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I see lots of guides showing very detailed steps on booting into various OS's, but none of the files are explained. It is not clear to me which files part of the PXE server, or are the Network Bootstrap Program, or the actual files/image that will be booted from. I.e. there is no explanation of these things, just do this do this do this. That makes it hard for me to understand it well enough to then apply the techniques to other scenarios.

I just want the PXE to boot from the remote DVD image as if it were in a drive on the local machine. I see some funky stuff, like in one case they boot into Windows PE, mount the remote image and then run setup.exe from it. This won't work for other bootable images like pfsense. On that note, the standard pfsense ISO doesn't work out of the box with PXE from what I've seen.

I just want something that will let me download standard ISO files meant for bootable CD/DVD and put it on the PXE server and have the client boot from that image. I find myself installing a wide variety of OS's and I don't want to be burning CD's all the time.

Is it not possible to just have PXE serve a ISO as if it were a DVD on the client?

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1 Answer 1

You can boot ISO images with PXELinux.

We actually have our Windows Deployment Server (WDS) using PXELinux for the initial menu. In the boot menu (pxelinux.cfg\default), we can add ISOs from which to boot, in addition to the WIM images that WDS can boot natively.

For example, in the menu, we have a MemTest86 ISO. We just append the iso parameter and specify the name of the ISO file. Its menu entry looks like this:

LABEL Memtest86
 MENU LABEL Memtest86
 KERNEL memdisk keeppxe
 APPEND iso initrd=Memtest86_4.0a.iso
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If I have an ISO that is larger than the size of the client's memory, is that going to be a problem? –  AaronLS Aug 6 '12 at 20:42
    
I don't know enough about PXE to answer that. –  Patrick S. Aug 10 '12 at 17:25
    
@AronLS Yes it will be a problem; you will not be able to boot that ISO –  Pat Jun 9 at 20:05

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