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Old 11-24-2004, 05:13 PM   #1
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Question Installing Linux without a CD-ROM

Hi. I've just bought a new computer and decided to convert my old Windows Laptop over to Linux so that I can get some practice using Linux and perhaps someday switch over entirely.

The only problem is the CD-ROM on my laptop doesn't work. The only means I have of getting data to or from my laptop is a 3.5 floppy, a wireless network card, and a 128MB USB Flash Drive. I'm running Windows XP Professional and I don't care about losing any data or software from my laptop. Actually, I'd really like to just reformat my whole d*mn hard drive after I'm done transferring all my files to my new computer.

Is there any simple way to install linux without a CD-ROM? What about installing it to a reformatted hard drive? I'd like to use a free, newbie-friendly distribution (prehaps Fedora?).

Thanks ahead of time,
Old 11-24-2004, 05:45 PM   #2
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I would suggest downloading a copy of Damn Small Linux and if your laptop can boot from the USB drive, whizzo!

If not, set up the floppy to boot from and then access the USB drive.

Once it's all running, redo your hard drive partitions, get your net going, copy cds over and reboot into the installer initrd image.

The older RH9 docs describe making boot disks, network boots etc

Last edited by peter_robb; 11-24-2004 at 05:50 PM.
Old 11-24-2004, 07:24 PM   #3
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Some of the reading I've done suggests that you can create a small partition to hold a downloaded .iso of a distro, and treat that as if it were a cd and install to another partition from there.
I'm still investigating and reading, and haven't tried it yet.
Old 11-25-2004, 07:11 AM   #4
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The problem is usually getting the XP bootloader to access it as an option..
Old 11-26-2004, 12:27 AM   #5
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You can install linux across the network using floppy bootdisks to boot the PC and get the installation started. You'd host the installation files from ISOs on some other PC on the network via an FTP, HTTP, or NFS server. Some distro's, like Redhat (and probably Fedora, never looked) even allow you install it across the network without even unpacking the ISO. If the only other PCs you have available run Windows, then you can pick up a free/trial server for them off the net, like Apache (HTTP) or Omni (FTP & NFS). If you have a fast internet connection you could even install it over the internet using one of the many mirrors for your distro as the host.

Last edited by DaHammer; 11-26-2004 at 12:29 AM.


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