in order now:
I fixed the problem, but created two new ones in the process.
Here's what happened:
The root of the problem is when my SAS disk is formatted during the provisioning process, the OS complains that "track 0 is bad." I noticed the blade.img uses a Windows 98 kernel, a FreeDOS fdisk, and a windows 98 format program. Since fdisk and format are dependent on each other, it seemed reasonable to use ones that matched.
I downloaded the FreeDOS format command, and the disk formatted without a complaint (finally!)
Now I have TWO new problems however. First, the formatted disk behaves as if it's corrupted. For instance, you can copy files to it manually without an error. When you do a 'dir' on the filesystem, they're gone. The second problem is that the BMI commands throw a page fault after the format is completed.
What's the deal with our mix and match use of Windows 98 and FreeDOS binaries? In addition, there are posts indicating that a DOS 6.22 format works better? What about FAT16 vs FAT32 w/FreeDOS (according to the FreeDOS release notes, there are corruption problems which occur when you use FreeDOS format with a Windows kernel and a fat32 filesystem.)
its not freeDOS fdisk...
The fdisk.exe in the blade.img from 7.3.1 was written by Brian Reifsnyder. I googled that to get the help file, and this is what I get:
FreeDOS FDISK Version 1.0
Written By: Brian E. Reifsnyder
FDISK Runs FreeDOS FDISK in interactive mode.
FDISK /? /NOPAUSE Displays this help information.
FreeDOS FDISK compatibility switches:
Let me know if I should be using something different.
Alright, I think I've found the problem.
According to "Windows Server 2003 on HP Proliant Servers" there is a COMPAQ specific set of utilities for formatting and partitioning drives in a Compaq disk array.
The Compaq equivalent of fdisk is cpqdisk.exe; the format equivalent is cpqfmt.exe.
you can put them on the pxestore share and they should be available on k: from the target system.
Yeah, that's a good point. The existing FDISK on the boot image should be able to blow away any existing partitions. And then the Compaq-specific utilities could be placed on the SMB share.
That would save the trouble of creating a new blade.img.