How to Create a PXE Boot Menu in System Center Configuration Manager 2007

Written by Neil Harrison, Microsoft Premier Field Engineer

Microsoft System CenterMany IT departments are faced with the reality of having to manage multiple images whether it be for desktops or servers.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could add your hardware to a collection in System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) and then pick the image to deploy at the time the machine is PXE-booted?   Well I have good news: you can and it’s really quite simple to accomplish!

The way to achieve this is to advertise multiple OSD task sequences to your collection but DO NOT make these mandatory advertisements.  When Windows PE discovers that you have multiple options available it will present you with a dialog box to choose the Task Sequence you would like to run.

Here are the steps to implement this in a little more detail:

  1. Create your Task Sequences with all the appropriate steps to image/reimage your hardware.    More information on creating Task Sequences can be found on TechNet.

  2. Create a new collection for the purposes of advertising OSD images to clients.

  3. Advertise each Task Sequence that you have created in step 1 to the collection in step 2.   Make sure that when you are proceeding through the New Advertisement Wizard that your schedule settings reflect that there are no mandatory assignments.

    New Advertisement Wizard

  4. Now that you have some optional advertisements targeted at your collection you will be presented with an extra prompt when performing a network boot that asks you to press F12 to continue with a network service boot.  Network Service Boot

  5. If you pressed F12 in step 4 then Windows PE will initialize and eventually you will be presented with the “Welcome to the Task Sequence Wizard”.  Whether or not you need to enter a password here is dependent on how you configured the PXE Service Point in SCCM. Task Sequence Wizard

  6. The next screen will be what we’ve been waiting for.  A dialog box to select the Task Sequence that we want to run!

Task Sequence Wizard #2

I hope this information proves useful!