FAI with PXE from Windows-Server (EFI)

Christian Meyer c2h5oh at web.de
Sun May 23 11:09:12 CEST 2021

Hello there,

my environment is a Windows Active Directory Domain.
Windows Clients are installed with WDS and different WIM-files.

To deploy Debian-clients with FAI I extended WDS with WDSLinux [1]
several years ago and I'm still happy with it:
I copy FAI vmlinuz and initrd to the DC and boot them with WDSLinux,
while NFS-configspace is on a Linux machine.

Since Debian and FAI supports booting in EFI Mode now (even with PXE),
I'm also interested to adopt it to my environment, but I faced some

1. I'm at the point that syslinux.efi starts via PXE in EFI mode (even
with grafical menu) , but currently I'm not able to chainload to
Windows bootmgfw.efi.
Most forums and even github issues says that (U)EFI support in syslinux
is not mature and on the other hand development looks not that active.
So this way probably breaks my WDS and the ability to install Windows.
Additionally FAI install client 'somehow' starts, but ends at a login
prompt without running installation routines. (This should probably be

2. I looked for help at the syslinux mailinglist and (once again) got
the reply that (U)EFI support in syslinux still is not satisfying. He
suggests that I could use iPXE with WDS instead [2]. This looks quite
interesting and promising.

3. Someone just created a Linux WIM file [3] to be used with regular
(and unmodified) WDS (and without any aditional software like syslinux
or iPXE).

At this point I realize that don't want to reinvent the wheel or create
my very own tinkering solution. Instead I think that probably someone
has done that before.
Is there a good way to EFI-boot FAI with WDS (mandatory), perhaps
combined with secure boot?

Thanks a lot

[1] https://wiki.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php?title=WDSLINUX
[2] https://github.com/mintsoft/iPXE-WDS-EFI-Boot-Menu

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