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Old 12-16-2007, 05:46 PM   #1
Labyrinth
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Network install on optiplex sx260 without CD


Hi,

I've received 2 sx260's from a bank since they were giving them to my school. The school had no use for them because they were completely wiped and there is no floppy drive, and there is no cdrom drive. I was wanting to set them up as some mini-servers for my own use.

I read the debian guides on installing over the network by setting up dhcpd and tftpd on a system, and that went well. Unfortunately, I don't see anywhere in the BIOS or in the boot menu that allows boot over the ethernet, nic, etc.

Is it possible for me to boot over the network? My bios is at A00, but I couldn't update that either since there's no floppy.

Thanks for any help!
 
Old 12-16-2007, 06:25 PM   #2
michaelk
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Look at the BIOS configuration for the NIC. Settings are On (default), Off, or On w/ MBA. Settings for On w/ MBA are PXE, RPL, BootP, or NetWare as the active boot mode. You should select PXE for the boot mode.
 
Old 12-16-2007, 10:07 PM   #3
Labyrinth
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Thanks so much, MichaelK. In the list of integrated devices in the BIOS, I'd just assumed the NIC was either on or off. Pressing the left/right arrow keys gave me the option to switch it to "On w/ PXE". There was no option for MBA, but that's probably because it's an old BIOS.
 
Old 12-17-2007, 01:33 AM   #4
Labyrinth
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The sx260 is now booting nicely via tftp.

I don't know if I need to make a separate post, but don't know how to install from a basic image like a basic cdrom iso. When I boot into the setup, it requires that I have a Debian mirror set up. I have looked around this forum and found one thread that said a separate partition was needed for each image if I couldn't use a mirror for Debian. It also included a link to a tutorial on how to make a multi-distro tftp server on ubuntu, but that tutorial didn't give a way to avoid connecting to the net to install the system.

Finally, I came across a site on backported d-i images, but it said:
Code:
You can't use CD and hd-media directly 
for network installation via TFTP,
because the configuration step is different.
Use netboot.tar.gz for TFTP installation
and mount CD image on your Web server
to get a custom kernel and files.
Does that mean I'll need to throw up a quick webserver, make my own little mirror for the image I want, and hack some file in the /tftdboot so it shows up? I can do that, but if there were just some way to point it to the cdrom on the tftp server...

Last edited by Labyrinth; 12-17-2007 at 01:34 AM. Reason: code needs horizontal scroll :(
 
Old 12-23-2007, 09:27 AM   #5
Labyrinth
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I finally got this to work, though I still wish I could have just pathed it to the install cd on the bootp computer.

Anyway, I had to set up squid and make sure it was working correctly. Then it was just a matter of pathing it correctly during the setup. When it asks for the proxy, you just enter http://<ip-number-of-dhcp/bootp-machine>:<proxy-port-number> and if you set up the proxy correctly, you should be good to go.
 
  


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