Integrating Win95 and Samba in detail

Louis Mandelstam lma at
Mon Oct 6 10:38:52 GMT 1997

On Mon, 6 Oct 1997, Andrew Speakman wrote:

> 1. MsClient boot floppy. Used to boot up and connect to network drives
>    on a SAMBA server. Fits on one floppy disk.

Yes, that's what I did at first also.  My problems with this were:

1. the client wants to write to the boot diskette, and I wanted to be able
   to write-protect the disk to prevent damage, viruses etc.
   I could have installed a custom critical error handler in DOS to absorb
   the errors if I felt it was worthwhile.

2. PnP unreliability on some machines (though if I read you correctly,
   you're using DOS msclient, but not setup.exe - instead using a premade
   archive like I am.

3. General uglyness and inflexibility in DOS scripting.

Using a Linux boot disk also fits onto a single diskette, but solves all
my problems with the above, plus gives me the added advantage that I can
boot it from the hard drive's autoexec.bat (using loadlin.exe) in order to
re-install the system from the server, without using a diskette at all.

> 2. MRZIP from the Linux remote Boot mini HOWTO. Used to download compressed
>    raw disk image. See

I would possibly be doing this, but my scenario doesn't allow this because
the PC hard drives are not all the same size, so with a raw image I would
at best have to settle for having the lowest common denominator as the C:
partition size on all the machines, and at worst have partition tables
which didn't work on all machines. 

> This works very well (takes about 10 minutes for a 300 Mb install).

Yes, I'm getting about the same speed over a HDX 10Mbps ethernet, good to
know I'm not loosing much speed due to vfat filesystem overhead.

> I still find it necessary to configure by hand at the end. The prinicipal
> problems being the ones you mention in your post to the SAMBA list - 
> setting the netbios hostname and Plug and Play problems at reboot.

Well, setting the netbios name was solved quite easily once I started
using a Linux boot disk instead of a DOS one.

The Linux boot disk uses bootpc to get its IP config from the server,
which also gives it the hn (hostname) tag.  There are stored as env

As one of the last steps before the routine reboots into Windows 95, it
does this:

(You may want to send your kids out of the room for this - it's not

[some site-specific lines removed]
(echo -e '@echo off\r'
 echo -e 'regedit awis-upd.reg > nul\r'
) > autoexec.bat

echo -e 'REGEDIT4\r
\r' > awis-upd.reg

I'm not positively sure the second ComputerName entry really needs to be
set - I've done some testing with it and it actually seems that not
setting it doesn't break anything (the correct name still comes up in
Network Setting's Identification tab, etc) but since the rest of the
Identification tab's settings (like Machine description) go into the
VNETSUP key, I thought I'd just play it safe and enter the info into both

I don't show it above, but I do several other things using this .REG file
as well, such as setting the machine description field to tell me the
version of the boot disk and install tree that were used, as well as the
date of the install.  Makes it easy to find things using smbclient -L.
The bit that does this is (also under VNETSET:

"Comment"="w/s '${CLIENTVER}/${DISKVER}' - '$(date +%Y/%m/%d)'"\r


Louis Mandelstam              Tel +27 83 227-0712   Symphony  /|\   /|\
Linux systems integration       Research {   } {   }
Johannesburg, South Africa    mailto:louis at (Pty)Ltd {___} {___}

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