glenlarson
Contributor
Contributor

WinPE 4.0 + VMWare Workstation - Hangs "Windows is loading files" booting into PE

I've been trying to boot into WinPE 4.0 on workstation 8 but it hangs on anything older than Windows 8. I've tried about 20 different machines on 5 different hosts.  Only my Win8 (UEFI and BIOS) guests will load; all others just hang while "Windows is loading files...."  This works just fine on real hardware, just not inside of vmware.  The issue is reported for ESXi on http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/mdt/thread/4babb5f7-857e-41e7-955a-39ac3cc67b3e, where the solution was to override the BIOS with a different ROM file.  I tried it and it wasn't working in workstation, and was hoping someone could post a new ROM file for workstation in case that works.  My Windows 7 UEFI machine passes this point, although it has a different issue.

Most of my images came from an older version of workstation, but I've upgraded them to work with only Workstation 8 and newer.  I also tried creating new and reimage old image on top of new image, but no prevail.  A co-worker also has only used Workstation 8 and also has the issue.  I'm guessing it's the guest BIOS.

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16 Replies
continuum
Immortal
Immortal

Are you sure you used the rom-file correctly ?
Dont know for sure but I think I used the same one to boot win8 on WS 6.5.4

Please post avmware. log with and one without that rom.file

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - send a message via skype "sanbarrow"
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glenlarson
Contributor
Contributor

The log files are attached.  I placed the bios.440.rom file into the same directory of the vmx file.  I get the same error as before when I vboot, although it boots up like normal.  I added to the vmx file the line below:

bios440.filename = "bios.440.rom"

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continuum
Immortal
Immortal

please check this post
http://communities.vmware.com/message/2142390#2142390

try that rom-file and also the other settings mentioned there

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - send a message via skype "sanbarrow"
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glenlarson
Contributor
Contributor

This latest link references the same ROM file as the first link (http://communities.vmware.com/servlet/JiveServlet/download/2139717-98102/bios.440.rom), which works for ESXi. I also verified that it's using the specified bios440.filename (when I rename the file I get a popup error stating it's not valid; I also verified the vmware.log file).

I've also tried it with and without the bottom 3 lines, but no prevail.

bios440.filename = "bios.440.rom"
mce.enable = TRUE
cpuid.hypervisor.v0 = FALSE
vmGenCounter.enable = FALSE

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glenlarson
Contributor
Contributor

Something I discovered is if I replace the 32 bit wim with the 64 bit wim file (these files are from the resource kit), it boots just fine.  The hardware in vmware settings is Win 7 and not Win 7 64 bit, yet I can vboot just fine to the 64 bit PE 4.0 image and not the 32 bit.  Unfortunately this isn't an acceptable work-around for me since we're trying to do this as real 32 bit only machines do, and just like it works with older versions of WinPE 32 bit.

PS - I now know of at least 4 other people who have this issue in Workstation 8 and 7, and I've tried around 15 different machines with various configurations (XP, Win2k8R2, Win7 32 bit, Win 7 64 bit) trying to get them to boot to 32 bit WinPE 4. These all work with the previous version of WinPE 32 bit.  Since I know 32 bit WinPE 4.0 works on real hardware (and we've verified that), I'm guessing it just exposed a problem or a MS best practice that is getting skipped in vmware.  I am interested if I would have the same problem if I were to upgrade to Workstation 9, but I'm expecting I would.

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continuum
Immortal
Immortal

I have WS 9 and have used ear4lier PE versions a lot - unfortunately I gad no time to look at PE 4 so far.
If you have a link where to get one I can test it in WS 9.

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - send a message via skype "sanbarrow"
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glenlarson
Contributor
Contributor

I just duped this issue on Workstation 9 using a clean native guest snapshot (I installed Windows 7 x64 on the guest to rule out guest upgrade issues). I also tried Hyper-V and found they don't have this issue; but I'm really wanting to stay with VMWare.  Still after some help and/or a more current ROM file that works with workstation.  THANKS!

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continuum
Immortal
Immortal

I just created a PE4 - 32  without any customisation.
That boots fine inside a WS 9 VM - using a Windows 8 template.

I try a PE4 - 64 next

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - send a message via skype "sanbarrow"
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glenlarson
Contributor
Contributor

I find that PE 4.0 32bit does work on Windows 8 template but not on the Windows 7 (32 or 64 bit) and older OS templates. Thank you for trying this!

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continuum
Immortal
Immortal

Trying to boot a PE 4 in a VM not configured as Windows 8 makes no sense at all.
Why do you try that ?

Similar example would be : fix a 2003 VM with booting into Knoppix.
For that one boot you would configure the VM to use Linux as guestOS - otherwise the mouse would work horrible.


In this respect VMs are different than real machines.
If you try to test your PE on how it boots on a physical machine with Windows 7 - testing in a VM only gives you useful results if you set the VM to guestOS windows8.

That behaviour is very different to real hardware.

I thought you had a problem booting PE 4 at all.


Just for fun I tried to boot the pe as guestOS "ms-dos" - on my host that also works - but it is significantly slower.

Here it only fails to boot when I use EFI firmware and dont have a harddisk in the VM.

Does it work for you when the VM use lsi-sas or lsi scsi-controller and fails for every other controller ?

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - send a message via skype "sanbarrow"
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glenlarson
Contributor
Contributor

I'm testing enterprise software that does end to end migration from one OS to another.  For example, you are on Windows 7 migrating to Windows 8.  The IT administrator could schedule a job that will capture profile settings, boot to WinPE to reimage or perform a scripted install, possibly perform driver injection, reboot to the new OS and deploy any additional software.  We are updating WinPE to the most recent version but unfortunately vboot Windows 7 and older OS's aren't working on WinPE 4.0 32 bit in vmware.  It works just fine on real machines and in hyper-v, so the issue isn't with our solution.  This has always worked in WS with previous versions of WinPE until 4.0.

In WS 8, something interesting is my Windows 8 guest (BIOS) works just fine (template of course set to Windows 7 since Windows 8 isn't a version available in the drop down).  If I take the same guest, boot from CD, and reinstall windows 7 (formatting the drive), it'll hang while loading WinPE 4.0 32 bit.  There seams to be some type of hardware simulation based on how the guest hard disk is configured that prohibits WinPE 4.0 32bit from running.

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DexTheTech
Contributor
Contributor

I found a program which you might have intrest in..I purchased it and it works great.It is a automated deployment tool.The link is belowSmiley Happy.k..have a good one.

dexlabsolutions.site40.net 

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chrisSorensen
Contributor
Contributor

Hi

I have esxi 5.1 installed and i have the same issue

didt you find a solution ?

i have tryed evrything and it still says loading files at booting winpe 4.0 with windows 7 32bit

so please anyone help 

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glenlarson
Contributor
Contributor

No solution, just a workaround.  Replace the boot loader with the windows 8 one.  The solution needs to come from VMWare Engineering.

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chrisSorensen
Contributor
Contributor

Well thats not going to Work. iam using litetouch image via MDT2012 so i guess iam going back to mdt 2010 i had enough ..

Another option though was to use  Virtualbox to build images.. that didt Work but i dont want that in the long run.

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admin
Immortal
Immortal

glenlarson wrote:

I find that PE 4.0 32bit does work on Windows 8 template but not on the Windows 7 (32 or 64 bit) and older OS templates. Thank you for trying this!

There are only a few configuration options that are different between Windows 7 and Windows 8.  The most likely to be relevant are (for Windows 8):

vmGenCounter.enable = TRUE

hypervisor.cpuid.v1 = TRUE

My bet would be that you need the latter.

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