Setup NetBoot Service on Mac OS X 10.6.x Client

By: Richard Glaser - Revised: 2011-07-21 rcg



Setup NetBoot Service on Mac OS X 10.6.x Client - by Richard Glaser
This web page covers the steps of setting up the NetBoot service on a Mac OS X 10.6.x client, includes script that automates the setup, and details on setting up diskless NetBoot which is usefull in situations where you want run utilities like Disk Utility or DiskWarrior on the local hard disk of the NetBooted client and want to do it on more than 10 clients which is the concurrent limitation of Mac OS X client using Apple Filing Protocol [AFP] via File Sharing.

Richard Glaser heads the campus Mac Managers, is steering board member of campus IT Managers, and was member of steering board for MacOSXLabs & MacEnterprise projects. He is System Administrator for the Computer & Media Services at the Marriott Library. And has presented at WWDC, MacWorld and O'Reilly conferences on various Mac Administrative topics.


NetBoot is a technology from Apple which enables Macs with capable firmware to boot from a network disk image, rather than a local hard disk, optical disc drive or other locally attached portable media like USB/FireWire drives, etc.

Terms - NetBoot

NetInstall uses a network image to install the operating system or software onto the local hard disk. In the same way that a NetBoot image replaces the role of a hard disk, a NetInstall image is a replacement for an installation DVD.

Terms - NetRestore

NetRestore is a network image that you can use to restore a volume over the network.
You can also use the asr tool to restore a NetRestore image onto a volume or to clone volume.

Terms - NetRestore

Shadow Files
Many clients can read from the same NetBoot image, but when a client must write back to its startup volume, such as print jobs and other temporary files, NetBoot service redirects the written data to shadow files.

Network Icon Network
Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) is used for the network based shadow files.
Hard Disk Icon Local Hard Disk
You can also use a hard disk on the client if available.
RAM Disk Icon Ram Disk
Or setup a ram disk for shadow files.