Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Presetting NIC Speed & Duplex

Adventures with OSD snowballed this week; I finally got things working (with lots of insight on OSD from Michael Niehaus on the MSSMS list) mostly by forcing all network devices to 100Mb/Full Duplex. The trick is that the OSD Image Capture CD, running WinPE using the NIC driver that I embedded at creation, was using the default Auto setting. So the capture process would start, then fail a few minutes into the process, unable to use the link.

I did some research and found bupkis on the topic, but by digging into the INF, found a setting that proved successful. I looked at a few other INFs and they all seem to have a similar setting, so I'll go ahead and make a sweeping generalization and declare that this is the method for presetting the default NIC speed and duplex settings prior to driver installation and initialization.

NOTE: I just heard back from HP Support on the topic: "We do not support the configuration of editing the INF file to set the NIC link speed to set at 100/Full duplex." They then recommend use of the HP SmartStart Scripting Toolkit. So consider yourself warned.

The NIC in this particular situation is the HP NC7782, so the INF I'm using is q57win32.inf. Down around line 1290 are the sections [ParamsC] and [ParamsC150C] that have the registry settings for RequestedMediaType, aka Speed_Duplex. In the former, I changed the "default" value to 4102 (for 100Mb_Fd). In the latter I changed the default as above and also changed the single enum key value as well.

I embedded this new INF with the rest of the network driver files on the SMS OSD Image Capture CD and the capture process flew through about 2GB in 12 minutes.

Again, let me stress that HP does not support this configuration, and don't come crying to me if this frags your server. I plan on using it for WinPE scenarios when necessary, but not to pre-configure the driver on production servers - let the GUI handle that.

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