How to Use NetBoot for Mac Clients | Managing Mac with SCCM

NetBoot provides modern Mac® computers with the option to boot directly from a shared network volume instead of a local drive or data medium. This is particularly relevant for recovering from a damaged macOS® installation or for initial setup of new devices. This functionality is based on the firmware of compatible Mac computers that enables them to boot from network drives or from a system image at a storage location that is accessible for the Mac. NetBoot can also provide new Mac computers with a customized installation file to roll them out in the organization.

It should be noted that some current Mac models do not support NetBoot anymore.

How to enable NetBoot for Microsoft SCCM

Parallels® Mac Management for Microsoft® SCCM allows organizations to utilize the NetBoot functionality within an SCCM environment. Only a few prerequisites need to be met to make NetBoot work with SCCM. The IT team needs to install the NetBoot component on a server for it to assume the role of a distribution point. All other requirements are explained in detail in the Administrator’s Guide (PDF). Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) forwarding needs to be activated if the NetBoot server and the targeted Mac clients reside in different subnetworks.

After installation, the Parallels NetBoot Configuration Wizard will run automatically. A small number of steps need to be configured here. After entering the SCCM environment’s SMS provider and opening a user account for the NetBoot server, the IT team needs to create a directory for the image files.

The last step for the IT team is to create a NetBoot image of macOS that the Mac devices can boot from. The Parallels tool PmmOsdImageBuilder helps with this. The IT team will need a reference Mac computer for the software tool to mirror its operating system. The next step is to add this image in SCCM. This is done by navigating to “Software Library / Overview / Operating Systems / Operating System Images” and selecting: “Add OS X Image.” The last thing to do is to add this operating system instance to the distribution point.

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Learn more

Parallels Knowledge Base | How to create and distribute NetBoot image

Apple Support | NetBoot, NetInstall, and NetRestore requirements in OS X El Capitan

Der Flounder | The T2 Macs, the end of NetBoot and deploying from macOS Recovery

Parallels Knowledge Base | Setting Up Network Environment for NetBoot Server

Apple Support | Computers that support network startup volumes