This article assumes that you have already read and completed the instructions from my previous PXE-related posts. You might want to read them first.
Of all of the network boot stuff I’ve done, setting up Windows PE to PXE boot using non-Microsoft solutions was by far the most challenging. Most of the instructions I found online were either incomplete, or too specific to the user’s setup to be of much use. After a lot of trial and error (and much swearing), I finally have everything working the way it’s supposed to – although it’s a far cry away from being as flexible as I’d like.
You can find the files required to get Windows PE to PXE boot in
winpe.wim included with the Windows Automated Installation Kit 2.0 (WAIK 2.0). You’ll also want to install the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and all of its dependencies somewhere (preferably a Windows Server 2003 SP2 system, but it should run fine on XP or later). Luckily, WAIK is a dependency of MDT, so if you’re installing MDT somewhere, then you’ll also have a copy of WAIK 2.0.