Go Away, F12! (or how to disable F12 at bootime to boot into WinPE)

30. April 2007 05:52 by Csaborio in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

While looking for a way to fully automate the installation of wim image file to a server, we immediately stumbled upon a small problem.   When doing a PXE boot, the boot rom imaged asked for the F12 key to be pressed.  If the key was not pressed, the machine booted normally into Windows - so much for the automation idea, huh?

Fear not, as Stephen sent me a link that explains the following from a RIS installation:

"...To enable a fully automated RIS-based installation, it is necessary to substitute the Startrom.n12 boot file for the default Startrom.com boot file..."

Further reading revealed this vital piece of information:

To configure all clients serviced by a RIS server with an automated installation, rename the startup boot files as follows:
• Change Startrom.com to Startrom.bak
• Change Startrom.n12 to Startrom.com

These files are located in the following directory location on your RIS server:


There are certain differences between the RIS and WDS installations, but nothing big.   First off, the location of the files for boot time (given that it is a 32-bit box is the following):


There you will not find Startom.com and Startrom.n12, but rather pxeboot.com and pxeboot.n12.

If you rename pxeboot.n12 to pxeboot.com, your machine will PXE boot and will NOT ask for F12 key press.   Ok, now that the problem is solved, we can go back and try to find solutions for the remaining 500.