How to install OS through Network boot (step by step)

Boot from LAN is really useful if you have lots of computers. This article will guide you how to install OS through Network boot.

Introduction

Since the early versions of AIO Boot, this tool has supported booting from the LAN. It supports you to do a lot of work such as installing OS, running tools to Ghost, managing partitions, backup and recovery.

How to install OS through Network boot (step by step)

You just need a computer to replace the other bootable devices like USB, HDD and DVD… Of course, clients need to have a local area network connection with the server and have network boot support. If you boot from USB, the bootloader and the operating system will use the files on it. USB. If you boot from the LAN, the boot loader and operating systems will download the necessary files from the LAN. The advantage of network booting is that you will not need to attach boot devices to clients (except cables). If the data transfer rate in your LAN is slower than the read/write speed of boot devices such as USB, HDD or DVD, the speed is the downside of this method.

AIO Boot supports Windows installation from network boot. You can install Windows by integrating ISO and using the Windows Installer or booting into WinPE and installing Windows manually. Most Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Debian, Linux Mint, Arch Linux are also supported.

Configure PXE server

To boot from LAN, you need to have a PXE server, a DHCP server, and a server to share files. You just need a computer to do all this.

AIO Boot uses Tiny PXE Server to create PXE server and DHCP server. Run AIOCreator.exe, select Run PXE and select mode to run Tiny PXE Server.

Boot from LAN
AIO Boot uses iPXE as boot loader, which supports both legacy BIOS and UEFI (32-bit and 64-bit) modes.

Tiny PXE Server will run and be preconfigured.

Tiny PXE Server

If the configuration is not correct, reconfigure it.

  1. Option 54 (DHCP Server): The IP address of the computer running Tiny PXE Server. This list contains the IP addresses of network adapters (including VirtualBox and VMware). You need to select the correct IP address in the same local area network of the clients.
  2. Filename: Boot file of iPXE, you can choose another boot file in the /AIO folder if the current file does not work on the client.
    • Legacyundionly.kpxeundionly.kkpxeipxe.pxe and intel.pxe.
    • UEFI 64-bitipxe64.efisnponly64.efi and intel64.efi.
    • UEFI 32-bitipxe32.efisnponly32.efi and intel32.efi.
  3. After reconfiguring, click the Offline and Online buttons for the changes to take effect.

For Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Debian, I use FreeNFS to create NFS servers. You do not need any further configuration.

Share Folder or Drive

If the files you need are already on the client, just use it. But if the files are not on the client computer, of course you need to get it from another computer. You can download it from the Internet but the speed will be much slower than the local area network.

First, copy all the necessary files to a folder and then share it. Or share a drive. See the Guide to Share a Folder or Drive from Microsoft.

Here are the steps I share the AIO Boot drive:

How to share files between computers on same network

  1. Right-click on the AIO Boot drive and select Properties.
  2. Switch to the Sharing tab.
  3. Select Advanced Sharing…
  4. Check the Share this folder box.
  5. Enter a name for the Share name.
  6. Click OK.
  7. The Network Path is what I need to get, here is \\Whoami\g.

Install Windows

Since AIO Boot v0.9.7.5, you can install Windows from network boot using the Windows Installer. Here are step by step:

  1. Run AIOCreator.exe and integrate Windows ISO file into AIO Boot.
  2. Share AIO Boot Drive.
  3. Run PXE and boot into PXE on clients.
  4. This is the iPXE menu of AIO Boot. Access the WinPE & Setup menu and boot into the Windows menu that you integrated in step 1.
    iPXE menu
    iPXE wimboot
  5. Enter the Network Path you shared in step 2 when asked. You can enter Network Path|Username|Password if the server has Username and Password.
    How to install Windows from network boot step by step
  6. Enter the username and password that you used to share the AIO Boot drive. Or you can Turn off password protected sharing. The password is not displayed when you type it at the password prompt.
    Enter the username for net use
  7. If the information is correct, the Windows Installer will appear. You can then install Windows from Network boot using the same steps as using a USB or DVD.
    install windows from network pxe

The above steps will help you to install Windows easily. There is another method that you can use for many other purposes. That’s using WinPE.

  1. Download WinPE and integrate it into the AIO Boot as instructed in the Readme.txt file.
  2. Boot into WinPE from network boot.
  3. Use the net use command to connect to the drive or folder you have shared. Here I will attach the Network Path to the Z: drive.
    net use Z: \\Whoami\g
  4. Now you can mount Windows ISO files or use the dism command to install Windows. From WinPE, you can run diskpart command to partition before installation. Or run the tools from the folder you have shared, or Ghost…

Linux

AIO Boot also supports booting and installing many Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Debian, Linux Mint, CentOS, Arch Linux… Just run AIOCreator.exe and integrate the Linux distributions. Then boot from the LAN, it will appear in the iPXE menu if it is supported.

Here is an incomplete list of Linux distributions that support booting from a LAN:

  • 4MParted
  • 4MRecover
  • Antergos
  • Antivirus Live CD
  • Apricity OS
  • Arch Bang
  • Arch Linux
  • BakAndImgCD
  • BlackArch Linux
  • BlueStar Linux
  • CentOS
  • CoreOS
  • Debian
  • Elive
  • Fedora
  • G-DATA Boot-Medium
  • gNewSense
  • JonDo Linux
  • Kali Linux
  • KaOS
  • MiniTool Partition Wizard 9.1
  • PIXEL for PC and Mac
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux
  • SliTaz
  • SysRescue
  • TheSSS
  • Ubuntu
  • Webconverger

AIO Boot also supports many other tools like Acronis, Norton Ghost, PartitionGuru, Terabyte…

If you do not have computers for testing, you can test this feature through VMware Workstation. Wish success!

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