PXE via Thinclient

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This is a description of how to pxeboot various operating systems/tools on devices connected to your network using the Thinclient and tftp-server contributions.

Hopefully, by using the files linked to here, and understanding what we have done, you should be able to add your own options/distributions for booting your devices.

PXE Booting is a facility for allowing LAN workstations to boot an operating system over the network. A reasonable overview (and fairly detailed description of how to get it working) can be found at the PXELINUX site.


You will need to have installed the Thinclient and tftp-server contributions.

Don't worry about setting any tftp-server parameters, as these are handled by the Thinclient contrib.

Distros / Tools

Universal Boot CD (UBCD) - the easy way

I have created a sample set of files for deploying UBCD to your devices.

This approach uses the syslinux memdisk utility to boot the UBCD LiveCD over the network via pxelinux.

Log into your server as root and make sure that you are in the /tftpboot directory

cd /tftpboot

Get my preconfigured ubcd directory and expand it

wget --no-check-certificate http://batley.com.au/smecontribs/ubcd_pxelinux.tgz -O ubcd_pxelinux.tgz
tar zxf ubcd_pxelinux.tgz
cd ubcd

Copy in the required syslinux files (tftp cannot follow links outside of it's allowed directories, so you'll need to copy these in)

cp /usr/share/syslinux/pxelinux.0 .
cp /usr/share/syslinux/memdisk .

Download the latest copy of the ubcd iso from http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/ into the /tftpboot/ubcd directory and create a link to it (my default file looks for ubcd.iso)

ln -s ./ubcd<version>.iso ubcd.iso

The current version at the time of writing this was ubcd535.iso, so:

ln -s ./ubcd535.iso ubcd.iso

Now you will have to setup the 'Distribution' in the Thin Client page under Server Manager, so that the client can boot from it.

Click on 'Click here to add another Thin Client Distribution', under the Distribution section. Fill in the details as below (Name = Anything you like, Directory = ubcd, Executable = pxelinux.0), and click 'Add'

Ubcd distro.png

You then need to tell Thinclient to use this 'Distribution' as the default

Ubcd default.png

Or, if you are more adventurous, boot individual workstations, as per these directions for Individually controlled workstations.

Ensure that your device is setup to 'Boot from LAN', and away you go!