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I have an old unuseable computer at home that became useless after a hard disk failure. I don't want to spend money on buying a new PATA IDE HDD for it, so I was wondering if I can use a PXE boot server on my notebook(using a virtual machine with Linux) and boot a Linux on the old machine with PXE without using Hard Disk. It is possible? Do I will need to make some extra configuration or use some specific enviroment do do this?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes, that is possible. In fact, it's even feasible... Provided your notebook supports PXE booting, of course. Though I've never personally tried it. Your laptop would have a decent shot at it being workable if you have a fair bit of RAM in there, as you won't have swap.

There are some instructions to get PXE booting going here. You can also search further, of course.

If, by chance, PXE booting is a dead end for you, then I'd setup Linux on a bootable USB drive and run off that... In fact, I'd do that long before PXE, myself.

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+1 for flashdrive. If a computer is new enough to support PXE booting, it probably supports USB booting as well – Earlz Jul 20 '11 at 16:43
The client would also need to support PXE booting. A usb thumb drive or livecd are probably the better solutions. – Joe Internet Jul 20 '11 at 18:59

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