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Old 05-01-2002, 10:01 PM   #1
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Registered: May 2002
Location: USA
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Unhappy Boot disk dilemma x.x

The sad saga of a total (almost) Linux newbie ..

About two days ago, I installed Mandrake 8.1, which has given me nothing but hell since (randomly crashing programs, rampant errors when installing programs, problems with the motherboard, etc.).

I overcame the so-called "lovable quirks" .. for the first few days.

But when it turns out there's some bug preventing me from installing programs, I decide to swap distributions.

My buddy John told me (contrary to what the general consensus on these boards seems to be) that Mandrake was absolutely NOT for beginners and was plagued by .. well .. irritating quirks that I wouldn't want to deal with. He suggested Redhat or SuSE.

So I prodded my boyfriend (lovely, generous he) until he downloaded and burnt me the necessary CDs for Redhat 7.2.

I read up on the installation via CD for Redhat, and almost every place tells me I'll need a bootdisk.

"No problem!" I tell myself. "I know ALL about bootdisks."

I decide the easiest route would be to create the bootdisk on my sister's Windows computer (since I know my way around it much better, and it's less violently disobedient than the Mandrake-raped machine in my room).

Checked out all the hottest sites (, various forums) and carefully followed instructions for formatting the floppy and getting boot.img on to it.

Problems galore.

First of all, I can't access /dosutils/ (or what ever the directory is) from DOS on the first installation disk. Not a HUGE dilemma .. I found that boot.img was easily snatched from various FTP sites.

Bigger problem .. maybe I am just cursed or bootdisk inept, but the 1.4 meg boot.img WILL NOT fit on a floppy--regardless of my formatting attempts (which were very successful!). For some reason, my computer still says that this floppy is 1.38 megs.

1.38 won't cut it.

So .. what do you folks suggest?

Is there a healthy alternative to bootdisks for installing off of a CD?

I tinkered with my computer's BIOS, and I am pretty confident that I can't boot from the CD.

But, then again, I am pretty ignorant.

Please please help. o.O
Old 05-02-2002, 04:18 AM   #2
Registered: Feb 2002
Location: Grenoble
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 9,657

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I'd try with another floppy. It looks like this one has just some bad sectors...
I'm writing this on P120 and it boots from cds. All newer machines should do the same. There are just some BIOSes where this option is hidden.
Old 05-02-2002, 04:05 PM   #3
Registered: Mar 2002
Location: I can see you from here.
Distribution: Gentoo 1.3b
Posts: 182

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I don't understand what you need a bootdisk for if you say you installed mandrake, when you installed it you booted from cd no? RedHat 7.2 is bootable from cd unless your boyfriend downloaded the tree and burned it that away, if not go back to your linux machine and try this in the directory your boot.img lies being the easiest way:
fdformat /dev/fd0H1440
mkfs -t ext2 /dev/fd0
dd if=boot.img of=/dev/fd0
Old 05-02-2002, 04:12 PM   #4
Registered: Apr 2002
Location: The next brick house on the right.
Distribution: Kubuntu 8.04
Posts: 668

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The rawrite.exe utility is included on most Linux CDs. You can use that under windows or DOS to do a "raw write" to a floppy. It writes (not copies) everything from the first byte to the last on the floppy. or as Autobot suggested just use dd on a Linux box to write the image. Remember, it's an image, not a file.


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