Unraveling the iPXE Enigma: A Guide for IT Managers


I am currently deploying Windows imaging via WDS and encountered an unexpected instance of iPXE (1.21.1) during a VM test run, instead of the standard PXE boot. This installation was unknown to both myself and the IT Operations manager, and unfortunately, the installer left no documentation. We are not acquainted with iPXE.

Our investigation revealed inactive IP addresses, though DHCP and DNS configurations are correct, and a MAC address is present. However, attempts to locate it using the ‘arp -a’ command were unsuccessful.

We suspect the iPXE is operating on a VM, as indicated by ‘innotek GmbH’ and ‘VirtualBox’ in the settings. Could you advise on how to identify the host machine for iPXE and the procedure for its removal?”


Windows Deployment Services (WDS) is a reliable tool for network-based installation of Windows operating systems. However, encountering an unexpected iPXE instance instead of the standard PXE boot can be perplexing, especially when the installation is undocumented and unfamiliar.

Understanding iPXE

iPXE is an open-source network boot firmware that provides enhanced features over the traditional Preboot Execution Environment (PXE). It allows for booting via various network protocols and can be a powerful tool if configured correctly.

Identifying the Host Machine

To locate the host machine running iPXE, consider the following steps:


Network Scanning

: Use a network scanning tool to identify all devices on your network. Look for the MAC address that matches the one provided by iPXE.


VirtualBox Management

: Since ‘innotek GmbH’ and ‘VirtualBox’ are listed, access the VirtualBox management interface on machines that have it installed. Check for any virtual machines that match the iPXE configuration.


VM Identification

: If you have access to a central VM management tool or hypervisor, use it to search for the VM by MAC address or other identifying factors.

Uninstalling iPXE

Once the host machine is identified, the removal process will depend on how iPXE was integrated:

  • Standalone VM

    : If iPXE runs on a standalone VM, simply shutting down and deleting the VM should suffice.

  • Boot Script

    : If iPXE was loaded via a script or network boot program, locate the script and remove the references to iPXE.

  • DHCP Configuration

    : Check the DHCP server for options 66 (Boot Server Host Name) and 67 (Bootfile Name) that point to iPXE. Remove or update these options.

  • Conclusion

    Unfamiliar instances like iPXE can disrupt a well-planned WDS deployment. Thorough investigation and methodical elimination are key to resolving such issues. Always ensure proper documentation to avoid future complications.


    : Before making changes to your network or VMs, ensure you have the necessary permissions and backups to prevent unintended disruptions.

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