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Diskless Windows
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Author:  Olaf van der Spek [ Sat Nov 26, 2011 1:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Diskless Windows

Is it possible to run Windows (7) on a diskless (no HDD/SDD) PC, via network boot?
Would be the ideal/cheap way to get rid of the HDD.

Author:  washu [ Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Diskless Windows

It's quite possible, I've done it and it works fine. The networking back end is a bit involved so unless you know how to configure DHCP, PXE, TFTP and ISCSI (or AOE) then it might be too difficult. DHCP on a normal home consumer router is unlikely to cut it. Everything can be done on a Windows server, but a BSD or Linux server makes things easier.

If you want to give it a try start poking around here: http://etherboot.org/wiki/ They have some guides on configuring boot from SAN.

Author:  Olaf van der Spek [ Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Diskless Windows

What Windows did you install on the client?
http://etherboot.org/wiki/howtos only talks about Windows PE, not 7.

Author:  washu [ Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Diskless Windows

Olaf van der Spek wrote:
What Windows did you install on the client?
http://etherboot.org/wiki/howtos only talks about Windows PE, not 7.


Look under the boot from SAN section. I used full Win 7. I've also done XP.

Author:  leisetreter [ Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Diskless Windows

Older topic, but might be still relevant to some...

I did tinker a while back (around 2010) with diskless Win7. In the end, I found it more trouble then it was worth to me. Meanwhile SSD became quite affordable (at least consumer-grade, MLC ones with capacities large enough to hold the OS and one's favorite game^Wapplication). So I got a compromise solution: a spinning-rust-less Windows installation, which boots off a SSD and a (much larger) remote 'drive' via iSCSI exported by a Linux server (and backed by spinning rust drives). The iSCSI 'drive' increases boot times quite noticeably (iSCSI initiator establishing connection to target?), but once connected, performance is good at ~100MB/s, i.e. about line rate on the available 1Gbps link, for large sequential access (client is a Phenom II monster, server is a feeble HP N40L sporting Ubuntu).

Author:  Olaf van der Spek [ Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Diskless Windows

I've got a 256 gbyte Samsung 830 SSD now.
Wouldn't it be simpler to use SMB instead of iSCSI to access the remote storage?

Author:  Fallen Kell [ Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Diskless Windows

Olaf van der Spek wrote:
Wouldn't it be simpler to use SMB instead of iSCSI to access the remote storage?


SMB devices are not available for use as boot media. You need to use iSCSI as a result since they are recognized as a direct attached SCSI drive, even though they are coming over the network.

Author:  Olaf van der Spek [ Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Diskless Windows

I know, it's a response to leisetreter who used a SSD + iSCSI remote storage

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