I'm trying to PXE boot a vm made by VMware Workstation on my local machine. On a separate subnet I have the PXE server and DHCP server. I do not want to use a TFTP server or use IP Helpers.

When I boot the vm it receives an IP address from the DHCP server, but then searches for a TFTP server, which isn't on the network and I don't want to create one.

I want it to go straight from the DCHP server to the PXE server to find its os and boot. How can I make this happen?

  • a dhcp relay may help you
    – djdomi
    Jan 18, 2022 at 18:01
  • DHCP contains the IP of the TFTP server, this is nothing that it "searches for" It is being told what it is. If there is no next-server in initial DHCP response it will also listen for a Proxy DHCP response, again it is being told where the TFTP server is in these DHCP packets (Proxy dhcp server is sometimes referred to as PXE server, do not confuse this with dhcp relay)
    – NiKiZe
    Jan 19, 2022 at 8:58

2 Answers 2


The PXE standard requires the PXE booting client receiving 2 parameters: a TFTP server IP and the NBP name (Network Boot program). This info is either carried within the DHCP offer (if you have the required credentials to configure these parameters in the DHCP server) or in a proxyDHCP server offer otherwise. A proxyDHCP server is defined in the PXE standard and allows to offer PXE parameters in networks where the DHCP infrastructure is only used to provide IPs and related info but no network boot data.

Next the PXE booting client will always try to TFTP retrieve and run the NBP.

PXE needs a TFTP server

DHCP uses MAC and IP broadcast addresses, this traffic is confined within the collision domain (Ethernet stuff) and IP sub-network by routing gear; if your DHCP client needs to contact a DHCP or proxyDHCP server crossing collision domain and/or subnetwork boundaries the corresponding "DHCP relay" or "IP helpers" services must be configured in the affected routing gear


VMware can be given a different boot rom, one such rom is a special built version of iPXE, that can use pure http to boot.

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