Mar
09
2010
54

How to Install Windows 7 over a Network using Linux – PXE, DNSMasq, and Samba

As the age of the netbook arises; the ability to provision Operating Systems over the network becomes highly useful.  More and more these days, it’s less common to see CD/DVD ROM drives in laptops.  In my particular situation my laptop DVD-ROM drive failed.  This prompted me to embark on journey of sleepless nights, sifting through bad information and countless hours of ‘trial & error’ troubleshooting to make Windows 7 install from PXE boot server.

When I first started this project I had no idea what I was getting into or how difficult and poorly documented the PXE remote installation process is.  I imagined that I would use some kind RAM disk to load an ISO image of a Windows CD.  However, the process to boot an ISO image varies greatly between Operating Systems and Windows versions. So if you plan to install Windows XP or Linux using this tutorial…  you will fail.  This Tutorial is step by step for installing Windows 7(only) from a Fedora 10 provisioning server.  This tutorial assumes you have basic Linux, Windows, and Networking knowledge.

Goals of this post:

– Configure Linux Provisioning Server
– Prepare installation media and installation files
– Boot from PXE to Windows PE 2.0
– Install Windows 7 over Network

(more…)