OK. I havn't done this myself, but I'm pretty sure that it is safe from data loss.
If there are partitions that you still want to keep on the laptop, you will need to repartition
your disk. I suggest using Bootit NG.
1. download a debian floppy boot image from
(I would choose rescue.bin)
If you're making the boot disk from windows command prompt:
rawrite <image file> a:
else for linux:
dd if=<image file> of=/dev/fd0 bs=1024
2. download a root file system floppy http://slackware.osuosl.org/slackwar...sks/rescue.dsk
rawrite <root file system image> a: or dd if=<root file system image> of=/dev/fd0 bs=1024
3. Now boot the laptop using the first boot disk. From the boot prompt, type ramdisk0 and press enter. If it fails when loading the kernel, then you probably have bad sectors on the floppy.
4. I guess you should now be at a shell. If not, find a way to get to a shell.
5. use fdisk to create some linux partitions if you havn't already done so and mount it (i.e. as /target)
6. You will need an installation of whatever distro you want to put on to the laptop on another computer.
7. copy everything from the linux partition to the laptop's hard drive (i.e. /target)
8. Adjust the entries in /etc/fstab to match your laptop's configuration.
8. Setup a boot loader on the laptop (grub or lilo) or else you won't be able to boot.
The rest is history