View Full Version : Installing Fedora without CD/DVD Drive?

29th May 2007, 02:54 AM
My laptop's hard drive has my Windows install and a recovery partition on it. I have installed Fedora on it about 4 times previously and always had to wipe the hard drive for various reasons.

The laptop is a Thinkpad, and you can replace the CD/DVD drive with an extra hard drive. But that would leave me with two hard drives and no way to actually install Fedora on to the second hard drive.

Can you think of any way to do this? Over a network maybe, as it can be attached to my other computer that can have the disk images on...

Thanks for your ideas.

29th May 2007, 04:14 AM
Usb DVD drive?

29th May 2007, 04:54 AM
Yes, that's true. But an expense I was hoping not to have.

Someone on another forum has suggested swapping the drive inside the laptop for the blank one, install Linux with the DVD drive. Then swap the Windows one back inside the machine and put the linux one inside the caddy, replacing the DVD drive.

If I did that, would it boot up properly, because GRUB wouldn't have seen Windows at install, and it would see the DVD drive. So those are two things that need to be adjusted.

Thanks for your help.

29th May 2007, 05:07 AM
Yeah I'd definitely just install it to that hard drive using the cd... If you have a desktop (and didn't wanna mess with switching out cards) you can go down to your local computer store and pick up a 2.5 to 3.5 inch converter and install it on the laptop hard drive from your desktop.

Also... instead of buying a whole external usb drive go pick yourself up a nice cdrom drive enclosure for around 20-30 bucks and you can have an external usb drive whenever you need it, just insert any standard internal cd drive which you can get for 5 bucks.

29th May 2007, 05:38 AM

I do have a desktop. So, if I use the adapter. Can I install Fedora onto the laptop hard drive and then put it in the caddy and boot up?

Won't it have detected all the wrong hardware, all my desktop hardware and therefore not boot?

Sorry, I'm not very familiar with how Linux does this, I just know I've had so many booting headaches with Windows.

From that point on, booting Fedora on my laptop in the caddy, would it be easy to setup GRUB to ask which OS I want to boot?

Thanks very much for your help. I want to prepare for Fedora 7 you see.

29th May 2007, 06:10 AM
Well that's certainly a very good question in regard to hardware recognition. Although, the only thing I could see getting messed up that might throw you a curve ball is video, even though you should be able to compensate for that because you can always change what driver you're using even if X doesn't wanna start. Can't see the harm in trying that though. In regards to GRUB it shouldn't be too hard to set up from what I've seen, although I've had no first hand experience as I've only run one os on a drive.

29th May 2007, 06:29 AM
Thanks again for your help.

Would it be any easier to use one of these USB hard drive enclosures? And attach it to the actual laptop? I'm wandering if Anaconda will detect it as a hard drive, or if it'll have the USB support at install time.

If so, then it makes it a question of just changing the GRUB config file, I think, at least.

29th May 2007, 07:02 AM
as far as I know, all the install methods require a boot disk or a boot cd/dvd-rom. you can install from cd-rom, harddisk, ftp, nfs, or http, but to get it started you will need a boot disk or boot cd/dvd-rom. If you can boot from a usb drive, then you could create the boot image on it. From there you will need to setup the other computer as an ftp or nfs server. When booting off the usb you will need to enter "linux askmethod" at the boot prompt, choose your method and enter the server information. (I hope all that made sense.)

If you do install on the primary and make it the secondary, you will need to modify /etc/fstab and your grub.conf file to locate the correct boot partition. You could have a problem if you use lvm as the mappings will originally be to a partition on /dev/hda. I have no idea how you would remap them to a partition on /dev/hdb (even if it could be done). On the other hand, it may be transparent. Booting into windows will not be a problem. Simply edit grub.conf to add it.

another idea: if you don't plan on booting into the different OS's frequently, you could always swap the fedora drive for the windows drive when you want to boot into fedora. I know its a cheesy way to do it, but it might work for you.


29th May 2007, 07:09 AM
Thanks for that detailed explanation.

Just one question, when you said "usb drive" did you mean an external cd/dvd drive that I was on about in my previous post, or did you mean a thumb drive? If I could boot off a USB thumb drive that would be great.

Would an external CD/DVD drive attached by USB be detected by anaconda?... Or rather more, I wouldn't be able to set that as the first boot device would I in the BIOS.

Thank-you so much for your help, all of you.

29th May 2007, 07:14 AM
Thumbdrives are cheap, I believe that is what daverj refering to. You can get 2gig thumbdrive at Costco.

29th May 2007, 07:17 AM
Thumbdrives are cheap, I believe that is what daverj refering to. You can get 2gig thumbdrive at Costco.

Indeed they are, which is wonderful. I think my desktop can boot from USB in the BIOS, but can Fedora be installed from a USB thumbdrive? If so, that's the perfect option for me.


30th May 2007, 12:54 AM
No, no, you need to reread daverj's post, you are going to boot off the thumbdrive and use the linux askmethod.

30th May 2007, 04:42 PM
Thank-you. I think I will just swap the hard drives and then change the boot order in GRUB.

Which, I bet I'll be asking questions about later.

Thanks for your help, all of you.

30th May 2007, 05:55 PM
How about putting a web server on the desktop, then installing using the http method.

Your desktop serves the files up for the laptop to install.

30th May 2007, 06:23 PM
I could, but does that method also not require some boot disk of sorts?

30th May 2007, 08:55 PM
Yes it would.