Why won't my client computers PXE boot? What do I need to do to get it to work?
There are several configuration items that need to be done before the PXE server will respond to clients and allow them to PXE boot.
1. Be sure the PXE services are running.
In Computer Management, PXE services are now known as Symantec Netboot Services. Specifically, these services are:
By default, these services are set to Manual run. This is to allow a degree of control over PXE servers and avoid conflicts, and these services need to be started for the PXE boot process to function in the environment. They should be started in the following order:
- Signal and MTFTP
After starting the services, it will be several minutes before they will be active for PXE use. For more information on what each of these do, please see KB 51889.
**NOTE: On some installs, an additional service - '_Symantec_netBoot_Helper' - may be installed. This service is a relic from before HF1 for DS 7.1 and should not be present (see KB 51895). If this service is present, please follow the steps documented in KB 51895.
**NOTE: These services will be set to Manual by default on installation. To set these to automatically start/run certain dependencies should be set up to preserve the above-mentioned start order. This can be accomplished by following KB 52235.
2. Be sure that the automation environments are configured.
An "Automation Environment" is a separate preboot environment that the computer loads into a RAM disk in order to run processes (image capture, etc.) against the production hard drive without files being open and running, thus allowing for an accurate capture of an image. These automation environments need to be built before a machine can be booted via PXE. By default, only templates for these environments are built (otherwise known as Automation Folders).
To configure the automation environment, do the following:
- Open the Deployment Portal (Home \ Deployment Portal)
- Move your mouse to the left to pull out the slide-out panel and select 'Create Preboot Configuration'.
- Enable this policy by selecting the 'Off' button at the upper-right, and changing it to 'On'.
- There will be two options listed by default: 'LinInstall' and 'PEInstall'. These are Automation Folders, not PXE bootable environments. You will need to create a PXE environment to use. Select 'Add' in the top left to start the creation of an actual Automation Environment.
- Fill in the Name field and select the appropriate options. Note that the name cannot contain special characters. Note that you can have an environment that will auto-select between x64 and x86, but if you wish to force a particular mode you'll have to remove the architecture you do not want. Note that you can choose just PXE or just Automation Folders, or both. If you're unsure, we'd recommend creating both.
- After entering the information, click 'OK' then 'Save Changes' on the policy page.
- Verify that the configuration has been built and replicated. This is done on the client for each individual PXE server via policies. It can be checked / verified by clicking on the Status "button" / link at the upper-right of this policy. Note that the status will not show while it is building, but will only show up when complete. Development is aware of this shortcoming.
- If you want to "hurry-up" this process, you can do the following: a) Run the Delta Update scheduled task. b) Go to the client on a chosen PXE server (including the NS) and choose the Update button to send a configuration request and get this policy. c) Launch Task Manager on the PXE server (including the NS) to see and/or watch BootWiz executing. When it is done, you should see the Status show the policy creation is completed and you should have the appropriate PXE folders in the Agent.
3. Be sure PXE policies are on.
- Select 'PXE Server Configuration' from the slide-out panel in the Deployment Portal.
- Be sure that the 'Policy Rules/Actions' bar at the top of the right side pane is green and says 'On'. It can be turned on by clicking the colored circle next to the word 'Off' and selecting 'On'.
- If you will be imaging unknown computers (i.e. bare-metal), you should select the option to respond to unknown computers.
- If you find the process is not performing as you wish, this is also where you can enable logging. Note that there is a known problem post-HF1 for logging that will have to be manually enabled along with this option, documented here: KB 51886.
- Select 'Save Changes' at the bottom of the policy page.
**NOTE: There should be at least one (1) computer listed at the bottom of this page. If not, then something above has not been done correctly, such as starting the PXE services. No computers can be manually added here; they will show up automatically when functioning correctly. If all the above steps have been completed and the services are running, it may take a little time for it to come up initially; sending a basic inventory from the server as well as running the 'NS.Delta Resource Membership Update' on the NS will accelerate this. If this list still remains blank, see KB 52886.
4. Be sure the Deployment Site Server Components Policies are on.
**NOTE: These components are automatically installed on the Notification Server, so these apply primarily to Site Servers. Further information can be found in KB 51896.
- On the NS Console, open 'Settings'>>'All Settings'
- Expand 'Settings'>>'Agents/Plug-ins'>>'Deployment and Migration'>>'Windows'
- Turn on the 'Deployment Site Server Components (x86) - Install' Policy
- Turn on the 'Deployment Site Server Components (x86) - Upgrade' Policy