I’m starting to get a nice network at home now. Recently I’ve bought a MacBook Air after a long vacation from Apple products due to a lemon MacBook Pro, so now in addition to my HTPC/media server I’ve added a Mac server using that MacBook Pro. It runs my time machine backups and some other cool stuff like NetBoot/NetInstall. After using NetInstall I realized how much easier it was to just boot a device off the network to install instead of writing the install files to flash drives that seem to disappear when you need them most. If you’ve got Windows Server you can use WDS to accomplish this. Getting WDS to work from a network level really just requires some DHCP options. I didn’t feel like making my Windows server my main DHCP server (though you might have to if your router doesn’t allow changing DHCP options) so I left that to my DD-WRT enabled Linksys E4200.

Enabling PXE booting on DD-WRT is fairly easy. First things first you need to enable DNSMasq by going to Services, then DNSMasq, then enable all three options. In the box that says “Additional DNSMasq Options” enter:


Make sure to change to your WDS host. Either IP or hostname will work. Note that the path is URL encoded to convert backslashes to %5C to play nicely with WDS. Before I was just using backslashes and it drove me crazy trying to figure out why it wouldn’t work. Once I found out that the path had to be encoded I felt like I had to make a post about this.

I don’t believe any special WDS configuration is necessary so this should work OOB.