PXE network boot to USB install anything

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Gotenks
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PXE network boot to USB install anything

Post by Gotenks » Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:40 am

I committed this to http://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/500 all ready but figure the more exposure the better. If you have any suggestions, complaints, thank you's I'd be interested to hear from you. Thanks.

I have a Toshiba Portege M200 which won't USB or USB CD/DVD boot so I borrowed a friends Windows laptop to PXE boot from. This allows me to actually install something onto the Portege M200 instead of having a paperweight.

Download and extract http://download.plop.at/files/ploplinux ... xeboot.zip to c:\. There should now be c:\tftpboot
Download and extract http://download.plop.at/files/ploplinux ... -4.1.1.zip to c:\tftpboot\ploplinux. Renaming ploplinux-4.1.1\ to ploplinux\ in the process
The folder will now show like this "C:\tftpboot\ploplinux\ploplinux\ploplinux"
Right-click ploplinux in C:\tftpboot. Properties > Sharing tab > Advanced Sharing > "Share this Folder" checkmarked > Permissions > give "Everyone" Full control including change and read access > ok > ok > apply and close
Open c:\tftpboot\ploplinux\pxelinux.cfg\default with Wordpad.
Now at the bottom add this line and change WINDOWS PC IP ADDRESS to your own: smbmount=//WINDOWS PC IP ADDRESS/ploplinux:"":""
Save and close the file
Download, extract and run Serva http://www.vercot.com/~serva/download.html from anywhere you wish with an administrator-level account (tftpd, dhcp, dns server)
Temporarily disable DHCP on your router
Click "Settings" and go to TFTP. Configure as shown

Image

Go to the DHCP tab and here is how mine looks:

Image

The settings here show my local IP as 192.168.2.13 which is what my router assigned via DHCP when it last gave me a IP. Windows retained the IP without me manually needing to set it.

IP pool 1st address starts at 192.168.2.30 which the DHCP server will assign to the PXE client. Size (/) is 10.
Boot file has to be: \ploplinux\pxelinux.0
Copy the same subnet mask as shown "/24". My router's IP address is 192.168.2.1. I put that under "Router".
Set the Domain Name Server to your own Windows PC IP address
Go to "DNS" tab and checkmark 'DNS Server'
Hit "Ok" > Close Serva > Open Serva.
Now boot your computer with LAN/Intel boot agent/PXE/network
Delete the shared C:\tftpboot folder to prevent networked computers from filling up your disk space
Turn your routers DHCP server back on
The PLOP boot manager will now load allowing either USB, CD or Floppy installs.

In case USB disk's won't boot/freezes/crashes because the computer does not support USB 2.0 for some reason: Go to Settings > options > change USB mode to 1.1 'Mode 1'. Then go back and hit USB to load your OS.

NOTES

Format the USB disk with gparted to fat32.

I downloaded and installed unetbootin to make an iso of "linuxmint-xfce-201104-dvd-32bit" successfully. Install would always crash unless I ensured the / (root partition) was ext4 (not ext4dev or btrfs sadly).

steev
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Re: PXE network boot to USB install anything

Post by steev » Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:17 pm

Thanks for the tutorial.

For those of us who don't have any Windows machines on our network, is there an easy way to set up a PXE server on Linux?

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Gotenks
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Re: PXE network boot to USB install anything

Post by Gotenks » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:07 am

steev wrote:Thanks for the tutorial.

For those of us who don't have any Windows machines on our network, is there an easy way to set up a PXE server on Linux?
There is a way to boot with Linux having a PXE server. See here for further information: http://www.plop.at/en/ploplinux.html#pxel
I'm not saying its easy like my tutorial, however it should help. I recommend setting up a Windows Virtualbox vm with Bridged adapter if your linux box has a GUI if there are no others on the network and if you'd still like to use this tut.

Ked
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Re: PXE network boot to USB install anything

Post by Ked » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:26 am

I have Linux Mint 11 installed on my main laptop now as a Windows replacement. I'm looking to put Mint on to my diskless Tosh netbook as well, so I've had a look in to how to setup my Mint laptop as a PXE boot server.

I found this HowTo, it's based around Ubuntu but seems to work pretty well for Mint:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1606910

I have followed it step by step and have got to the point where I can boot the netbook in to the PXE boot menu.

It uses a DHCP proxy which is ideal for home users who have crappy consumer routers that don't allow the extra PXE DHCP parameters to be stored. One supernoob mistake I made was leaving the mint firewall enabled (UFW). This blocked my PXE info and had me scratching my head for hours...

I now just need to work out what files to copy over to the tftp directory and setup a boot menu for Mint.

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Re: PXE network boot to USB install anything

Post by AlbertP » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:30 am

There's also a bootloader named PXELINUX. There is quite some documentation on setting it up using a Linux host on this page:
http://syslinux.zytor.com/wiki/index.php/PXELINUX
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