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Network boot from UEFI Windows boot manager menu?
2018-01-05, 17:53
Post: #1
Question Network boot from UEFI Windows boot manager menu?
Hi all.
I's setting up an environment where an unattended machine managed remotely is running Windows, and can (on demand from the remote management) reboot into Clonezilla (stored on a server) to make or restore image of the windows disk, and boot back into Windows.
I have some experience using pxelinux with menu to boot clonezilla on BIOS-enabled machines, and would prefer to have a similar setup with UEFI. My first thought was to just interact with the UEFI boot manager from each OS, but AFAICT, there's no equivalent of efibootmgr for Windows - the options in Windows boot manager's menu are not normally synced with the UEFI boot manager's options, so it has no option to boot from the network.

So for my current attempt, I'm looking for a way to add a "network boot" option to WBM's menu (managed by bcdedit.exe) - the intention is to setup iPXE or something to boot clonezilla with appropriate options - either configured right there in BCD, or provided by a server by chainloading (WBM's boot entry boots a PXE boot manager with options pulled from the managing server).

Can iPXE be used in this scenario? If so, how to add it's entry into BCD?
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2018-03-16, 14:16 (This post was last modified: 2018-03-16 14:16 by myxal.)
Post: #2
RE: Network boot from UEFI Windows boot manager menu?
Replying to myself as I've learned a few things over the last few months:
  • When using EFI, the network boot is available as a "firmware application" in BCD edit (1 for each NIC).
  • To use that application, one can use bcdedit to change the boot order in the fwbootmgr - permanently or for next boot only. So there's no need to add the entry into the WBM menu.
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2018-03-16, 22:25
Post: #3
RE: Network boot from UEFI Windows boot manager menu?
Hi, sorry you have not gotten any response on this.
Windows bootmgr does not support booting any efi applications (.efi binarys) other then the ones provided by Microsoft, at least not that have been found so far. (if anyone finds a way to add 3rd party .efis to the windows bootmenu, please tell us Wink )

Read the FAQ before posting.
Did you include relevant ipxe.org error urls?
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2018-03-17, 09:34
Post: #4
RE: Network boot from UEFI Windows boot manager menu?
(2018-03-16 22:25)NiKiZe Wrote:  Hi, sorry you have not gotten any response on this.
Windows bootmgr does not support booting any efi applications (.efi binarys) other then the ones provided by Microsoft, at least not that have been found so far. (if anyone finds a way to add 3rd party .efis to the windows bootmenu, please tell us Wink )

Correct, but that wasn't the original question Wink (Also, "adding" the entries for linux or whatever you put on the disk's EFI partition is easy, what doesn't work is actually booting them Big Grin )

Firmware application != efi application, at least in the parlance that bcdedit uses.
Code:
bcdedit /enum FIRMWARE
...
Firmware Application (101fffff)
-------------------------------
identifier              {e6194908-0b91-11e8-9b87-915c88ec41e1}
description             EFI VMware Virtual SCSI Hard Drive (0.0)

Firmware Application (101fffff)
-------------------------------
identifier              {e619490a-0b91-11e8-9b87-915c88ec41e1}
description             EFI VMware Virtual SATA CDROM Drive (1.0)

Firmware Application (101fffff)
-------------------------------
identifier              {e619490b-0b91-11e8-9b87-915c88ec41e1}
description             EFI Network

Firmware Application (101fffff)
-------------------------------
identifier              {e619490c-0b91-11e8-9b87-915c88ec41e1}
description             EFI Internal Shell (Unsupported option)

I did the obvious - bcdedit /displayorder {e619490b-0b91-11e8-9b87-915c88ec41e1} /addlast and while bcdedit does show the change in the WBM's data -
Code:
Windows Boot Manager
--------------------
identifier              {bootmgr}
device                  partition=\Device\HarddiskVolume1
path                    \EFI\Microsoft\Boot\bootmgfw.efi
description             Windows Boot Manager
locale                  en-US
inherit                 {globalsettings}
default                 {current}
resumeobject            {e619490d-0b91-11e8-9b87-915c88ec41e1}
displayorder            {current}
                        {e619490b-0b91-11e8-9b87-915c88ec41e1}
toolsdisplayorder       {memdiag}
timeout                 5
displaybootmenu         Yes
...the actual boot menu doesn't display the option. And that's what I was trying to solve.
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