PXE boot support for toolstar®test and toolstar®shredder

Basically, all toolstar®test and toolstar®shredder products (toolstar®testLX, toolstar®shredderLX, toolstar®testWIN and toolstar®shredderWIN) booting via PXE. Depending on the operating system of the programs (Linux or Windows) different things are taken into account. The characteristics of LX (Linux) and WIN (Windows) are listed below, as well as 3 possible options that have been tested as usable by toolhouse itself.

Support from Toolhouse is only available for the Bootcast PXE server .

toolstar®testLX and toolstar®shredderLX

toolstar®testLX and toolstar®shredderLX use a customized Ubuntu Linux. Linux supports booting via PXE on devices with BIOS or UEFI. The required bootloaders for BIOS and UEFI are already available on the USB stick and are regularly updated by toolhouse. This update happens automatically when you download and install a new version of the software via the customer portal.

You can use these files to set up your PXE server. Unfortunately, every PXE server has different setting options and toolhouse cannot fully support these. That's why the Support is limited to the bootcast PXE server from toolhouse itself.

toolstar®testWIN and toolstar®shredderWIN

toolstar®testWIN and toolstar®shredderWIN normally work within an installed Windows. However, most functions are also available under WindowsPE / WindowsRE. Some tests such as graphics card tests with OpenCL are carried out by WindowsPE / WindowsRE but not supported.

After you have created a bootable WindowsPE / WindowsRE environment (a guide from Microsoft can be found here), you can do this for example in Windows Deployment Services mount and boot from it.

Bootcast PXE-Server

Bootcast PXE Server is software from Toolhouse that supports booting Linux and Windows operating systems. Booting to BIOS and UEFI devices is supported and a configurable PXE boot menu is also available. The Bootcast PXE server is currently under development and is not officially available. In special cases, however, you are welcome to inquire and order a preliminary version. The Bootcast PXE server is expected to be available as a full version in mid-2023.

The Bootcast PXE server is perfect for professional use, has a configurable boot menu, can boot Windows and Linux operating systems and you receive telephone support from toolhouse.

WDS (Windows Deployment Services)

Windows Deployment Services can be found in every Windows Server operating system. If you don't see these, you may need to activate the PXE server beforehand using the Windows feature selection. The feature selection can be found in Server Manager. After activation and a reboot, you will receive a graphical interface for configuration. To boot WindowsPE / WindowsRE images, the graphical interface is completely sufficient.

Booting Linux operating systems requires some customization (you need Set up Syslinux/Pxelinux as a bootloader via the command line). Various English-language articles can be found on the Internet on how to set this up. However, as far as we know, after setting up a Linux boot, the option for Windows images is completely removed. Unfortunately, Syslinux/Pxelinux supports booting via BIOS and UEFI but has no support for SecureBoot.

The Windows PXE server is ideal for professional use and is integrated into every Windows server.

WDS (Windows Deployment Services) with iPXE

As described above, when using Syslinux/Pxelinux the ability to boot Windows images (WIM) has been completely removed. However, with the combination of WDS and iPXE you can achieve both and boot Windows and Linux images. To do this, as with Syslinux/Pxelinux, the bootloader must be installed and the boot menu for iPXE must be configured. After setting up iPXE, you can use WDS to boot Windows and Linux images and don't need to of the functions. Unfortunately, SecureBoot is not supported here. However, you could create a custom build of iPXE and have it certified by Microsoft. Then SecureBoot would also work with exactly this version of iPXE work. However, this takes a very long time and there will be costs for the certificates and the process.

Aomei PXE Boot Tool

The PXE Boot Tool from Aomei is a free one simple program that allows you to boot ISO images without much configuration effort. The free Aomei PXE Boot Tool is used to quickly set up a test environment ideally suited.

However, for professional use the options are limited and there is no configurable boot menu.

Advantages of online licenses for PXE booting

The PXE boot feature of toolstar®test and toolstar®shredder can be activated with Stick– and Online -Implement licenses. However, if you have stick licenses, After booting over the network, the USB stick must be inserted into the booted device to confirm the license. If you use online licenses, then The device booted over the network will automatically license itself over the Internet and no additional hardware is required on the device. This makes it dramatically easier to use the software and offers more freedom when using it in the company.

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