PXE Support (or Pre-boot Execution Environment support) is pronounced “pixie” and is commonly referred to as a network boot technology used in systems deployment. Instead of booting to a local hard drive, systems with supported network cards (most all today) can boot to a PXE server as directed by DHCP. It is often initiated by an F12 keystroke on a local computer or over the network via DHCP. Some implementations actually have the computer boot to the network every other reboot to check for tasks so as to avoid the need for external intervention or technologies.
PXE support in systems deployment solutions are very common, especially for OS installation via drive imaging technologies. Alternatively, one typically needs to visit the system and install removable media such as a USB stick, drive or DVD. The reason being, one cannot typically apply an update to the operating system while the operating system is running. This pre-boot execution environment allows the computer to load a minimal operating system like Windows PE or BartPE over the network and run it in memory, leaving the hard drive free to be partitioned and imaged without conflict.
This is one of many systems deployment features covered here at AppDetails. Be sure to see the AppDetails coverage of other systems deployment features.
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