[syslinux] isolinux + windows installation CD

Luke Burton luke at burton.echidna.id.au
Thu May 25 07:06:59 PDT 2006

Hi all,

I am at the end of my wits, after a day and a half of mucking around
with this :)

My intention was to take a multi-boot DVD - of the style you get with
an MSDN subscription - and burn an individual installer to disc.

How to do this? My theory was to take the files for the installation
CD, add isolinux, add a bootsector, and away I go. Unfortunately it
doesn't seem this easy.

So I took a step back and said: let's take a standard Win XP ISO image
that we know works. Let's re-image that to use isolinux to bootstrap
the standard boot sector. So it's just sandwiching isolinux between
the BIOS and the regular El Torito boot sector from the CD.

Unfortunately I can't even do that.

My process is as follows:

1. copy the contents of the ISO to a temporary folder.
2. make the isolinux folder.
3. copy the isolinux-debug.bin file in.
4a. use the geteltorito (google finds it) perl script to strip the
boot image from the original ISO. Place that in the isolinux folder as
4b. take the magical w2ksect.bin file, also found on google, and put
that in the isolinux folder.
5. create an isolinux.cfg file that looks something like:

label winxp
        kernel eltorito.bin

label winkernel
        kernel w2ksect.bin

6. make the iso using this command:

mkisofs -o ../isotest.iso -b isolinux/isolinux.bin -J -r -N -c
isolinux/boot.cat -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table  .

7. boot the CD and try both winxp and winkernel - and get nowhere.

I tried many variations on this theme, including using memdisk and the
bin files as the initial RAM disk.

The exact symptom I get is isolinux loading, a prompt where I type my
boot option, then a single "." symbol, then isolinux tries to run
again and complains about a bad checksum - I assume the bin file
booted part way and left the memory in a bad state.

My assumption was that the boot sector I load would do something
sensible like go looking for setupldr.bin or ntldr or something.
Instead it just hangs there.

Also, why can't I make my own boot sector using "dd"? Is it in a
different place in each ISO image? Or is the El Torito boot sector
from a Win XP ISO not really something I should be using to do this?

Help! I'm drowning!



Luke Burton.

Yes, questions. Morphology, longevity, incept dates.

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