Articles October 15, 2007 at 12:50 pm

Creating a Network Enabled BartPE disk for Intel Macs

So you got your Macs all pimped out with a bootcamp partition and dual boot.  However, what do you do when you start having problems with Windows partition and want to edit some system files, do a virus scan without being booted from that Windows partition, or do repairs on an unstable system?

BartPE allows you to create a bootable CD that contains just enough of Windows XP to get you up and running you to do some diagnostics on your Windows partition.  You still have to have a Windows XP license to create a BartPE disk, but if you are repairing a Windows install, then you probably already have the license.

The one drawback to a generic BartPE CD is that networking does not
work on Intel Macs due to missing network drivers.  We know that these
drivers are on the BootCamp driver disk, but since they are all
executable (.exe) files, it is difficult to know how to include them.

We'll
walk through the steps of creating a BartPE disk with network drivers
so that you'll be able to boot up from the CD and have read/write
access to the NTFS partition. 

Click Read More to see the steps to create the CD.

Step 1: Get Windows XP

You need to create the ISO in Windows XP using the BartPE applications.  I used Parallels, but you can use whatever Windows install you have handy.  

Step 2:  Install the Windows I386

Since BartPE grabs all sorts of bits and pieces off the Windows DVD, it is usually convenient to have that on the C drive.  Pop in your Windows XP SP2 disk, and drag the I386 folder from the DVD to the root of the C drive.  If you don't want to pollute your Windows XP with the i386 folder, you can point PE Builder to the DVD drive, but that makes the creation a bit slower.

Step 3:  Get BartPE

Point your browser to http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/ and download the self-installing package of PE Builder.  Install in Windows XP.

Step 4:  Grab the bootcamp drivers

On an Intel Mac with Bootcamp Assistant installed, control-click on the Bootcamp assistant and browser to Contents->Resources->DiskImage.dmg, and double click it to mount it.  Get the IntelEthernetInstaller.exe, MarvellInstaller.exe, and BroadcomInstaller.exe from the disk image to C:\pebuilder3110a\drivers\Net directory.    In Parallels, you can just drop them in the shared folder.  If you are using Windows on a full blown PC, you'll need to either burn the BootCamp drivers or transfer them over the network.  You probably don't need the broadcom installer, since that is for wireless, but it is networking related, so let's get it on the CD.

Step 5:  Extract them drivers!

In order to spring the drivers from their .exe prison, we'll use Winrar.  Go to http://www.rarlab.com/download.htm, download and install WinRAR.   Once installed, go to the  C:\pebuilder3110a\drivers\Net directory and select each of the .exe you put there previously, and select File->Extract to <name of exe>\.  This will extract the drivers into their own directories, and you can then dump the .exe files into the recycle bin.

Step 6: Create the ISO

Launch PE Builder, and set the Source to C: (if you didn't install the I386 directory, you should point this at the DVD/CD drive). Check the radio button that says "Create ISO Image", and click Build.  After it chunks away for a bit, it'll complete and you'll find an ISO in c:\pebuilder3110a.  Get this file over to Mac OS X, and use Disk Utility to burn the CD.

Step 7: Boot it up!

Put the CD into an Intel Mac, hold down the option key, and select the Windows CD when it comes up.  When prompted to start networking, click OK.  If you don't have keyboard or mouse access, try rebooting into BartPE again.  I have found that occasionally the mouse or keyboard is not recognized, and a reboot usually resolves it.

About Timothy Perfitt

Timothy Perfitt is currently the head of Twocanoes Software, Inc, creator of iOS and Mac apps for the IT market. Prior to Twocanoes Software, he survived the collapse of the dot com era by jumping from Coolboard.com to Apple, Inc in 2001. He worked on the initial certification training materials for Mac OS X, worked in Education Sales, and then finished his time at Apple in 2012 working with Fortune 500 customers to integrate Macs and iOS devices into complex environments. He is a returned Peace Corps volunteer, serving in the Solomon Islands as a math and science teacher from 1991 to 1993.

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  • Nice article, fancy doing one on basic Windows deployment for those not so in ‘The Know’?

    Pretty please…

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