Troubleshooting PXE boot issues in Configuration Manager

Applies to: System Center Configuration Manager (current branch - version 1810)Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration ManagerSystem Center Configuration Manager (current branch - version 1610)


For essential information about how PXE works, see the companion article Understand PXE boot in ConfigMgr.

    These solutions resolve most problems that affect PXE boot

    Before you start to troubleshoot on the PXE Service Point, we recommend that you try the following solutions. If Solution 1 is successful for you, there is no need to go to Solution 2.

    Solution 1: Verify IP Helpers

    IP Helpers aren't required if the DHCP server, the client computer, the ConfigMgr server that is running Windows Deployment Services (WDS), and the PXE-enabled Distribution Point (DP) are all on the same subnet or VLAN.

    IP Helpers must be configured on the routers if any of the DHCP server, the client computer, or the Configuration Manager server that is running WDS and the PXE-enabled DP are on separate subnets or VLANs. This is usually the case in most environments.

    This process varies and is dependent on the router hardware manufacturer. For a general overview of the process, see Configuring Your Router to Forward Broadcasts. For more information about how to correctly configure IP Helpers on your routers, contact the manufacturer of the router.

    IP Helpers are necessary because the PXE request that is generated by the client computer is a broadcast that doesn't travel outside the local subnet or VLAN. If the DHCP server or the WDS/PXE-enabled DP aren't on the same subnet or VLAN as the client computer, they will not see or hear the PXE request broadcast from the client. Therefore, the servers will not respond to the PXE request. To have the PXE request broadcast travel between subnets or VLANs, the PXE request broadcast has to be forwarded by the router to DHCP and WDS/PXE Service Point servers so that they can correctly respond to the client’s PXE request.

    Microsoft does not recommend using DHCP options

    DHCP options can be problematic and might not work reliably or consistently. Also, using DHCP options to control PXE requests in Configuration Manager is not supported by Microsoft.

    Therefore, the recommended and supported method for PXE booting client computers on remote subnets is to use IP Helpers.

    For more information about DHCP options that are not recommended or supported, see the following articles:

    Verify that DHCP options 60, 66, and 67 are not configured

    IMPORTANT Before you continue, it's imperative that you verify both the following conditions:

    • The routers have IP Helpers configured.
    • The DHCP server does not have DHCP Options 60, 66, or 67 configured.

    If both these criteria are not met, the PXE Service Point will experience problems. When you check DHCP options, make sure that you check the options at both the server and scope levels.

    Notice that, in certain instances, configuring DHCP options 60, 66, and 67 may make it appear that the PXE boot process is proceeding further along than it did before these options were configured. However, in most cases, the process is actually proceeding along an incorrect path.

    IMPORTANT The only exception in which a DHCP option must be used is if DHCP and WDS reside on the same server. In this situation, only DHCP Option 60 has to be set. DHCP Options 66 and 67 should still not be set in this scenario. For more information, see the following Knowledge:

    KB 4491871 Advanced troubleshooting for PXE boot issues in Configuration Manager.

    Solution 2: Reinstall PXE (use only if Solution 1 did not resolve the issue)

    In many cases, errors that occur during installation or configuration are the cause of PXE boot issues, and can be difficult and time-consuming to pinpoint. In many cases, reinstalling PXE and starting over can be the most effective and least time-consuming solution. To do this, follow these steps:

    1. On the DP, clear the Enable PXE checkbox. When you're prompted to remove the Windows Deployment service, select Yes.
    2. Verify that PXE was uninstalled. To do this, use Distmgr.log (for DPs on site server) or Smsdpprov.log (for standalone DP).
    3. In Server Manager, verify that WDS is uninstalled. If WDS is uninstalled, there should be a pending restart.
    4. Restart the server.
    5. Locate and delete the RemoteInstall folder.
    6. Change the date on the self-signed certificate in the properties of PXE DP. Wait for the new certificate to be created. (This is not applicable if the DP is HTTPS).
    7. Add the PXE point again by selecting the check box in  DP properties. Monitor through Distrmgr.log (if the DP is on the site server) or Smsdpprov.log (for a standalone DP), and verify that the DP was installed. 
    8. Verify that a new Remoteinstall folder was created.
    9. Verify that at least one x64 boot image and one x86 boot image is distributed to the DP. For each boot image that is distributed to the PXE DP and that will be used for PXE boot, make sure that the PXE option is enabled for each boot images. BIOS PCs or UEFI PCs in Legacy mode require an x86 boot image even if all PCs in the environment are x64.
    10. Verify that the WDS service was started.
    11. Navigate to the RemoteInstall folder, and verify the following SMS folders were created: 
      • SMSBoot
      • SMSImages
      • SMSTemp
      • SMSTEmpBootFiles 
    12. Navigate to the SMSImages folder, and verify that all the boot images that were distributed to the PXE DP are listed here. Boot images are listed by Package ID.
    13. Navigate to the SMSBoot folder, and verify that both the x86 and x64 folders are populated with files.
    14. Try a PXE boot.

    Need more help?

    For additonal help with troubleshooting PXE boot issues, see see the following Knowledge Base article:

    4491871 Advanced troubleshooting for PXE boot issues in Configuration Manager

    For more help to resolve this issue, see our TechNet support forum or contact Microsoft Support.