Universal TCP/IP boot disk

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I recently wanted to Ghost a physical computer to a virtual machine.  This is usually best done with a TCP/IP boot disk that you can run in both locations, and by storing the Ghost image on a file server.  Now, I have set this up in the past but I seemed to have misplaced my TCP/IP boot disk - and man are those things a pain to create.

Luckily a bit of looking around revealed this: http://www.netbootdisk.com/

This is a nice, free, tool that will take a plain DOS boot disk and turn it into a generic TCP/IP boot disk.  It has a bunch of NIC drivers, and worked out of the box with booth my physical computer and my virtual machines.  I just booted the floppy, set the username and password and seconds later was able to 'net use x: \\servername\share' from a DOS prompt with no problems.

Very nice indeed.


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  • Have you considered WinPE for this?  I know it is only available to SA customers, but we have built our own WinPE disk with all the NIC and SCSI drivers we need for physical servers and a copy of Ghost32 which runs on WinPE.  You get USB 2.0 support also which means that you can have a very rich platform to use for Ghosting.  Because you create the WinPE image as an ISO, mounting is also a piece of cake in the virtual machine.

  • I also thought DOS was a thing of the past since the advent of winPE (or BartPE, which is pretty much the same thing). You get so much more - real driver support, USB, real NTFS support, you can load the dead machine's registry and change it (regedit -> Load hive -> point to c:\windows\system32\config\software or system).

    BTW, I think Vista DVDs are also WinPE-based. I think if you hit shift-F10 during the initial boot, you get a command prompt.

  • If you absolutely must use DOS the use BARTPE's Boot Disks: http://www.nu2.nu/bootdisk/

  • Yes - as a Microsoftie I can easily get access to Windows PE - but sometimes I really need DOS.  That and I have an older copy of Ghost (I beleive it was the last release to not include the WinPE version).



  • Wednesday, October 04, 2006 5:20 AM by Jonathan

    > BTW, I think Vista DVDs are also WinPE-based.

    > I think if you hit shift-F10 during the

    > initial boot, you get a command prompt.

    I've used shift-F10 during Vista installation to get a command prompt, but didn't know it was related to WinPE.

    Then one time on a lark I tried shift-F10 during a Windows XP installation.  It worked!  I could start taskmgr.exe too, same as during a Vista installation.

    There have still been a few times when I needed real MS-DOS too.  Some notebooks could boot USB floppies but not USB CDs.  They could boot the 4 floppies that Windows 2000 starts with or the 6 floppies that Windows XP starts with but then BSOD after the last floppy.  So I had to boot MS-DOS, run fdisk and format, copy the contents of the CD to the hard drive, and then start the install from there.

    When a notebook can't boot a USB CD it can't boot a Knoppix CD either.  Yeah I think there's some way to start Knoppix from a floppy but I've never studied how.  So my usual way of ghosting Windows installations doesn't work in that situation.

  • Why not use VMware Converter (now version 3.0 in beta)? :)


    You can have running machine all time, no any downtime!

  • I'm still hoping that MS is working on a real converter.  The current scenario to convert a physical to virtual machine under Virtual Server is a nightmare.  We have tried it about 15+ times and not once has it worked.

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Universal TCP/IP boot disk