Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm trying to perform a Network install of Debian on a spare PC I have. I'm using Windows XP Pro as my "server" machine and the "client" has a clean Hard Drive with several network cards in that can use PXE. I've managed to find several useful guides on how to do this BUT at crucial points the information seems to become a little sparse.

Firstly on Windows XP Pro "server" I have downloaded, installed, set up a TFTP server from SolarWinds. I have a modem/router that is set to DHCP mode, and I have downloaded and copied into the TFTP directory the Debian net install files.

The errors on the client appear to be that it can not find the Debian net install files as after a while it gets a MAC address and an IP number (this was confirmed by looking in routers client list which had a new entry) but then I get error messages indicating no boot image found.

After further reading and fiddling my problem(s) may be at various stages.

  1. Should I disable DHCP in modem/router and set up DHCP on the windows "server"? If so how do I do this, or where can I find out how to do this? If I do this does my "client" machine need to be connected directly to the "server" by network cable or can it go via modem/router?
  2. Have I got the best TFTP software for doing this job? If not what would be better and where do i get it from?
  3. Which file(s) do i need to perform the network install of Debian? It is not 100% clear which exact files should be used so I ended up copying lots of different ones into the TFTP directory in the hope one of them would be correct.

Thanks in advance..


share|improve this question

DHCP needs to tell the client what tftp server and what filename to use. The DHCP servers on most modem/routers won't have a way of letting you do that, so you'll want to setup your own dhcp server which does. There is a very nice little portable tftp/dhcp server for Windows, though I can't remember it's name off-hand.

You would probably be best doing the net install using a Linux server, maybe try a Live CD? The instructions for doing this are very good, and there is plenty of other documentation and tutorials on doing it too.

I can't remember off-hand which files you need to netinstall Debian, but the documentation on setting it up on a Linux server should give you a good idea what is needed.

share|improve this answer
Would the TFTP software be called Tftpd32: – ianfuture Jan 8 '10 at 16:22

I would use VirtualBox to manually build a linux server on your Windows machine.

Then use the instructions I have at Auto Build Debian Hosts using PXEBoot and PreSeed files in order to auto-install Debian via a PXE boot process.

I use dnsmasq for the dhcp server, and use debian's netboot.tar.gz for the pxe boot mechanism, and I've built a python script to make adjustments to a debian preseed file.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .