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Old 12-27-2003, 05:07 PM   #1
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Windsor, Ontario
Distribution: Gentoo 1.4
Posts: 34

Rep: Reputation: 15
Want to install Linux on a laptop with nothing but a HD

Hello everyone,

I'm a complete Linux newbie, whom after yet another frustrating experience with Windows is seriously considering making the switch.

My computer is an Intel PIII, 256 RAM, and about 5 GB free HD space. It's running on Win XP.

My problem is that I have no external drives. None. No floppy, no CD, no nothing.

Additionally, I just moved, so I have no access to any other PCs or peripherals.

My questions:

1. Can I install Linux on this depressing setup?
2. Can someone recommend a distribution which will require maybe at most 200 MB? I found Damn Small Linux (50 MB), and was wondering if that would be a good choice for a beginner. I really like minimal options and settings -- Windows is a bitch in that area.

Like I said, I am a complete newbie. If someone can find the time to give me a step-by-step on Question 1, it would be greatly appreciated. If not, I am willing to do more research... just point me to the right path.

Thanks in advance!

Old 12-27-2003, 05:26 PM   #2
Registered: Nov 2002
Location: Kent, England
Distribution: Debian Testing
Posts: 19,192
Blog Entries: 4

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I'm sorry, but as far as I know you have to have at least a boot disk (either floppy or cd) to start the install. After that you can either use an iso saved to the hard drive, a cd or an ftp install.
Old 12-28-2003, 09:43 AM   #3
Registered: Dec 2003
Distribution: Debian, OpenBSD
Posts: 46

Rep: Reputation: 15
if you don't have any floppy/cdrom/zip or whatever driver and no connection to any network, there's no way to install any software and absolutely no way to install an OS that's not on your harddisk...
it might be (theoretically) possible to install a linux system from windows, but personally i would not put any trust in such an installation program and you still need to have it saved to your harddisk to be able to use it... sorry!
Old 12-30-2003, 09:51 PM   #4
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Windsor, Ontario
Distribution: Gentoo 1.4
Posts: 34

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Thanks for the responses. After reading them, I found someone who helped me burn a copy of Damn Small Linux onto a CD. I managed to borrow a USB CD-R drive from someone else.

Thing is, DSL kicked me out to a "very limited shell". I think it was some hardware issues.

Anyway, besides the point.

Since my CD burning capabilities are limited by the patience of my friend, I don't want to tax it. So I was hoping I could go make one bootable "generic" CD, download various distributions and experiment on my computer. What do I need on that CD?

Oh, any answers for question 2 ? (Can anyone recommend a distribution which will require maybe at most 200 MB?)

Thanks again.

Old 12-31-2003, 09:00 AM   #5
Registered: Apr 2002
Location: Bronx, NY
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 371

Rep: Reputation: 34
Knoppix is a really good start for what you are asking to do - it creates a useable Linux from one CD, and doesn't require installation. That said, you will need to hold onto that friend's USB CD-Drive until you've decided on exactly what dist you want to install.

As far as very small installations - that's hard to say - my smallest installs are typically around 400MB - but I like to install all the development tools. Most installs allow you to pick and choose components though. If you are entirely new to Linux, you might want to see what Mandrake has to offer - it may have a tight space install option.

Good luck.
Old 01-02-2004, 12:54 PM   #6
LQ Newbie
Registered: Sep 2003
Posts: 18

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i had the same situation except on a fat32, windows 98 laptop. If you can access the internet from the laptop then you should try to download winlinux. A lot of people don't seem to like winlinux but once you have a base system set up you can then download and use redhat rpms to update and install grub as a boot manager.
Old 01-02-2004, 02:07 PM   #7
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jun 2001
Location: Germany
Distribution: siduction, antiX, LXLE, Kubuntu
Posts: 25

Rep: Reputation: 15
A week ago I installed peanut linux on a vaio subnotebook (no floppy-, no cd-drive) by connecting a cf-card-reader to its usb port to copy the installation files to hd and install from DOS. But PL is about 350 MB (with KDE and rpm-support) so doesn't fit your needs I guess... What about zipslack? It is small enough to fit on a 100-MB-ZIPDisk and can be installed from hd too.
Old 01-04-2004, 02:05 PM   #8
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Windsor, Ontario
Distribution: Gentoo 1.4
Posts: 34

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Oops. I posted a reply here yesterday but I guess it didn't show.

Knoppix doesn't work to detect the USB drive. That was the problem I had with Damn Small Linux too.

towhalc: LOL, I wish I had heard of winlinux before I confidently fdisk-ed the entire contents of my HD after obtaining a copy of Slackware 9.1. It sounds like a very comfortable solution.

Kerridis: Hey, that sounds like my notebook. I contacted the author of PL to see if the kernel supports USB at boot, but haven't received a reply yet. Zipslack... sounds great. *sobs* Wish I had known of it like I had known of winlinux.

Anyway, someone mentioned that Fedora has the support I need, so I'm ordering it right away.

Thanks a lot for all your responses.

Old 01-04-2004, 02:10 PM   #9
Registered: Sep 2001
Location: New Jersey
Distribution: Red Hat, SuSE, CentOS and Ubuntu
Posts: 50

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I'm not sure of the exact URL but search for SuSE's FTP install. They don't have ISOs to download but do say you can install via FTP.


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