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ming0 12-03-2003 11:55 AM

Installing Slackware with USB Floppy Drive
I have looked around for Slackware boot disks that would support booting from a USB Floppy, and haven't had much luck finding anything. Is there anyone who has had experience doing this, or knows where I might find such images?

I am installing to a Toughbook R1, and so I have no CDROM, and no internal FDD--I will need to do an FTP install.

Thanks :)

Tinkster 12-03-2003 01:39 PM

Ummmm ... I may be wrong here, but doesn't that
depend on the machines BIOS rather than on the
disks you're using? Same with CD's ... if the BIOS
wouldn't boot of a CD, it doesn't matter what kind
of CD you stick in there ....


Misel 12-03-2003 04:24 PM

Well in order to boot from a bootdisk connected via a USB floppy drive the PC has to have the drivers before it can actually access the disk. That's why it needs BIOS support and that's why there are no USB-Floppy drive kernels.

ming0 12-03-2003 05:31 PM

My BIOS does support this, but once I get booted, the kernel doesn't support it...

I have sucessfully installed SuSE on this laptop (with the USB FDD), and have also done it with a special set of boot disks for Debian.

It is possible--with the right disks... If the right disks exist?

Or could I make my own disk?

I would just use SuSE, but I can't stand the fact that directories are so non-standard, and that you can't JUST install stuff from source (at least when I try to it always chokes)--this is why i like slackware SO much--things just work!

Misel 12-04-2003 02:28 AM

hmm, maybe you can use the kernel of your Suse installation (as long as the USB-Floppy driver is compiled into the kernel). Try to copy it on the Floppy and overwrite vmlinuz.

This is a dirty hack and I can't guarantee anything though ;)

ming0 12-04-2003 11:41 AM

Ok--I'll look into that one.

Is it possible to get an install going on top of a fully booted system--like if I were to boot into my SuSE intsall, and then somehow just install Slackware from there?

nObRaIn 12-05-2003 07:51 PM

i have the same prob on a sony vaio 505. maybe loadlin is a solution but i still miss some details. i think i'll try that tomorow and see what happens.

ming0 12-06-2003 02:04 AM

let us know what happens w/ loadlin...

nObRaIn 12-06-2003 12:10 PM

i have some news on the front. i haven't tried loadlin yet just because i found out that usb floppies like other usb storage devices are working as emulated scsi devices (most of the info comes from

so using my imagination i would say... we need to boot with a slackware boot disk that supports scsi (?) and the floppy drive is then on /dev/sdx (?) and maybe need to add something like ramdisk root=/dev/sda to the first prompt of the boot disk (?).

i'm a total noob so i'm not sure of any of these but i'll be ready to try in a couple of hours and i'll post back. in the mean time if anyone has any sugestions... you know, feel free to help :P

just in case... this can be helpfull as well

nObRaIn 12-07-2003 04:51 AM

well.... the scsi thing didn't work but i tried loadlin and it worked great. i just can't think of a way that it would work without a fat32 partition (that is if you don't have one).

otherwise just download loadlin and the other two files on a fat partition, boot in dos and load loadlin from there. the rest is the normal installation described on the site (and is really easy and fast).

i hope it works for you too. let me know how it goes.

ming0 12-17-2003 12:58 AM

I have vowed to never allow windows to be installed on my laptop... So unless I can create a FAT32 (which I realize IS a proprietary M$ filesystem) partition from debian, I won't be able to use loadlin. (if anyone knows how to do this, point me in the right direction)


I just found this page, which details installing slack on a sony picturebook (which also lacks a CDROM and FDD).

The author has floppies posted on

I will try this stuff out as soon as I have some spare time, and let you guys know what happens...


ming0 12-18-2003 12:17 AM

Tried the disks, and I don't get ANYTHING but a blinking cursor? I emailed the author of the disk set, and will relay anything he lets me know.

malo_umoran 12-18-2003 04:36 AM

Hi, I did with USB CD drive, but you can do it with floppies also:

1. made a custom kernel with USB support (I did it with debian)
2. mounted Slackware ISO file (cd1)
3. replaced bzImage in raid.s directory
4. umounted ISO file
5. burned it to CD
6. when asked for a kernel during boot, just typed "raid.s"

ad 1)

I used config from bare.i and just turned on USB Support and USB Mass Storage. nothing else.

imporant is to make a kernel on the same machine where you want to install Slackware ... I tried it with a kernel from an another machine and slack crashed during boot process.


gnashley 12-18-2003 09:24 AM

Grab the bootdisk for RUNT linux (new version). this is for slack 9.1 and will let you boot from usb floppy or usb thumbdrive. if, by chance the right modules aren't loaded, the developer gives an execellent howto for making your own slack bootdisk.

ming0 01-21-2004 12:15 AM

Hey--I finally got it! Thanks for the Loadlin tip.

It was a very complex process, and I detailed it here [].

If anyone knows of a potential better way to do this, feel free to email me (my address is on the bottom of the linked page)

Again, thanks for help!

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