A Preboot Execution Environment(PXE) is a client-server interface that allows computers in a network to be booted from the server before deploying the obtained PC image in local and remote offices, for PXE-enabled clients. PXE network boot is performed using client-server protocols like DHCP(Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) and TFTP(Trivial File Transfer Protocol). PXE will be enabled by default on all computers.
Before a PXE network boot, the DHCP server/scope Options 66 and 67 should be configured. Refer to this document to learn how to configure different DHCP servers easily. After the client computer is assigned an IP address, the PXE boot process starts.
DHCP configuration process
The client computer sends a 'discover' packet in the form of a broadcast requesting network configuration. This packet will be received by the DHCP server.
An 'offer' packet will be sent from a DHCP server to the client. After analyzing the 'offer', the client will be assigned the network parameters like IP address, subnet mask, etc.
PXE Boot Process
The client will notify the DHCP, that it is using the PXE boot server. The DHCP server will send the Next Boot Server's IP address(Option 66) and the Boot Filename(Option 67) to the client.
The client will contact the PXE boot server and request the boot files.
The PXE boot server will send the boot files to the client through the Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP).
In the DHCP server, Options 66 and 67 can be configured under scope or server options. This aids in the loading and launching of the boot files for the client computer.
Prerequisites for PXE Boot
The PXE boot process requires the following components for a seamless procedure:
PXE Server(This will be automatically installed by OS Deployer)
PXE bootable media(This must be created and published to the respective remote office)
These components will help you ensure a successful booting process.
PXE server in OS Deployer
OS Deployer supports the use of network boot servers like PXE servers for the users to boot their computers from a network.
In Manage Engine OS Deployer, the PXE boot server runs as a separate Windows Service, named 'ManageEngine OS Deployer PXE Server'.
To learn more about how to configure your DHCP for PXE, click here.
How to create a PXE bootable media using OS Deployer?
Let us now discuss how to create a PXE bootable media to be used during the PXE boot:
Navigate to Deployment-> Create Bootable Media. Click Create Bootable Media and select PXE.
Furnish the required details like name, WinPE tool installed location, drivers, etc., and click Create Bootable Media.
You have now successfully created a PXE bootable media.
The following video will give you more detailed information on the steps to create a PXE bootable media.