Arch Linux Netboot Live System

The Arch Linux netboot environment allows booting Arch Linux live media directly over the network. It will boot into a menu where you can choose from a list of available mirrors. The image will be downloaded into memory.

Requirements: A computer that connects to the internet via LAN and DHCP.

If your ethernet NIC is not supported by iPXE, you must use your NIC's netboot capabilities. This is only possible if you select "Boot from network" in the BIOS and configure your DHCP server to load the PXE image provided below. In this case, the UNDI driver will be used for downloads until Linux is booted. The first stage of the download can be extremely slow.

Test netboot with qemu

Download an iPXE kernel image.

Run qemu with the kernel image:

qemu -m 1G -kernel ipxe.lkrn

Boot with any Linux bootloader

Download an iPXE kernel image to /boot.

Add the image to your bootloader configuration:


menuentry 'Arch Linux Netboot Environment' {
  set root='(hd0,1)'
  linux16 /ipxe.lkrn


LABEL archnetboot
MENU LABEL Arch Linux Netboot Environment
KERNEL /ipxe.lkrn

GRUB Legacy:

title Arch Linux Netboot Environment
    kernel (hd0,0)/ipxe.lkrn

Boot from USB

Install a bootloader (e.g. GRUB or syslinux) onto the USB drive and use the .lkrn file as described above.

Boot from Floppy

Download an iPXE floppy image.

Write the image to your floppy:

dd if=ipxe.dsk of=/dev/fd0

Boot from CD

Download an iPXE ISO image and write it to a CD.

Boot from the network

There are two ways to do this:

Using an iPXE image

Download an iPXE PXE image into your TFTP root.

Set the PXE filename to ipxe.pxe (using the filname option in dhcpd or the -M option in dnsmasq).

This method is recommended, as it will always work - if iPXE lacks a native NIC driver, the UNDI driver will be used.

Flashing your boot ROM

You can build a custom iPXE images and flash it to your boot ROM. You must include one of the following iPXE scripts:

If you do this, your computer will always boot the Arch netboot environment when you netboot your computer.