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Old 08-17-2006, 11:17 AM   #1
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Reinstall without CDROM

I have this little question

I now have a complete ubuntu laptop. After two weeks it's up and running. I'm using fluxbox with a couple of apps, everything is perfect. I turned my windows machine into a linux machine with instlux because my laptop's cdrom is broken.

My question is...if i want to perform a fresh install,if things get screwed, how do i do it without an installation cd? I do have a floppydrive.

thanks in advance
Old 08-17-2006, 11:52 AM   #2
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Not sure about Ubuntu, but Debian (which Ubuntu is based on) can do floppy drive installs. I think there's a couple of ways, either to get some floppies that do a netinstall or use the floppies to boot a copy of the installation iso which is saved on the hard drive (probably on it's own partition).

Beyond that, you could try putting grub on it's own partition so you can always boot grub, then use grub to boot an installation iso. I've never tried this, but I feel I've read it before.
Old 08-17-2006, 12:18 PM   #3
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Point your browser at, search words: boot iso grub.

Basically, you create partition on the hard drive, formatted as iso9660 (a cd on the hard drive).

The grub manual has instructions on what to do to make a bootable cd image. In the instructions, read cd-rom, think "partition on hard drive formatted as a cd-rom".

Burn the files called for in the manual to that partition. You may have to google up a special grub stage 2: it's called stage2_eltorito.

Set up grub in the Ubuntu grub config file then test it. If you can boot into the iso as though it were a cd, then you know you will be able to re-install as though from a cd-rom.
Old 08-17-2006, 12:20 PM   #4
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...if things get screwed....
First, I think you have little reason to worry unless your laptop has further hardware issues. Of course, when one system goes, can the others be very far behind? You may be forced to replace the whole thing before too long. Do backups of any files you want to keep regularly and often!

Quote: do i do it without an installation cd? I do have a floppydrive.
I imagine it's theoretically possible to install from floppies, but first you have to figure out how to spread the larger RPMs over several of them, so I don't think it's very practical.

I recall seeing CD-ROM drives that plug into a parallel port. Perhaps one of those would work, but I also recall most of them had windows device drivers. Finding one with Linux support--who knows? You might get lucky.

Some time ago I had an older computer that had to be booted from floppy before it could read the CD-ROM. Even though the BIOS allowed me to set the boot order with CD-ROM first, it simply refused to boot from the drive--although I installed Linux from it after booting from a floppy. Are you sure your CD-ROM is completely dead? Maybe the laptop won't boot from CD, but it will boot from floppy and then simply read the CD.

I suppose the last possibility would be some kind of network install. Have you Googled for that?
Old 08-17-2006, 03:39 PM   #5
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You can configure the network card boot, if the lappy will boot off the NIC. Then you can install off NFS.


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