Friday, September 18, 2015

WD Sentinel DS6100: Booting Windows PE on a USB

Windows PE (Preinstallation Environment) is a minimal operating system designed to prepare a computer for Windows installation. In this exercise we are going to create a bootable Windows PE USB to be used on a WD Sentinel DS6100. You may use this USB for example to install a different version of Windows, capture an image or perform a factory restore.

Download and install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK)

For this exercise we're using the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 10. You can download Windows ADK for Windows 10 from here.

Run adksetup.exe. When you get to the part where you select the features you want to install, select Deployment Tools and Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE). We only need these components for this exercise.

Grab a copy of the Marvell 94xx SAS/SATA RAID Controller driver

The DS6100 uses a RAID controller in which Windows PE does not have the driver for. In order for Windows PE to see the boot drives in your DS6100, you will need inject a RAID controller driver into the Windows PE image.

On a DS6100, go to the directory C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository and copy the files in the folder with the name beginning with mvs94xx.inf_amd64. The four files in this folder contain the driver for the Marvell 94xx SAS/SATA RAID Controller which is used on the DS6100. Copy these files to C:\mvs94.xx.inf_amd64 on the computer you have Windows ADK installed.

Create the Windows PE image and bootable USB

Run the Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment command prompt as an administrator. The shortcut should be in your Start menu after you install ADK.

To create a new Windows PE image for your DS6100 with the RAID controller driver injected, enter the following commands.
  1. copype amd64 C:\WinPE_amd64
  2. Dism /Mount-Image /ImageFile:C:\WinPE_amd64\media\sources\boot.wim /Index:1 /MountDir:C:\WinPE_amd64\mount
  3. Dism /Image:C:\WinPE_amd64\mount /Add-Driver /Driver:C:\mvs94xx.inf_amd64\mvs94xx.inf
  4. Dism /Unmount-Image /MountDir:C:\WinPE_amd64\mount /Commit
Once you have created your Windows PE image, copy it onto a USB with using the MakeWinPEMedia script.

     MakeWinPEMedia /ufd C:\WinPE_amd64 D:

Make sure you substitute 'D:' with the driver letter of your USB.

Boot the WD Sentinel DS6100 off the USB

Although there are boot options you can configure in the UEFI BIOS of the DS6100, there is no option in there to boot from USB. To boot off your Windows PE USB, you need to press and hold the Recovery button on the back of the DS6100 while turning it on with the USB plugged in. Windows PE will load after a while.

Note: We've tried to boot the DS6100 using a NTFS formatted USB and have found that it doesn't work. FAT32 works best. You may also find that booting off the USB 2.0 ports work better as well.

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