cli methods for recreating dell utility partition on poweredge servers running linux?

Ryan Go ryan at
Fri Jun 6 15:40:00 CDT 2003


Since you have a working systemimager setup already, why don't you just
use dd to copy the working utility partition from a machine and put it on
your tftp server. PXELinux has a program called memdisk, which is very
useful for booting DOS images. We do this for all our utilities, since it
saves the hassle of carrying CDs/floppies around.

Let me know if you need help with this.

	<< ryan

On Fri, 6 Jun 2003, Chris Dagdigian wrote:

> Hello,
> I use SystemImager ( on several clusters of dell
> poweredge servers. One thing I love about Dell BIOS is the 'F12' key for
> initiating a PXE-boot -- this allows me to press a single key and then
> sit back and watch as my node bootstraps itself off the network,
> partitions its disk and then loads up the operating system. About 5
> minutes after hitting 'F12' I have a newly provisioned cluster node.
> Simply beautiful. Especially as I can do this remotely over a serial
> console as well.
> One problem that I'm having is that although systemimager recognizes and
>    recreates the Dell Utility partition itself when bootstrapping a node
> it is not able to populate the partition with the actual files. SI
> simply does not understand MSDOS filesystems.
> Thus I can't actually do a utility boot anymore on the servers. Normally
> this would be fine but not being able to do a utility boot tends to
> upset the Dell hardware support folks when we call. heh.
> I have one machine that does have a working utility partition. I've
> tried to copy the utility partition to different disks using 'dd' as
> well as just mounting the filesystem, creating a tarball and then
> unpacking it on a different node.
> No luck.
> I have a feeling that it should be possible to rip the utility partition
> off a known good poweredge via 'dd' and put it onto a different machine.
> Has anyone done this? Can anyone share a command-line recipe for
> archiving and restoring the Dell utility partition?
> Regards,
> Chris
> --
> Chris Dagdigian, <dag at>
> BioTeam Inc. - Independent Bio-IT & Informatics consulting
> Office: 617-666-6454, Mobile: 617-877-5498, Fax: 425-699-0193
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