PXE Booting your M200 to DOS using a Windows Server

Update:

See below for restoring your M200 from the image on the Toshiba restore DVD without having a bootable DVD Drive.

Background:

I am a student attending college at Oklahoma State University and I bought a Toshiba M200 at the beginning of the summer.  I plan on using this tablet to take notes next semester but I need a reliable way of backing up my files and restoring them quickly if I ever manage to corrupt the system.  In order to use my backup software, I must first get the system booted into DOS.  This can be done using a bootable Floppy/CD/SD Card or by booting over the network.  In order to reduce the hassle of keeping up removable media, (and because I didn't purchase a Floppy/CD/SC Card with my M200)  I have set my desktop up to act as a complete restore solution for the tablet.  The restore process begins by connecting my tablet and desktop together through a hub.  I can then PXE boot my tablet and load a DOS boot disk image with network support.  My backup files are also stored on my desktop so restoring over the network is very easy at that point.  In the remainder of this article, I will discuss the method that I used to setup my desktop to PXE boot my tablet.  I don't guarantee that this is the best solution for network booting but it worked for me and I thought it might be helpful to others. 

What you will need:

 

    A Second Computer running Windows to act as the PXE server

    A Wired Network connecting your M200 to the PXE server

    Syslinux-2.10.zip from kernel.org  (Don't worry, we won't be booting a Linux kernel)

    DHCP and TFTP Server software for windows  (TFTPD32 Works well for this)

            - Download tftpd32.273.zip from TFTPD Homepage

    A DOS boot disk image (or a dos bootdisk that you wish to create an image from)

            - A DOS boot disk with network support can be downloaded from NU2
                       Download 'BFD full package v1.0.7.zip' from NU2
            - WinImage software for creating the boot disk image
                        Download winima61.exe from WinImage

Instructions: 

  1. Begin by downloading the software above into a temporary folder on the computer that will act as the PXE Server.  

  2. Create a folder on the server to use for hosting the necessary files.  I created a folder on the C drive called tftpboot

  3. Open Syslinux-2.10.zip with your favorite zip utility.  We will need two files from the archive.  Extract pxelinux.0 from the root directory of the zip file into your pxe folder ('c:\tftpboot')  Next, browse to the zip file's subfolder memdisk and extract the file called 'memdisk' into your pxe folder.

  4. Open tftpd32.273.zip and extract tftpd32.exe into your pxe folder.

  5. The last file that you will need for your PXE server is a boot disk image.  If you have a bootable floppy disk that you want to use for booting your M200, you can skip this step.  Otherwise, find a blank floppy disk and insert it into your PXE server.  Unzip the contents of 'BFD full package v1.0.7.zip' into a temporary directory.  Open a command prompt and browse to that temporary folder.  Run the command 'bfd msnet' in order to create the bootable floppy. 

  6. Run winima61.exe, install WinImage, and start the program.  Click the 'Disk' menu and make sure that the drive containing your newly created NU2 bootdisk is selected.  Next, from the disk menu select 'Read Disk'.  This will take a minute or two.  If you need additional files on the bootdisk you can add them using this program now.  If you are happy with the default bootdisk, select File --> Save.  Set the file type to 'Compressed Image file (*.imz)' and save the image to your pxe folder.

  7. Make a subdirectory in your pxe folder called 'pxelinux.cfg' (despite the '.cfg' this is a folder, not a file)

  8. In your pxelinux.cfg folder create a new text document and open it using notepad.  Insert the following lines:

            default boot
            prompt 0
            say booting...
            label boot
            kernel memdisk
            append initrd=nameofimage.imz
     

  9. Replace 'nameofimage' with the name of the bootdisk image file that you created. 

  10. Save the text document and rename it 'default'.  Do NOT use an extension like .txt.  Windows hides the txt extension by default so if you may need to start Windows Explorer, click on Tools --> Folder options, select the view tab, and uncheck "Hide extensions for known file types."  Make sure the file is named 'default' and not 'default.txt'.

  11. Browse to your pxe server folder and start tftpd32.exe.  The current directory should come up as your pxe server folder, but if it does not, change it to that folder.  Click on the settings button.  The base directory should be set to '.'  Make sure all of the boxes in the Global Settings are checked except for SNTP server.  Leave all of the other settings at their defaults and click ok.

  12. Click on the DHCP tab.  PXE booting requires a special DHCP server that supplies the booting computer with the information it needs to get started and find the necessary files (on your pxe server).  If you have a router or some other device on your network that is already acting as a DHCP server, you might consider disabling DHCP on that device.  On the other hand, if you know the range of IP addresses that your current DHCP server is assigning, you can probably run both at the same time without too much problem.  Just make sure that the two DHCP servers are not set to assign addresses in the same range.  Since my router assigns IP addresses between 192.168.1.100 and 192.168.1.150, I set the 'IP Pool Starting address to 192.168.1.10'.  The 'Size of pool' option specifies how many IP addresses the DHCP server has available to assign.  I set mine to 10.  Set the 'Boot file' to 'pxelinux.0'.  The next four fields in this tab depend on your network.  If you know the DNS/WINS Server IP address and the router address, you can fill them in.  Otherwise leave them blank*.  Set the Mask to 255.255.255.0 unless you know it to be otherwise.  Finally, type one word in for the domain name.  (It doen't really matter what.)  Click the save button along the side of the tab.  As far as I can tell, this program keeps its DHCP and TFTP servers running as long as it is open.  See Figure 1 for an example of my setup.

  13. The server setup is DONE!  Make sure the Tftpd32 is running on your PXE server and your M200 is connected to it on a wired network.  Restart your M200 and press F2 right as it comes on.  Select the second icon from the right for network booting. 

  14. Share a folder in Windows with all of the files you need for restoring your Tablet.  At the command prompt on your tablet type:  "NET USE x:  \\pxeservername\sharename"  Switch to the x: drive and you are set to restore your tablet. 
     

Figure 1

My Final Setup

 

*Note:  Other computers on your network may depend on your existing DHCP server for DNS and router information.  If you don't fill that information into this DHCP server and other computers on your network happen to be assigned an IP address by the DHCP program on your PXE Server, those computers will probably not be able to access the internet.  For this reason, you should only keep the Tftpd32 program running long enough to get your M200 booted.  This program isn't necessary for accessing shared folders on your PXE server after you have booted your M200. 

 

Use the Toshiba Restore DVD to restore your tablet over the network WITHOUT a bootable USB DVD drive.

 

 

1. Follow the instructions above to setup a PXE Server

2. On the PXE server share a folder.

3. Copy the contents of the \base directory from your Toshiba Restore DVD to the shared folder.

4a. You will need to create a batch file to begin the restore process.  If you trust me you can download my batch file here:  install.bat.  Place the file in your shared folder with the other files from the \base directory of the Toshiba DVD.  This file contains the text described in 4b. 

 

4b. If you downloaded my file, skip to step five.  To create your own batch file, right click in the shared folder and create a new text document. Paste the following lines into that document. Note that everything after TGHOST goes on one line

@ECHO OFF
XMSDSK 8192 P: /Y >nul
CALL PREDATA.BAT
SET TGHOSTPS=%FILENAME%
TGHOST -clone,mode=pload,src=PREINST.GHO:1,dst=1:1 -afile=P:\GHOSTERR.TXT -fni -auto

Save that text file and rename it install.bat (Be careful of hidden extensions. install.bat.txt won’t work.)

5. PXE Boot your tablet and follow the instructions in the PXE tutorial to map the shared network folder discussed in step 2.
(NET USE x: \\pxeservername\sharedfoldername)

6. Switch to the mapped drive and run install.bat.


From what I can tell, the dst=1:1 means device #1, partition #1. On my tablet, I have two partitions and running the commands stated above, the "C" partition was restored to factory default and the "D" partition was left untouched. This is perfect for me as I keep all of my documents on the D drive.

As a final note, be sure to back-up anything important before you try any of this. Anything on the C drive will be wiped out once you start the restore process.  (You will be prompted to continue once when you run install.bat but if you click yes then anything that was on the dst=1:1 (usually C) drive is gone.)  This process worked for me but as always, proceed at your own risk.