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Christian "Dr. Disk" Hechelmann writes the following about using PXELINUX in conjunction with the Windows Remote Install System:


I'm in the process of creating a remote install/boot environment at the company I work and choose PXELINUX for the Linux part. We use a mixed environment of W2K/Linux Servers and W2K/XP Clients. In the PXELINUX FAQ you write (based on Eric Cook's report), not to configure RIS with the GUI for "you end up with the MS PXE stuff, which is ugly to get rid of". Well, PXELINUX just works great on a fully configured RIS (And thereby keeping nosy co-workers from booting into Linux via network and wiping the local machine, since you need to login to the RIS first with the right credentials to do anything).

When you use the GUI Tools to set up RIS on the Server, the MS TFTP Server gets the directory you specify as the remoteinstall share as its root.

For example when you set up an RIS on RISSERV and specify D:\RemoteInstall\ as the server root you end up with this:

  • The share \\RISSERV\REMINST pointing to D:\RemoteInstall\
  • The tftproot being D:\RemoteInstall\
  • having the usual directory tree below that


I just gave it a try and did the following:

  1. Made Setup\German\Tools\PXELinux\i386\templates\ and
    (The latter since I didn't want to mess with DHCP just now)
  2. Copied pxelinux.0 to
  3. Put a pxelinux.sif in the templates directory
  4. Put a default config in the pxelinux.cfg dir
  5. Put the message files, kernel and initrd images in the templates directory
  6. Let a PXE client (Intel EEPro 100+ with BA 4.1.09) try what happens.

Well, it works. PXELINUX happily boots of the RIS server, gets Setup\German\Tools\PXELinux\i386\templates\ as pathprefix and fetches its config, the kernel and initrd images from there and starts up the kernel.

I guess that one only needs to send the pxelinux.* options via DHCP if one would hit the 63 character filename limit or one needs/wants to specify special options for a single machine or subnet.

I had to modify the file \OSChooser\German\tools.osc though, to have the Client Installation Wizard actually display the "Maintenance and Tools" menu instead of just giving an "no os choices here" display. Don't know if this is an error I made, or a bug in the stuff MS ships. "CMDCONS" seems to indicate that it may be possible to boot the rescue console off RIS but I didn't find anything useful on the MS Knowledgebase until now.

--- tools.osc      Thu Mar 27 21:04:42 2003
+++ tools.osc.modified     Thu Mar 27 21:00:46 2003
@@ -2,7 +2,7 @@
 <TITLE>  Client Installation Wizard Tools</TITLE>
 <FOOTER>  [ENTER] continue     [ESC] go back     [F1] help     [F3] restart computer</FOOTER>
 <BODY left=5 right=75>

------ pxelinux.sif ------
Description = "Boot RH73 Networkinstaller"
Help = "This option runs the RedHat 7.3 netwoek installer."
LaunchFile = "Setup\German\Tools\pxelinux\i386\templates\pxelinux.0"
ImageType = Flat
------ pxelinux.sif ------

------ pxelinux.cfg/default ------
DEFAULT bootnet
prompt 1
display netboot.msg
timeout 100

LABEL bootnet
  KERNEL rh-bootkrnl73
  APPEND initrd=rh-bootnet.img

LABEL bootnet-all
  KERNEL rh-bootkrnl73
  APPEND initrd=rh-bootnet-all.img
------ pxelinux.cfg/default ------

Ciao Chris