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Preboot Execution Environment (PXE)

This term describes a process which allows a computer to boot over the network on a physical wired network connection. The end result is a tiny Operating System is executed via the PXE method which may serve as a launching pad to performing other tasks such as deploying a full Operating System.

PXE relies on Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) to provide extra scope options that point to a PXE server and boot file. The client performing the PXE boot will request a DHCP address, and using the scope options reach out to the PXE server and request the boot file.

The boot file will be downloaded via TFTP and "launched." At this point the PXE process is done complete.