[syslinux] Remote HD boot?

Christian Marg christian.marg at tu-clausthal.de
Wed Jan 12 07:28:05 PST 2005

Hash: SHA1


myfj1200 at netzero.net wrote:
> Christian Marg wrote:
>> myfj1200 at netzero.com wrote: [...]
>>> My question would be: Is it possible to boot a diskless client PC
>>>  with Complete hard disk images? or even better hard disk 
>>> contents mounted on the server?
>> That depends. Generally: Yes, Memdisk can emulate Harddisk Images 
>> from Ram. (AFAIK) Not from Network.
> I have attempted this with smaller MS loads 100-500MB Fat16/32 
> Dos/Win9x Builds with no luck.  It runs through the whole boot 
> process up to the infamous "dots"  it will blow about 1 page of dots 
> on the screen until all network traffic stops as do the dots across 
> the screen...

So far so good.

> Is this a likely RAM issue or am I just creating the image wrong?

Most likely creating the image wrong. Of course you should have enough
memory for the image to fit in... I've booted successfully booted 200MB
DOS images via PXELinux. (I didn't create them from a physical Hard
Drive but by "dd if=/dev/zero of=disk.img bs=512 count=x".)

For trying it out, you might want to use Syslinux load the Image into
RAM from a local Harddrive (to speed up trying). It can start memdisk
the same way as PXELINUX does...

> I have been using syntax like : dd if=/hard disk mount of=disk.img

If you use
dd if=/dev/hda of=/home/user/disk.img it should work - if /dev/hda is
the Harddisk you want to Image.

The Disk Image has to contain the MBR with partition table and the
partition itself (/dev/hda1 wouldn't work, since its just the partition)

Maybe you need to supply Memdisk with the right Drive geometry for the


PS: Try and read http://syslinux.zytor.com/memdisk.php#image if you
didn't already do so...
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