Madhav Kobal's Blog

This blog will be dedicated to Linux, Open Source and Technology news, affairs, how-tos and virtually EVERYTHING in these domains. : Booting your machine over HTTP

Posted by madhavkobal on 26/09/2009

Objective of this project is to let users boot their machines with bare minimal requirements on their side, and we will handle most of the problem that you may face in booting. All that user needs is Internet connectivity and a small program (gpxe) to boot the machine. This gpxe program provides network booting facility. You can download these program from our site (available at Downloads section). Also, you can find a list of distributions and tools that can be booted with BKO here. Your small 56KB gpxe program can boot any of these options!


USB Image Floppy Image CD ISO


gpxe is booting the machine.

Menu provided by gpxe

Selecting which tool/distribution to boot from

Finalizing mirror and other options

DSL (Damm Small Linux) Booting

DSL Running.

How to use it?

Floppy Image CD ISO USB Image
  • Download an image file (see above)
Make a bootable floppy:

  • Linux: Insert a floppy disk into a drive, use something like:
    cat gpxe.dsk > /dev/fd0


    dd if=gpxe.dsk of=/dev/fd0

    where fd0 is your floppy drive.

  • Windows: Insert a floppy into your drive, Use rawrite, or dd for windows
  • Mac: Mac has floppy drives?!
Make a bootable CD:

  • Linux: Insert a blank cd into a CD/DVD drive, use something like:
    cdrecord -sao
    You can refer this howto for details.
  • Windows: You can use nero or window’s inbuilt CD writer to burn the gpxe.iso on CD.
  • Mac: Just use the Finder to burn the ISO.
Make a bootable USB:
Warning: Backup your important data before using USB

  • Linux: Insert a USB disk, find it’s device name of USB. Then use following command:
    cat gpxe.dsk > /dev/sdX


    dd if=gpxe.dsk of=/dev/sdX

    where sdX is your usb drive.

  • Windows:You can use dd for windows for Creating bootable USB disks.
  • Mac: the dd command mentioned above for linux should also work for MAC.
We recommend creating BKO enabled USB, which also allows you to store data, without wasting much space. You can refer why BKO enabled USB is better option.
Steps to follow

  • copy it in floppy, USB or in CDROM (check download section for instructions)
  • Make sure that you know what kind of network you have (Which entries will be needed)
  • Boot from the media in which you had copied the gpxe Image
  • In case of Static networking, you need to provide information about your connection, but if you are having DHCP, it should work out of the box.
  • You will be presented with menu showing available options to boot from, select one of them.
  • Your system should boot in the sytem you select
  • Once you are done with it, reboot the system and remvoe the media, you should get back your old system
  • BKO is still under development. If you encounter any problems anywhere, please refer troubleshooting and FAQ page for explanation. If you don’t find any solution to your problem, then feel free to contact us.
  • If you have any interesting experience with BKO, then shoot an email to us


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