pxe install fails - "No Automatic Proposal Possible"

I want to install suse 11.x on a diskless node. The suse repository has been copied from the install DVD to /srv/ftp/suse on my suse 11.1 server. This directory is NFS exported.

DHCP and atftp have been installed and the files initrc, linux, and pxelinux.0 are in /srv/tftp.

I’m using atftpd and DHCP. Booting my diskless node runs initrc and linux. The IP address is correctly assigned based on the dhcpd.conf file. The suse install GUI is started. When it runs “Probe hard disk” a popup appears

with “Error - no hard disk found”. When it gets to Suggested Partioning it says “No automatic proposal possible”. I can manually assign /srv/tftp/pxelinux.cfg to /

but then it says “bootloader cannot be installed on NFS partition”. Then the install fails.

I’ve tried this with SusE 11.1 and 11.2, with the same results.

Question #1: Is there a simple option in the default file that I’m missing?
Question #2: Do I need a ramdisk?
Question #3: Do I need to recompile the kernel to get support for NFS booting?
Question #4: What do the “class pxe” and "class “etherboot” entries in dhcpd.conf do?

This is the first time I’ve tried to install for a diskless client, so I don’t know if “Error - no hard disk found” should be expected on a diskless node.

Here is my /srv/tftp/pxelinux.cfg/default file

default install
prompt 1
timeout 30

label install
kernel linux
append initrd=initrd install=nfs:// showopts

(I tried adding root=/dev/nfs and nfsroot= but this didn’t help.)

This is my dhcpd.conf file.


default-lease-time 600;
max-lease-time 7200;
ddns-update-style none;
ddns-updates off;
allow booting;
allow bootp;

class “pxe” {
match if substring (option vendor-class-identifier, 0, 9) = “PXEClient”;
class “etherboot” {
match if substring (option vendor-class-identifier, 0, 9) = “Etherboot”;

subnet netmask { }

host dace {
hardware ethernet 00:1F:C6:E5:12:5A;
server-name “”;
filename “pxelinux.0”;

---------------------------------------------------------------- Thanks!

Creating a new initrd file with ‘mkinitrd’ may be part of the solution.
Running mkinitrd from /srv/tftp fails

mkinitrd -f nfs -D eth0 initrd initrd.new

with the message "kernel modules not available, could not find map initrd/boot/System.map

This install problem feels like it can be solved with the proper initrd and arguments in /srv/tftp/pxelinux.cfg/default.

Also, I think /srv/tftp/pxelinux.cfg/default file needs a ‘boot’ choice in addition to the ‘install’ option.


Thanks, Rick

A Novell developer in Germany gave me the first two parts to the solution.

(1) ignore messages like “no hard drive found” and “cannot install bootloader to NFS partition” and “no automatic proposal possible”.

(2) mount remote NFS partition with the “nolock” option.

The OS will install on the server. You probably want to install the OS into a directory at the same level as your pxelinux.cfg file.