XP network boot is a technology based on Preboot eXecution Environment (PXE) environment. With this technology, network administratros can drastically reduce their daily manage workload. Just imagine, if you need to implement some operations for all computers in the network, maybe hundreds of them in different locations, so terrible to do it one by one! Fortunately, XP network boot program will save you, just once operation will be OK. Because all computers boot from LAN load the same system image from the network.
Furthermore, every time Windows XP network booted, the computers will get into a clean operating system. It's a very usefull feature especially when the computers have been infected with viruses or crashed unexpectedly.
Benifits of XP Network Boot
Reduce initial capital and implementation costs, reduce power and cooling requirements, reduce complexity and risk.
Accelerate deployments, upgrades, and server repurposing.
Implement enhanced Disaster Recovery solutions.
The point is that XP network boot solution is available not only for Windows XP but also for Windows 7 and Vista.
The boot process of XP network bootis as bellow:
1, Power on,
2, Load BIOS,
3, PXE stack built-in the NIC (Network Information Center),
4, Download NBP (Network Boot Program) from server to client's RAM by TFTP,
5, NBP's responsibility to perform the next step (a.k.a. 2nd stage boot).
How to implement XP Network Boot solution with CCBoot
Install XP Network Boot Server with CCBoot - An all-in-one XP Network Boot Software
Download XP network boot software - CCBoot server installation package from - http://www.ccboot.com/download.htm.
Launch ccbootsetup.exe on the server PC and keep press the next button to the end.
CCBoot will use the following ports - 67 (DHCP), 69 (TFTP), 3260 (iSCSI), 1000 (Image Upload), 8001 (Service Control). You need to open these ports in the firewall of the XP network boot server. Since CCBoot v2.1, you also need to open port 66. V2.1 uses port 66 as DHCP backup.
Note: Please shut down the other DHCP services on the LAN especially the DHCP service in the router.
Launch CCBoot and you will get the main interface as bellow:
Initialize the XP Network Boot Server
Server IP: 192.168.1.10
DNS Address: 192.168.1.1
IP Mask: 255.255.255.0
DHCP Range: 192.168.1.101-192.168.1.254
Launch the XP network boot software - CCBoot, menu "Options" -> "Options Wizard" and configure step by step as bellow:
You need to select the correct local IP address as "DHCP Server IP". Press "Scan DHCP" to check if there are other DHCP services on the LAN. You need to stop other DHCP services on the LAN.
Set "Server IP Address". Normally, it’s the same as "DHCP Server IP".
Set "Write-back File Path" and "Image Save Path" as you want.
"Write-back File Path" is used to store the clients’ write-back data. You’d better use a big volume hard disk as "Write-back File Path". This disk should be formatted as NTFS and 64K bytes per cluster.
"Image Save Path" is used to store the boot images. This disk should be also formatted as NTFS and 64K bytes per cluster. You’d better use a fast speed hard disk as "Image Save Path". For example, use an SAS hard disk.
Keep default values in "Server Cache Settings".
Keep default values in "Other Settings". Press the "Finish" button and confirm the popup dialog box.
Create Image for Windows XP Network Booting
To network boot Windows XP with the XP network boot software - CCBoot, we first of all need to create a system image and here're the steps -
Choose one client PC as master PC used to create boot image for Windows XP. Attach a hard disk on the PC.
Delete all partitions first. Allocate a small MBR partition about 40G size and leave the rest unallocated. Format the 40G partition with NTFS. Install Windows XP and the latest SP into this partition.
After complete Windows installation, open the local area connection network properties and configure as bellow:
Select "Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)" and click "Properties".
Select "Obtain an IP address automatically" and "Obtain DNS server address automatically", then click "OK" to save.
On the Windows XP network boot server built by CCBoot, you will find a client in the client list (Figure 10) that was added by CCBoot automatically when the client PC got IP address from the CCBoot DHCP service.
Double click the client to edit and check both "Enable Upload Image" and "Keep Write-back File" (Figure 11), when press "save" button it will ask you "Are you sure to delete write-back file?" Just press "No".
Download CCBoot client installation package from: http://www.ccboot.com/download.htm. Launch ccbootsetupclient.exe and keep press the next button to the end. Then launch CCBoot client and you will see the main interface as bellow (Figure 12).
Press the "Install CCBoot Client" button. After finished, it will require reboot system. Reboot the client PC.
After reboot, launch CCBootClient again, input the correct "Server IP address", it should be the IP address of the PC on which CCBoot server has been located. Input the image file name as you want in the "Image File Name". Press the "Upload Image" button to upload the image to the CCBoot server. Then CCBoot will create an image in the server "Image Save Path".
Note: CCBoot supports two types image file format. It supports VMDK if you are using Windows 2003 as CCBoot server system. It will support both VMDK and VHD if you are using Windows 7 or Windows 2008. As you can see in Figure 12, the file format depends on what you have set for "Image File Name". For example, "XP01.vmdk" and "XP01.vhd".
Windows XP Network Booting
On the XP network boot server, open CCBoot and double click PC101 (Figure 10) to open the master PC’s properties dialog box, uncheck "Enable Upload Image" and "Keep Write-back File".
Remove the HDD from the master PC, set it firstly boot from LAN (or network, PXE rom, or some similar settings) in BIOS settings so that it will boot Windows XP over network.(Figure 13).
The first Windows XP network booted, you can modify its computer name (Figure 14).
Set the computer name as you wish then press enter key to boot it (Figure 15).
On CCBoot server, "Options" -> "Settings" -> "Default Client Settings" -> "Disk Group" -> press the ">>" button, select "XP01.vmdk" as the default boot image in "System Image Selection" section.
Do the same as Step 2 and Step 3 for other client PCs with the same specifications as the master PC to network boot Windows XP for them.