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Correcting NIC Speed in ZENworks for Desktops Imaging

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip
By Doug Strick

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Posted: 23 May 2005

Editor's Note: Documentation for updating linux.2, along with the equivalent options using the other imaging boot methods can be found here in the online documentation.

PROBLEM: NIC speed not running at correct speed in PXE boot when switch ports are hard set in ZfD 6.5 Imaging. This is caused by the NIC driver not auto-negotiating the line speed correctly.

SOLUTION: Instead of editing the driver.conf file in linux.2 for every NIC, you can tell the mii-tool to run every time at PXE boot and set the NIC to whatever speed you want.

EXAMPLE: Copy the linux.2 file and transfer it to a linux workstation. Then you can unzip and edit the network.s file to have the mii-tool run at boot.

  1. Get the linux.2 file onto a linux workstation. It's located in the sys/tftp directory on the NetWare server. Make a backup of the file before editing it.
  2. Make sure you're in the directory containing the linux.2 file and run the command: mv linux.2 linux.gz
  3. gzip -d linux.gz
  4. Mount the extracted files by running: mount -o loop linux /mnt/<mount point of your choice>
  5. cd /mnt/<mount point>/bin
  6. vi network.s
  7. Add the following line to the end of the network.s file: mii-tool -F (NIC speed) e.g. 100baseTx-FD. You can type mii-tool --help to get a list of all speed options.
  8. cd /(directory originally containing linux.2 file)
  9. umount /mnt/<mount point of loop>
  10. gzip -9c linux > linux.gz
  11. mv linux.gz linux.2
  12. Copy the linux.2 file back to the sys/tftp directory on the NetWare server.
  13. Now do a PXE boot and choose manual mode so you can get to a bash prompt. Type mii-tool and it will tell you what the NIC speed is set to.

If the NIC speed is running at what you chose then it worked!

If you have any questions you may contact Doug at

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