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Old 01-10-2009, 04:11 AM   #1
Mad Professor
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PXE Install/Boot Server, need help

I'm trying to setup a PXE Server. I want to just mount the .iso then add it to the pxe menu. This includes Windows oem disc images and linux distro's, also some utilities like clonezilla, ultimate boot cd, stuff like that.
But I'm not aiming for automation, just a place where I don't need a disc to do a wipe and reload on a box or screwing around with linux distro's or doing diagnostics on machine.

I just want everything in one place and only a network cable away.
Thats my goal.

I can't seem to get it to work.

I'm using centos 5.2 on my bitch box *test bed* before I put it on my server, which is centOS 5.

The DHCP Server is a pfsense box and it has a option to set the network booting server.

I set that to

I've been using these documentations as reference

and google.

But it seems like redhat/centos change the way pxe servers are setup.

I'm trying to learn the basics but I'm failing at that.

I did

yum install system-config-netboot

which download three packages, syslinux, tftp-server and something else, I can't remember. When it did that, It created a directory in the tftpboot folder called "linux-install" which had some of the pxe stuff, like pxelinux.0 and pxelinux.cfg

I installed NFS Server, tried to add a share which was a mounted centos dvd, which was all fine and dandy.

Tried to add it as a network install in "Network Booting Tool" which it kept refusing or broke the tool. Looked at the log and it mounted the share and then unmounted it.

in the end I didn't get anywhere.

I'm probably doing it wrong, or not using it as intended.

Any help appreciated.
Old 01-11-2009, 02:30 AM   #2
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I'm not familiar with the "Network booting tool", but I've set this up several times before on Fedora and CentOS machines.

First thing, did you configure DHCP correctly (i.e. with a next-server and filename option in the appropriate scope) so that clients will download pxelinux's boot stub (pxelinux.0)?

Next thing, how did you configure pxelinux? You need at least a /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/default (you can have different files so different IPs get different boot options -- please see the pxelinux documentation for more details). You'll need to have the kernel and initrd from the install media available for download via TFTP, as I don't think the pxelinux boot stub can load a kernel/initrd from an NFS export --you'll need the kernel up and running to mount the NFS filesystem).

Essentially, let us know at which step things are failing from the client's perspective (can it load the pxelinux.0 file from TFTP? If so, can get to the stage where it tries to download the kernel/initrd?).
Old 01-11-2009, 11:23 AM   #3
Mad Professor
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Thanks to the Network booting tool I have an idea of the configs.
But the network booting tool is really limited to redhat installs that have the /images/pxeboot directory. Thats against what I'm trying to accomplish.

I have TFTP and DHCP setup correctly the client is booting, but how does one get all the media he needs to boot through the network?

Centos5 was easy because its kernel and ramdisk were setup up to do network installs.

I'm not trying to do a diskless boot but trying to setup a INSTALL server for all my media like the centos5, ubuntu, linux distro's in genral along with windows vista/xp/2000 setup. I def. want the ultimate boot cd on there for diagnostic purposes.

any ideas?

DHCP pfsense

TFTP Directory


Thats how centos 5 set it up when I did the yum install.

Last edited by Mad Professor; 01-11-2009 at 11:31 AM.
Old 09-05-2010, 08:59 AM   #4
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Hey if you're still looking to get this done, I just did it, look at my thread:

Now I have a fully functional PXE boot, and I am looking to do just like you wnat to do, i.e. have other utilities available... no more bootable cd's all over the place, no more usb sticks... all in the same place...


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