Realtek PXE boot over LAN - super simple using Serva

Wow, this is actually pretty cool.

As part of a side project I’ve been working on to set up a home server as a network host, I needed to get the server installation on the box but I tragically didn’t have a large enough USB drive lying around I could boot the install image from. I imagined that setting up a network boot would be a major PITA but as it turns out it’s actually really simple thanks to a tool called serva, which you can grab here. This app seems to have a lot of interesting features, and I only stumbled across it thanks to a quick and informative post by , that I came across here.

His detailed post, summarized, in case I’m not making the simplicity of this clear:

  1. Get serva program (5 seconds?)
  2. Share a few folders on your network with (5 or 6 minutes, maybe? I save all these drivers so I didn’t have to track them down. YMMV)
    • target computers network drivers
    • extracted installation media
  3. Configure serva (at most, 2 minutes)
    • tick a few checkboxes and point to the shared folders
  4. Boot your target computer with PXE enabled
  5. Profit/Win!

Now, while I was and still am super-excited about how simple the setup was, I’m going to consider building some kind of one-click app host for this kind of thing. Look for more on that in the future.