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How to Resolve ‘Start PXE over IPv4’ Issue in Windows Easily

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The ‘Start PXE over IPv4’ message that occasionally appears during startup is an issue many Windows users have encountered. This comprehensive guide will give you detailed steps to resolve this problem effectively and quickly.

What is PXE?

PXE stands for Preboot eXecution Environment, a part of your Network Interface Card (NIC) firmware. It’s widely used in enterprise and academic environments for system imaging and deployment across multiple machines. It enables your system to boot from a network server before the operating system loads. This means an IT admin can set up a single computer with the desired operating system and software, create an image of that setup, and then deploy that image to hundreds or even thousands of machines through the network. This saves a significant amount of time and effort.

Here’s an interesting fact: PXE was first introduced as a part of the Wired for Management (WfM) initiative by Intel in 1999. This initiative aimed to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) of systems in business environments. Today, PXE is a crucial part of network booting and remote system deployment across many industries!

What Triggers ‘Start PXE over IPv4’ Error?

When your computer tries to boot up, it looks for a bootable device like your hard drive or SSD (Solid State Drive). If it fails to find a bootable device, it may try to boot via the network interface, which is generally the last option in the boot priority list. If this fails, the system throws the ‘Start PXE over IPv4’ message. This could be due to several reasons, such as:

  • Your system’s boot order might have been reconfigured, prioritizing network boot over the hard drive.
  • The network adapter drivers may be outdated or faulty.
  • There might be a hardware issue, especially with your hard drive.

Impact of the ‘Start PXE over IPv4’ Error

This error does not generally harm your system. However, it prevents your computer from starting up, which can interrupt your work or usage of your computer. Moreover, consistent display of this error could indicate a failing hard drive, a severe issue that needs immediate attention.

How to Fix the ‘Start PXE over IPv4’ Error on Windows

Let’s explore several methods to help you troubleshoot and rectify the ‘Start PXE over IPv4’ issue.

Check Your Boot Order

First, you should check the boot order in your system BIOS (Basic Input/Output System). The boot order determines the sequence in which the BIOS checks devices for bootable information. If the network adapter is prioritized over the hard drive, it may cause the ‘Start PXE over IPv4’ error.

To access the BIOS:

  • Restart your computer.
  • Press the appropriate function key as your computer boots up (usually F2, F12, DEL, or ESC). This key varies depending on the manufacturer.
  • Once inside the BIOS, look for the ‘Boot’ tab or similar.
  • Ensure your hard drive or SSD is set as the primary boot device.
  • Save changes and exit the BIOS.

A detailed guide on how to change the boot order in the BIOS can be found at Lifewire.

Disable Network Boot

Disabling the network boot option in the BIOS can often resolve this issue.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Access your system’s BIOS.
  • Locate and select the ‘Boot’ or ‘Startup’ tab.
  • Find and disable the ‘Network Boot’ or ‘PXE Boot’ option.
  • Save the changes and exit the BIOS.

For a step-by-step guide on disabling network boot, visit Techwalla.

Update Your Network Adapter Driver

Outdated or faulty network adapter drivers can trigger the ‘Start PXE over IPv4’ error. Therefore, ensure your network adapter driver is up-to-date.

You can update the network adapter driver by:

  • Pressing Win + X and selecting ‘Device Manager.’
  • Expanding ‘Network Adapters.’
  • Right-clicking your network adapter and selecting ‘Update Driver.’
  • Following the prompts to update the driver.

Microsoft provides a helpful guide on how to update your drivers in Windows.

Firmware Update

Sometimes, a BIOS or UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) update may be required. Be cautious during this process, as an incorrect update can cause serious issues. The process varies greatly among different manufacturers and models, so refer to your computer or motherboard manual for specific instructions. Here’s our general guide to updating your BIOS.

Check Your Hard Drive Health

If the above solutions don’t work, you might want to check the health of your hard drive. Bad sectors or a failing hard drive could be why your computer tries to boot from the network.

To check your hard drive health, you can use tools such as CrystalDiskInfo or Windows’ built-in tool, CHKDSK.

If your hard drive is indeed failing, consider replacing it immediately. A detailed guide on replacing a hard drive can be found at PCWorld.

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Gyula Virag
Gyula Virag

Gyula is a developer and a passionate geek father with a deep love of online marketing and technology. He always seeks challenging adventures and opportunities to create something permanent in the digital world.

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