You can boot a virtual machine from a network device and remotely install a guest operating system using a preboot execution environment (PXE).

To do this, the virtual machine must meet the following requirements:

Have a virtual disk without operating system software, and with enough free disk space to store the intended system software.

Have a network adapter connected to the network where the PXE server resides. (see Network Adapter Types)

BIOS must include the network adapter in the boot order.

Note

vmnext3 adapters can enter neither UPT nor CDPT mode while booting from a PXE.

VMware has tested and supports the following PXE configurations with ESX Server:

Remote installation of a Windows Server 2003 guest operating system from a server running Windows Server 2003 Automated Deployment Services

Remote installation of a Windows 2000 guest operating system from a server running Windows 2000 Server/Advanced Server Remote Installation Services

Remote installation of a Linux guest operating system from a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0 AS PXE boot server

Remote installation of a supported guest operating system from a Ghost image using Windows 2000 and Ghost RIS Boot package

Remote installation of a supported guest operating system from an Altiris image using a Windows 2000 Altiris server

Network booting a Linux virtual machine by connecting with the Linux Diskless option to a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0 AS server

Note

Server does not support installation of a Windows XP guest operating system using PXE.