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Booting Toshiba Tecra S1 in ZENworks Imaging Engine

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Jason Holdright

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Posted: 15 Apr 2004

I was having issues trying to boot the new Toshiba Tecra S1 into the ZENworks imaging engine. If you use floppies as you may or may not know it craps out with a kernel panic error right after it asks for the second disk. This is due to the USB floppy, as far as I have learned.

OK, so on to the CD boot which is the recommended workaround for such a problem. When trying to boot from CD, be it modified or newest bootcd.iso from latest patch, it craps out with the following error "ISOLINIX 1.62 2001-04-24 isolinux: Loading spec packet failed, trying to wing it". It then says "found something at " It proceeds to go through what it thinks are devices till finally it states "isolinux: Failed to access CD-Rom device; boot failed "

The first line of the error message refers to spec packet; the "spec" packet is information from the CD-ROM that tells the system what make it is, what speed, etc. The fact that the loader can't grok that indicates that the BIOS does something weird with it. Solutions for this issue are to boot from floppy, Vicious circle, or use PXE which we do not use in our environment.

SOLUTION: After much research to discover the workings of the ZENworks Imaging boot process and the use of ISOLINUX as the boot loader, I followed logical trouble shooting. I used the Redhat 9.0 ISO image to make bootable CDs. The Redhat 9 install CD also uses isolinux as a bootloader. With this CD I am able to boot up the Toshiba Tecra S1, identify the CD-ROM drive and proceed with install. Using this info I downloaded the latest version of SYSLINUX 2.08 made by Peter Anvin (can be obtained here) and used the version of ISOLINUX contained in this version. I replaced the ISOLINUX.BIN (version 1.62) file inside the bootcd.iso supplied by Novell dated 2001-04-24 with the newest ISOLINUX.BIN dated 2003-12-12 (version 2.08). With the newest isolinux in place I repackaged the bootcd.iso, booted the laptop in question, all devices were identified and we were back in the imaging business.

Not sure if this also solves any other boot issues. Have Fun!

If you have any questions you may contact Jason at

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