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VNC before the OS has booted?


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I have a spare PC thats currently running Win2003 as a headless box (using remote desktop to control it). What i'd like to be able to do is dual boot between Win2003 and *nix. But since this machine is headless i can't just run a boot manager and do it normally.

So, is there any type of boot manager than has a VNC (or similar) client? I'd like to be able to pipe monitor/kb/mouse to any computer on the LAN, but before either OS has loaded. (once the OS has loaded i can do VNC stuff normally). Possible or pipe dream?

The other option is a KVM switch and 10m of cables...

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Umm I guess you could run a virtual pc (like in ep 3.5)...but that's not very practical.

I think to do what you really want to do you have to look at hardware. there are KVM switches that run over ethernet, but I don't think they're cheap.

Also check out this mod: http://www.geocities.com.nyud.net:8090/dou...gaovercat5.html

If you like that, it seems like it wouldn't be too hard to adapt it to mouse and keyboard too - they could probably even share a second cable.

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Given that the "server" is a 950mhz AMD with 512mb ram, will it cripple the performance of win2003? Need that to learn about Active Directory and win2003 admin stuff.

Xen doesn't seem to support Win2003 without hardware VT, which I don't have...

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What do i need? the tarball, the RPM? Boy do i feel like total n00b atm...

Basically i need an always-on webserver, and the abillity to run Windows 2003 (its for learning, so i can get work and eat). But I only have this one box and an ancient compaq p2 laptop to play with (main machine and my other laptops are for work so i can't piss around with them).

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More expensive boxes have something like this built in, but it's an expensive option. What they basically have is a VERY bare-bones system attached to the actual server which is able to reset the machine as well as provide the contents on the display (and interact with it) using screen scraping techniques. It's a bit hackish, but it works. Chances are you can just buy a PCI card that does this.

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i have a "workaround"

you may have heard that you can add a kernel loader to the windows nt bootmenu? its relatively easy there are step by step guides just google it.

all you need to do, is write two different boot.ini files, and have a script that does attrib -h -s -r boot.ini & ren boot.ini boot.other & copy boot.linux boot.ini & shutdown -r -t 00 and it will shutdown windows and boot linux. all you need to do is write a script under linux to do the same thing, or if you run wine with the appropriate permissions you could even run the same script under linux before you reboot.... thats what i would do if my scond box had no monitor.

It would at least give you the functionality you want, i.e decide what os will boot (next) , via vnc.

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