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Hardware Issues

This page contains some issues that people had while using gpxe.

3Com 3C905-TX Card

This card is known to not support gpxe while using the MBA v4.0.


gPXE loads, negociate the link speed but the DHCP doesn't grab any valid adress even if the DHCP server make an offer. This is due to a buggy PXE rom, this usually happens on the MBA (Master Boot Agent) v4.0.

How to Fix

3com deliver a firmware upgrade and can be downloaded here. This file have to be decompressed and run in a real dos mode.

Then run mbaflash.exe

If you don't have any dos system or floppy (this become more & more rare theses days), you can use this floppy disk image. Then add an entry in your pxelinux configuration file like :

LABEL flash
 KERNEL memdisk
 APPEND dos.img

The dos.img file must be put, in this example, at the root path of your tftp server.

Then boot your PXE and call the flash entry. The freedos environment loads and then call mbaflash.exe

After upgrading

The MBA version is now upgraded to v4.30, gpxe can now be loaded.

Nvidia nForce

nVidia chipsets don't view all devices on the PCI bus in a direct fashion, and there's a bus driver (nvnetbus) necessary to make the network adapter appear as a common PCI Ethernet device on the bus.

Booting Windows XP/2k/etc using the iSCSI / WinAoE driver will not work, due to a missing service (nvnetbus) not being started. While this is not a hardware issue, nor a problem with gPXE, it is included here for informative purposes.


After installing WinAoE and making sure the NVENETFD service is started at boot, booting the image over AoE will work well until aoe32.sys is loaded. Upon loading aoe, the system will hang without any network activity. This happens even though the NVENETFD and nvnetbus services are loaded before aoe32.sys.

This is tested on Windows XP and Vista, both 32-bit. Not tested using 64-bit, but the problem is likely to be the same.

How to Fix

There are rumors (ref informal #etherboot chat) that another service needs to be active, but it is not known which one. Another option is to use the RIS driver for the nForce card (not verified). The simplest fix is to simply use another network adapter.

Intel e1000

Some Intel e1000 cards appear to have problems if the gPXE image burned into their rom is larger than 64kb, even though the eeprom size is 128kb. This is problematic as the default e1000 rom images are around 70kb. It is unknown if it's really a hardware problem(the standard PXE ROM contents seem to use the whole 128kb without problems). It could also be a problem with a specific IBAUTIL.exe version.


IBAUTIL.exe will not complain after flashing and will report a successful flash. After the reboot gPXE does not start.

How to Fix

Get a gPXE image smaller than 64kb. You can achieve this by disabling unneeded features in src/config/general.h iSCSI support, for example, is a good candidate for disabling, as it uses a lot of space.

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