How to Start PXE Over IPv4 or IPv6

PCs have this useful, yet not that well-known feature called PXE, or Preboot Execution Environment, that starts an operating system using a network. That said, if your PC fails to boot due to an unexpected “Start PXE over IPv4” or “Start PXE over IPv6” message, fret not, as it likely isn’t a big deal. Keep reading to see what could be causing this issue for you and how to solve it.

How to Start PXE Over IPv4 or IPv6

Opening the BIOS

There are several ways to prevent the aforementioned message from appearing, but all of them require running the BIOS, a firmware that makes sure everything is booting up properly on your PC. To open the BIOS, in most cases you need to press a certain button on your keyboard before your operating system starts booting up.

You might be able to see which button you need to press upon computer startup, but not all motherboards provide that information. F2 is by far the most common button that takes you to BIOS configuration, but F1 and Delete are also frequently used. It all depends on your motherboard manufacturer and model.

BIOS

Tinkering with the BIOS

Change the Boot Priority

When a computer attempts to boot the system using PXE, this usually means that it wouldn’t boot in any other way. Therefore, among the most common issues is a wrong boot priority order, which might’ve got reset on its own. To fix this:

  1. Open the BIOS by pressing the BIOS button before the OS starts booting. Feel free to press the button multiple times, as it can be hard getting it right on the first try.
  2. Inside the BIOS, there are tabs at the top of the screen such as Main, Boot, Exit, etc. Go to the Boot tab by using the left and right arrow keys.
  3. You’re looking to set the boot priority, so look for Boot Priority Setup or something similar. Once you’ve found it, press Enter to go to the next menu.
  4. There will be a list that shows devices such as HDD, USB, DVD, etc. Make sure that either HDD or SSD are at the top of the list.

Note: To move the items on the list up or down, first use the up and down arrow keys to get to the list, press Enter, and then the buttons needed to change the list order. F5 and F6 usually do this. Look for control mappings at the bottom of the screen to see if that’s the case for your PC.

  1. To exit BIOS and save all the changes, press F10. This is the most common button mapped for this function.
  2. Confirm that you’d like to exit BIOS and save changes by highlighting Yes (or “OK”) using the arrow keys and pressing Enter.

Disable the Onboard NIC

Certain motherboards have Boot Option Priorities which have values such as Onboard NIC (IPV6) and Onboard NIC (IPV4). Disabling these might solve the problem. Here’s how to do this:

  1. Open the BIOS.
  2. Go to the Boot tab.
  3. In case you have this option, it will be most likely located directly in the Boot tab. If so, use the up and down keys to get to Boot Options. Press Enter to change them.
  4. Another list will pop up. Look for a Disabled option. Use the arrow keys to select it and press Enter to confirm your selection.
  5. Exit the BIOS, saving the changes.

Disable Secure Boot

Secure Boot is another BIOS option that might be getting in your way, so consider disabling it:

  1. Go to the BIOS.
  2. Enter the Security tab.
  3. Find the Secure Boot Configuration option and press Enter.
  4. A warning message might appear, so press the required button to continue. F10 is the go-to button for confirming in BIOS.
  5. In the Secure Boot Configuration menu, locate the Secure Boot option. Press the right arrow key to change the value to Disable, unless it has been already changed. If the arrow keys don’t work, press Enter to open the option you want to change.
  6. Another option you should take care of here is Legacy Support. It’s located in the Boot tab, under UEFI/BIOS Boot Mode or something like that. If it’s not set to Legacy, press Enter to select it.
  7. To exit BIOS setup and save all the changes, press the required button(s) (most likely F10).
  8. Confirm that you’d like to exit the BIOS and save changes.

Disable the Wake-On-LAN

Since this is a network-related message, you should try disabling WOL (Wake-On-LAN). This option is usually located in the Power tab, but it might also be found in the advanced options of some motherboards’ BIOS. If it isn’t already set to Disabled, press Enter and select Disabled from the new pop-up menu by highlighting it and pressing Enter again. Exit the BIOS and save the changes afterwards.

Disable the Wake-On-LAN

Reset BIOS to Factory Settings

If everything has failed so far, you can reset your BIOS to its default (factory) settings. This option is located in the Exit tab of the BIOS, but the name may vary. The most usual names of the option you’re seeking are Load Setup Defaults. Other possible ones include Factory Default, Clear BIOS, Reset to Default, etc.

Even if your BIOS setup isn’t divided into tabs, this setting will still be located near the Exit/Save and Exit options.

Update the BIOS

If all else failed, then try updating or reinstalling the BIOS. For the sake of this example, we shall cover Windows 10 related information, but much of the info will apply to most users.

  1. Assuming you can access your OS, open the Start menu and type “msinfo” into the Search bar, just start typing, and then click on System Information. Windows 10 Start menu
  2. A new screen will appear, locate your BIOS Version and copy it however you want, screenshot, etc. Windows 10 System Information page
  3. Now, navigate to your laptop/PC manufacturer’s website and go to the Support page.
  4. Search for “Update BIOS”, you might need to vary the search a little depending on the manufacturer.
  5. Download the new firmware onto a flash drive and then install it through your BIOS, there’s an option for this in most BIOS.

If you can’t access your OS, then just download the new firmware for your BIOS or UEFI system and install on your system.

Shutting Down

These are the most common causes/solutions for this message. If none of these helps, consider upgrading your BIOS, too, although this is more advanced. If that doesn’t help either, your hard drive might be dead, or your BIOS has stopped recognizing it. Either way, it’s best that you don’t attempt this on your own if you don’t have any previous experience with BIOS setup.

Do you like setting up your BIOS? Do you think this is a skill that’s important for everyone to have these days? Let us know in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “How to Start PXE Over IPv4 or IPv6”

Avatar Andrew says:
I’ve tried all these steps but but laptop will load up, the laptop is about to go in the bin
Avatar Andy Glackin says:
it goes from Alienware to black screen after trying boot priority, onboard nic change, disable secure boot all led to same thing blank screen, starts cussing. I give up never should have ordered this motherfking computer.

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