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Been scratching my head over an issue with attempting to install Windows 2012 R2.

Using VMware ESXi 5.5, we've deployed a VM using VM version 10. It gets to the point of booting the WinPE client, entering of bootmgr.exe, followed by Loading files... The process then appears to do some sort of disk discovery before immediately going to a black screen and hanging.

[Image: windows.gif]

Downgrading the VM to VM version 8, this issue does not occur and WIndows 2012 R2 installs as expected. This issue is very reminiscent of http://forum.ipxe.org/showthread.php?tid=7779 (except I'm using VMware) to which I've seen no posted resolution.

Any help on where to start troubleshooting would be greatly appreciated.
Replied to your other message in that other thread.
Could you post the iPXE script that you are using to start wimboot?

since bootmgr.exe is used I'm assuming PCBIOS mode and not EFI
Test with less then 4GB of ram and see if it gives any difference.
Also try adding the gui option on the wimboot line.

Some combinations of windows and hw will not work without the gui option, while it in most cases is easier to debug issues without the gui option.
Thank you for the suggestions! You are correct in that I'm using PCBIOS mode and not EFI. Here is the behavior being experienced:

I tried as suggested with less than 4GB of ram, but was met with the same black screen.

I then added the gui option, and was given a screen with a frown face (which is how I feel) and a message.

Here is ipxe script:
echo ======================================================================
echo freeing all loaded images to ensure wimboot works
echo ======================================================================

set base <%= repo_url.sub(%r{/$}, '') %>
kernel <%= file_url('wimboot', true) %> gui
initrd ${base}/bootmgr                      bootmgr
initrd ${base}/boot/bcd                        BCD
initrd ${base}/boot/fonts/segmono_boot.ttf  segmono_boot.ttf
initrd ${base}/boot/fonts/segoen_slboot.ttf segoen_slboot.ttf
initrd ${base}/boot/fonts/segoe_slboot.ttf  segoe_slboot.ttf
initrd ${base}/boot/fonts/wgl4_boot.ttf     wgl4_boot.ttf
initrd ${base}/boot/boot.sdi                boot.sdi
initrd ${base}/razor-winpe.wim              boot.wim

echo ======================================================================
echo now booting WinPE client

I'm using Puppet Razor and have followed the below steps to build the winpe image:

Thanks for the response. Not sure where to go from here.
Not that it should matter but loading of bootmgr is unecessary (it will only be used if named bootmgr.exe but is normally extracted by wimboot)

You might want to try with the original boot.wim from the original iso instead just to make sure that is working.

Aha .. vmware and multiple emulated cores?, I think that is a known issue that has not yet been resolved, try on real hardware or with only one emulated core instead. (I remember this being reported on IRC and maybe somewhere on the forum as well)

Searching i found this: http://forum.ipxe.org/showthread.php?tid=8115
hah -- I wasn't expecting a reply so quickly. I was just about to post that because of your suggesting on adding the gui option, I came across http://forum.ipxe.org/showthread.php?tid=8115. Low & behold, you posted as well! I did bump it down to 1 CPU and finally, I got to the Windows Setup screen (with the original boot.wim).

I'm going to try and get this going the way it's supposed to work after some dinner. Thank you so much for your quick interaction. I'll post once I get a fully automated install working to confirm this as the solution.


Taking the VM down to 1 CPU does the trick. I didn't try building a custom bcd as we'll be programmatically creating our VM's to pxe boot anyway. We'll just automatically increase the CPU count post-build.

I wonder what it is specifically about bcd that makes it freak out on VMs with more than one CPU... At any rate, thank you for getting me back on track!!

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