Install Ubuntu 20.04 via PXE UEFI Setup

January 03, 2021

By following this tutorial, you will boot up Ubuntu 20.04 via an image hosted in another machine in your local network. For this purpose, you need to install and configure a DHCP, TFTP and Apache servers. In this tutorial, we will install all services on one machine.

Getting Started

Installing Packages

sudo apt install tftpd-hpa isc-dhcp-server syslinux-efi syslinux-common apache2

Configuring TFTP server

sudo mkdir /tftpboot
sudo mkdir /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg
sudo touch /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/default

Now we need to open the TFTP configuration file:

sudo vim /etc/default/tftpd-hpa

and make sure it looks like below (TFTP_DIRECTORY should be the /tftpboot directory you created before): and add the following:

# /etc/default/tftpd-hpa


Also make sure the UDP port 69 is accessible through your local network, then:

sudo systemctl restart tftpd-hpa

Configuring DHCP Server

Edit the configuration file:

sudo vim /etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf 

Specify the subnet for the allocation of initial IPs to the machines:

# Specify the nameservers
option domain-name-servers,;

# Uncomment this line if you are using your local network

# Configure your subnet
subnet netmask {
    option routers;
    filename "pxelinux.0";
    next-server x.x.x.x;
    option bootfile-name "syslinux.efi";

Replace the subnet ( and range and the gateway ( according to your network. Also replace the IP address of the TFTP server with x.x.x.x. Since we will bring up all these servers in one machine, this should be the IP address of the current machine.

Now find your MAC address of the interface that the DHCP server should listen to (instead of eno2, use your interface name):

ifconfig eno2 | grep ether

Open the file below and enter the MAC address in INTERFACESv4 field.

sudo vim /etc/default/isc-dhcp-server

And finally:

sudo systemctl restart isc-dhcp-server

Configuring Apache Server

Download the latest version of Ubuntu 20.04 and then:

mount -o ro ubuntu-20.04-live-server-amd64.iso /mnt
cp /mnt/casper/initrd /tftpboot
cp /mnt/casper/vmlinuz /tftpboot

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/html/ubuntu2004
cp ubuntu-20.04-live-server-amd64.iso /var/www/html/ubuntu2004

Modifying pxelinux.cfg/default and Copying Required Files

Edit the file /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/default as below to point to the address of the Ubuntu ISO:

sudo vim /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/default
DEFAULT install
 LABEL install
 KERNEL vmlinuz
 INITRD initrd
 APPEND root=/dev/ram0 ramdisk_size=1500000 ip=dhcp url=http://<IP-ADDR>/ubuntu2004/ubuntu-20.04.1-live-server-amd64.iso

Instead of IP-ADDR simply provide the IP address of the current machine, generally this should be address of the Apache server which hosts the Ubuntu ISO.

Also make sure to copy all the following files to the /tftpboot folder you created before.

sudo cp /usr/lib/syslinux/modules/efi64/{ldlinux.e64,libutil.c32,menu.c32} /tftpboot
sudo cp /usr/lib/SYSLINUX.EFI/efi64/syslinux.efi /tftpboot 


Turn on another machine in your local network and try boot up using PXE network.

Installing Ubuntu 18.04

  • Configuring TFTP Server (as above)
  • Installing DHCP Server (as above)
  • Installing NFS Server
  • Modifying pxelinux.cfg/default and Copying Required Files

Installing NFS Server

Install NFS server by:

sudo apt install -y nfs-kernel-server

Let’s create a folder to share using NFS:

sudo mkdir /srv/nfs/ubuntu1804_src

and let’s edit the configuration file and introduce the the folder we created:

SETTINGS="/srv/nfs *(ro,sync,no_wdelay,insecure_locks,no_root_squash,insecure,no_subtree_check)"
echo $SETTINGS | sudo tee -a /etc/exports

# Reload the settings
sudo exportfs -a

Modifying pxelinux.cfg/default and Copying Required Files

sudo apt install -y syslinux pxelinux

sudo cp /usr/lib/PXELINUX/pxelinux.0 /tftpboot
sudo cp /usr/lib/syslinux/modules/bios/{ldlinux.c32,libcom32.c32,libutil.c32,vesamenu.c32} /tftpboot
sudo mkdir -p /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg
sudo touch /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/default
sudo mount -o ro ubuntu-18.04.6-live-server-amd64.iso /mnt
sudo cp -r /mnt/* /srv/nfs/ubuntu1804_src/
sudo cp -r /srv/nfs/ubuntu1804_src/casper/{vmlinuz,initrd} /tftpboot/

Edit the /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/default and add the following configuration:

default vesamenu.c32

label 18040001
   menu label ^Install Ubuntu 18.04.6
   menu default
   kernel vmlinuz
   append initrd=initrd boot=casper netboot=nfs nfsroot=x.x.x.x:/srv/nfs/ubuntu1804_src/ nosplash toram ---

Replace the IP address of the NFS server with x.x.x.x. Now, restart the tftp server and it should work.

sudo systemctl restart tftpd-hpa

Ubuntu Networking Linux