PXE booting of machines

Most PCs and servers may use the PXE network booting Preboot_Execution_Environment as a boot device.


Network booting Linux for network installation etc. uses the SYSLINUX and PXELINUX utilities. Read the documentation on these pages to get an understanding of the process.

With PXELINUX the node should boot by DHCP and download (by TFTP) the file /tftpboot/pxelinux.0 which will subsequently download configuration files from /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/ on the DHCP server.


On EL8 systems install these packages:

dnf install syslinux syslinux-tftpboot

SYSLINUX Menu systems

With newer versions of SYSLINUX it is possible to PXE-boot into the SYSLINUX_menu where many booting options can be configured.

The SYSLINUX_menu system must be configured, and a simple default.menu file in /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/ is:

DEFAULT vesamenu.c32

MENU TITLE Menu from intra2

label harddisk
      menu label Boot from local harddisk
      kernel chain.c32
      append hd0

label memtest86
      menu label Memtest86 memory tester
      kernel memtest86

label AlmaLinux-8.7-x86_64
      menu label Installation of AlmaLinux-8.7-x86_64, no kickstart
      kernel AlmaLinux-8.7/vmlinuz
      append load_ramdisk=1 initrd=AlmaLinux-8.7/initrd.img network

Pxeconfig toolkit

The pxeconfig toolkit written by Bas van der Vlies automates the reinstallation of a node nodename, which is easily performed by configuring the DHCP server using pxeconfig:

pxeconfig nodename
  (select one of the available pxe configuration files)

Some more information is in https://wiki.fysik.dtu.dk/Niflheim_system/