Network booting the process of booting up your computer using a network rather than using any of the I/O devices. It also very useful when your PC’s hardware Input or Output are despaired and not functioning properly. The technology of Network booting is meant to be used in a cluster of environments that is a ‘Network’ where the specific nodes may not hold a local disk drive. It’s also aids the system administrators to go for installing multiple simultaneous Operating systems without attending those at once. Since used as a centralized management of disks, it’s claimed that it results in reduced maintenance cost and nominal capital.
Initially software is to be loaded from the server on to the network and the server which does this is usually found broadcasting a DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) request. However this booting from the network is just a start image of the process of installing and Operating System (OS). But, for installing an OS a startup disk is a must requirement for formatting the PC and creating startup files.
After you have completed your booting over the network, now comes the time to install your Operating System over the network. For a Windows XP user the ways are going to be this way. Since the over network installation mainly comes in to play when Floppy/CD-ROM or any other source of Input or Output service is not functioning properly. Over the network installation is advantageous because one can simultaneously install several copies of XP on to the other computers if they are despaired. Before beginning, one has to copy all the files of i386 directory on to the hard drive and enable it’s sharing over the network. After the i386 folder has been shared, search for your drive over the network.
NET USE Y: \\Computername\Sharename. One can replace the ‘Computername’ with name of Net BIOS (Basic Input output service) of your computer and ‘Sharename’ with the name of the directory in which you saved the files of i386. By switching to the network and at the command prompt dialogue box type Y:\i386\winnt where the letter ‘Y’ stands for your actual drive letter. This will initiate the installation of operating system. Then you will be taken to next screen where you will have to prompt for the location of your installed files. There you can type Y:\i386 and can bypass the screen by typing the following syntaxY:\i386\winnt /s:Y:\i386, where /S takes to the location of the start up files, which u had done before as booting over the network. Setup will then go for modification of master boot records, by changing the required startup files to BOOT.INI, NTDETECT.COM and NTLDR and followed by copying setup files to the temporary folder on the hard drive. The folder’s name can be as follows : $WIN_NT$.~LS or $WIN_NT$.~BT. When file copying will be complete then a blue screen will appear which you have to then follow to complete your Installation of OS.
Thus, network booting and installation is not only a method that is helpful when your CD-ROM/FLOPPY DISK or USB ports are despaired and not functioning properly, but also when you want to go for booting and installation in many computers’ in one go.