Windows Embedded network boot without W2003 DHCP Server




We are currently trialling WES2009 for use in one of our products but have
come across a small issue; we cannot find away of booting the SDI image
without Windows 2003 DHCP server.

We are going to be using XP Pro as our test pc to talk to an embedded system
(they have to be Windows XP as the customer already has a site license) which
in turn talks to a control card. Ideally we need to be able to use a DHCP
server on WinXP and use RBS to boot the devices from there.

Is this at all possible?




Henry Markov

You absolutely can use a DHCP server different than the one on Windows 2003
although there have been past claims in this NG to the contrary. I don't
have experience with DHCP servers hosted on XP but for a long time I have
used either the DHCP server that is embedded in a Compact PCI gigabit
ethernet switch or our house DHCP server that is hosted by Sun machines.
Pay attention to "Help" in the Remote Boot Server GUI when you set things
up, particularly the instructions that deal with whether or not the DHCP
server and the image server are on the same machine.

If you have any trouble using a different DHCP server then I recommend that
you capture the DHCP discover, request, etc. packets with Wireshark to
determine in what way your DHCP server and/or image server are doing the
wrong thing.


Nathan Quick

Thank you very much.

You have managed then to get your DHCP servers to communicate withthe remote
boot service?

Did you have to do anything in particular to get this working?


Henry Markov

If "remote boot service" means the service running on the image server along
with the tftp service then there is no communication between RBS and DHCP.
The common link is the bootable device. The bootable device issues two
kinds of "discover" broadcasts to potential servers, one for an IP address
and another for the name of bootable files. The servers that answer may be
on the same or different machines. The RBS Server GUI has a checkbox, which
from memory involves port 67, that must be checked or unchecked depending on
whether or not the servers are on the same machine. That is the only detail
that matters with respect to server location.

In addition to the DHCP servers mentioned in my previous post, for testing I
sometimes use the DHCP server embedded on a cheap home cable router. It's a
usable $35 solution for configuring an adequate DHCP server -- just disable
as many features as you can to make it a switch with a DHCP server.

If you have the port 67 stuff right then one thing I would examine is the
capabilities of the DHCP server you installed on XP. If it is free or
shareware of unknown quality maybe it's not cooperating correctly with the
RBS. For example it needs to respond to the IP address discover message but
not the boot image discover message. If you are comfortable using a packet
capture tool such as Wireshark you will have a big advantage in figuring out
what might be going wrong.

Our system, that has about 170 remote bootable devices, has been in
production for more than 4 years and we never used W2003 for DHCP.

Two final ideas:
1. Some bootable devices have trouble with the RBS packaged in XP Embedded
and I don't know if the problem was fixed with Embedded Standard. The fix
for this problem is here:
Note the article refers to issues loading RBS on W2003 but this download
also works on XP and sometimes corrects an issue.
2. Make sure your devices's BIOS is updated to include the latest version of
the PXE extension that is available.



Thank you Henry you have been a great help.

I have found out this morning doing some prodding with Wireshark and another
DHCP server that:

- RBM/RBS doesn't bind to a network card and looks at all of them. This
stops you running a DHCP server on the same machine as the server then can't
bind to the specified network card. Any way round this?
- DHCPSRV doesn't pass on the PXE commands as TFTPD32 does
- I have been able to for the first time boot a machine not using Windows
2003 Server! I used a pc as the DHCP server running TFTPD32 and my laptop as
the RBS and it worked on several machines!

So now I just need to find out about whether RBS/RBM can be bound to a
network adapter or address. Any ideas?



Henry Markov

In order to be certain that my advice is correct I set up a single XP
machine with RBS and DHCP. The instructions are below.

1. Install RBS on the XP Desktop machine. The installation includes a tftp
server -- I do not know if that is the server you refer to as TFTPD32 but a
separate tftp server is not needed.
2. Uncheck the box in the RBM pertaining to use of port 67. You of course
need to set the other RBM parameters according to the needs of your
3. I installed "Open DHCP Server" which is GPL from You
configure this server by modifying a text file and restarting the service.
You can configure the server for multiple network interfaces. Instructions
are embedded in the config file.
4. In the [GLOBAL_OPTIONS] section of the config file you must set DHCP
server option 60 to a value of PXEClient. You do that by adding the line:
This step is in lieu of the operations in the RBM documentation that use
netsh. Netsh in the DHCP context is only aware of the MS DHCP server.

That's it and it works fine for me.






You are a complete gentleman; thank you that worked perfectly.

You have got me out of a sticky situation! I never tried the Open DHCP
Server. I was using TFTPD32 as my DHCP Server and that did allow me to boot
previously using 2 machines but now it works on one.

Thank you!

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