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Method for sequential install and removal of multiple operating systems from a network source with all user intervention at the start of the process.

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000030923D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Sep-01
Document File: 3 page(s) / 10K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

This disclosure describes a method for user selection of multiple operating systems from a menu that will be installed , floppy functionality verified and then removed sequentially from a network source using unattended installation methods. User interaction is only at the start of the process.

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Method for sequential install and removal of multiple operating systems from a network source with all user intervention at the start of the process .

The process for the tool is as follows:

User boots system to network server via PXE and then selects the tool . The tool then prompts for a floppy diskette and writes a custom designed boot record to it . The tool then verifies a hard disk in installed in the system and erases the Master Boot Record (MBR) from it. A specially designed Menu is displayed for the user to select which operating system(s) (showing approximate installation times) to be installed/tested. Once the user exits the menu, the selected list of operating systems (OSes) is written.

>User interaction is complete .

The tool is now in control. System then logs onto the server, placing the list file in a directory determined by the MAC address of the system under test . A specially designed hard drive image is installed to the system in test with . This image has 2 partitions. One 2Gb partition for the OS (with Bootable Windows 98* command prompt installed), the second partition(utility) for the tools/network drivers. The system then reboots booting to the floppy disk with the custom designed boot record which loads the operating system on the hard disk.

The current ATA / ATAPI hard disk standard defines a hardfile password methodology that renders the entire contents of the disk inaccessible until a unique pass phrase (set by the user or system administrator is sent to the hard disk ). This is normally done after the user enters the pass phrase at the end of BIOS POST . This scheme can present problems in the pre boot environment if it is necessary to access the Host Protected Area (HPA, AKA "PARTIES) or other preboot data like EFI of the disk . Some examples of a need to access this area from the pre boot environment could include :
1. Loading BIOS extensions that are too large to economically store in the system flash module.
2. An application to retrieve a lost / forgotten hard file password (having such an application on the password protected hard disk would be like keeping a spare key to a safe inside the locked safe.)
3. Load an application which can access the web and recover lost passwords

Our solution to this quandary is to have the hard disk password protection logic in the hard disk controller allow access to the HPA space even if a hard disk password is loaded.

This invention will change the methodology used to protect data on the hardfile . When the hardfile password is set, the user will be allowed to specify which LBA's are protected. In this way, even if a hardfile is locked, the unlocked portion of the hardfile can be used to run utilities or preboot extensions . The primary partition containing Windows 98 command prompt then retrieves the list of OSes from the server if not present. It then executes a custom designed application that controls the flow of which OS is going to be installed. This applica...