How to set up BOINCpe

BOINCpe-LogoThis brief introduction is to be seen as Quick Start Guide to basically get a host up and running using BOINCpe (download). It is pretty easy to achieve this, following only a few simple steps. However, the machine will still need a monitor, keyboard, and mouse in order to be able to manually configure the BOINC settings after booting the machine. Please note that your temporary data will be lost on reboot using this simple configuration unless you do not manually perform a backup (applies to BOINC Work Unit data, BOINC configuration, etc.).

Step #1: Check network settings

Check/Edit file .\plugin\penetcfg\penetcfg.ini (not penetcfg.inf)

BOINCpe is configured to discover an IP address via DHCP by default. If you do not have a DHCP server in your network, you might have to manually configure the settings (including gateway and DNS server) manually in section [NetAdapter1].

Step #2: Burn your bootable BOINCpe-CD

Start Bart’s pebuilder.exe and set the directories accordingly. As Source you will have to set a path to Windows® XP™ or 2003 installation files (XP™ Home Edition is sufficient). You will need to own a proper Microsoft Windows® licence for your version of BOINCpe – just as for a standalone installation.
Please find additional information on these steps on Bart’s Homepage: Getting started with BartPE.

BOINCpe: SMP plugin (PE Builder)If your BOINCpe host-to-be has a fancy dual core, quad core, or even multiple processors, please enable the plugin „multi processor – SetValue TXTSETUP.SIF“ (see screenshot).

We recommend to use a rewritable disc (CD-RW) because it usually takes some tries until all settings are properly configured for BOINCpe to operate smoothly.

Important: When building the image you can add your own BartPE plugins. But please do not disable any of the plugins enabled by default.


Step #3: Boot up BOINCpe

BOINCpe betaAll should be fine by now. After BOINCpe was started, you should see the windows for boinc.exe (console) as well as the BOINC Manager. You can configure the client the usual way.

If you want to use BOINCpe for a cluster, farm or similar you might want to have a look at the Advanced Configuration.

On further issues, please have a look at the BOINCpe FAQ or leave a comment.

10 Gedanken zu “How to set up BOINCpe

  1. Joachim Gierschek

    Vielleicht könnte man diese Seite auch in deutsch anbieten, für Leute die dann des Englischen doch nicht so mächtig sind.

  2. Simon Zadra (KWSN - Chicken of Angnor)

    Hi Torben,

    I’ve been using BoincPE on a test host for a week or so now. Works nicely, but I do have some suggestions.

    First off, the persistency service should use a shorter interval than 12 hours. Many people overclock their computer, some have power outages. It could (and did) happen that a system crash eats a large number of WUs and then the host „forgets“ about them because they were only on the RAMdisk, not the network share.

    So I used the Task Planner to reset the interval, which is pretty simple. Still, a shorter interval (say, 1 hour default?) would be great (I’m using 15 minutes, myself).

    This should probably be added to the advanced configuration section.

    Also, the network sharing setup could use a little more documentation. I figured out how it works just fine, but it took a bit of testing to get it right.

    You should also add (could be commented out by default) some lines like this to penetcfg.ini to make things easier for novice users –
    ;To automatically start the file sharing service (required for UltraVNC) set this to „Yes“
    ;StartFileSharingService = Yes
    ;To automatically share all available drives set this to Yes
    ;ShareDriveRoots = Yes

    Took me a bit of digging around to find them in the penetcfg docs.

    Keep up the good work 🙂
    Simon.

  3. Simon Zadra (KWSN - Chicken of Angnor)

    Forgot something – it would be great if you could set up the persistency service to be able to choose between using:

    1) a network share
    2) a local disk (HD/USB-Stick/whatever)

    That would make BoincPE even more flexible and reduce the requirements.

    Cheers,
    Simon.

  4. Torben Artikel Autor

    Hi Simon,

    thanks for your feedback. Here are some comments:

    regarding persistency service backup interval:
    Most likely, I’ll be switching to one of the many more flexible and more lightweight cron-like implementations for Windows in one of the upcoming releases. This will enable everyone to set the interval much more comfortably.
    Though, I still think that a backup is not necessary too often in „productive“ operation. It’s different when you are testing things out. If it’s configurable, everybody will be free to choose easily… 🙂

    regarding documentation:
    I’ll do some further documentation inside the scripts as time comes.
    Still, it’s already pretty readable and there are quite some output messages as well.

    regarding penetcfg.ini:
    Yes, it’s indeed a very basic config file so far. I’ll adopt your recommendations for the next version.

    regarding persistency service backup on different target devices:
    I’m not sure, this would reduce requirements? Would it?
    Anyway, the idea is not too bad. Problem is, though: There’s no way of determining the drive letter of the connected drive before having booted. It’s either guessing or try and error…
    It would be possible to write e.g. on the first drive letter that’s writable and that is not the RAM-Disk. I’ll think about it some time.

    Thanks.
    Torben

  5. Bruce

    Ooops. I forgot. This is great software. I’ve been running it for a week now (plain Jane, no backups or anything) just crunching. I like it!!

    I’ll start playing with the settings when I get a few minutes.

  6. Simon Zadra (KWSN - Chicken of Angnor)

    Hi Torben,

    I’ve run into a small problem with the default configuration – the RAMdisk size at 128 MB is really too small. I’m running a Pentium-D system with ~1500 RAC with BOINCpe, and its work cache got too large very quickly, causing disk errors because there was no space.

    A default size of 256 MB may be better; a quick note on the how-to setup about this may help people to not run into trouble.

    As for reducing requirements, you would no longer need a second host on the network to save data to, just any kind of volume. USB stick, HD, whatever. This means you can run it on a solo machine vs. having to have two.

    Regards,
    Simon.

  7. Torben Artikel Autor

    Hi Simon,

    as said above, I will have a look into a dynamic RAM disk size for one of the upcoming versions.
    Until then, you can configure the RAM disk size manually. This is fairly easy to accomplish. There’s already a short note on how to do this in the FAQ…

    As for the reduced req.: I expect anyone running a farm of several dedicated BOINC machines to have a server in his/her LAN.
    I have to see how much time is left…

    Torben

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