[ipxe-devel] Potential workaround for Wimboot/iSCSI installs resulting in "Windows Cannot be installed to this disk" issue

Steve Cross hairlesshobo at stevecross.org
Tue May 20 17:32:49 BST 2014


I know that I have run across this before with certain systems, and I see
online where other people have as well. I am letting everyone know of a
simple workaround that I have found works part of the time, and since it's
so easy it's worth trying for others who are having the same problem. From
the information I have gathered, the error "Windows cannot be installed to
this disk" is shown in Windows 7/08 whenever you try to install to an iSCSI
disk, yet it does not appear as a bootable disk to Windows. I have also
gathered that this can occur as a result of the BIOS not correctly flagging
that the NIC is a valid boot device. (keep in mind, that is all what I have
gathered, in no way is it guaranteed to be accurate information). Long
story short, here is what I have found works:

Flash the iPXE ROM to a USB thumb drive and boot to it as opposed to
booting from the NIC. Once you do this, proceed with your normal steps for
mounting the iSCSI disk and starting the installation. If all goes well,
this time when you attempt to install to the iSCSI disk, it should allow
it. I just followed this process myself about 10 minutes ago and it worked
perfectly. Once the initial installation is complete and it reboot the
first time, feel free to lose the USB drive and go back to your normal
method for iPXE booting because it no longer checks if the drive is
bootable and will continue installation without issue.

The only thing I can figure is that since the ROM was loaded from a USB
drive, the BIOS marks it as bootable whereas the BIOS didn't do this
correctly for the NIC. This appears to only happen on buggy BIOS
implementations and for me, it happens with one of the roughly 10 machines
I run here at the house using iPXE. Again, this is only my guess but either
way, I hope this process helps save someone else some headache.

Good Luck!

*Steve Cross*
hairlesshobo at stevecross.org
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