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Old 01-30-2004, 12:13 AM   #1
UrbanKonfederat
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Registered: Jan 2004
Distribution: Mandrake 9.2
Posts: 2

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Booting USB drive from floppy


How does this idea sound? What I'm gonna do is have an external USB hard drive on which I will install Mandrake 9.2. Since I want this to boot on all computers, I was thinking I could make a floppy which I could boot the system from, then somehow mount the USB drive as the root filesystem. I haven't seen this idea anywhere on the internet, and I believe it's physically possible, but I wouldn't know how to make the bootable floppy initialize the USB drive, and to which device it would be assigned.

Does this sound feasable? Thanks.
 
Old 01-30-2004, 12:57 AM   #2
enigmasoldier
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Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Florence, Ky
Distribution: CentOS 3.3-4, OpenBSD 3.3, Fedora Core 4, Ubuntu, Novell Open Enterprise Server
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Your setup isn't really feasable unless you have one of those neato motherboards with all of the options like boot from USB, but... If you don't mind hacking around and getting down and dirty, it is possible to modify a few things so that it would work. You would have to make a mini stripped down distro with the kernel and modules that you wanted to fit onto the floppy. There are all kinds of floppy based distros that would work nicely for this. You have to make sure that the floppy has the full compliment of USB modules. usb-hci and usb-storage come to the top of my head. Then you will have to mount the drive, do a change root (so the kernel thinks / is on the usb drive) and go from there. I can tell you this will be messy. If you do this, you'll learn a few things about how the internals of Linux work.

Link:
http://lwn.net/Distributions/index.php3#floppy
 
Old 01-30-2004, 11:02 AM   #3
UrbanKonfederat
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Registered: Jan 2004
Distribution: Mandrake 9.2
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I believe I'm halfway there. I have a "tomsrtbt" boot disk which is available at http://www.toms.net/rb/. Right now, I'm trying to just get the USB drive mounted. That is where I'm lacking at this point. Can anyone help with mounting a USB hard drive?
 
Old 01-31-2004, 06:58 AM   #4
enigmasoldier
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Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Florence, Ky
Distribution: CentOS 3.3-4, OpenBSD 3.3, Fedora Core 4, Ubuntu, Novell Open Enterprise Server
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Ok this shouldn't be all that hard. I've done this a zillion times. First you need to make sure that you have the generic usb modules loaded usb-hci I think off of the top of my head.

lsmod | grep *usb*

will do the trick. Now you need to find out a little bit of info about your usb drive. Plug it in and type

lsusb

Your usb harddrive will be one of the devices listed. The next thing you need to do is use a program called usbmodules to determine the usb drivers that need to be loaded from your device. You look at the output from lsusb and can determine the device numbers. ie:

usbmodules --device /proc/bus/usb/001/002

More than likely, it is gonna say usb-storage so:

modprobe usb-storage

will do quite nicely. You only have to do the first few steps once to determine what kernel modules to load. Next, you need to mount your storage device. Make a directory in your /mnt folder to mount it on.

mkdir /mnt/usb

Type "mount" and it will list all currently mounted filesystems. If /dev/sda1 is not one, then try this.

mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/usb

Try this and tell me what you get.
 
  


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