September 14, 2014

Linux Debian with PXE and AOE server to install windows 7/8

I wanted to be able to install Win7 over PXE but got a head acke when I read a few tutorials about it and thought to myself there should be a easier quicker way. Indeed there is using AOE (ATA Over Ethernet). I found a nice howto here but it is aimed at a Windows Server. I came up with a way to do this in Linux.

This will work on Debia Squeeze and Wheezy. I have not tried this with the Windows 7 CD, only tried this with my jump drive.

Software needed

  • Base system of Debian
  • DNSMasq - via APT
  • iPXE boot CD
  • Syslinux - via APT
  • vblade - via APT
  • Windows 7 or 8 in jump drive form

Install DNSMasq and Syslinux with apt -- sudo apt-get install dnsmasq syslinux -- Configure DNSMasq with nano or vi to your liking -- sudo nano /etc/dnsmasq.conf --. You can use my config if yo wish.

We also need to make the NIC to run a static address. As you can see I am using eth1 but you might be using eth0 so keep in mind yours might be different. To give your NIC a static address edit -- sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces -- here's mine for a example.
allow-hotplug eth1
iface eth1 inet static
Just make sure you use the correct IP subnet that matches DNSMasq. After editing the interfaces file you need to restart the device. -- /etc/init.d/networking restart --
We can now move on to the PXE layout. The root directory I use is /tftpboot so i'll use it in the tutorial.
create a new directory for tftp -- sudo mkdir -p /tftpboot --  and also -- sudo mkdir -p /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg --
Copy a couple of files from syslinux to the tftpboot directory -- sudo cp /usr/lib/syslinux/menu.c32 /tftpboot -- -- sudo cp /usr/lib/syslinux/pxelinux.0 /tftpboot -- After that we can create the default file for PXE -- sudo nano /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/default -- Here is a simple setup I use.
DEFAULT menu.c32

LABEL Install Win7
MENU LABEL Install Win7
kernel ipxe.krn
initrd conf.ipxe

Just save and exit. Now download iPXE's boot CD and mount it. -- wget -- to mount it issue this -- sudo mount -o loop ipxe.iso /media -- cd in to /media and copy and ipxe.krn to the root of the tftpboot directory. -- sudo cp ipxe.krn /tftpboot -- unmount the ipxe.iso --sudo umount /media -- Now we need a config file for iPXE to boot a AOE. -- sudo nano /tftpboot/conf.ipxe -- It should look like this

dhcp net0
set keep-san 1
sanboot aoe:e0.1

In all tha was the hard part. The easy part is setting up AOE. Debian's kernel has the module ready to go but has to be enabled. -- modprobe aoe -- now we need to add it to the modules file so it is loaded when the system boots. -- sudo nano /etc/modules -- Should look like this

# /etc/modules: kernel modules to load at boot time.
# This file contains the names of kernel modules that should be loaded
# at boot time, one per line. Lines beginning with "#" are ignored.
# Parameters can be specified after the module name.


Now install vblade -- sudo apt-get install vblade -- Copy the Win7 or 8 USB jump drive using disk dump. I put mine in the /tftpboot/win7 directory. -- sudo mkdir -p /tftpboot/win7 -- -- sudo dd if=/dev/sde of=/tftpboot/win7/win7.img bs=4M -- It will take about five or ten minutes to copy. When finished we can start vblade. -- sudo vbladed 0 1 eth1 /tftpboot/win7/win7.img -- You can create a script or even issue it in the rc.local file to start everytime the system boots. All what is left is to restart DNSMasq and test it out with Virutal Box or a real system. -- sudo /etc/init.d/dnsmasq restart --

Hope you'll enjoy this tutorial.

Click Here!