View Full Version : Install using non-bootable USB DVD drive.
25th July 2007, 11:05 PM
I have a 2001 Acer Travelmate 360 laptop. 1GHz Intel Celeron processor, 1GB Ram and 30GB hard disc. As a measure of power it currently runs Windows XP Home very easily. When I got the laptop, it came with a Floppy disc drive / DVD drive module addon which connects to the side of the laptop using a custom Acer port (so you have to buy Acer parts!).
The DVD part has now broken and can no longer read DVD/CD discs. I bought a USB DVD drive but found my BIOS does not support USB booting and no BIOS upgrades are available. I can however use the floppy disc drive perfectly fine. The USB DVD drive works really well, though as mentioned I can't boot from it.
Is it possible to get a GRUB floppy disc which supports USB, boot from that and then load the Fedora 7 DVD from the USB DVD drive ? So basically I'd use the GRUB floppy as a sustitute for my BIOS. Do you know if this is possible ? How would I go about doing this ?
I have read this thread :
I'm not sure this completely applies to me though.
Thanks for your time.
26th July 2007, 01:10 AM
I have read this thread :
I'm not sure this completely applies to me though.Hi splodge1,
I think it does. The person in that thread copied the F7 installation files to a small FAT32 partition on his hard drive and used a GRUB boot floppy to launch the kernel and install F7. You want to try the same thing but with the installation files on the USB drive. It's worth a try. And if you are not able to find the files on the USB drive with the GRUB find command, you can then do exactly what was done in that other thread by copying the installation files to a small FAT32 partition on your hard drive.
If you want to try, you can follow the instructions in that thread for making and using the GRUB boot floppy. The only difference is that the three F7 installation files will be on your USB drive. No need to repeat all that stuff here, but summarizing steps that are detailed in that other thread...
Create a GRUB boot floppy by...
Downloading a GRUB boot floppy IMG file or...
Making it from a working Linux computer (details omitted but available)
Copy the three F7 installation files to the USB drive
Boot with the floppy and follow the directions in that other thread
26th July 2007, 12:21 PM
Thanks for the advice. I'll give it a try and see how I get on, then post back results.
28th July 2007, 06:10 PM
I've tried the above, sadly with no luck. GRUB does not appear to recognize USB drives. I can however boot via a GRUB floppy disk and am now at the stage where I have the following :
1) GRUB disk which works fine.
2) DVD copy of Fedora 7 burnt from the ISO image. I.e, a complete working copy of Fedora. I've tested it on my main machine.
3) A DVD with
files on the DVD.
Apart from partitioning the HDD of my laptop, any other options ? Is there a really small kernel / boot disk I can use after I have booted from GRUB, or instead of grub that will find USB drives so I can boot from that ?
28th July 2007, 07:04 PM
Apart from partitioning the HDD of my laptop, any other options ?Yes, an http or ftp installation if the Travelmate connects to the Internet.
Is there a really small kernel / boot disk I can use after I have booted from GRUB, or instead of grub that will find USB drives so I can boot from that ?That vmlinuz file is the kernel and is as small as they get. It and initrd.img will not fit on any floppy, which is all you have. Besides, if your BIOS doesn't see the USB drive, the kernel won't either as you already tried (I think).
Some random thoughts and questions for you:
Do you intend to install Fedora into space obtained by shrinking the XP partition leaving the XP system intact? Since your Travelmate hard drive is only 30GB, you would be shrinking it by nearly 1/2 to make enough room for Fedora and the installation files for a hard drive install.
Fedora will need about 10GB. The installation files for a hard drive installation will take at least another 3GB. That would leave about 17GB for XP, which is plenty but shrinking it by that much could harm it (it's happened before). It's worth trying, but just be forewarned.
Or, were you planning on replacing XP entirely with Fedora? In which case there would be no worries while partitioning.
Without a DVD or CD drive, you are left with a network (http, ftp) or hard drive installation from the ISO file. Both require at least vmlinuz and initrd.img being on the hard drive and being booted with a GRUB floppy.
Finally, if your XP system happens to be in a FAT32 partition (some are), then you can store the three installation files in your XP partition and save the 3GB or so they would have required for their own partition.
28th July 2007, 11:56 PM
Thanks for taking the time to go through this. Much appreciated.
In answer to your questions...
The laptop has been unused for near on a year and I have a big beefy main machine running XP Pro which I use for work / games etc. I have had some sporadic usage of Linux in the past, mostly SuSE / Gentoo / Mandrake, and because of work have finally decided to put some serious hours into Linux. That said, Fedora will completely take over the laptop, no more XP. I'm planning on wiping the HD clean and starting fresh.
For the sake of my sanity I'm trying to keep things simple this time round, so that's why I'm looking for easy options first, rather than being lazy.
I've done a bit more reading today and now find myself in a slightly odd position. I can't repartition my HD without cash (an option I will take if needed but I'd rather not just yet) as I can't load any OS that can do the job for me. I can't copy the three files onto my HD because my HD is in NTFS format. Can't load any OS from GRUB as the BIOS won't / can't find the USB DVD drive. I'm in doubt that I can do a network install as I don't have a Linux server from which to grab the files and stream them from (unless there are Internet based ones out there), but then I wouldn't have a clue as how to do this anyway.
I have had a look into syslinux but am not quite sure if this is right for this situation. It can be found here : http://syslinux.zytor.com/wiki/index.php/SYSLINUX#What_is_SYSLINUX.3F
I'm guessing right now my two options are either network install (somehow!) or buying something like Partition Magic, rejigging my HD to have FAT32 partition, copying the files onto it and booting from there.
Tricky one this.
Any thoughts / suggestions ?
29th July 2007, 01:07 AM
I'm guessing right now my two options are either network install (somehow!) or buying something like Partition Magic, rejigging my HD to have FAT32 partition, copying the files onto it and booting from there.You don't have to buy anything. The best partition manager in the world is completely free. Its' the GParted LiveCD (http://gparted.sourceforge.net/livecd.php). It easy to learn and use. Download and create one. Use it to shrink the XP partition (defrag first) and create a small (3-5 GB) FAT32 out of the way at the far end of the drive. Use your USB drive to transfer the three F7 installation files to the FAT32 partition. Then remove the XP partition leaving unpartitioned free space for Fedora to install into. Create the simple boot floppy. Boot and get going. It can be over with tonight. Follow the instructions in that other thread that you already know about. Or, I can help if problems come up.
P.S.: I momentarily forgot that the Travelmate does not have an optical drive. Thinking...
Surely there is a free partition manager for XP somewhere. Looking...
Okay. There are some. Just Google with free partition manager windows. I can't vouch for any of them since I don't use them. But we only need it to shrink XP a little and create the FAT32. After the installation files have been transferred to the FAT32, the Fedora disk druid can delete the XP partition during the Fedora installation.
P.P.S: Since you are planning to wipe XP off the drive, have you got an XP CD or a restore CD just in case you run into overwhelming hardware incompatibilities between your laptop and Fedora and want to go back to XP?
P.P.S.: Within the span of 10 minutes I forgot about the CD thing again! What a crippling condition no CD-ROM is these days! But you get the point about wiping XP off the drive.
29th July 2007, 02:36 AM
Im trying to install Fedora 7 in a Laptop that doesnt have the dvd driver, and it doesnt have a floppy.
Im thinking for the network installation it could be a posibility but i had a problems when i try to do it, i don't know exactly how to configure the tftp server.
I followed the instructions in this page: http://docs.fedoraproject.org/install-guide/f7/en_US/ap-pxe-server.html, but it doesnt work, i dont know what is wrong, any idea??
29th July 2007, 05:49 PM
** SUCCESS ** SUCCESS ** SUCCESS **
I now have Fedora 7 running perfectly on my Acer TravelMate 360. Thanks very much for all the suggestions and help. I hope the following How To will help others in my situation.
Please can anyone thinking of doing this please read the ENTIRE post first before proceeding as this is potentially a ONE WAY PROCESS. It may not be possible to put Windows XP back onto the machine after the following process. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
----------- The Situation - A Brief Recap -------------
I have a 2001 Acer TravelMate 360 with 1GB RAM, 30GB HDD and floppy disk drive. The DVD drive supplied with the laptop does not work anymore and the laptop does not support USB booting of any kind.
The laptop runs Windows XP Home SP2. The HDD is not partitioned in any way and so is one partition of 30GB (about 26GB actual). The HDD is also formatted NTFS not FAT32. I have bought a USB DVD drive which does work with the laptop, but as stated cannot be booted from.
So, you can't boot from DVD, GRUB does not support USB DVD without the BIOS supporting it (which it doesn't in this case) and in order to install from HDD you need to have the ISO image, along with the kernel and other files in a FAT32 partition. The HDD will need to be re-jigged then in order for a FAT32 partition to sit next to the current NTFS partition. This can't be done from a DVD like GParted LiveCD however because, once again, no USB DVD booting support.
But it can be done, fairly easily and with no cost apart from a few floppy disks, internet access and some spare blank DVD's.
----------- How I Did It -------------
Before reading the following, I am assuming the reader has the following :
a) A large dose of common sense.
b) A reasonable level of technical competence.
d) Backup of all information on the laptop.
e) Another machine running Windows XP with a floppy disk drive and DVD burner.
** Let me state again -- After this procedure it may no longer be possible to put Windows back on the laptop as I don't know if you can install Windows from a HDD partition and DVD booting is not an option. **
These installation instructions are based on the ones stoat wrote here : http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?t=159892
Assemble the following :
2 blank 1.44MB floppy disks
1 blank DVD
Download the following :
a) F-7-i386-DVD.iso (ftp://download.fedora.redhat.com/pub/fedora/linux/releases/7/Fedora/i386/iso/)
b) vmlinuz (ftp://download.fedora.redhat.com/pub/fedora/linux/releases/7/Fedora/i386/os/isolinux)
c) initrd.img (ftp://download.fedora.redhat.com/pub/fedora/linux/releases/7/Fedora/i386/os/isolinux)
Burn these onto the blank DVD. DON'T create an ISO DVD from the ISO image, you want the actual ISO image file on the DVD along with the other two files. Put the disk to one side for the time being.
Next download the following :
d) GRUB floppy disk image file : http://www.dolda2000.com/~fredrik/grub.img
e) rawrite2.exe (http://www.tux.org/pub/dos/rawrite/)
f) Partition Logic - Latest floppy disk version (http://partitionlogic.org.uk/download/index.html)
Format both of the blank floppy disks under a command prompt in Windows and make sure they do not have any bad sectors after the format. The command prompt will tell you if this is the case after the format has taken place.
Using rawrite2, create one disk with the GRUB image on and the other disk with the Partition Logic image on.
Now, defragment, several times, the HDD that is going to be used to house Fedora 7. You want a nice empty space of about 3 - 4 GB at the end which can be used as a FAT32 partition to house the three files currently sitting on the DVD you burnt.
Reboot your system and make sure it's booting from floppy disk as first option.
Insert the Partition Logic disk and wait for the disk to load the amazingly small Linux OS on the disk. Partition your disk so that the end 3 - 4GB is FAT32. Please read the documentation on the Partition Logic site / use your own common sense on this.
Reboot into Windows and copy the three files on the DVD into the new FAT32 partition.
Steps to boot the kernel and start the installation...
Reboot your system and this time boot from the GRUB disk.
At the grub> prompt, enter root (hdx,y) <--you change x & y to the drive & partition with the installation files
Note: If the drive and partition containing the installation files are not obvious, you can try searching with the GRUB find command. Example: At the grub> prompt, enter find /vmlinuz. If it finds vmlinuz, it will produce a result like this: (hdx,y). Use that result in the root command above.
At the grub> prompt, enter kernel /vmlinuz
At the grub> prompt, enter initrd /initrd.img
At the grub> prompt, enter boot
In total this took me about 3 hours and at the end of it I had a complete DVD install of Fedora 7 working perfectly on my laptop, sound and all.
Hope this helps. Thanks once again to stoat for the help.
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