AOMEI PXE Boot: Boot computers from a network disk image file
AOMEI PXE Boot is a free software to download with ISO computers on a local network. Being very easy to use, this program allows you to use the boot disc image (ISO) for remote booting of multiple computers, provided that they are connected to the same local network. It makes AOMEI PXE Boot is an extremely useful tool for tasks such as remote deployment and maintenance of applications, especially for businesses.
To work with AOMEI PXE Boot is pretty simple: you install the program on the system that will be used as a server, mounted the ISO and wait for the boot client machines. And the best part is that AOMEI PXE Boot supports synchronous boot of multiple computers at the same time. Let’s learn more about this wonderful program, and find out how you can use it to boot computers with an ISO over wired LAN.
AOMEI PXE Boot: the main purpose and a few words about Windows PE
It is important to note that AOMEI PXE Boot is primarily intended for Troubleshooting problems with computers on the network. You can use the program to download the non-functioning of the system in a restricted environment. For this purpose, AOMEI PXE Boot works best with boot disks Linux or Windows PE. The last is the operating system with limited services that is used to boot the computer in the recovery or installation purposes. Based on the Vista kernel, Windows PE is not a full operating system. Instead, it provides a safe environment for Troubleshooting computer and restore it to working condition.
There is absolutely no reason to believe that AOMEI PXE Boot will not work with any other disk image. During testing I was able to remotely boot a client system Damn Small Linux (DSL) using a bootable ISO image.
How to load the computers by using the ISO on a local network
Now that you know about AOMEI PXE Boot quite a lot, it’s time to see how this thing works. The process essentially consists of two stages. The first part involves configuring the client computer to network boot, and the second consists of the configuration and run the application on the system acting as the server.
Please note that both computers must be connected to the same network. In my case the server was connected to the network wirelessly, but the client machine was connected to a wire.
Part 1: setting up the client computer(s) for network booting
As the name suggests, the first thing you need to do is configure the client computer or computers to download via a wired network. To do this, you need to access the computer’s BIOS menu. Below explains how to do it (the process is more or less the same, regardless of the manufacturer of the computer):
1. Turn on the client computer, and then press to access the BIOS menu (usually Del, Esc, F8 or F12). In the BIOS go to the menu «Boot» and under «Boot Options Priorities», select «PXE» (on some computers «Legacy LAN», «Realtek PXE B02 D00», «Network boot from Intel» etc.) as the first boot device. You may also need to enable the PXE ROM if it is disabled.
2. AOMEI PXE Boot supports only the boot mode to Legacy, so you also need to disable UEFI Boot if it is supported by the motherboard of the computer. This option can be found in the submenu Boot.
That’s all you need to do on the client computer. Don’t forget to save the changes made to the BIOS configuration. Now let’s move to the server.
Part 2: Downloading the ISO and running the application on the server computer
This part is actually easier. To get started, download and install AOMEI PXE Boot (about 5 MB) on the computer that will be used as a server. In addition to this you also need to download the bootable disk image to boot the client computer or computers. The steps below explain what is required of you:
1. Run AOMEI PXE Boot. On the first screen, select «Boot from custom image file» and browse to your ISO file (you can also use another option to boot Windows PE or Linux ISO from the website AOMEI, if you want). When the image is selected, click on the «Start Service» to start the service.
2. Now in the window of AOMEI PXE Boot will display information about activity occurring on the server and client computers. More on the server to do nothing. To see the real action, let’s move on. And, of course, the app and of course the server must be running.
You only need to run the client computer and wait until it has loaded over the network using an ISO image that you selected using AOMEI PXE Boot on the server computer. Here is a fully working distro of Damn Small Linux running on a client computer:
If you are a network administrator and looking for a simple and effective way (and no frills) to remotely deploy and manage the OS, AOMEI PXE Boot may be just what you need. It is a qualitative tool that is ridiculously simple to set up and works surprisingly well.
AOMEI PXE Boot from the official website of the developer