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NIC driver for Windows PE


rudi schoeble

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We use ShadowProtect to do P2V conversions and test our backup & restore procedures. This involves booting a new VM using a Windows PE ISO image which then connects to a network share containing our backup image files and restores them to the new VM drives.

It works fine, however copying the backup image files is very slow. Once the VM is restored and Xentools is installed copying the same images is considerably faster. I suspect the NIC driver that the Windows PE environment uses may be the issue. The PE environment does provide the opportunity to load custom NIC drivers and I'd like to try the driver used with Xentools as a test, however I can't find a .inf file that the WIndows PE environment is looking for.

Any ideas on where or how I could obtain the NIC driver .inf file used by Xentools?

Thanks

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Did anyone ever manage to fix this problem?

Experiencing the same issue as others have mentioned.. Trying to do a restore in StorageCraft ShadowProtect Recovery Environment over a gigabit network with a HP server that has Xen installed on it but getting very slow speeds as it picks the network card up as a Realtek RTL8139 Fast Ethernet card.

As mentioned earlier in this post, I've extracted the Xen network drivers from the xentools.iso and loaded them into ShadowProtect but this hasn't made a difference, it still detects the card as the Realtek.

Thanks in advance...

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Hi Koen,

In XenServer 5.6, we just let WinPE choose the correct driver and it worked. To be honest with you, I'm not sure what driver it was using because we never had an issue. I never imported any XenTool drivers into MDT.

Since we've moved to XenServer 6.0.2, I've not been able to get it to work at all. We've also tried grabbing the drivers from the XenTools ISO without any luck. We think the problem lies in how XenServer is presenting the NIC to WinPE. In our environment, we can't get WinPE to use any other driver then Realtech. It's like the pnp id that WinPE sees is not correct.

Thanks,

Scott

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When we first saw this problem we did speak with Citrix and were told that this was a known issue and a private hotfix had been previously made available to key customers.

When we asked for the hotfix we were then told that they were no longer distributing it to any customers as a newer version of XenServer planned to resolve the issue.

Thanks,

Scott

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I have opened a case with Citrix on this, too. I am running a brand new 6.2 XenServer installation - and it does the exact same thing. Realtek 100Mb card, no matter what driver I load (so far). I am hopeful there is a method/hotfix/driver that will allow my XenServers to run at LAN speeds over gigabit instead of 5Mb/s if I am lucky. A 75Gb domain controller should not take 6-8 hours to restore with StorageCraft (which works at normal restore speeds within VMware). C'mon, Citrix...those of us who have been partners for over a decade are seeing the steady decline in all of your virtualization products and think its a horrible shame. Especially when the latest Hyper-V edition works better! Sreiously, MS better than anything than Citrix?

This clearly has been an issue for numerous versions. I see the same thing on 6.1 as 6.2 - I don't have any older ones to test but it sounds like it has carried over. Please tell me there is a solution....

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FYI - according to Citrix, basically, anything you do other than load XenTools within the recovery environment (which you can't do) is unsupported. There is NO hotfix, not workaround, no nothing that allows you to change the Realtek card other than loading XenTools (that is supported anyway). So if you think 6.2 resolves this, it doesn't. If you think Citrix can give you a patch to solve it, they can't and won't.

You need to use VMware or Hyper-V - they are more flexible, easier to use in corporate environments - and other vendors actually work with them to certify/test their drivers and software. Xenserver is not a prime time player in virtualization. Simple.

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I am still hopeful that StorageCraft will have a solution. They do have a Recovery Environment Builder program that creates the ISO/Bootable image that would be used within XenServer to boot from - and in theory it can load other drivers as part of that. But I am not going to toy with it until they (StorageCraft) provide guidance. StorageCraft is an awesome product - so maybe they can overcome the shortcomings of XenServer. This is jus the nail in the coffin for me for XenServer. After the entire 6.1 XenTools nightmare, and now the inability to resolve such simple things (not to mention the fact that the rest of the industry has pretty much stated they won't support XenServer - for whatever reason)...I simply can't recommend it to clients going forward. Citrix doesn't seem to have the clout in virtualization it once had.

I will update this once I get results from StorageCraft, no matter the response.

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Well, StorageCraft is reviewing - but on a lark, I loaded up VMware ESXi 5.1 on the same hardware and used the same StorageCraft recovery environment. Guess what? It sees the network card as a gigabit network card...and restores at over 20Mb/s (I stopped watching it after it was 4X faster than XenServer).

So the engineer at Citrix must just clearly not understand XenServer or the fact that IT presents the recovery environment with a Realtek network card and can't understand any other drivers to change that. Strike three, XenServer, you are out. 2014 plans - replace XenServer environments with VMware so that we can have an industry leader running things, and not an uncaring company whose products lag so far behind that even Microsoft has overtaken them.

Dang..and I just renewed our partnership and a few certifications. That was time/energy/money wasted.

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Has anyone used DISM to remove the existing drivers from the image after the image was built? I believe there is an issue where the 1st driver for that particular hardware in this case a NIC is found in the build, it will load that one and ignore the new one that was added. You need to remove the existing driver in the build first and then inject the one you want to use and then commit the changes.

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Myself, no. I prefer that the restore tools I use work without having to make huge investments of time and energy. :) StorageCraft works as designed in VMware and in Hyper-V, allowing me to boot from the CD or ISO and start a restore with normal LAN speeds. Only XenServer has been made open-source proprietary designed to make something as easy this very difficult. They are losing ground rapidly to VMware and Hyper-V. A shame.

I have worked with StorageCraft extensively on this - and while they are trying all they can, it's a limitation of XenServer in how it handles/presents the NIC to anything. Citrix admits this by saying you have to install the XenTools for them to be 'optimized' (ie; work at normal speeds). Extremely silly and shortsighted of CItrix. Two words...micro channel.

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Well after speaking to someone who has more experience with this than I, he said that because the Realtek driver is one provided by Microsoft, it wouldn't be recommend or possibly not possible to replace the driver with the XenSever version using a tool like DISM. The better option would be to use the DPInst command line utility from the Windows Driver kit to force the driver load overtop the Realtek for that particular session. It could also be scripted if need be.

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Doesn't look like it's going to happen. We can hope for the next release of XenServer but it's a bit frustrating. Considering how amazing XenServer is for virtualizing SME / lab environments. Hyper-V is pretty much a non-starter considering you need Active Directory plus how difficult it is to simply configure access to a CIFS share for ISO files. Long live XenServer and hopefully this important update will come our way soon!

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Another workaround is to enable the qemu's e1000 nic. works for me with Easeus Todo Backup, Acronis Backup and Recovery, Sysresccd, Clonezilla, Image for Linux. I would enable it temporarily though, since it's not a PV driver it WILL eat your cpu cycle.

 

http://www.netservers.co.uk/articles/open-source-howtos/citrix_e1000_gigabit

 

some screenshots from XS 6.2 :

 

http://img.techpowerup.org/140504/e1000_sysreccd_xenserver561.png

 

http://img.techpowerup.org/140504/e1000_on_xenserver.png

 

You don't need to restart the xenserver host, just the vm.

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Alright,

 

Bad news first.  WinPE is not supported.  Period.  And there are no alternative drivers.

 

Good news.  In 6.2 you only need the networking drivers off of the XenTools ISO for WinPE.  I found - over the weekend - very basic steps that were used in the past for reproductions, testing, etc.

 

So, with the networking drivers (extracted from XenTools) and these instructions, I have gone as far as I can to help/support this.

 

Best of luck and if anyone has an alternative method to share with the public, please feel free to post -- that is what this forum is for!

 

Thanks!

--jkbs

@xenfomation

 

 

1. Install WAIK
2. Perform Administrative install of XenTools MSI files - Check log for the network installation location
msiexec /a citrixguestagentx86.msi /log c:\drvpe\admin.log
msiexec /a citrixxendriversx86.msi /log c:\drvpe\admin.log
3.cd "\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\PETools"
4. pesetenv.cmd
5. copype.cmd x86 c:\windowspe-x86
6. cd "\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\Servicing"
7. dism /Mount-Wim /WimFile:c:\windowspe-x86\winpe.wim /Index:1 /MountDir:c:\windowspe-x86\mount
8. copy ..\x86\imagex.exe c:\windowspe-x86\mount\Windows\System32\
9. dism /Add-Package /PackagePath:..\PETools\x86\WinPE_FPs\winpe-scripting.cab /image:c:\windowspe-x86\mount
10. dism /Add-Package /PackagePath:..\PETools\x86\WinPE_FPs\winpe-wmi.cab /image:c:\windowspe-x86\mount
11. dism /Add-Driver /Driver:v:\Citrix\XenTools /Recurse /ForceUnsigned /image:c:\windowspe-x86\mount
12. Manually Created Citrix/XenTools folders on the program files folder of the mount and copied over the Citrix
Agent files from the administrative install.
13. dism /Unmount-Wim /Commit /MountDir:c:\windowspe-x86\mount
14. copy c:\windowspe-x86\winpe.wim c:\windowspe-x86\ISO\sources\boot.wim
..\x86\oscdimg.exe -n -bc:\windowspe-x86\etfsboot.com c:\windowspe-x86\ISO c:\windowspe-x86\windowspe-x86.iso

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