Share via

Configuring Support for BOOTP Clients

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Windows Server 2003 provides support for dynamic BOOTP, which allows you to provide BOOTP support without making a reservation for each BOOTP client.

You can use DHCP to configure and support BOOTP clients. BOOTP clients can be configured to receive boot file information, or IP address information. You can also use DHCP to configure options for your BOOTP clients.

Configuring DHCP to Provide Boot File Information

To configure the DHCP service to provide boot file information to BOOTP clients, create BOOTP entries for each client-specific platform in the BOOTP table on the DHCP server.

Information stored in the BOOTP table is returned to any BOOTP clients on the network that broadcast a BOOTP request message. If the BOOTP table includes at least one BOOTP entry, the DHCP service replies to BOOTP client requests. If no BOOTP entries are configured, the BOOTP client gets a lease, but no options or other information are passed to the BOOTP client.

The reply message returned by the DHCP service indicates the name of a Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) server on the network and the location of the boot file. The client then contacts the TFTP server to retrieve the boot image file.

BOOTP clients download the image file from a TFTP server. Because Windows Server 2003 does not provide a full TFTP file service, you might need to use a third-party TFTP server to support BOOTP clients that must start from an image file (usually diskless workstations).

Configuring DHCP to Provide IP Address Information

Windows Server 2003 allows you to designate a pool of addresses from which IP addresses for BOOTP clients are dynamically assigned, similar to the way that a scope is used for DHCP clients. After verifying that a specified lease time has elapsed and that the BOOTP client IP address is not still in use, the DHCP service can reclaim addresses used in the dynamic BOOTP address pool.

To include BOOTP client support in your DHCP scope design, designate the DHCP scope as a BOOTP address pool or as both a DHCP and BOOTP address pool on the Advanced tab of the Scope Properties window in the DHCP snap-in. For more information about configuring a BOOTP address pool, see "Add dynamic BOOTP client support to a scope" in Help and Support Center for Windows Server 2003.

Configuring Options for BOOTP Clients

To retrieve all options, the client must specify option 55 (the Options Request List parameter) in the BOOTP request. Windows Server 2003 DHCP servers return as many options to BOOTP clients as can fit in a single datagram response. Because BOOTP only allocates 300 bytes for options, any options that exceed the 300 bytes are not sent. Therefore, when configuring options on a server that will service BOOTP clients, be aware of the size limitations for BOOTP response packets.

For more information about BOOTP options, see the Networking Collection of the Windows Server 2003 Technical Reference (or see the Networking Collection on the Web at


  • DHCP options can apply to both DHCP and BOOTP clients. Therefore, you must configure your scopes to ensure that DHCP options are applied correctly.