Case of the Troublesome OptiPlex 390

We got in a batch of new Optiplex 390s recently and our Windows XP image just wouldn’t work on them.  The image would come down, Windows XP would boot once through the SYSPREP process and then I would get a lovely BSOD of 0x000000ED with UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME on the 2nd boot.  This wasn’t the famous STOP 7B error I was use to, but something else.  I had added support for the Optiplex 390 over a year ago, so this was quite odd.  I took another Optiplex 390 and imaged that as well (thinking I had a possible hardware issue on my hands) and got the same thing.  These were the exact same symptoms from the WinPE uberbug and I eventually found this article over at Dell.  I am using WinPE 3.0, so I patched it with KB982018.  No go.  I even took my “uberbug script” out and no joy.

I then stumbled upon this thread, again at Dell, and it sparked something.  I did have ExtendOEMpartition=1 in my sysprep.inf file.  It has been there for years, never causing a problem.  I mounted the WIM using ImageX, changed ExtendOEMpartition to 0 in C:sysprepsysprep.inf and then re-imaged and bang: success!  It appears that SYSPREP doesn’t understand the new aligning procedure for these hard drives and makes certain assumptions, which of course are now incorrect.

HP has a very decent whitepaper on the issue here and if that’s not available, it’s also here on my web site in case they decide to remove it.  Supposedly, Vista with SP1 and later do not have the issue and neither does WinPE 3.1 or beyond.

Windows XP: I wish I could quit you, but I can’t!

– Soli Deo Gloria