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Turn Off Intel® Boot Agent or Prevent It from Running

Last Reviewed: 03-Nov-2016
Article ID: 000005626

Instructions for disabling Intel® Boot Agent apply to add-on adapters plugged into a PCI, PCI-X, or PCI Express* slot. 

If you have a built-in network connection, refer to your computer's documentation. Usually the settings to disable or enable the boot agent are in the BIOS.

If you have a laptop computer, this page doesn't apply. See your computer BIOS for settings to disable the Intel® Boot Agent.

The Intel® Ethernet Flash Firmware Utility download package includes the Intel® Boot Agent Guide. Launch index.htm to open the guide, which includes detailed instructions for using the boot utility to disable Intel® Boot Agent.


How do I turn the Intel® Boot Agent off or prevent it from running?

To prevent the Intel® Boot Agent from initializing, use the Intel® Ethernet Flash Firmware Utility (BootUtil.exe) to turn it off. The utility package contains versions of the utility for DOS, Windows*, Linux*, and UEFI.

BootUtil is a utility program that changes the default settings of your Intel® Ethernet Adapter. Use it to enable or disable the Wake-on-LAN and Intel® Boot Agent capabilities and settings used by the Boot Agent. BootUtil allows in-the-field upgrades to the image stored in the flash component of the NIC.

See instructions on running BootUtil.

Download the Intel® Ethernet Flash Firmware Utility (includes BootUtil.exe).


Install the boot utility

For DOS or UEFI, you can run the program from the folder for that OS. If you try to run the DOS version of the utility from the Windows* command line, the program fails. The DOS version only runs under DOS.

For Linux* and Windows*, you must first run the install program.

The install and the boot utility programs are in the folder for your OS, inside the \APPS\BootUtil folder. If the folder for your OS includes an install program, run the install before running the boot utility.

Installing the boot utility in Windows* overwrites files required for Intel® PROSet for Windows Device Manager. Installation can cause system bug checks or loss of functionality when you use Intel® PROSet or other tools with the same driver. Uninstall Intel® PROSet before installing the utility. After using the utility, reinstall Intel® PROSet. Reinstalling Intel® PROSet overwrites files used by the utility.


How Intel® Boot Agent works

The Intel® Boot Agent is software that allows your networked client computer to boot using an image on a remote server. PC vendors can implement the Intel Boot Agent to accommodate various environments and protocols. The BIOS inserts the Boot Agent into the list of boot devices. When the Boot Agent is ahead of any other bootable device in the list, it executes and tries to boot the computer over the network.

To prevent the Boot Agent from executing:

  1. Enter your BIOS configuration and find the boot device order settings.
  2. Move the boot agent down the list after the hard drive or the device you prefer to boot from.

Intel® Boot Agent settings

Intel® Boot Agent initializes during the system startup, even if it is not the first boot device. Once the initialization screen displays, press Control-S to configure the Boot Agent settings.

  • On desktop adapters: Intel® Boot Agent is enabled by default
  • On server adapters: Intel® Boot Agent is disabled by default

For server adapters, use the BOOTUTIL utility with the command-line BOOTUTIL -FE to enable Intel® Boot Agent.

If you are not booting from the network, disable Intel® Boot Agent to speed up booting your computer.

Related topics
Intel® Ethernet Connections Boot Utility
Is your PXE Boot failing with an E74 error?
How do I troubleshoot PXE boot with a network protocol analyzer?
Download the Intel® Ethernet Flash Firmware Utility

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