Unable to boot VMware VMs into Winpe2.1
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Unable to boot VMware VMs into Winpe2.1


Article ID: 176911


Updated On:


Deployment Solution


Unable to use WinPE 2.1 to PXE boot virtual machines that are running a 32-bit OS and the VMWare flex driver.


WinPE 2.1 does not include the flex NIC driver necessary for VMWare.


By default, WinPE 2.1 x86/x64 supports the e1000 NIC driver which is used with VMWare virtual machines. However, a virtual machine created with Windows 2003 x86 Standard Edition can only use the VMware Flexible NIC which is not supported by default in WinPE 2.1.

To add VMware Flexible NIC support into the WinPE 2.1 x86/x64 automation environment:

  1.  On the Deployment Server, copy the VMware Tool ISO file from a VMware ESX Server at /vmimages/tools-isoimages/windows.iso or create a physical CD-ROM.
  2.  Mount or extract the VMware Tool for ESX Server ISO/CD-ROM. ( I copied this off my vmware ESX server from /vmimages/tools-isoimages/windows.ios. You can do this by creating a samba mount to a windows box or use winscp to login and copy the file localy)
  3.  Run the PXE Configuration utility.
  4.  Select WinPE Managed boot menu option and click Edit.
  5.  Click Edit Boot Image. The Altiris Boot Disk Creator will run.
  6.  At Step 9, click Edit.
  7.  At Step 1, click Next.
  8.  At Step 2, click Have Disk.
  9.  Click Browse and browse to the VMware Tool for ESX Server ISO/CD-ROM contents and its \Program Files\VMware\VMware Tools\Drivers\vmxnet\win2k\32bit directory.
  10.  Select the vmware-nic.inf file and click Open. If prompted thatdriver is an unsupported class type, click Yes and click Ok.
  11.  Repeat step 7 through 9 to select the x64 driver, vmxnet.inf, from the VMware Tool for ESX Server ISO/CD-ROM contents and its \Program Files\VMware\VMware Tools\Drivers\vmxnet\win2k\64bit directory.
  12.  Continue with the Boot Disk Creator wizard to generate the WinPE images.
  13.  After the wizard completes, click Save.
  14.  After the save completes, click OK. It will take several minutes for the PXE server to replicate the PXE images.

Alternate Method of finding the drivers:

Another way to find the drivers (see steps 1, 2, 9, 11) is to pull them straight from a VM if you have one.  When you add the VM Tools, it loads the CDRom for you into the virtual.  At that point, you can browse to the directories specified, and copy the 64 bit and 32 bit drivers folders directly to the DS or another share point.  This avoids having to create a SAMBA mount or some other method of reaching to the files from the linux back-end.


The attachment contains the drivers folder located on the windows.iso.

Applies To
VMware workstation

VMware ESX

VMware Player

WinPE 2.1 PXE Automation


vmware drivers.zip get_app