I was tasked with installing Linux on different machines for my university and I did it by using PXE. At least I thought I did. I followed a guide and now I'm able to boot via network, but only one PC at a time. I was under the impression that this system would allow for multiple PCs to boot using the same image provided by the PXE server. The second machine always freezes up and kills the first one as well.

So maybe I should install the image provided by the server rather than just booting from it? How would I go on about this?

To sum up: I have four PCs, all need the same OS (including software). The PXE boot works great for one PC but not for more than that. I just need a way to distribute the image that is present on my server to all four PCs - does not matter if I have to install it or boot via network. I just don't want to install the OS + all necessary software for one PC at a time. Or is it possible to install the currently running OS while it's running?

  • Technically PXE Boot and PXE install are the same thing but the loaded tools through PXE determine what you can do. Without knowing the Linux system you're using - such as CloneZilla for actual imaging or DRBL (Diskless Remote Boot Linux) which allows running a live Linux session across the network (runs in RAM - hence "diskless"). If you can boot a linux session and it stops the other then you may be using DRBL but only have some configuration to allow one client at a time. If you need to remote install Linux then you should probably consider a CloneZilla solution as this is what it's for. – Kinnectus Jun 27 '17 at 9:11
  • I followed this guide. As this system is already configured to my liking, is it possible to locally install this version using the DRBL approach or would I need to start over using CloneZilla? – trecoolio Jun 27 '17 at 9:20
  • One of the easiest FREE solutions is FOGProject. You'll need a Linux box and the guide. Alternatively, there's always SCCM if you're a Microsoft site... – Kinnectus Jan 9 '18 at 18:53

In the Linux world the PXE boot process consists of network booting a kernel/initrd set. When this booting process ends up by loading i.e. a compressed live image of an OS we call it PXE boot, on the other hand if the PXE boot process ends up by triggering an OS install sequence we call it PXE install.

A well configured PXE server will be able to serve many images to many PXE clients simultaneously. The interference among clients that you mention could be probably triggered by some TFTP/HTTP server side effect where i.e. an error condition is triggered when receiving a transfer request for a file that is currently being served by the invoked service. You should check that these transfer services are correctly configured.

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