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Invalid Partition Table


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I've been using SDE without any serious problems for some time now. Yesterday I hit a brick wall deploying to a new laptop (Dell E6430 ATG). I used the Media Wizard to create Offline Bootable Media from a Windows 7 WIM, just like always. I formatted a USB flash drive to NTFS using the Media Wizard and copied the appropriate PPK and WIM files to the drive. When I boot using this flash drive on the target laptop, I get a boot-time error that says "Invalid Partition Table!"

I have tried 3 different flash drives and reformatted them each multiple times and continue to get the same error.

If I build boot media only (no deployment image) I get the same error.

If I burn the boot image to a CD, the laptop boots to the SDE interface but as soon as I click "Deploy an Image" the dialog turns completely white and does not go any further (even after leaving it on overnight).

I'm going to try some other things but at this point I'd like to know (1) why this is happening and (2) how to get my image deployed to this laptop! :)



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I'm wondering if this issue is related to the use of UEFI (instead of traditional BIOS) on newer laptops. I tested my bootable images on a new HP laptop with the same error.

A google search reveals that UEFI systems have a problem booting from NTFS-formatted drives, and require FAT32-formatted drives. Since SmartDeploy's Media Wizard does NTFS formatting, that could well be the issue.

See: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/matt-harrington/archive/2012/03/27/how-to-create-a-bootable-usb-drive-from-an-iso-image-for-uefi-systems.aspx

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Update: I worked with SDE Support via email and they helped me work through the issue by manually using the "diskpart" command line utility to format the thumb drive and mark it active:

From an elevated command window, run the following commands:

1. Diskpart

2. List Disk (determine which disk is your USB stick, probably disk 1 if you only have 1 hard drive)

3. Select Disk 1 (use the correct disk number here)

4. Detail Disk (ensure you have your USB drive selected)

5. Clean (this destroys all data)

6. Create partition primary

7. Active

8. Format quick fs=ntfs

9. Assign letter e: (any drive letter that works is fine)

10. Exit

11. Re-run Media Wizard to create the bootable USB drive

In addition, the white screen issue when attempting to deploy from CD media was due to a glitch in the older version of SDE I was using to create it. That is resolved as well.

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