How to create a Ubuntu 12.04 x64 LTSP server with 32bit thin clients

This guide is based on the comprehensive LTSP documentation done by the Ubuntu Community - Ubuntu Community Documentation - UbuntuLTSP

This guide is intended as a relatively easy step by step mostly graphical (GUI) guide to:

  • Set up a basic Ubuntu LTSP server on Ubuntu 11.04, 11.10 and 12.04 x64 (64bit)
  • Configure Ubuntu 32bit thin- and fat clients with internet access.
  • Last updated : 15-04-2012


  • Ubuntu 11.04/11.10/12.04 x64 machine with two network adaptors to act as your main LTSP server.
  • 1 x Network switch / hub
  • 1 x Router with internet connection
  • Thin client computer. This can be any network boot enabled machine, or a Virtual machine like VirtualBox. See How to create a VirtualBox Ubuntu LTSP Thin Client.


  • Connect the Ubuntu 11.04/11.10 x64 machine to the internet on one network adaptor. (in this case a wifi connection to internet)
  • Connect the other available network adaptor to a Network switch / hub. (This is where thin clients will connect)


1. Change your available network adaptor IP to a fixed entry.

  • Most local network already use the 192.168.0.xx range of IP addresses, but the default install of LTSP relies on this range being available. In this tutorial we will set up the LTSP network on the 192.168.1.xx range.
  • You also need a separate network adaptor with internet access during the install process.
  • The LTSP server install wants to install it's own DHCP server, so if you have a router with it's own DHCP server it could cause conflicts if in the same network IP range.
  • So what to do is change your unused LAN port's IP address to a fixed IP in another IP range. For example my setup has a router with a DHCP server running on, and provides the Internet access on the system.  I changed my other LAN adaptor's IP to , this will be used for the LTSP network.
  • NOTE: For some reason the DHCP server does not want to start correctly on system startup if the network adaptor's IP is not set in the network interfaces config file. (see 1d. below)

1a. Go to Network Connections and select the LAN network adaptor you intend to use for your thin client network and click edit.

1b. Change your adaptor to use Manual IP and set a new fixed IP for the adaptor and save.

This will be your LTSP server IP.

1c. Set the fixed IP for the network adaptor the classic way to ensure the DHCP server starts correctly.

  • Add the information for your network adaptor that you selected in 1c. as shown below. 
  • We added eth0 with a static IP of
  • Open the Terminal Window and enter :
sudo gedit /etc/network/interfaces

1d. Change the Network Manager config file to allow control of your network adaptor with fixed IP.

  • For some mysterious reason if you enter the IP manually in the interfaces file, Network Manager ignores them and you cannot use the Network Manager to control the adaptor any more. So we have to enable it.
  • Change the "managed=false" to "managed=true" as seen below.
  • Open the Terminal Window and enter :
sudo gedit /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf


2. Install the LTSP server.

  • Open the Terminal Window and enter :
sudo apt-get install ltsp-server-standalone openssh-server

3. Edit the DHCP configuration for your LTSP server to match your chosen IP range.

  • In this case 192.168.0.xx changes to 192.168.1.xx.
  • Open the Terminal Window and enter :
sudo gedit /etc/ltsp/dhcpd.conf


​4. Select the network interface/s for the DHCP server

  • Add the network devices you would like the DHCP server to run on. In this case we changed the value of INTERFACES to include eth0
  • Open the Terminal Window and enter :
sudo gedit /etc/default/isc-dhcp-server


​5. Restart the DHCP server

  • Open the Terminal Window and enter :
sudo /etc/init.d/isc-dhcp-server restart

Tip: previous ubuntu versions need to use : sudo /etc/init.d/dhcp3-server restart 


6a. Optional step to configure a Fat Client not a Thin Client before build

  • This step is only needed if you intend to use your LTSP server for Fat clients, rather than Thin clients or both. For more information between the differences between Thin and Fat clients and configuration see UbuntuLTSPFatClients 
  • This step edits the LTSP build client configuration file to install Ubuntu desktop and create LTSP Fat client image. 
  • NOTE: only software installed in the Fat client image will be available to the client, and internet access for each client needs to be configured as the clients will not share the server network connection to the internet as is the case with the thin clients.
  • Open the Terminal Window and enter :
sudo gedit /etc/ltsp/ltsp-build-client.conf
  • Here you can customize your installation image for Fat clients.
  • We will only install the standard Ubuntu Desktop system to run on the client side for now. We can install more software to the image later, this is to get a basic Fat client image built.
  • Add the following to the file and save.
# ltsp-build-client.conf - many other options available 
# The chroot architecture.

# ubuntu-desktop and edubuntu-desktop are tested.
# Ubuntu 12.04 LTS working perfectly with Unity and Unity 2D.

6b. Optional step to disable NBD compression

  • NDB compression is enabled by default in Ubuntu 12.04 to speed up client disk access and boot times, but takes a much longer to generate a compressed image file. During development work is might be easier to disable this feature and re-enable it when the setup of the client image is complete. 
  • Open the Terminal Window and enter :
sudo gedit /etc/ltsp/ltsp-update-image.conf
  • Add NO_COMP="-noF -noD -noI -no-exports" line to disable compression. Enable the compressing by adding the # symbol, or delete the line completely
  • Make sure the file now looks like this example below and save.
# Configuration file for ltsp-update-image
# Do not compress the client image. Comment out the line below to enable again.
NO_COMP="-noF -noD -noI -no-exports"

6c. Build the i386 (32bit)  LTSP Thin/Fat Client

  • This step builds the 32bit Thin Client Ubuntu 11.04 image needed to boot the thin clients on the network.
  • This step downloads and installs all the 32bit Ubuntu client elements. Could take a while.
  • Open the Terminal Window and enter :
sudo ltsp-build-client --arch i386

​​Tip: to set up 64bit thin clients  leave out the '--arch i386' part and enter: sudo ltsp-build-client 


7. Reboot your new LTSP server to complete LTSP server install

  • At this point your Ubuntu LTSP server should be up and running. 
  • You should be able to boot a Thin Client via the network.
  • You could also set up a Virtual Machine to act as a thin client for testing your server. See: How to create a VirtualBox Ubuntu LTSP Thin Client.

Tip: After reboot make sure that the DHCP is running correctly. Open a Terminal Window and enter:

sudo /etc/init.d/isc-dhcp-server status

Tip: If after this point you change your IP address on the LTSP  server you need to enter the following :

sudo ltsp-update-sshkeys
sudo ltsp-update-image --arch i386


8. Set up Thin Client Admin user 

  • Replace the adminname with your admin user name.
sudo -s -H
chroot /opt/ltsp/i386
useradd -m adminname -G sudo
passwd adminname
  • Lock the admin account's password
sudo chroot /opt/ltsp/i386 passwd -l adminname
  • Update the client image
sudo ltsp-update-image --arch i386


9. Set up a Thin Client User Account

9a. Open Users and Groups

  • Make sure you have gnome system tools installed as this has been removed in Ubuntu 12.04.
sudo apt-get install gnome-system-tools
  • In Ubuntu 12.04 search for Users and Groups under applications after installation.

9b. Click Add to add new user account

9c. Add new username details

9d. Add new user password

9e. Change User Advanced Settings -> User Privileges


10. Boot your Thin Client from the Ubuntu LTSP server

  • Connect your Thin Client computer or Virtual Machine to your LTSP network Switch/Hub.
  • Alter the Thin Client Machine BIOS Boot settings to boot from LAN / Network.
  • Boot the machine.
  • If all is set up correctly you should see the following Ubuntu LDM login screen on your Thin Client.
  • You will be able to login with your newly created Thin Client username and password.


11. How to configure, update and auto login Thin / Fat Clients





Hi, I'm trying to install and

Hi, I'm trying to install and I have a error: "No ip... No ip ...". Could anyone help me? ><

Make sure that the DHCP

Make sure that the DHCP server is running on your LTSP server before you boot the thin client. See instructions number 3-5 above. The problem is most likely with the DHCP configuration.

I set this up in VirtualBox.

I set this up in VirtualBox. The ThinClient gets the right IP and starts to boot. But after Boot i just see a black Screen! What could be the reason for that?

Thanks a bunch for sharing

Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all folks you actually recognize what you're speaking about! Bookmarked. Kindly additionally seek advice from my website =). We will have a hyperlink trade contract among us

It's a pity you don't have a

It's a pity you don't have a donate button! I'd without a doubt donate to this fantastic blog! I guess for now i'll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will share this site with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

Hi, after reading this

Hi, after reading this amazing article i am too cheerful to share my knowledge here with colleagues.

i have installed ltsp server

i have installed ltsp server on my pc then while booting to another through lan the login screen appear but after login there is blank screen of ubuntu desktop no interface appears ??

Ubuntu is starting with Unity

Ubuntu is starting with Unity 3D - this causes the blank screen as the LTSP thin client cannot display the 3D desktop. So change the desktop to Unity 2D at the login screen.

Everything went fine except:

Everything went fine except: I cant log in. I configure a username administrador in the 12.04amd64 install and a administrador in the chroot environment. And still nothing. Even using the 12.04.2 LTS alternate installation, it's the same problem. can only log in with the standard username and nothing more. Any help? Thanks

The Fan Club thank you very

The Fan Club thank you very much.

Some permission issue

Some permission issue somewhere. Did you rebuild your client-image after adding the new user ? Can you log in to the server with the username ? Is the user added to the sudo group on the server and client side ?

this kernel requires the

this kernel requires the following features not present on the cpu pae. I get this error when i try to boot a client, linux mint 13 is the server os. It worked well on ubuntu 12.04. Any help?

Hi everyone,

Hi everyone, is there a way to use the LTSP Server without the DHCP in the ltsp-standalone? Cause i have already a Linux Server with DHCP. I would rather use this DHCP then the one from the LTSP. I tried some things but i always get a tftpboot timeout. On the DHCP i added the option "next-server". But it wont work. Is there any instruction for a already existing dhcp? best regards from Germany

Thank you so much for you

Thank you so much for you tuto, is working done. !!!! I have problems to log in, my terminal. This show error "compiz closed". I Log in with Genome Classic and work fine!!! regards, Fco Ismalej

Make sure your VirtualBox

Make sure your VirtualBox client is configured to use the PCnet-FAST III (Am79C973) network adapter, which supports PCE booting.

Hi, i did everything like it

Hi, i did everything like it said. It does boot.. but in a terminal :/ how can i boot in the desktop environment?

How can i change language?

Hi, thank you for your great guide.

Language Change

Hi Mesut. Change the Server Language, and set the locale variables on the thin client. See

worked great!

I used 2 laptops to test with. My ltsp and then a fat pxe client. Thanks for the guide it was spot on!

black Screen!

In my case was wrong configuration of Network adapter (In Virtual Box). But 1-st of all make sure you have both adapters ( from Host- DHCP card, and from Client Lan-card ) bridged to same (second) physical network card.