PXE / NFS boot

Post your suggestions here if there are new features or applications that you would like added to the Ultimate Boot CD.

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Location: Dublin, Ireland

PXE / NFS boot

#1 Post by longword » Thu Jun 01, 2006 2:16 am

I was wondering if anyone had modified UBCD to boot from the network via PXE, with the CD contents mounted over NFS? I have quite a few machines without CDROM drives - they already get their OS installed over the network and netboot diagnostic utilities would be very handy.

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Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2006 4:30 pm

#2 Post by alm » Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:10 pm

Many programs that work with memdisk and don't need the CD or can be fitted on a 2,8MB floppy image (eg. memtest86+) can work using pxelinux (part of isolinux). If you use a bootdisk with SMB network support you could map a network share and use it instead of the CD, but don't expect memory tests to work nicely with network drivers (try the undis3c network driver by 3com for a generic PXE-compatible network driver). I don't think that CDshell supports PXE, so you can't use the CD in its current form. I've only done this for memtest86 since that's what I use most. If I need to do more testing I can usually locate a CD-ROM drive.

It's not really worth it for me to try every utility from UBCD via PXE since I usually only use a small subset and can often use a CD-ROM. I do think that diagnostics via PXE is a great idea in a corperate environment with the necessary infrastructure.

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Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 4:44 am

Would love...

#3 Post by scubes13 » Wed Jul 19, 2006 5:44 am

I am currently looking for and trying to figure out how to create a system that would allow me to boot up any pc that comes in for repair via PXE. Upon boot, I would like to be able to run the pc through several operations:

- Backup of Hard Drive (partimage/clonezilla)
- Hardware Discovery and Asset Information (serials, asset, model, etc.)
- Hardware Diagnostics
-- Memory Test (memtest)
-- Hard Drive Test (badblocks)
-- CPU Tests
-- I/O Tests
-- Etc.
- (Optional - via partimage/clonezilla/etc) Imaging of OS to PC

I am sure there is more that could be done with such a setup. I would definitely want to log all of the information gathered from the test and discoveries, even print out a nice report based on the information obtained.

I suppose my question is, is UBCD a good place to start for this? Are there existing open-source projects that do this? Where do we go from here. :-P

Thanks for listening to my ramblings.

Kevin L.

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Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 1:19 pm

Your welcome to try this

#4 Post by warthog9 » Tue Aug 22, 2006 1:25 pm

I happened to stumble across this post when doing a search for a friend. It in part lead to me creating the following but, this should solve most of yours needs:


It is designed explicitly to work with pxelinux, and since it is syslinux compatible it also is able to work with isolinux (cd images) and extlinux (hard drive based) more or less without modification. If you have issues just e-mail us at the e-mail on the page.

- John 'Warthog9'

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Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2006 4:30 pm

#5 Post by alm » Sun Sep 17, 2006 1:37 am


I like this project. This is definitely something I'll eventually put on my home network and at work, although I don't have any time to play with it now. My own system only contains memtest86+ and some software for automatic installs, with plans to add Hitachi DFT/Maxtor PowerMax.

Some comments after reading the website:
* It looks like some software may need to be updated, the only one that I know of the top of my head is docmem, which is at version 2.2b as far as I know, but I obviously don't know the current version of each piece of software.

* I always have to change the size detection of memtest86(+). By default it only detects 640K, I have to set it to 'probe' to detect all. This may not always be the case, I probably only tested it on five different type of machine. If this is the case on all systems, it deserves a place in the documentation (what documentation? ;)), or it may be possible to recompile memtest86(+) with a different default.

* You don't consider ClamAV a useful option because it can't clean files. Most of the virus scans that I do don't find any virusses. If I run a virus scan, this is usually to exclude the possibility of virusses, not because I'm sure there is a virus. It would obviously be preferable to have a full-featured virus scanner, but I don't think ClamAV is a useless option. If there's no virus, I continue troubleshooting, if there is, I have to fix it and test again.

* The selection strikes me as somewhat arbitrary. Why Samsung DM, but no Samsung diagnostic tool? Why MHDD but not HDAT2 (HDAT2 is freeware for business/personal use, but you can't sell/license/rent it)? Are these just your personal favorites? These are obviously just examples. Is there any criterium defined, like all software from UBCD that works via PXE and is free for commercial use, or only the software necessary to do tasks X and Y?

This post is somewhat related: loading UBCD4Win via PXE. It looks like it's a lot more complex, and I'm not sure if it can work without Windows server. I use UBCD4Win a lot less than UBCD, but it may be a nice companion for PXE Knife for some, a PXE equivalent of the UBCD + UBCD4Win combo CD/DVD.


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#6 Post by secathor » Fri Oct 06, 2006 5:34 am

pxeknife seem to be wonderfull !

I will install it today on my linux box.

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Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 8:13 am

#7 Post by slaxlax » Tue Jul 01, 2008 12:32 pm

Has anyone found a solution for this? I would like to be able to PXE boot UBCD but have all of the systems to boot from (Freedos, Slax, etc) located on an NFS server. I have tried just changing the main.cfg file so that it would look like this

KERNEL [ip-address]:/[folder-with-slax]
APPEND initrd=[ip-address]:/[folder-with-slax]

but it dosent work because there is no network support yet. Is it possible to set up a network and be able to see an nfs share so that all of the operating systems are mounted on an nfs share instead of on the CD?