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. See instructions for installing Windows from WinPE for more details.

  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!

 

27 thoughts on “How to install OS through Network boot (step by step)”

      1. Currently due to the lack of time I am not able to do the tutorial, but if you want to convert your router to the AIO server, first of all you need to ensure that the router does not run out of space for additional software.
        I recommend reading about exroot tutorials

        If you have a router ready for further work, I invite you to read the instructions on the website (there is also information about exroot):
        https://wiki.openwrt.org/doc/howto/tftp.pxe-server

        This is a guide for the older version of PXE, which allows you to run fewer operating systems, but if you study the differences between the systems you should come to this as well as install a newer version of iPXE, which can easily handle windows (including UEFI)

        During installation, pay attention to the differences in the directory structure that OpenWrt has and the standard Debian / Linux

  1. I tried to run PXE tool to boot my second system from LAN and if I choose UEFI 64 in settings, I have an error message: PXE-E79: NBP is too big to fit in free base memory. If I choose legacy option the boot is successful. Any way around to boot in UEFI mode?

  2. I got PXE server to load, however I cannot get passed the network path step.

    I get “network path is incorrect or does not exist” on the system I am trying to boot. However if I try the path on a seperate PC that is loaded with windows it finds the path just fine.

          1. I was thinking this too, however now I am having issues accessing the shared folder through any computer. I suspect something is not working correctly with my shared folder now.

        1. Hi Nguyen,

          Have the same issue above.

          Upon entering Windows 7 Install, it will ask for the network path, username and password after everything is inputted. It will give me an error that says it can’t reach the network path.

  3. Hi Tu Nguyen

    Your tool is working great !
    My Question is i want to set aio as PXE server and put them on auto start , write now its take manual steps as Open Application , click on Run PXE , select mode legacy and then check on BINL.
    can you please suggest me how to set up this on auto mode

  4. Hello. I don’t know how to set the tinypxe server up. After running, the client pc shows an error message “*ipaddress*\grub\themes\splash.png” and I followed every step of this guide, also, there IS a Splash.png file in my external Shared HDD so, if you can, please help me :3

  5. Upon entering Windows 7 Install, it will ask for the network path, username and password after everything is inputted. It will give me an error that says it can’t reach the network path.

    Other OS like 10, 8.1 is working fine.

  6. Hello Tu Nguyen your tool is working very well! I want to make a question, is it possible to insert an autounattend.xml file into the AIO directory so that all Windows 10 ISOs can load this preconfigured file? Otherwise, you must insert the file into all ISO’s one by one. Sorry about my English.

      1. It did not work, I tried to put the file in all directories that have bootmgr, it does not recognize, for now the only way and insert the file inside each iso.

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