Testing NIC drivers with WinPE4 without rebuilding environment

book

Article ID: 178552

calendar_today

Updated On:

Products

Deployment Solution

Issue/Introduction

 

Resolution

These steps below are instructions on how to test drivers you have downloaded in WinPE4 directly by copying the drivers to a thumbdrive or external HDD and attaching it to a client already booted into the Preboot Environment:

 

1. Obtain network Windows 8 (not 8.1) driver files you want to test, extract them then copy them to a USB flash memory device.
     -Typically this will be a set of .INF, .SYS and .DLL and .CAT files  (DRVLOAD requires CAT file(s))
     -Do NOT modify the .INF file(s) or they will fail to install because they are checksummed.

2. Boot the system containing the hardware you want to test a driver with to a WinPE command console.

3. When you're getting “Restarting DHCP client... Retry *” messages, hit Control-C to cancel it.
     -Type IPCONFIG in the command console window. If no IP addresses are listed then you do not have a functioning network driver installed yet.
 
4. Change to the drive letter of the flash memory drive by typing the drive letter and a semi-colon (eg type F: and click enter).
     -Plugging in a flash drive should automatically assign it the next available letter. You may have to cycle through them and DIR to check files on the drive until you find your flash drive contents.
 
5. Browse to the directory containing your driver files, then type dir *.inf  to list the INF files.
 
6. Test the first INF file by typing DRVLOAD xxxxx.INF (where xxxx.INF is part of the driver you want to test).
 
7. DRVLOAD should report that the driver has loaded successfully; if not go to step 5 and pick the next INF file in the DIR list. 
     -If you receive an 'unable to load' error (eg Error 0x80070002), check you have included all .sys and .dll files in the same folder.
 
8. Type NETCFG -WINPE to install the WinPE network stack after successfully loading driver. This forces WinPE to restart the network processes and load the driver.
 
9. Type IPCONFIG. If the command lists the IP addresses for your network you have found the correct driver. If no IP addresses are listed, go to step 5 and try another driver.