Boot windows from network?

Michael Torrie torriem at
Wed Oct 28 09:17:25 MDT 2020

On 10/28/20 1:36 AM, Dan Egli wrote:
>    Hey folks, question. I'm preparing to build a small home network. If
>    possible, I'd really rather all the computers boot from the server
>    rather than a local drive. However, despite my searching, I can't seem
>    to find a way to do that. My first thought was iSCSI, but from what
>    I've read (and maybe I'm mistaken) that would require a separate iSCSI
>    "drive" for each computer. Thanks, but no thanks. May as well go back
>    to individual drives for each computer. So I thought maybe it would be
>    possible to install onto a samba share and use iPXE or something
>    similar to boot from there. But I can't find anything for that. I see
>    plenty of documents showing how to INSTALL from a samba share, but
>    nothing on how to BOOT INTO THE OS from a samba share.
>    I know that on Windows Servers you can setup a common network boot
>    image, so how do I do that on Linux?

I've heard of installing Windows by PXE-booting a WinPE image that runs
the installer.  But I've never heard of running Windows itself through a
PXE boot, such as is common with diskless Linux setups.

If I understand you correctly, you want to run your Windows workstations
similar to what Red Hat used to call "stateless."  Everything boots off
the same read-only image, with per-workstation temporary files stored
somewhere else?  User's home directories via Samba perhaps?  If so, I'm
not really sure Windows is designed to work like that.

The closest hack I can think of is to PXE-boot Linux, and then use kvm
to boot Windows from a shared copy-on-write disk image. Sounds slow though.

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