[syslinux] isolinux + windows installation CD

Andrey Vul andrey.vul at gmail.com
Thu May 25 17:26:45 PDT 2006

Hash: SHA1

Use IsoBuster. Extracts bootsectors (floppy, hd, eltorito) without

Nazo wrote:
> On 5/25/06, Luke Burton <luke at burton.echidna.id.au> wrote:
>> 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
>> eltorito.bin.
>> 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!
>> Regards,
>> Luke.
>> -- 
>> Luke Burton.
>> Yes, questions. Morphology, longevity, incept dates.
>> www.hagus.net
>> _______________________________________________
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> Ok, bootable Windows installation discs are a pain.  Once I finally
> got it right, I have been afraid to change ANYTHING on my "Ultimate
> Boot DVD" which includes a XP SP2 installation.  First, you must have
> the i386 folder in the root of the disc unless you plan to do some
> hacking.  Second, I think you have to have the bootsector from the
> correct windows installation.  Strangely, I haven't had any luck
> ripping my own from my disc, but, I have had plenty of luck getting
> them online.
> First of all, I'm not sure if the filesystem matters, but, it may.
> Back when I was running the installer from a DOS bootdisk (you can
> just run winnt.exe from DOS to start the installation, but, that
> obviously requires a FATxx filesystem and a bootdisk with a CD-ROM
> driver) I found that it was REALLY picky about the CD filesystem.  In
> particular, it uses Microsoft's system of using a tilde character to
> tell the OS that a filename is the short version of a long one, but,
> the ISO filesystem seems to not like that tilde character.  As such,
> you have to break a few standards to get it working in DOS.  Now, I
> don't know if this applies to the bootable installer or not, but, I've
> been afraid to change it since I got it working in DOS.  Anyway, here
> is my mkisofs command line I use to generate the ISO:
> mkisofs -o ultboot.iso -b isolinux/isolinux-debug.bin -c
> isolinux/boot.cat -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table
> -pad -relaxed-filenames -iso-level 1 -N -disable-deep-relocation
> -exclude exclude -exclude EXCLUDE -exclude ultboot.iso -J -preparer
> Nazo -sort ./sort.lst ./
> Also, here are the lines I use to start the windows installer via the
> isolinux.cfg file:
> LABEL winxp
>     MENU LABEL ^Windows XP Pro Installation/Recovery (SP2)
>     KERNEL /xpboot.bin
>     APPEND -
> I'm not sure if I can give you more details as I got all this working
> more than a year ago and have since forgotten some of the absolute
> pains I've had to go through to get it rully working, but, if you need
> more let me know and I can try to remember more.
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- --
#andreyvul 2006
andrey.vul at gmail.com
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