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Tutorial: Boot Linux Over A Network

May 18, 2009, 20:01 (1 Talkback[s])

"For starters, there are now many computers without optical drives, like netbook PCs or home media centres. The only way to upgrade or install an operating system on these devices, short of removing the hard drive, is to either install from a USB stick or use the network boot method. And if, for whatever reason, your system can't boot from a USB device then you only have one option left. Aside from those cases, network booting is also a technique that can help fix broken installations when hardware refuses to work, or distribute an upgrade across a network of machines without needing you to manually slot a disc in each drive.

"The ability of your machine to boot off another network device is determined by what's termed the Preboot Execution Environment (PXE). This is a capability of your system BIOS that enables your machine to grab a network address and look for bootable code without first checking local storage, or for available bootable devices. If there are no such drives on your system, you might notice PXE in operation as it searches the local network for a bootable server candidate. It's this candidate that we're going to install, configure and provide."

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