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Crude GPXE howto for Neoware CA5 thin client

Some versions of the CA5 seem to have the ability to boot using "LAN" in the BIOS, but in fact lack the PXE code required for this.

Almost all CA5 machines will boot from USB or the internal disk on chip module.

The solution for the lack of inbuilt PXE to use the fantastic gpxe project. This code allows you to generate PXE loaders for various ethernet cards, on the ca5 you can either put the loader on a USB stick - or for the brave directly onto the internal disk on chip module.

gpxe rom-o-matic can generate boot images for all kinds of platforms. The CA5 hardware uses an RTL8139 ethernet IC on an internal PCI bus. This is pretty standard and simple, so just download the .usb image. For very lazy people download my one

Next step is to get the file as an "image" onto a USB stick. Simplest way is to a use a linux PC. Boot the PC, login, su to root. Stick in your USB stick and type "tail /var/log/messages" - see what device name the kernel has given it. Next a simple test, "fdisk -l device_name - check that it does NOT look like your hard disk !!!. Sure its not your local disk, ok then time to write the image "dd if=ca5gpxe.usb of=device_name". Count to 10 and remove the USB stick. Example :

[root jon]# tail /var/log/messages
Mar 10 17:01:58 jonspc kernel: scsi12 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
Mar 10 17:02:03 jonspc kernel: scsi 12:0:0:0: Direct-Access     OTi6828  Flash Disk       1.89 PQ: 0 ANSI: 2
Mar 10 17:02:03 jonspc kernel: sd 12:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg6 type 0
Mar 10 17:02:03 jonspc kernel: sd 12:0:0:0: [sdf] 64000 512-byte logical blocks: (32.7 MB/31.2 MiB)
Mar 10 17:02:03 jonspc kernel: sd 12:0:0:0: [sdf] Write Protect is off
Mar 10 17:02:03 jonspc kernel: sd 12:0:0:0: [sdf] Assuming drive cache: write through
Mar 10 17:02:03 jonspc kernel: sd 12:0:0:0: [sdf] Assuming drive cache: write through
Mar 10 17:02:03 jonspc kernel: sdf: sdf1
Mar 10 17:02:03 jonspc kernel: sd 12:0:0:0: [sdf] Assuming drive cache: write through
Mar 10 17:02:03 jonspc kernel: sd 12:0:0:0: [sdf] Attached SCSI removable disk
[root jon]# fdisk -l /dev/sdf

Disk /dev/sdf: 32 MB, 32768000 bytes
2 heads, 32 sectors/track, 1000 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 64 * 512 = 32768 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdf1   *           1        1000       31983+   4  FAT16 <32M
Partition 1 has different physical/logical endings:
     phys=(998, 1, 32) logical=(999, 1, 31)
[root jon]# dd if=ca5gpxe.usb of=/dev/sdf
160+0 records in
160+0 records out
81920 bytes (82 kB) copied, 0.0810434 s, 1.0 MB/s

Note: that was "sdf" not "sdf1", the image overwrites the partition table and MBR of the disk.

Next step put the USB stick onto the CA5, turn it on - keep pressing DELete until you get to the BIOS. If its password protected then the password is probably DOGBITES, remember to reset the password to blank once you're in. Now in the "Advanced" features set the first boot device to USB, Second boot device off.



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