7.6 Configure Pre-Boot Authentication - Hardware Compatibility

The information in this section assumes that you are on the Configure Pre-Boot Authentication - Hardware Compatibility page of the Create New Disk Encryption Policy wizard. If you are not, see Creating a Policy for instructions about how to get there.

After pre-boot authentication occurs, the BIOS settings must be correctly set for Windows. With older or unusual hardware configurations, the standard ZENworks PBA boot method and Linux kernel configuration used to provide the BIOS settings might not work, resulting in hardware that does not function correctly or is not recognized by Windows.

The Hardware Compatibility page provides support for older or unusual hardware configurations. These configurations might include the following:

  • Hardware that does not function correctly or is no longer recognized under Windows after successful pre-boot authentication.This failure occurs because not all of the BIOS settings can be correctly handled and set for Windows.

  • New hardware that is not yet natively supported.

  • Poorly programmed BIOS implementations.

This hardware compatibility support applies only to software encrypted disks; self-encrypting hard disks are not supported. In addition, some devices might not support the boot methods or Linux kernel configurations used to provide hardware compatibility.

7.6.1 About Hardware Compatibility

Hardware compatibility is enabled through the use of two alternative boot methods and an alternative Linux kernel that supplies ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) support. These alternative boot methods and kernel are defined through the use of a DMI (Direct Media Interface) file. The predefined file includes the following default setting:


This default setting uses the standard boot method (KICKSTART=FAST) and no alternative Linux kernel. It is applied to all hardware configurations unless a configuration is explicitly defined in the file.

The predefined file also includes explicit settings for hardware configurations with known issues. For example:


This setting applies to the Fujitsu Siemens Lifebook C1110 laptop. It applies a different boot method (KICKSTART=BIOS) that involves rebooting the computer a second time so that the BIOS hardware settings can be passed to Windows. It does not use an alternative Linux kernel configuration.

The following example uses both an alternative boot method and Linux kernel configuration:

[LENOVO, 417152U]

This setting applies to the Lenovo ThinkPad T420s laptop. It applies a different boot method (KICKSTART=KEXEC) that is similar to KICSTART=BIOS but does not require a second reboot. It uses an alternative kernel configuration that enables ACPI support.

7.6.2 Discovering Hardware Information

Before you can add a hardware configuration to the DMI file, you must know the hardware configuration. ZENworks provides a utility, DMICONFIG, to discover this information.

  1. Go to the device whose hardware configuration you want to discover.

  2. Open a command shell (run as Administrator) and run c:\windows\nac\sbs\dmiconfig dump.

  3. Write down the configuration lines that were dumped to the screen.

7.6.3 Editing the DMI File

If you are adding a hardware configuration, make sure you have the configuration information (see Discovering Hardware Information).

On the Hardware Compatibility page of the Create New Wizard Policy:

  1. Click Edit.

  2. Add the hardware information.

  3. Add the KICKSTART line with the method you want to use:

    • KICKSTART=FAST: This is the standard method used by the ZENworks PBA.

    • KICKSTART=BIOS: This method is for systems that have unusual hardware configurations that are not supported by the standard FAST method. This method reboots the computer a second time so that the BIOS hardware settings can be passed to Windows.

    • KICKSTART=KEXEC: This method is similar to KICKSTART=BIOS but does not require a second reboot.

  4. If you want to boot the computer using the alternative Linux kernel (with ACPI support), add the following line:


  5. Include the following kernel parameters if needed:



    If both parameters are used, specify them on the same line:

    KERNEL_PARAM=irqpol pci=snb-enable-ahci-to-legacy

    • irqpoll: Alters the way that the kernel handles interrupts. This is useful if the PBA kernel log shows messages stating that an interrupt occurred.

    • pci=snb-enable-ahci-to-legacy: ZENworks AHCI mode kernel option that switches the chipset to ATA mode prior to performing the soft reset and booting to Windows. This parameter fixes many instances where the chipset is in AHCI mode and the soft reset fails to boot Windows.

  6. Click OK to save your changes.