Boot anything, anywhere, anytime
netboot.me is a service that allows you to boot nearly any operating system or tool on any computer with a wired internet connection - without having to know ahead of time what tools you need. Once you can netboot.me, you never need to update your tools again!
netboot.me works through the magic of netbooting. There are a number of ways to boot a computer with netboot.me. The simplest is to download a bootable image and burn it to a CD, USB memory stick, or floppy disk. Boot off it on any networked computer, and it will automatically fetch the latest boot options from netboot.me and let you choose from dozens of installation, recovery, testing, portable desktop and other tools. You can also start netboot.me from any computer running gPXE, or from any netbootable computer with some simple tweaks to your DHCP server.
netboot.me is useful in a number of situations. You can use it as an installer for any number of operating systems and distros, as a rescue disk for a wide variety of setups, as a testing and diagnostic utility for memory, disk, CPU and other components, or even as an instant desktop environment!
The most important advantage of netboot.me is that you don't have to plan ahead in order to take advantage of it. Often, you don't know you're going to need a diagnostic tool until you do - at which point it may be too late to download it! You can download the netboot.me bootloader once, keep it with you when you might need it, and never have to worry about updates again.
Another advantage of netboot.me is for performing OS installations. When you download a distribution of Linux or another OSS operating system, much of the software on it is already obsolete, requiring you to upgrade it as soon as you finish installing. With netboot installations, however, the downloaded packages are always the latest, eliminating the need for an update and reducing the total amount you have to download.
|netbootme.usb||USB Disk Image||04a5404452d75f774913be45aa8e746c||496ce3646576edc81a220770a32cf37332efa2d1|
|netbootme.dsk||Floppy Disk Image||19be8d3a827606faeea28dd64f5bcfe7||1bbafa337a4201a6eb836ea94f1af71807a36b6d|
Installation instructions for all these images can be found here.
Log in by clicking on the log in link in the header (a Google account is required), then create a config from your "My Configs" page. Once you've created it, follow the directions below to boot it and try it out. If you think it will be of general interest, file a bug for it to be included in the menu.
When you know exactly what you want to boot, it can be convenient to bypass some or all of the menu system. To boot directly into a configuration, start up your computer as you would normally when booting netboot.me, and press any key when the message "Press any key for options or wait n seconds" is displayed. Then, select the option titled "Boot a configuration directly", and enter the ID of your configuration (the last part of the URL) and press enter to boot it. For example, to boot directly into Memtest 86, you would enter the number '3005'.
Some systems have trouble with the default (graphical) menu. If your system is one of those, simply press any key when prompted to "Press any key for options or wait n seconds", and select the text menu option from the resulting display.
You can submit bugs and feature requests here. Please search before you submit - voting for an existing issue counts for more than creating a new one!
A general discussion group is here.
Yes! netboot.me is licensed under the BSD license. You can find the source for the site here, and the source for the modified version of the gPXE bootloader used by netboot.me here. Contributions are welcomed. If you'd like to create your own netboot.me clone, you're welcome to, but please credit the original!