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Debugging Windows iSCSI boot

To debug Windows iSCSI boot problems, you will need a second Windows machine running windbg, and a null-modem cable to connect the two machines together via their serial ports. The debugging machine does not need to be running the same version of Windows as the iSCSI-booting machine.

Preparing the tools

Download the latest version of windbg as part of the Debugging Tools for Windows package from http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/devtools/debugging/installx86.mspx and install it onto the debugging machine.

Locate the Microsoft iSCSI initiator (which you have already downloaded and installed on the iSCSI-booting machine), and install it onto the debugging machine.

Preparing the iSCSI-booting machine

On the debugging machine, start the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator utility (StartAll ProgramsMicrosoft iSCSI InitiatorMicrosoft iSCSI Initiator). Go to the Discovery tab and click on Add to add a new target portal. Enter the IP address or DNS name of your iSCSI target.

Adding an iSCSI target

Go to the Targets tab. You should see a list of available iSCSI target IQNs. Select the one containing your iSCSI-bootable Windows disk, and click on Log On to connect to the target.

Connecting to the iSCSI target

The iSCSI-bootable Windows disk should now show up as an extra drive in My Computer on the debugging machine. Start up Notepad and open the file X:\boot.ini (where X: is the drive letter for the iSCSI-bootable Windows disk). You should see something like

  [boot loader]
  timeout=30
  default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
  [operating systems]
  multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows Server 2003" /fastdetect

Duplicate the multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)… line, and append the options

  /debug /debugport=com1 /baudrate=115200 /break

(where com1 is the serial port on the iSCSI-booting machine). The resulting file should look something like

  [boot loader]
  timeout=30
  default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
  [operating systems]
  multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows Server 2003" /fastdetect
  multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows Server 2003" /fastdetect /debug /debugport=com1 /baudrate=115200 /break

Save this modified boot.ini file and close Notepad. Go back to the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator utility. On the Targets tab, select the one containing your iSCSI-bootable Windows disk, and click on Details. Tick the box next to the session identifier (which will be a long hex string such as ffffffff810ca00c-4000013700000001), and click on Log off to disconnect from the target.

Disconnecting from the iSCSI target


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