iPXE booting to DOS to run BIOS update

  • Folks - I would like to iPXE boot to dos to run a bios update tool on a bunch of our PC’s. Can someone point me to some documentation on that? I am running 1.3.0-RC-11.


  • For the record, Dell normally has Linux based firmware update packages. You could update firmware with fog using postdownloadscripts.

  • Moderator

    @LibraryMark OK I did this before, but its been many years ago.

    The concept is that you need a utility that will create a virtualized floppy drive on your computer. This will create a .img file that is the size of your floppy drive. Then you will get the MSDOS/FreeDOS from a similar site: http://www.bootdisk.com/ This missing utility (from my memory) would then take the virtual floppy drive and create, format and install the image from the bootdisk.com onto that virtual floppy drive. You could add other files if you wanted and then when you wrote the contents of the virtual floppy drive to disk everything you needed would be in the .img file. You would take the .img file and install it on your PXE boot server and then load it that way.

    I can’t seem to find that utility at this moment, but those are the steps.

    As I wrote the above, I think it was called VFD (virtual floppy drive) https://sourceforge.net/projects/vfd/


    And when we ran a syslinux pxe menu this is what the command that invoked that .img file.

                    MENU LABEL Dell Asset Tag Utility
                    kernel memdisk
                    append initrd=bootimages/win98c.img keeppxe

    on our tftp server at the time we had all of the .img files in /tftpboot/bootimages/xxxxxxx.img

    I do have to add a legal dislaimer here that doing this with anything other than FreeDOS is a violation of MS's EULA for MS DOS (since you don't own a legal copy of MSDOS for each .img file you create). The intent of these instructions were only meant as a way to show its possible to do, not that it is legal to do.

  • I would like a DOS environment as the utility runs in DOS and I think it would boot faster.

  • Moderator

    Do you want DOS or a WinPE environment?

    On a slightly different topic I have setup a WinPE usb boot stick that contains the current bios for all of our Dell hardware. I don’t do this via PXE, but it could be done just updating the firmware would mean recreating the boot iso or mapping to a network share. Both can be done depending on your skill level.

    I wrote this tutorial on how to launch windows 7 setup from PXE booting, if someone had a little (very little) scripting skills they could tweak these instructions to map to a network share where the bios update files were located: https://forums.fogproject.org/topic/7765/pxe-booting-into-ms-windows-7-setup