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Old 04-13-2004, 12:59 PM   #1
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Question Can i use a floppy to boot to the CDROM?


Hi

I've an old machine I'd like to install linux on. I'm not too bothered which distro as I'm looking to customise it once its on there. This is a "learning machine" which will (hopefully) instigate my migration over to linux.

This machine is a Dell OptiPlex GXi 5166L.

Thing is, it doesn't allow in the BIOS to boot from CDROM, and the NIC is built in, so I'm stuck to the "mainline" distros that allow the user to install from floppy and can see my NIC.

I was wondering whether there is a way to use a floppy disk to boot from the CDROM. I've tried the "Smart Boot Manager" (//btmgr.sourceforge.net/) with no joy. Are there any other utilities out there?

Thanks for any help you can give me - i've been banging my head against the wall for weeks now!
 
Old 04-13-2004, 01:20 PM   #2
aaa
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The bootable cd works by having thew image of a bootable floppy on it. So you just have to copy that image file to floppy and use that to boot. You can use 'rawrite' to copy in Windows.
 
Old 04-13-2004, 01:32 PM   #3
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Oh, right. I've had a quick look at the CDROM I'm looking to install, and there is an autorun file which is an sh script. Will I be able to just copy that to a floppy, or will I have to look for another file?
 
Old 04-13-2004, 01:36 PM   #4
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My choice of distro seems to be based on Fedora, if thats any help?
 
Old 04-13-2004, 01:49 PM   #5
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The cd contains the exact image of a bootable floppy. It is probably called 'boot.img' or similar. It has nothing to do with Autorun. It will most likely be 1.4M in size.
Once you find the file, you copy it to floppy with the special program called rawrite. you can't just copy it like it's a regular file.
 
Old 04-13-2004, 01:52 PM   #6
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Ah... found it. Wonderful. Install has started. Thanks for that. Just needed pointing in the right direction! Google seemed to let me down this time...

I've been playing around with gentoo and others, trying to install on my box - finally settled on Cobind (easy interface, ports system, un-cluttered). Gentoo was too much of a nightmare. They suggested using the redhat rescue netboot.img and following that through. Nightmare!

However - If i ever want to install a distro which doesn't have a boot disk, what other options are there?

Last edited by neocookie; 04-13-2004 at 01:55 PM.
 
Old 04-13-2004, 01:57 PM   #7
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What do you mean, 'doesn't have a boot disk'?
 
Old 04-13-2004, 02:00 PM   #8
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All major distros provide boot floppy images... well as far as i know
 
Old 04-13-2004, 03:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by aaa
What do you mean, 'doesn't have a boot disk'?
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr.Bill.Gates
All major distros provide boot floppy images... well as far as i know
Well, gentoo is a major distro, but doesn't come with a "boot disk". It will boot from the CDROM, but has no floppy to kick things off if CD booting fails/is not an option.
 
Old 04-13-2004, 07:36 PM   #10
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Smart Boot Manager can be used to make a universal boot floppy that will work with ATAPI CD drives and allow booting from CD. It can be installed to hard disk too.

BTW, I suggest using dd to image the floppy afterwards. You can then use Winimage to make a self-extracting executable (using it to read the SBM floppy does not work due to the area sbminst.exe writes to) for future creation of floppies when using non-DOS-based versions of Windows. If you use only Linux you can skip this bit:
If all you have is a WinXP, NT, or 2K box, burn a floppy emulation CD with a downloaded DOS boot disk image (not a self-extracting .exe, but a .ima file or similar) and put sbminst.exe in the root directory. Run sbminst.exe to install it to the floppy (drive "b" when booting from floppy emulation CD).
Reboot with a bootable Linux distro, dd the image to your folder of choice on your hard drive (or USB flash drive if you like). Reboot to Windows, make a self-extracting executable from the image, and put all the files you used to do this on CD so ya don't lose them.
Following the above instructions will let ya spew forth Smart Boot Manager floppies any time you need them.
Yes, it is worth it.
http://btmgr.sourceforge.net/

Last edited by farmall; 04-13-2004 at 07:57 PM.
 
Old 04-14-2004, 11:53 AM   #11
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For the cd to be bootable, it needs to have the image of a bootable floppy on it. So if you look on the Gentoo cd, it should be there somewhere, and you can copy it to floppy.
 
Old 04-14-2004, 01:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by farmall
Smart Boot Manager can be used to make a universal boot floppy that will work with ATAPI CD drives and allow booting from CD. It can be installed to hard disk too.

BTW, I suggest using dd to image the floppy afterwards. You can then use Winimage to make a self-extracting executable (using it to read the SBM floppy does not work due to the area sbminst.exe writes to) for future creation of floppies when using non-DOS-based versions of Windows. If you use only Linux you can skip this bit:
If all you have is a WinXP, NT, or 2K box, burn a floppy emulation CD with a downloaded DOS boot disk image (not a self-extracting .exe, but a .ima file or similar) and put sbminst.exe in the root directory. Run sbminst.exe to install it to the floppy (drive "b" when booting from floppy emulation CD).
Reboot with a bootable Linux distro, dd the image to your folder of choice on your hard drive (or USB flash drive if you like). Reboot to Windows, make a self-extracting executable from the image, and put all the files you used to do this on CD so ya don't lose them.
Following the above instructions will let ya spew forth Smart Boot Manager floppies any time you need them.
Yes, it is worth it.
http://btmgr.sourceforge.net/
Thanks for all that lovely information... but as previously stated, I've tried it and it didn't work.

Thanks for all your help... i'll try a different approach.
 
Old 04-21-2004, 10:30 AM   #13
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OK, that's good for 1.44Mo images, but here is MY problem

I've got an "old" machine (an embedded x86 compatible), and the CD I need to boot from has a boot.img of 2.88Mo !

I've no Linux with me to try dd or anything else, so does someone know how to create a boot floppy (or several floppies) to boot my cd ?

For information, the distribution isn't a major one, that's eshida...

THX in advance !
 
Old 04-21-2004, 01:31 PM   #14
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Try winimage - it'll format your floppy to 2.88Mb easily. Then rawrite the .img file to the floppy.

Simple.
 
Old 04-22-2004, 02:45 AM   #15
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Sure ?

Because I don't want to destroy my floppies

I tried, and winimage doesn't want...
And I think that it cannot work because the motherboard can read 1.44Mo floppies (hard floppies or cd), and cannot use the 2.88Mo ones.

Additionnaly, a floppy of 1.44Mo cannot be formatted in 2.88Mo because of its structure...

Another suggestion ?

Last edited by frenchi; 04-22-2004 at 03:00 AM.
 
  


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