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April 12, 2013 / jpeg729

PXE booting LinuxMint 14 from SystemRescueCD

I was working on a friends computer whose Windows install had pretty much fried, but I couldn’t get the computer to boot from my external usb cd drive, nor from any usb key, and I didn’t have any cds to hand. So I thought of booting it over the network.


I ran SystemRescueCD on my laptop, and connected to the wifi network. Then I followed the instructions on their website for PXE booting. It pretty much worked fine.

/etc/init.d/pxebootsrv restart

Normally you should turn off the networks DHCP server because your ordinary router won’t tell the computer where to get the boot files from. I didn’t think of it straight away, but I was lucky. The DHCP server on my laptop responded faster than the router.


(I was running SystemRescueCD 3.4.something, I think)
One config file had an error preventing things from booting. I had to edit /etc/conf.d/pxebootsrv.

nano /etc/conf.d/pxebootsrv

There was a line saying PXEBOOTSRV_LOCALIP="" and the IP address didn’t match the real IP address of my laptop.

Modifying things for LinuxMint

I had an iso file of LinuxMint lying around.

Mount the iso and copy over the kernel and initial ramdisk

mkdir /mnt/isos
mount drive_with_isos /mnt/isos
cd /tftpboot
mkdir -p images/linuxmint
mount -o loop /mnt/isos/path_to_iso/linuxmint-14.1-cinnamon-dvd-64bit.iso /tftpboot/images/linuxmint
mkdir images/lmin
/bin/cp /tftpboot/images/linuxmint/casper/vmlinuz /tftpboot/images/lmin/
/bin/cp /tftpboot/images/linuxmint/casper/initrd.lz /tftpboot/images/lmin/

Make sure the files are available via nfs

Edit /etc/exports and add “/tftpboot/images/linuxmint *” without quotes in a line by itself.

nano /etc/exports

Then restart nfs.

/etc/init.d/nfs restart

Add an option to the pxe boot menu

Edit pxelinux.cfg/default

nano pxelinux.cfg/default

and add the following in a sensible place

LABEL LinuxMint Livecd 12
KERNEL images/lmin/vmlinuz
APPEND root=/dev/nfs boot=casper netboot=nfs nfsroot= initrd=images/lmin/initrd.lz nosplash --

Go for it

Worked perfectly and installed just fine. The installation would have run faster if I had plugged a usb key containing LinuxMint directly into the computer I wanted to boot. PXE would just have been a kickstart.


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