Disable F12 confirmation at PXE boot into WinPE

When you are performing a PXE boot, most of the time you need to press F12 to trigger the PXE boot action. Then after connection is initiated with the PXE server, the boot rom image asks for the F12 key to be pressed again. If the key is not pressed, the machine will continue to boot normally into the installed OS (if available). This can be confusing for some Admins because they except the client to boot through to the Boot image, or maybe they want to create a fully automated OSD Deployment.

Configuration:

Configuration Manager 1610 on Windows server 2016

So to disable the secondary F12 key, we need to take a look at our Distributions volume and browse to: RemoteInstall\SMSBoot\x86 and x64

Here we see multiple files that will be used trough the boot time, but there are only two files that we need to change to achieve our goal:

  • pxeboot.com – this is the default file that is loaded by the client through the PXE boot process
  • pxeboot.n12 – this file is the same as pxeboot.com, but is not loaded in the boot process now

To configure all clients to boot without pressing F12, rename the startup boot files in x86 and x64 folder:

  • Change pxeboot.com to pxeboot.bak
  • Change pxeboot.n12 to pxeboot.com

Restart the WDS service:

Restart-Service -Name “WDSServer” -Force

That’s it, now you should be able to PXE boot without pressing F12 twice to confirm booting to the WDS server. I hope this was useful, in case you have any questions, please contact me.

 

Configuration Manager requires a dedicated SQL Server instance

In my lab environment I’m doing quite a lot of ConfigMgr testing. Recently, I was doing some testing on System Center Configuration Manager and Endpoint Protection (current branch – version 1511) and I broke the ConfigMgr primary site server and decided to re install the primary site.

In my lab I am using a dedicated SQL 2014 server to host the database and a dedicated server for the ConfigMgr installation. So I uninstalled the site server VM using the uninstall wizard, I deleted the database file in SQL and started a new installation wizard.
During the installation, the prerequisite checker gave me the following error. The error message stated that the SQL instance chosen already has a site database.

Configuration Manager requires a dedicated SQL Server instance to host its site database. You selected a SQL Server instance that hosts the site database for another Configuration Manager site. Select a different SQL Server instance for this new site to use, or resolve the conflict by uninstalling the other site or moving its database to a different SQL Server instance.

To solve this problem, I logged on the SQL Server and started the registry editor, there I found the following registry key with information about the ConfigMgr site:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\SMS]

After removing the registry key and restarting the SQL server I was able to continue the new ConfigMgr installation.

Kind regards,

Pouyan