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I have a repository of an ISO images (many different OS installers in ISO format) under http://myrepos/*.iso. I would like to boot from that repo using gPXE (with/without memdisk if necessary) and httpfs. I don't want to extract those ISO images. It should work similarly to netboot.me or boot.kernel.org but using whole ISO images. Is it possible to load whole ISO image through gPXE? How to do that?

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Can you specify what OS the repo is on? –  Swoogan Oct 30 '09 at 16:40
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It doesn't matter. It's just a apache (www) server. –  user24514 Nov 2 '09 at 7:01

4 Answers 4

I believe you can do this by pxe booting memdisk as the kernel and specifying the iso file as the initrd.

http://syslinux.zytor.com/wiki/index.php/MEMDISK

I'm not entirely sure that you will be able to do this completely over http, you may need tftp support in that repo directory.

Further information:

http://www.etherboot.org/wiki/bootingmemdisk

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iPXE ( ipxe.org ) can request files over HTTP, but you're going to have to load THAT over TFTP first. It's all in the iPXE docs, though. –  Jack Kelly Mar 2 '13 at 20:36
    
Although TFTP is only needed to load undionly.kpxe . Everything after that can be HTTP. See gist.github.com/robinsmidsrod/2234639 –  Stefan Lasiewski Apr 17 '13 at 22:27

Yes you can use gpxe instead of pxe for http support (instead of slow tftp). You can chainload gpxe from pxe (means any existing netboot rom can load up gpxe).

For my system I use pxe boot menu so my CD entries look like:

label f6
    menu label ^4)  UBCD
    kernel Kernek/memdisk (or http://192.168.10.1/Kernel/memdisk)
    append iso initrd=192.168.10.1/Images/ubcd.iso

I see this topic is rather dated, but after searching so much for similar help I feel that now I am have figured my boot server out I'm going to try to share info wherever possible.

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initrd=192.168.10.1/Images/ubcd.iso -- Shouldn't there be a protocol listed in that URI, like http://... ? –  Stefan Lasiewski Feb 15 '12 at 18:52
    
The default protocol is TFTP –  Mircea Vutcovici Oct 25 '12 at 13:08

I recommend you to use Grub4dos instead of Memdisk for less memory comsumption. Load grub.exe than the iso image, map it with (0xff) direction.

I found a full article here : [dead link]

Hope it will hope you.

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MEMDISK requires a greater amount of RAM than the ISO in order to work. Sometimes in excess of double the ISO size, due to nested RAM disks and compression.

I highly recommend the http://reboot.pro forums and grub4dos as a possible solution. Right now I am interested in selecting from a series of boot/repair/install ISO images. The theoretical process goes:

PXE -> ISC DHCPd -> gPXE 1) tftp-hda://unidonly.kpxe
                 -> gPXE 2) menu http://../menu.gpxe -> [grub4dos][1]
grub4dos -> [Return to gPXE][2]
         -> [grldr or grub.exe][3]

Note that because the menu.gpxe is on HTTP and not TFTP, the (pd) device in grub4dos may be the HTTP filesystem, which then allows us to access the list of ISOs from which to boot. The USB method for preparation, which also allows unattended windows installs, should be sufficient.

1 http://reboot.pro/2936/page__st__10
2 http://reboot.pro/5187/page__st__12
3 http://reboot.pro/5187/page__st__12
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