Hack 68 Easily Create a Network Boot Disk

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One of the headaches of deploying Windows is creating network boot disks. Here's a speedy solution.

Creating a network boot disk is not very difficult, but it always seems to take longer than it should. The Instant Network Boot Disk from Qual-IT removes the hassle.

The Instant Network Boot Disk works with most network cards. It quickly provides network access, and it includes filesystem tools and other network utilities. The tool provides full support for Windows 9x, NT, 2000, and XP platforms and includes multinational keyboard support, advanced memory configuration, and a debug mode for troubleshooting drivers that refuse to load. The disk loads completely into RAM for ultra-fast performance and includes support for static IP addresses or DHCP and built-in PCMCIA support for some PCMCIA drivers. It also includes PING- and IPCONFIG-compatible utilities and lets you preconfigure your network adapter settings.

To use the tool, first go to the Qual-IT web site at http://www.qualit-uk.com and click the Tools menu option. Find the latest version of Instant Network Boot Disk and download it to your machine. To create a network boot disk, you need a blank floppy and the appropriate driver for your network card.

The steps for creating a boot disk are simple. First, run the tool to create a generic boot disk and then copy your NIC driver to the disk. If space is an issue, delete the included drivers to make room for new ones you need. Now, reboot from the disk and select the "CONFIGURE THIS DISK" option when it appears. Provide the required setup information?for example, the hostname, the IP address or using DHCP, your NIC card, and so on. Now, save your settings and reboot.

Detailed configuration and troubleshooting information is included on the disk in the readme.txt file. I've found this utility to be a real time- and headache-saver. Add it to your list of tools today!

?Patrick Sklodowski