Network Boot for Media Directors

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This page was written by Pluto and imported with their permission when LinuxMCE branched off in February, 2007. In general any information should apply to LinuxMCE. However, this page should be edited to reflect changes to LinuxMCE and remove old references to Pluto.

If you setup your Core using Pluto's Kick-Start CD and your Core is the index.php?section=document&docID=179, it will automatically configure itself to allow the media directors to do a "Network Boot". Network Boot is rarely used since Windows doesn't support it, but nearly all modern computer are capable of doing a network boot and this offers you some significant advantages.

When a computer does a network boot it means that it does not use its internal hard drive at all. Instead it boots up off the Core. This allows you to leave your current computer system on your local hard drive untouched by Pluto, and you just hit a button on the remote to indicate if you want to use your computer like a normal PC (normal boot) or as a media director appliance (network boot). When it boots up as a media director, you don't have any computing issues to worry about. It functions just like an appliance--no start menu, no software to install, nothing to configure, no viruses to worry about. This solves one of people's biggest complaints with media PC's, like Windows XP Media Centers--when they just want to watch TV, listen to music, or play a DVD they don't want to mess with a computer. They just want an appliance. With network boot you get the best of both worlds--it's a computer when you want to do computing, and an appliance the rest of the time.

Best of all there's no software you need to install to make it work. When you first turn your computer on, just press the key to enter the BIOS or setup program. There is normally an option to enable network boot, sometimes called "PXE". There will also be an option for boot order. Put the network boot before the hard drive--that way the Core can tell the computer whether it should do a network boot or boot like normal.

If you can't figure out how to set this in your computer, you should contact the manufacturer's tech support. You can also try Pluto's support and forums.

Normally, once you enable network boot in your BIOS, everytime you turn on your computer it will show you this MAC Address for a few seconds.  There is also an Advanced / IP's and Mac's page in the Pluto Admin site that will show all the Mac Addresses in use in your home.

You will also need to enable DHCP on the Core. You can do this by checking the box in the installation wizard, or after the fact using the Pluto Admin web site. /support/index.php?section=document&docID=138