Ubuntu 12.04 & 12.10 Live PXE Network Installation Tutorial (updated, easy)

pxe_connection_ubuntu

My previous tutorial is still available here but this one is a lot easier thanks to the new features introduced in Serva 2.1.

Prerequisites:

  • 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.

Steps:

  1. Download and extract Serva to a folder (e.g. C:\Serva_Non-Supporter_64_v2.1.0). 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 and make sure that the BINL box is checked.Serva #2
  6. Save your settings and restart Serva.
  7. In your root directory you should see some files that Serva has created. Right click on the NWA_PXE folder and select properties. On the Sharing tab select Advanced sharing. Tick Share folder and set the Share name to NWA_PXE_SHARE.share
  8. Create a subfolder under NWA_PXE. You can name it freely (e.g. UBUNTU_12_10_X64_LIVE). Copy the contents of the downloaded Ubuntu iso into this folder and create a ServaAsset.inf file (you can use Notepad) with the following content:

    ;-Serva v2.1 Non-Windows Asset Information File
    ;-Boot/Install:
    ;  Ubuntu 12.10 Live
    ;-Tested on:
    ;  ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386.iso
    ;-Require:
    ;  \NWA_PXE\ offered as MS share NWA_PXE_SHARE user=serva password=avres
    ;-Notes:
    ;  When installed on a real PC there are not passwords asked
    ;  When installed on VMWare a password is first asked (text mode); just hit enter
    ;  The GUI asks for user=ubuntu with empty password.
    [PXESERVA_MENU_ENTRY]
    asset    = Ubuntu 12.10 Live
    platform = x64
    kernel   = NWA_PXE/$HEAD_DIR$/casper/vmlinuz
    append   = showmounts toram root=/dev/cifs initrd=NWA_PXE/$HEAD_DIR$/casper/initrd.lz boot=casper netboot=cifs nfsroot=//$IP_BSRV$/NWA_PXE_SHARE/$HEAD_DIR$ NFSOPTS=-ouser=YOUR USER NAME,pass=YOUR PASSWORD,ro ip=dhcp ro

    The non-static fields are asset (you can name it freely), platform (x86/x64), user and pass (your Windows account is needed to access the shared folder) and the intitial ram disk file (Ubuntu 12.10 – initrd.lz, Ubuntu 12.04 – INITRD_N02.GZ which you have to download into the appropriate folder). Your file should look similar to this: servaasset

  9. Restart Serva for the last time.
  10. 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 Serva’s Install Menu with the Ubuntu option. Press Enter to continue. Ubuntu will be loaded into the memory (it takes a few minutes).
  11. 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

Leave a comment

21 Comments

  1. ok gan tanks yya atas tutornya …

    Reply
  2. titus

     /  February 23, 2013

    see the working config file for 12.04 LTS at
    http://vercot.com/~serva/an/NonWindowsPXE3.html

    Reply
  3. titus

     /  February 23, 2013

    you are right; the Puppy PXE boot is also new

    Reply
  4. Matt

     /  March 17, 2013

    I got to the screen where the tutorial ends, but when I run the installer to make a full instalation it asks me for 4.8 GB free for the installation and a network conection wich the installer doesnt detect. I still click continue and after a long time it does nothing. I have to end the process because it seems like frozen even after 20 – 30 min wait.. Can you help me with that? This is the only way for me to instal ubuntu since I have tried all the other ways. Thank you!

    Reply
    • 1. The lack of network connection isn’t really a problem (you can always update Ubuntu once it’s installed).
      2. The next step would be selecting the installation type where Ubuntu first looks for existing OSs on HDD.

      Do you have any other/previous/failed Operation System installed on your drive or is your drive empty? You can use GParted (preinstalled on Ubuntu Live) to format and delete partitions. If I remember correctly, it can also tell whether your HDD has errors (you can use any other S.M.A.R.T. reader software e.g. GSmartControl).

      Reply
  5. Fredric

     /  June 10, 2013

    I know this is a Lenovo Ideapad blog, but having used your guide to get SnowLinux running on my Aspire 3000 left me with some hope that you might be able to help. I need to get Ubuntu Alternate cd installed through PXE, but I have no idea how to configure it to run with Serva. I presume it would be the same way as doing it with an ideapad anyways, have you had any attempts trying to use the alternative cd install through PXE? The laptop video drivers doesn’t want to load the live cd properly, it just keeps flashing.

    Reply
  6. mars

     /  October 21, 2013

    Alternate 12.04 ServaAsset.inf is available at Serva’s website 😉

    Reply
  7. Pretty sweet. Wish I had run across this before. I’m happy with my version that uses tftpd and network install, but this would be better for doing a larger number of workstations. The network install downloads the latest packages from the internet, so there’s no update to be done once the install is complete. http://blog.paulwilliams.biz/2013/12/installing-ubuntu-using-network-boot.html

    Reply
  8. fred

     /  February 27, 2014

    Hi,
    I get the following error: mount error: permission denied while the setup boots. I haven’t set a password for network shares in windows 7. I tried with username and password blank in the *.inf file and also with my windows username plus a blank space for the password. Neither worked. Any ideas?

    Reply
  9. Danci

     /  March 15, 2014

    Hello!
    Látom magyar vagy…:) az lenne a kérdésem, hogy más liveokhoz(AVG rescue cd, Acronis True Image boot cd) mi alapján tudnék ServaAsset.inf -t készíteni van ehhez valami okosság? Illetve van ötleted, hogy a Hiren’s miért tölt be rettentő lassan? (gondolom mert iso-ban van…)

    Reply
    • Szia!

      Elnézést, hogy csak most válaszolok.
      Ezekhez a disztribúciókhoz sajnos nincs még ServaAsset.inf. Rákereshetnél a nevükre és a “PXE” kulcsszóra, hátha valakinek már volt velük tapasztalata.

      A támogatott rendszerek listáját a szükséges inf-fel itt találod:
      http://www.vercot.com/~serva/an/NonWindowsPXE3.html

      Úgy tűnik, hogy csak az általad is említett Hiren’s Boot CD támogatott.
      A lassúságra ez lehet a magyarázat:

      Please consider when the memdisk technique is used here it is only suitable for PXE booting small ISOs and requires the Client’s RAM memory > than 2.2 times the ISO file size

      Valószínűleg 1,3 GB-ot pakol a memóriába hálózatról (tehát a teljes CD-t kitömörítve).

      Reply
  10. mars

     /  June 14, 2014

    14.04 LTS ready to boot from Serva !

    Reply
  11. Darren

     /  November 9, 2014

    Hi Guys, awesome tutorials, does anyone know of way to boot dell diagnostics like the fog program does

    Reply
  12. Leonardo David Contadini

     /  June 7, 2015

    I had to add “.efi” in the end of the line: kernel=/NWA_PXE/$HEAD_DIR$/casper/vmlinuz.efi and get INITRD_N11.gz at Serva’s website to boot with Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop.

    Awesome tutorials! Thanks.

    Reply
    • Leonardo David Contadini

       /  June 7, 2015

      It’s for Ubuntu 14.04 Deskotp. I wrote wrong 10.4. Thanks.

      Reply
  1. Ubuntu 12.04 LTS PXE Network Installation Tutorial (with Ubuntu Live Graphical Installer) « Lenovo IdeaPad S205 Blog
  2. Ubuntu 12.04 & 12.10 Live PXE Network Installation Tutorial (updated, easy) | Ragnarok Connection
  3. Ubuntu 12.04 & 12.10 Stay PXE Community Set up Tutorial (up to date, straightforward) | Ragnarok Connection

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