Install Windows over network with PXE

You may have read in a previous post how i installed Ubuntu on my sisters laptop with PXE, well this worked great, but i couldnt for the life of me get WPA to work on the wireless card, so after about a week of trying i decided to try and PXE boot windows as the laptop had no floppy drive, no CD drive and couldnt boot from USB, what follows is the result of the trials and tribulations of that experience…. enjoy. If you want a quicker, simpler installation with a vanilla XP check this Easy way to PXE Boot Windows guide.

Downloads

Download: pxelinux.0  pxelinux.0 (13.1 KiB, 70,828 hits)

Download: memdisk  memdisk (19.6 KiB, 57,711 hits)

Download: DVD Generator  DVD Generator (2.5 MiB, 33,329 hits)

Download: W98.IMA  W98.IMA (1.4 MiB, 18,722 hits)

Download: w98se-netboot.IMA  w98se-netboot.IMA (2.8 MiB, 28,564 hits)

Step 1: Getting started.

What you’ll need:

  1. The Server – Any PC running 2000/XP
  2. The Source – Windows 2000/XP CD (we need to get the i386 directory)
  3. The Client – Laptop capable of booting over PXE (such as the L400).
  4. Tftpd32
  5. SysAngel DVD Generator here or if you already have .NET framework 1.1.4322 or higher you can get the self extractible here
  6. A Share. The Server must be able to share files (any Microsoft Windows computer can).
  7. Working router or plain crossover cable.

Once you’ve collected all of the above, do the below:

  1. Download and install latest DVD Generator. It’s a single EXE, double-clicking it will install / upgrade it.
  2. Create a C:\OUTPUT directory to store the necessary files for your RIS Service. (There should be at least 600 Mo of free space on the selected drive, but it could be as big as 5 or 6 Go if you choose to download every available software.)
  3. Share the C:\OUTPUT directory, according Read rights to everyone. Let’s keep the default share name (OUTPUT).


Downloading necessary sources using the DVD Generator.

  1. Launch the SysAngel DVD Generator.
  2. In the “1. Select your output folder” textbox, enter C:\OUTPUT.
  3. In the “2. Indicate your Windows XP source”, browse to the i386 directory of the Windows XP you want to deploy.
  4. In the “4. Enter Windows Serial number” textbox, you may provide a serial but this is optional.
  5. Now, click the “5. Generate the SYSANGEL DVD ISO” button. Of course, we don’t really need the ISO image that will be generated, but we do need the software to download or update files used to generate the ISO. We also need the DVD Generator to prepare the Windows release.
  6. When everything is done, click the “Finished the custom. Generate the ISO!” button and wait… until you get to the final screen :
  7. The C:\OUTPUT folder should be all right. If you want to install Windows with a bootable DVD at a later date, burn the ISO (C:\OUTPUT\DVD.iso). Else, you can simply delete this file.
  8. If DVD Generator fails to burn the DVD.iso try using your favourite burning software, you can now close the DVD Generator.
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Related Posts

Easy way to PXE Boot Windows

42 Comments

  1. July 30, 2010, 11:53 pm   / 

    [...] Your netbook seems to support PXE install. You can google 'windows pxe install' These are instructions for doing it if you've got another machine running windows: http://www.lockstockmods.net/2008/04…work-with-pxe/ [...]

  2. trw2010
    June 23, 2010, 11:13 am   / 

    i am stuck at just after
    trying to load: pxelinux.cfg/default
    could not find kernel image: linux
    boot:
    then it stops i can type but it does nothing
    and i dont know what to type if i did
    any suggestions welcome on what i could do next
    thank you in advance

    • Kode
      June 23, 2010, 11:59 am   / 

      Check the link in the first paragraph (in red) that leads to the easier method, that might help you

  3. shivaprasad
    December 24, 2009, 6:35 am   / 

    Hi,

    Im facing problem in windows installation. My Intel atom PC is downloading linux images and launching Sysangel installer correctly. After that my PC is not getting ip from the DHCP server. Driver for my network card is not there in the launched linux.
    Could you please tell me how i can procede……

    Thanks,

  4. September 8, 2009, 11:37 am   / 

    Had the problem with SysAngel crashing every time it tried to slipstream SP2 into the WindowsXP disc so had to do this manually myself (nLite worked fine for it).

    Then it finally made the bloody ISO!

  5. June 25, 2009, 1:47 pm   / 

    [...] Install Windows over the network with PXE

  6. June 24, 2009, 11:38 pm   / 

    [...] Install Windows over the network with PXE

  7. June 20, 2009, 9:40 pm   / 

    Just to let everyone know it takes a long time to download every thing :p. Ha My captcha word is frustrated

  8. June 20, 2009, 9:07 pm   / 

    nice information :)

  9. June 20, 2009, 8:41 pm   / 

    how big is the initrg.gz

  10. RobSailsOn
    March 31, 2009, 2:11 pm   / 

    Awesome! Saved my laptop for me.

    Had a couple of minor glitches which I managed to sort:

    First where DVD Generator hung looking to download WinXp Service Packs so I slipstreamed SP3 to my install files using:

    http://www.hfslip.org/

    Also needed to keep the c:\output\tmp\i386 folder from being deleted by saving and maintaining a text file open in the folder using notepad until DVD G had finished doing its stuff.

    Thanks for your help!

  11. February 28, 2009, 9:18 pm   / 

    Extremely useful how-to. Thanks for it. Really saved me from swapping disks between computers and so on. Thanks again!

  12. Florin
    February 8, 2009, 3:19 am   / 

    this is great …..you are right about the coffe and book ….i needed a full night …. bot worked ;)…thanks a lot …good luck

  13. Quirino Cardozo
    February 7, 2009, 2:03 pm   / 

    Hi Kobe,

    Thanks for your response. After I posted my question, I did a bit of picking & prodding around and decided to skip sysangel altogether and jump ahead to your step 5. Didn’t exactly work like a charm but I finally managed to get the full WindowsXP installer and ran got it to start the installation. Am now popsting from my newly-installed lappie! Thanks a bunch!

    Will definitely give ur other easy installation a whirl when I have the time, but this lappie had to leave with my M-I-L by tomorrow… lol!

    Just a coupla typos/suggestions, check the text in the default file matches with the file names in the dos folder. And yes, Chris’ tip for amending/including the slashes helped as well…

    For troubleshooting network booting issues, keep ur eyes on tftp’s log screen – VERY useful! That’s all really.

    Cheers to all who helped!

    Quirino Cardozo,
    India

  14. Quirino Cardozo
    February 6, 2009, 10:41 am   / 

    Guys, I was really thrilled to find this post as I’m trying to re-install windowsXP on an old lappie (Dell C400) for my dad to learn computers. It had XP mind u, but I HAD to be the smartass and remove the internal hdd and go and format it thinking I’d install the “lite” version of WinXP as I’ve had amazing performance with it past many years. Problem is, while installing sysangel DVD Generator I get this “Source file C:\DOCUM…(full install temp path)…pskill.exe file not found”. So I can’t go beyond step 1.. :o(

    Anyone else face this? And any fixes? Would appreciate any help peeps…

    P.S.: Before anything else, a BIG THANKS to the guy who posted this! Cheers m8!

    Quirino Cardozo
    Dubai, U.A.E
    Originally from (Goa & Bombay, India)

  15. GigiAUT
    January 22, 2009, 7:00 pm   / 

    I give up. I selected followed the steps on page 1 and 2, but when i set my other laptop to network boot, it waits and then it just goes back to my grub like it cant find anything. You think its my i.p address’s cos the cables fine, i network fine with it in windows. Or maybe i made a mistake?

  16. leseiD
    January 6, 2009, 1:27 am   / 

    Hi.

    I’m trying to do a network install since i dont have cd/floppy or USB. I follow the instructions but end up at stage 3 where my boot get an error stating it is unable to locate configuration file. It is trying to load pxelinux.cfg/default.
    Now,i thought then i had named the default file wrong, but i have have tried to do it right a couple of times now without luck. I’m close to giving up:(
    I see that some others here had the same problem but they have not gotten any answers to their problem.
    Anyone that can help?
    leseid

  17. Tubalcain
    December 18, 2008, 5:41 pm   / 

    Hi,

    I really would like to get this to work but I’m new to networking and stuff. What is the “IP Pool Starting Address”? Also is the the “default gateway” the same as “default router”?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

  18. gabe
    December 5, 2008, 8:50 pm   / 

    KERNEL memdisk
    append initrd=w98senetboot.IMA

    to those who had trouble with the memdisk file for loading

  19. taz
    November 29, 2008, 9:18 am   / 

    I have a cd-rom problem too… Maybe the 12. step is wrong, beacuse there is the i386 folder path.

    I am trying some possibilities for the 12. step. :S

  20. Salient
    November 27, 2008, 11:54 pm   / 

    Hi, thanks for a very, VERY useful guide. I successfully installed windows on my r100 laptop which has no floppy or cd drive. I also found this site handy: http://www.windowsdream.com/winner/doc/using2.html
    Just some problems I had. I had to use my router, not a direct cable. I had to create an admin account with a password for the “release repository” part using smb to work. I had to use “20000″ of my hard drive (not the whole thing). The sys angel image includes heaps of little programs (undelete, reader, clamwin antivirus, gimp, xchat etc etc) I would have not included these had i the choice. The total time it took me was 2 days! (inc time to solve problems) 3 hours for sys angel to dl all the data. 2 hrs for the installation process. However, now i have a working laptop :) cheers.

  21. Questionz
    August 30, 2008, 1:26 am   / 

    When i set the pxelinux.cfg folder and the pxelinux.0 in my c:\OUTPUT folder, setting up the tftp, on my test computer, it detects the dhcp, and the ip address, but after that it exits the pxe rom. anyone able to help?

  22. edgar
    August 28, 2008, 1:48 am   / 

    Hello everybody, hey Cris,i saw your post, i solve my last problem with the default file, let me say that we have to put the default name inside “”, when save the file write: “default” and done.

    but the system could not find kernel image, i read your post and i have no idea where i can find that information, can you tell me please how i can solve the kernel image, thanks so much to write back. my e mail ramyax-arrow-hotmail.com

  23. August 18, 2008, 9:27 pm   / 

    so…yes sysangel is badass… everything is working for my install, except the final throw, where I’m getting the same issue with “no valid windows source could be found in local CD rom” It cannot find a valid i386 dir” Looking for C.72, C.tar.gz

    I have tried everything rebuild iso, re-slipstream, and just copying flat i386. Still no worky:( followed the instructions to a t at least 10 times.

    I found another post that mentioned maybe corrupt file or driver conflict? just wanted to mention iI’m having issue also… any suggestions welcome

  24. Bobby
    August 15, 2008, 10:02 pm   / 

    Did all of it getting unable to locate configuration file during pxe boot.

  25. Goldmar
    August 6, 2008, 4:30 am   / 

    I am stuck at step 2 at the end. the pxe loader on the destination machine keeps coming up with the error “Unable to locate configuration fail” Thanks

  26. Ionut-RO
    July 28, 2008, 9:12 am   / 

    I followed all the steps of this tutorial but…. when it comes cu search for I386 folder, sysangel try, as the only option, to search on cd-rom, even i don’t have one.
    What should I do to make sysangel use the I386 from the OUTPUT folder ?!
    Thank you !

  27. Niall
    July 24, 2008, 5:29 pm   / 

    Tried that it hangs unfortunately. I’m now upto the point in text mode of selecting Windows source media and I get No valid Windows source could be found in your local cd-rom drive.

  28. Kode
    July 24, 2008, 4:38 pm   / 

    If you are having trouble with this guide, try the easy guide linked in the first paragraph

  29. Niall
    July 24, 2008, 4:32 pm   / 

    I’m unable to get this working in graphical mode, does anyone have any guide for Text mode?

    Thanks

  30. July 22, 2008, 7:10 pm   / 

    For some reason my laptop will not boot the graphical interface, i get a message saying that eth1 signature incorrect an then it goes into standyby?

  31. Babyface1980
    July 10, 2008, 2:31 pm   / 

    I’ve tried step 1 to step 4. And I still get the same problem. I get to step 3 where it askes me for user name password ect it connects and tells me to insert a cd rom. It doesn’t even start the steps of asking me anything about the windows installation itself.

    Any ideas?

  32. Kode
    July 4, 2008, 9:37 am   / 

    @Rupert what tweaking did you need to do and what typos did you need to correct? If any of you guys have any suggestions for improving articles please let me know, you can email me directly: kode-at-lockstockmods.net change the -at- to the at sign of course :)

  33. Kode
    July 4, 2008, 9:34 am   / 

    @Greg what was the problem and how did you solve it? In case any others have the same problems :) But glad you got it working

  34. July 4, 2008, 1:24 am   / 

    You are a genius
    After a bit of tweaking…
    and correcting a few typos…
    It worked beautifully!

  35. Greg
    July 3, 2008, 11:36 pm   / 

    I left a message earlier. I solved the hdd not found problem. Thanks

  36. Greg
    July 3, 2008, 11:02 pm   / 

    When my sysangel dvd gui starts, it says no hdd could be found. How to solve it?

  37. Ali Ekri
    May 27, 2008, 11:53 pm   / 

    dvd generator it’s take lot time to complete prepation for DVD setup,then its need so many answers to complete installations without inf file same winnt.sif to complete unattenad installation
    thanks
    ali_ekri@hotmail.com

  38. May 27, 2008, 11:11 pm   / 

    also share the DOS directory :P

  39. May 27, 2008, 11:02 pm   / 

    one note though,
    in this part
    “kernel memdisk
    append initrd=w98se-netboot.IMA”
    I had to put slashes for netboot to load like this

    “kernel /memdisk
    append initrd=/w98se-netboot.IMA”

    easy fix though thanks again

  40. May 27, 2008, 10:59 pm   / 

    Hey “steve muller” kiss my ass this guy gets a full round of beer free on the house for posting that last tidbit of info on bypassing the “need windows cd” No other site has that info and the other sites are useless without that piece. /cheers for a good guide

  41. Steve Muller
    May 9, 2008, 12:57 pm   / 

    would have been nice to know that dvd generator was going to use all my internet time to download needed software and file updates BEFORE I started.
    Thanks

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