AoE (Install Driver - Windows NT 6.*)

The screenshots in this section were captured on a Windows 7 (SP1) system. The instructions in this section also apply to installing AoE on Windows 8.1 (including Update 1) and possibly other NT 6.* versions of Windows. Attempts to network boot Windows 8/8.1/10 have so far proved unsuccessful when using the AoE driver - try using iSCSI on these systems.

64-bit Driver Signing

Microsoft introduced a Driver Signing Policy in Windows Vista and later versions of Windows (see here). Unsigned drivers, including the AoE driver, cannot be installed in 64-bit versions of Windows unless certain settings are changed. The requirement for digitally signed drivers was introduced in 64-bit Windows as a security measure - unfortunately the costs of obtaining a digital certificate can be prohibitive.

The current release of the WinAoE driver is version 0.97g - the official download (refer to the WinAoE site) does not contain a digitally signed driver and I have not found a method of installing the official release on 64-bit Windows. An alternative self-signed version of the driver is available, however I am unsure of its origins - click here to download the file(s). Unfortunately this alternative driver package is the only way of installing WinAoE on 64-bit versions of Windows.

There are various documented methods for installing drivers without a valid digital signature (this includes the self-signed version of WinAoE), including combinations of the following -

In my own tests the only reliable method I have found involved completing the following steps BEFORE installing the AoE Driver -

  1. Edit the system BCD store and set TESTSIGNING ON (run the following command in an administrator command prompt bcdedit /set {default} TESTSIGNING ON). After applying this setting the system must be rebooted to apply the change. Following the reboot a Test Mode watermark will appear on the desktop.
  1. After checking the Test Mode setting was applied correctly in step 1 > reboot the PC and press the F8 key to enter the Advanced Boot Options menu > select Disable Driver Signature Enforcement. Tip - pressing the F8 key at the right time can be difficult - to automatically display the Advanced Boot Options menu at start-up, edit the BCD store and set ADVANCEDOPTIONS YES (e.g. bcdedit /set {default} ADVANCEDOPTIONS YES).
  1. Install the AoE driver following the instructions in the Installing the AoE Driver section of this page.
  1. If the BCD store was modified in step 2 with the ADVANCEDOPTIONS YES option added, disable this option by running the bcdedit command with ADVANCEDOPTIONS NO - the Advanced Boot Options > Disable Driver Signature Enforcement is only required when installing the driver.

NOTE - Test Mode (BCD > TESTSIGNING ON) MUST be left enabled in order for the AoE driver to be loaded for diskless boot.

Installing the AoE Driver

Start the Add Hardware Wizard (e.g. windows key + R (to open a Run dialog box) and type hdwwiz.exe) - this should open a windows similar to the screenshot below (Welcome to the Add Hardware Wizard). Click on Next -

Select Install the hardware that I manually select from a list (Advanced), then click on Next -

When prompted to select the type of hardware you are installing, scroll down the list and select Storage controllers, then click on Next -

When prompted to select the device driver you want to install for this hardware, click on Have Disk... -

The preceding step will open the Install From Disk window, click on Browse... -

Now browse to the folder containing your AoE drivers and select aoe.inf

The folder path to the AoE driver should be displayed in the Copy manufacturer's files from: field. Click on OK -

Ensure that AoE Driver is displayed in the Model field and click on Next -

The wizard is ready to install your hardware screen should now display the AoE Driver, click on Next -

A Windows Security warning will be displayed. Click on the Install this driver software anyway option -

Assuming the driver installed without any problems you should see a screen similar to the following. Click on Finish -

Document date - 28th February 2017(DRAFT)