Hi I have the following setup :

  • A router that does DHCP
  • a PXE server (VMware workstation Bridged mode)
  • a client I want to boot on (VMware workstation Bridged mode)

I was following this guide on setting up a PXE boot infrastructure but I'm stuck now, since I cannot install DHCP on the PXE server (won't it conflict with my DHCP on my router?) and apperently I need to specify a file it needs to fetch to do a PXE boot.

How can I achieve a working PXE server without the DHCP server being the PXE server itself?

4 Answers 4


There is absolutely zero requirement for the DHCP server to be the same machine as the TFTP server (there's no such thing as a "PXE server"). You simply configure the DHCP server to provide the necessary DHCP options for PXE booting. Good luck managing that on a dinky toy consumer router, though.

  • basically there is no way that I can do this on my dinky router then ? Jul 24, 2011 at 10:32
  • I'd say it's incredibly unlikely. I've never seen a consumer CPE with that complete a feature set.
    – womble
    Jul 24, 2011 at 10:33
  • might there be a way to statically point to a PXE server and the file ? Jul 24, 2011 at 10:37
  • No, the DHCP server just flat out will not support it. I'd just turf the dinky toy as your DHCP server and use a real one off the TFTP server -- or chuck your entire PXE infrastructure on a separate physical segment, and still run the PXE over this separate LAN. It works quite well, and VLANs are cheap (especially in virtual gear).
    – womble
    Jul 24, 2011 at 10:50
  • got it all up and working now :D only the boot.txt isnt displayed but everything else works fine Jul 24, 2011 at 16:22
subnet netmask {
       filename "pxelinux.0";
       option routers;

It looks like the requirement of the extended DHCP "filename" option rules out most router-based DHCP servers. The typical router-based DHCP server is mainly focused around the minimal functionality of just managing IP addressing.


Recently figured out how to do this with a dinky consumer router running DD-WRT.

Go to DNSMasq settings in Services. Make sure DNSMasq is enabled. Then add this line to the box marked "Addition DNSMasq Options":


Where "" is the PXE (TFTP) server's address. And "pxelinux.0" is the file to boot.


There is proxydhcp servers (dnsmasq can be configured to do this) which only provides the missing options from the normal DHCP server.

  • external DHCP
  • TFTP server with you NBP
  • ProxyDHCP that adds the extra options.

All of these can be on different machines/devices

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