Ubuntu PXE install via Windows

This is a Guide wich i’ve found at Reto’s Weblog. Is a good guide to use in order to boot and install Ubuntu throught PXE network boot.

I’d used it with my Compaq Evo N115, a machine from year 2000, since it doesn’t boot from USB, and DVD seems to be not functional in these days ir order to get this thing work.

This was my first system installed and booted from PXE and worked ok.  I had some experiences with setting up a thin client with PXE, but it never worked if i remember right.

I’ll transcribe the main recipe (aka the juice), but the original has much more information, and all credits should be to him.

Ubuntu version used in this setup is Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal, so being this an old guide, and already considering tftpd interface has changed a bit since guide was wrotten, it works fine with this old harware.

Step 1: Prerequisites

First get yourself a copy of the free TFTP server by Philippe Jounin. Second we need the ubuntu installer files. Of course it doesn’t make much sense to download one of the ubuntu CD images if we only need the small installer. The installer will choose the nearest mirror and download all the files needed automatically during the installation.
The browsable Ubuntu archives are at http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/. But as we only need the installer, we can ftp to ftp://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/edgy/main/installer-i386/current/images/ and download the folder netboot (ignore any symlinks, they may give you errors during the download).
That’s all we need to boot our Ubuntu installer over the network. Let’s setup the TFTP server.

Step 2: Setting up a TFTP Server on WindowsTFTP32 DHCP Settings

  1. Create a directory, preferably on your C Drive. We’ll name it tftp for now.
  2. copy the tftpd32.exe to c:tftp
  3. Start the server by clicking on the exe
  4. switch to the tab “DHCP Server” and fill in your network setup. Note that the PC you want to boot must be in the same Subnet. Enter pxelinux.0 as the boot file. The Screenshot on the right shows my setup.

Now we need to copy the Ubuntu netboot installer over to our tftp root directory:

  1. copy the folder ubuntu-installer to c:tftp
  2. copy the folder pxelinux.cfg from ubuntu-installer/i386/ to c:tftp
  3. copy the file pxelinux.0 from ubuntu-installer/i386/ to c:tftp

This is how your tftp folder should look like:

c:tftpubuntu-installeri386<some more files/folders>

Step 3: Booting Ubuntu

To boot from tftp you may need to activate booting from the network interface in the BIOS. This may be done in the boot sequence settings or directly in the onboard ethernet device settings. After that, restart, lean back and watch the activities in the log viewer tab of the tftpd.
Note: Ubuntu will let you choose a mirror and download all the files you need. The whole procedure will work with any other debian flavour almost identically. There is a nice how to on doing a PXE install via Linux instead of windows at the CCC Wiki

Step 2 is with tftpd version from March 2011 a lit bit different, but it can be used in the same manner.

Below is the configuration wich i used in my network.

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