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Old 09-30-2007, 05:09 PM   #1
archeryguru2000
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Trouble with creating floppy image for Linux install on legacy machines.


I was wondering if anybody out there has any advice on creating a floppy disk that will tell the comp to boot from the cd drive upon start up. and yes this is an old machine; one of several that i have from the mid to late 90's. one of these machines has windoze 95 and i'd like to "upgrade" to a lightweight linux distro (or BSD, my fanatic buddy is insistent that i try it ). anyway, this old machine has no option for booting from the cdrom drive (which is quite necessary to install an OS). i've read (in many places) that a floppy can be written that basically tells the machine to refer to the cdrom for instructions... but nobody seems to care to mention how to do that. if somebody would be so gracious as to assist me in my endeavor, it would be greatly appreciated. thanks for taking the time to read this post, and thanks in advance for any/everything.

~~archery~~
 
Old 09-30-2007, 05:18 PM   #2
stress_junkie
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Here's an idea that I just cobbled together off the top of my head. The idea is to boot a Windows 95 floppy with the CD-ROM driver, then use an old boot utility called loadlin.exe.

Here is where I got the idea. I saw this page with the Windows 95 CD-ROM driver and figured that loadlin.exe might work.
http://www.onecomputerguy.com/instal...es.htm#generic
Note that I don't know anything about this site. It might be full of malware for all I know. I just got the listing from Google.

Here is some information about loadlin.exe.
http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/debia...k/appd_04.html

Here is where loadlin.exe is kept by its inventor.
http://damnsmalllinux.org/wiki/index...oadlin_Install

Reply back if it works. Maybe you or I could write a how-to for this. There is a fair amount of interest in this subject. As you say, people are talking about it but not giving the details needed to do it.

I would try this myself but I currently don't have a computer whose BIOS does not support booting from the CD-ROM. I had one a year ago. More precisely one of my customers has one. I don't have access to that machine now.

Last edited by stress_junkie; 09-30-2007 at 05:27 PM.
 
Old 09-30-2007, 05:21 PM   #3
MoonMind
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I'd suggest you either use a distribution that still offers boot floppies (there's one for Debian, and I'm pretty sure I heard about one for Slackware, too), and speaking of light-weight, DSL still has a boot floppy you can download. Or you can use ready-made boot floppies from projecst like SmartBootManager. The advantage of the dedicated discs is you can use them to initiate installation right away; SmartBootManager should let you boot from every device it's able to identify, but beware of the RAM limitations involved when working with very old hardware!

I'd recommend using a text-based installer or an very compact distro - Debian, Slackware and also DeLi come with well done and powerful text-based installers; DeLi's optimised for old machines, whereas Debian and Slackware allow for all the configuration and tweaking one could wish for. But avoid using the "desktop" option on Debian - GNOME's almost certainly too heavy for the type of box you're intending to use.

DSL's always an option, but you'll have to boot to X to use it properly, and you may or may not be able to achieve this on the first go (depending on RAM and other hardware). DSL ran okay on a P233MMX with 64MB RAM, btw.

And come to think of BSD, there's a boot floppy for OpenBSD, too...
 
Old 09-30-2007, 05:21 PM   #4
archeryguru2000
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wow, thanks for the quick replies. i'll give some of these options a shot and keep you folks posted on my progress (or lack thereof ). i must be an idiot... i didn't even think of using a floppy boot (DSL, Debian, etc.). i've seen them a hundred times. apparently i've just become acustomed to using the cd drive too much. thanks for the assistance.

~~archery~~

Last edited by archeryguru2000; 09-30-2007 at 05:26 PM.
 
  


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