How to Boot Into PXE

By Jedadiah Casey

The Pre-boot Execution Environment is a standard that was developed by Intel as a means for a computer system to retrieve its operating environment over a network. For example, a computer and network configured with PXE can use an image of the GNU/Linux operating system located on a network file server to boot the computer instead of requiring an internal hard drive. PXE is particularly useful for embedded operating systems, such as those that run on restaurant and point of sale terminals. You can boot into PXE by configuring the LAN BOOT ROM settings in the computer's BIOS.

Power on or restart your computer. Press the hotkey to enter the BIOS. Common keys are "F2" and "Del."

Navigate to the network card settings with the keyboard. This is usually located under "Integrated Peripherals," though it may have its own separate section, depending on the motherboard.

Toggle the "LAN BOOT ROM" option to "Enabled." Your motherboard may refer to this simply as "PXE."

Navigate to the boot settings with they keyboard. Change the boot order so that the network is placed ahead of the internal hard drive. Most motherboards feature this setting under the "Advanced BIOS Features" or "Boot Settings." The boot devices are listed in preferred order. Use the arrow keys to navigate to the first boot device; then press the "Enter" key to change the device to "Network" or "LAN."

Press "F10" to save the settings and exit the BIOS. The computer restarts and boots from the network if a PXE server is present on the LAN.