Boot windows from network?

Daniel Fussell dlf29 at
Wed Oct 28 16:00:06 MDT 2020

On 10/28/20 2:33 PM, Dan Egli wrote:
> On 10/28/2020 9:17 AM, Michael Torrie wrote:
>> 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.
> Basically something like that. It doesn't necessarily have to be RO, but
> the main point was that if I had to do things like applying system
> updates or installing new software, I did it ONCE and everyone had the
> changes. I've asked around and it's beginning to sound like that isn't
> possible. Which REALLY sucks, but oh well.

If the hardware is identical, you could use a golden image and something
like FOG Project to image the machines. 

If you can script the differences of each machine to a base golden
image, you might be able to make your updated golden image and have the
scripts reapply the each machine's set of differences to r/w snapshots
or deduped copies of the golden image (assuming nothing in the base
image breaks your scripts).  That's about as close as it gets.  You
could provide the image flavors via NFS, iSCSI, etc.

Most all of today's cloudy management tools are a flavor of this idea. 
Provide a small golden image, and build off of it.  Script it so you can
blow it away and start over faster.  Whether that saves you any time in
the long run depends on how many machines your image & scripts runs on

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