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Firmware console redirection

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Firmware console redirection

Firmware can provide redirection before the operating system starts. See the System-state diagram for a visual overview of how firmware and Emergency Management Services console redirection work together.

Types of firmware include both basic input/output system (BIOS) for x86-based computers and Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) for Itanium-based computers. You can perform the following remote-management tasks using firmware console redirection:

  • View the power-on self-test (POST) status remotely. Typically, computers with firmware that supports console redirection allow a system to complete the POST without a keyboard, mouse, or display device attached.

  • View and edit firmware settings remotely. You can use the built-in firmware configuration program to change computer hardware settings.

  • Start a Remote Installation Services (RIS)-based setup. If the firmware supports Pre-Boot execution Environment (PXE), you can use firmware console redirection to initiate Remote Installation Services (RIS)-based setups. In order to support PXE, the firmware must recognize the network adapter as a boot device. If necessary, the firmware must also allow you to change the settings of the BIOS boot order. For more information, see RIS and PXE requirements.

  • Respond to the prompt remotely when starting your computer. Press any Key to Boot from CD You can do this by using the operating system CD. Before you begin a CD-based Windows Server 2003 operating system setup, enable firmware console redirection so you can view and respond to this prompt remotely. Your computer's BIOS must support the bootable CD (no emulation mode) format. Check with your computer manufacturer if you do not know whether your BIOS includes this feature. The BIOS specifies the boot order. The CD-ROM should be listed as the first boot device. Emergency Management Services is self-configured during a bootable CD installation by reading the Serial Port Console Redirection (SPCR) table.


  • The firmware must be able to release control of the serial port to the operating system when the operating system starts.

  • Firmware console redirection is typically available in text mode only.

Without firmware console redirection, you cannot perform out-of-band remote management during the period of time between system restart and the initial load phase of the Windows Server 2003 operating system. When firmware redirection is coupled with Emergency Management Services, however, you can manage and monitor a server remotely as soon as the POST process begins and until the operating system components are initialized. It is recommended that the firmware support the SPCR table. For more information, see Enabling the SPCR table.

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