoft will release one:
- Create one tool (better Win32 app that we can launch from WinPE, XP Pro or any other flavor of XP and nowadays Vista) that will properly partition local storage on target device. After all, XP Pro Setup does that *much* better and more reliable then any tools from XPE toolkit.

- Provide more detail troubleshooting section in the documentation that will cover as many failed case as possible - from broken MBR to boot sector, from changing timeout of boot.ini to debug parameters for KD.

- There should be documentation section (part of XPe docs!!) that explain how BIOS loads the MBR, info about MBR structure, boot sector, boot sequence of XP, loader (how it gets loaded by bootsector) and etc. Ideally they should include info about all the fields of MS version of MBR and boot sectors. After all, most of this info is out there in MS KB articles (but hard to search) and on the Web.

- Provide a set of tools (my best wish is to have one complex command line tool with a bunch of switches like myu favorites MbrFix and NirCmd) that will do fixing for all the parts that may get broken - from MBR to bootsectors (all types!) and partition setup (I secretly don't get why we should be using 3rd party tools like MbrFix, for instance?).

I will probably update this list once in a while when my memory flashes out with more ideas I've been having.

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Anonymous said...

So, what's the 2009 answer?

How does one format a CF to FAT32 using XP Pro such that I can then copy an XPe image to it?

(assuming its already marked non-removable)

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