PXE Boot Server Brief
PXE was introduced as part of the Wired for Management framework by Intel, it’s short for Preboot eXecution Environment or Pre-Execution Environment. Nutshell, PXE boot server is a combination of DHCP server and TFTP server. It responds requests from diskless stations over network, allocates IP addresses via DHCP for them, pushes necessary data to these stations so that they can boot on LAN even without a harddisk. CCBoot supports install windows 7 via pxe boot .
How to configure windows pxe server. With PXE boot server. diskless computers booting process is as bellow:Power on – BIOS – PXE stack built-in the NIC (Network Information Center)- NBP (Network Boot Program) downloading from server to client’s RAM by TFTP- NBP’s responsibility to perform the next step (a.k.a. 2nd stage boot).
Benifits of PXE boot server
- 1, Reduce initial capital and implementation costs, reduce power and cooling requirements, reduce complexity and risk.
- 2, Accelerate deployments, upgrades, and server repurposing.
- 3, Implement enhanced Disaster Recovery solutions.
As an administrator responsible for a network of dozens of computers or more, PXE boot server program will be very helpful. it can handle Windows XP, 2003, Vista, Windows 7 and 2008 booting. PXE boot server software will drastically reduce your daily workload. If you want to install or upgrade various softwares for all computers in the network, you just need to do operate the boot image, then all computers using this image can get changed after rebbot. It can also bring you enhanced Disaster Recovery solutions, all computers will get into a clean OS after reboot.
In this article, we will introduce a Windows based PXE boot server software – CCBoot.
Install PXE Boot Server with CCBoot and Use It for Network Booting Windows
- Install PXE Boot Server with CCBoot
Download PXE boot server software – CCBoot server installation package from – http://www.ccboot.com/download.htm .
Launch ccbootsetup.exe on the PXE boot server and keep press the next button to the end.
CCBoot will use the following ports – 67 (DHCP), 69 (TFTP), 3260 (iSCSI), 1000 (Image Upload), 8001 (Service Control). You need to open these ports in the firewall of the PXE boot server. Since CCBoot v2.1, you also need to open port 66. V2.1 uses port 66 as DHCP backup.
Note: Please shut down the other DHCP services on the LAN especially the DHCP service in the router.
Launch CCBoot and you will get the main interface as bellow:
Server IP: 192.168.1.10
DNS Address: 192.168.1.1
IP Mask: 255.255.255.0
DHCP Range: 192.168.1.101-192.168.1.254
Launch the PXE boot server software – CCBoot, menu Options – Options Wizard and configure step by step as bellow:
You need to select the correct local IP address as DHCP Server IP . Press Scan DHCP to check if there are other DHCP services on the LAN. You need to stop other DHCP services on the LAN.
Set Server IP Address . Normally, it’s the same as DHCP Server IP .
Set Write-back File Path and Image Save Path as you want.
Write-back File Path is used to store the clients’ write-back data. You’d better use a big volume hard disk as Write-back File Path . This disk should be formatted as NTFS and 64K bytes per cluster.
Image Save Path is used to store the boot images. This disk should be also formatted as NTFS and 64K bytes per cluster. You’d better use a fast speed hard disk as Image Save Path . For example, use an SAS hard disk.
Keep default values in Server Cache Settings .
Keep default values in Other Settings . Press the Finish button and confirm the popup dialog box.
To network boot Windows XP with the PXE boot server software – CCBoot, we first of all need to create a system image and here’re the steps –
- Choose one client PC as master PC used to upload image to the PXE boot server. Attach a hard disk on the PC.
- Delete all partitions first. Allocate a small MBR partition about 40G size and leave the rest unallocated. Format the 40G partition with NTFS. Install Windows XP and the latest SP into this partition.
- After complete Windows installation, open the local area connection network properties and configure as bellow:
Select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and click Properties .
Select Obtain an IP address automatically and Obtain DNS server address automatically , then click OK to save.
Note: CCBoot supports two types image file format. It supports VMDK if you are using Windows 2003 as CCBoot server system. It will support both VMDK and VHD if you are using Windows 7 or Windows 2008. As you can see in Figure 12, the file format depends on what you have set for Image File Name . For example, XP01.vmdk and XP01.vhd .
- On the PXE boot server, open CCBoot main window, double click PC101 (Figure 10) to open the master PC’s properties dialog box, uncheck Enable Upload Image and Keep Write-back File .
- Remove the HDD from the master PC, set it firstly boot from LAN (or network, PXE rom, or some similar settings) in BIOS settings so that it will start network booting Windows XP from the PXE boot server.(Figure 13).
- The first time booting Windows XP from the PXE boot server, you can modify its computer name (Figure 14).
Set the computer name as you wish then press enter key to boot it (Figure 15).
- On CCBoot server, Options – Settings – Default Client Settings – Disk Group – press the button, select XP01.vmdk as the default boot image in System Image Selection section.
- Do the same as Step 2 and Step 3 for other client PCs with the same specifications as the master PC to network boot Windows XP for them.
PXE Boot Server for Windows 7.
PXE Boot Server for Vista.
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