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Old 12-29-2008, 03:46 PM   #1
Rapture2k4
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Need HowTo: OS Independent Boot CD (for USB)


Greetings,

First off, let me apologize for the wall of text. I'm rather new to linux. I've done some tooling around here and there and I am familiar with Cisco's unix-like CLIs. So I thought I'd give Linux a shot since Vista makes me vomit and microcult will be dropping support for XP soon.

In any event, I've got an old Dell Dimension 4500 (P4, 1.8GHz) that I'm trying to turn into a print server and a NAS for an external HD. I've read that most server-based linux flavors don't require many resources for this task, so I thought I'd give it a shot. This Dell does not have a HD, but I did have a spare 2GB flash drive laying around. I installed Ubuntu 8.10 Server on it along with GRUB. I tried using a boot CD off of PenDriveLinux for Ubuntu 8.10, but it won't boot it. I can manually boot it with GRUB on that CD by going into GRUB's command line. Only problem is, it takes up to 4 minutes for the flash drive's GRUB to begin to load the kernel. It just hangs. I did not have this issue with a persistent install of Ubuntu Desktop, but that's a whole other story.

What I'm looking for is a method of doing 2 things:

1.) Figure out a way to simulate a floppy disk for Dell's BIOS flash utility so I can copy the info to a CD and update the BIOS.

2.) Create a Boot CD that will allow me to load an OS from a USB drive (flash or external). I just need something that will pass along the bootloader on that device to the CPU/BIOS. I want to stay away from OS specific boot CDs since I'm still playing with multiple ones and deciding on the best for me. If that is not possible, then I'd like to start with Ubuntu Server 8.10.

Also, I'm up for suggestions on other distros that may do this task better or easier for a newbie.

Thank you!
 
Old 12-29-2008, 04:33 PM   #2
farslayer
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Some NAS or Home Server Distros


FreeNAS - http://www.freenas.org/
1.1. Hardware Requirements
- A PC with a minimum of 96Mb of RAM, a bootable CD-Rom Drive plus either
- A Floppy Disk (for configuration storage) and one or more Hard Drives (as storage)
- A Bootable USB or CF drive (32Mb minimum) and one or more Hard Drives (as storage)
- A Bootable Hard Drive and one or more Hard Drives (as storage)
- A Bootable Hard Drive (which will be partitioned for FreeNAS and Data)


NasLite - http://www.serverelements.com/
OpenFiler - http://www.openfiler.com/
Clarkconnect - http://www.clarkconnect.com/
SME Server - http://contribs.org/

Last edited by farslayer; 12-29-2008 at 04:39 PM.
 
Old 12-29-2008, 05:54 PM   #3
azc
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Quote:
1.) Figure out a way to simulate a floppy disk for Dell's BIOS flash utility so I can copy the info to a CD and update the BIOS.
One route might be at this page:

http://www.linuxinsight.com/how-to-f...ppy-drive.html

As stated in the page comments below, if you need to use the FDSTD.288.gz image, you'll need to modify the default 'config.sys'.

I tried this with the bios update of a motherboard I'm thinking about buying, up to actually flashing, and it seems like it should work.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to figure out what to do if the bios won't fit on a 2.88 floppy image. :/
 
Old 12-29-2008, 06:29 PM   #4
Rapture2k4
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Registered: Dec 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farslayer View Post
Some NAS or Home Server Distros


FreeNAS - http://www.freenas.org/
NasLite - http://www.serverelements.com/
OpenFiler - http://www.openfiler.com/
Clarkconnect - http://www.clarkconnect.com/
SME Server - http://contribs.org/
I'm trying out FreeNAS now, but I'm having issues with it hanging at boot up once it finishes detecting drives. I'll give the others a shot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by azc View Post
I'll give it a shot, thanx!
 
Old 12-29-2008, 06:46 PM   #5
Rapture2k4
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The line that hangs is:

Code:
md0: Preloaded image </mfsroot> 775946 bytes at 0xc0c41bcc
acd0: DVDROM <SAMSUNG DVD-ROM SD-616T/F308 at ata1-master UDMA33
acd1: CDRW <LITEON LTR-24102M/4DS3> at ata1-slave UDMA33
GEOM_LABEL: Label for provider acd0 is iso9660/FreeNAS-i386-LiveCD-0.69RC2.
_
It appears as if it is trying to acertain the label of the Lite-On drive, but there's nothing in it.

Seems every OS I try has an issue with one of my machines... on to the next one.
 
Old 12-29-2008, 07:18 PM   #6
Rapture2k4
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That FreeDOS worked perfect! Unfortunately, the new BIOS still doesn't boot from USB. As for the BIOS's that are larger than 2.88MB, I wonder if it is possible to emulate multple disks on one CD and use a file splitter. Or, better yet, use wine and some type of floppy emulation to use the manufacturer's disk creator exe and create multiple floppy images. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Back to my OS research!

Man, this place is 100x better than UbuntuForums!
 
Old 12-29-2008, 11:35 PM   #7
farslayer
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floppy NAS ... nanoLite on the naslite website.. I don't think it's free but it's only 9.95 if I recall
 
  


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