Ubuntu 12.04 LTS PXE Network Installation Tutorial (with Ubuntu Live Graphical Installer)

pxe_connection_ubuntuCheck out my new, simpler tutorial.


If you’ve previously done my tutorial on Windows 7 PXE Network Installation you can skip to Step #5.
If you want to use both Windows and Ubuntu on your S205 make sure you’ve read my tutorial on Dual-Booting before you proceed with the installation.

If you’ve bought a Lenovo S205 without pre-installed OS – FreeDOS doesn’t count 🙂 – you must’ve wandered how you could install an OS on this device without an internal optical drive. I have good news: you can install it in three different ways.

  • via External (USB) DVD drive
  • via Pendrive
  • and via Network (PXE)


  • Router: you can connect your computers directly if you have an Ethernet crossover cable, but you have to configure your server differently.
  • Computer with Windows installed: you can use any computer-OS combination as a PXE Server as long as it has a TFTP software (even your smartphone can be a server :)). In this tutorial I’m going to use  a Windows 7  PC with Serva because I think this configuration would suit the S205 owners the best. There is an alternative TFTP software for Windows called TFTPD which is more popular than Serva but in my opinion also harder to set up.
  • Ubuntu CD/DVD: download the latest desktop version of Ubuntu from the official website.

(!) You should temporarily disable your firewall to avoid potential conflicts.


  1. Download and extract Serva to a folder (e.g. C:\Serva_Non-Supporter_64_v2.0.0). Choose the appropriate Serva version based on the Ubuntu edition you are about to install (x64 – 64 bit,  x86 – 32 bit). I recommend installing the  x64 edition of Ubuntu, see a comparison here) . Use the selected architecture consistently throughout this tutorial.
  2. Create a root folder for Serva (e.g. C:\SERVA_ROOT).
  3. Run Serva and click on the Settings button at the bottom.
  4. On TFTP tab tick TFTP server and select the TFTP Server root directory you have created in the previous step (in my case C:\SERVA_ROOT).Serva #1
  5. Click on the DHCP tab, set proxyDHCP, make sure that the BINL box is unticked and set pxelinux.0 as Boot File.Serva #2
  6. Save your settings and close Serva.
  7. Open your favorite FTP software and add a new connection (Host name: archive.ubuntu.com, User name: anonymous, Password: [leave it blank], Remote dir: /ubuntu/dists).FTP #1
  8. After a successfull connection you should see some Ubuntu distribution folders. Now you have to look up the code name of your Ubuntu version here (12.04 LTS is called Precise Pangolin). Navigate to the /ubuntu/dists/[YOUR_UBUNTU’S_CODE_NAME]/main/installer-[YOUR UBUNTU’S ARCHITECTURE:  32 bit – i386 / 64 bit – amd64]/current/images/netboot folder. Download ubuntu-installer, pxelinux.0 and pxelinux.cfg  (∑ ~12 MB) to the Serva root folder that you’ve created.FTP #2
  9. Create a new folder in your Serva root directory called ubuntu-desktop. Insert / mount your Ubuntu CD  and copy vmlinuz and  initrd.lz from the casper folder to the ubuntu-desktop folder.
  10. Edit your pxelinux.cfg/default file with notepad. Add

    LABEL live
    kernel ubuntu-desktop/vmlinuz
    append root=/dev/nfs boot=casper netboot=nfs nfsroot=[YOUR.IP.ADRESS]:/[YOUR DVD DRIVE LETTER] initrd=ubuntu-desktop/initrd.lz quiet splash —

    to the end of your file. You can get your IP-adress by entering ipconfig in Command Prompt (we need the IPv4-adress). After editing, your file should look similar to this: default

    Save the file and close Notepad.

  11. Download and install haneWin NFS Server (30-day trial or google is your friend 🙂 OR you can try to get NFS working using FreeNFS).  Open haneWin NFS Server as administrator. Go to Server tab and make sure below both check boxes are ticked. NFS #1Switch to the Exports tab click the Edit exports file button. Delete / comment out the sample lines and add the following line:

    [YOUR DVD DRIVE LETTER]:\ -public

    NFS #2 Save it and click on Restart Server.

  12. Run Serva.
  13. Start your s205 and press Fn+F11 to enter the Boot Menu. Select the PCI LAN: Realtek PXE option. If your settings are correct, after a few seconds you should see Ubuntu’s Installer Boot Menu. Select the extra live option and press Enter to continue.PXE
  14. Ubuntu Live will start with the nice Unity look and a dedicated Ubuntu installer icon. cool That’s it. If you want to use both Windows and Ubuntu on your S205 make sure you’ve read my tutorial on Dual-Booting before you proceed with the installation.Ubuntu Desktop

Source: vercot, Jelada (using Linux as server!)

Leave a comment


  1. Really really an excelent post. Thanks a lot dude, but I have a bad day; I can’t install 12.04 LTS throught PXE (the boot screen boots fine, but after “bind” the proxyDHCP to my win7 laptop), but I got a message “NFS OVER TCP NOT AVAILABLE FROM CONNECT: CONNECTION TIMED OUT”.

    My “default” file has successfully configurated like yours, with my own private IP and drive letter (ISO mounted as “F” in my win7 x64 machine).

    # D-I config version 2.0
    include ubuntu-installer/i386/boot-screens/menu.cfg
    default ubuntu-installer/i386/boot-screens/vesamenu.c32
    prompt 0
    timeout 0
    LABEL live
    kernel ubuntu-desktop/vmlinuz
    append root=/dev/nfs boot=casper netboot=nfs nfsroot= initrd=ubuntu-desktop/initrd.lz quiet splash —

    Any idea dude?? Thanks man!!!

    Best best best regards,
    Francisco Chávez (from SCL)

    • 0. Make sure that your firewall is disabled.
      1. What NFS Server are you using? Check you settings (drive letter, public access).
      2. Check if the IP in the default file matches your current IP.

      Try again and if it still won’t work, post your NFS Server’s log in reply.

      • I have same problem. Perhaps is something with this line

        append root=/dev/nfs

        Here is NFS Server nfsd1311.log fajl:

        2013-11-10 01:09:34 — haneWIN NFS Server 1.2.12
        2013-11-10 01:09:34 Unregistered version, for up to 30 days evaluation only
        2013-11-10 01:09:34 nfsd file handle cache size 24
        2013-11-10 01:09:34 nfsd client charset ASCII
        2013-11-10 01:09:34 nfsd NTFS 2000/XP hardlinks supported

        —— Exported file systems ——
        6fdb7d09 c:\ftp -range
        013bc62d c:\public -ro -public
        0e5b9235 c:\tools -ro

        2013-11-10 01:09:34 mountd started
        2013-11-10 01:09:34 nfsd started, 4 udp threads
        2013-11-10 01:23:08 — haneWIN NFS Server 1.2.12
        2013-11-10 01:23:08 Unregistered version, for up to 30 days evaluation only
        2013-11-10 01:23:08 nfsd file handle cache size 24
        2013-11-10 01:23:08 nfsd client charset ASCII
        2013-11-10 01:23:08 nfsd NTFS 2000/XP hardlinks supported

        —— Exported file systems ——
        8b714750 f:\ -public

        2013-11-10 01:23:08 mountd started
        2013-11-10 01:23:08 nfsd started, 4 udp threads

  2. emoslin

     /  February 5, 2013

    Hi,Thank you for the great sharing.

    But i try to PXE boot and install another version of Ubuntu distros.
    for Example: 12.04-Server-i386 and 12.10-Server-i386
    in there dictionary, there’s no such a folder called”casper”
    and there will be a prompt message pop out after the PXE boot process
    it’s indicated “Can’t find repository file”

    Please kindly give advice . thank you~

  3. emoslin

     /  February 18, 2013

    Hi, Thanks a lot for your kindly reply.
    I will try to refer the above URL for to re-test PXE boot for ubuntu-server-edition !!
    By the way , I know there’s a software called “tftpd32”, do you think it’s similar to “serva” ?
    Thank you for your comment in advance. thanks !

    • Tftpd is opensource while Serva is freeware with some minor limitations. In my opinion, Serva is the best choice for personal usage due to its simplicity – since v2.1 you can install any Windows version and most of the popular Linux distros without downloading any other 3rd party tool. On the other hand, Tftpd / Serva Supporter should be used for enterprise purposes (multiple clients, advanced configurations).

  4. titus

     /  February 20, 2013

    Tftpd32 is a musket while Serva is an M16. They are both weapons but you cannot really compare them.

  5. nacho

     /  February 6, 2014

    nice tutorial dude, do u have a tutorial to RedHat 6.1 ? please 🙂

  1. Dual-Booting Windows & Ubuntu on Lenovo S205 « Lenovo IdeaPad S205 Blog
  2. Windows 7 PXE Network Installation Tutorial « Lenovo IdeaPad S205 Blog
  3. Ubuntu 12.10 Live PXE Network Installation Tutorial (updated, easy) « Lenovo IdeaPad S205 Blog
  4. Recieving "Bad mirror" message in Ubuntu | Ubuntu InfoUbuntu Info
  5. Adding PXELINUX to WDS (Mixed-mode Windows/Linux Deployment) | A random blog from a sysadmin

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