[SOLVED] Installing from live hard disk (over itself!)
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  1. #1
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    Installing from live hard disk (over itself!)

    Hello,
    so, I am trying to rescue an not-too-old computer and install Fedora 29 on it. Problem is: I cannot boot from USB, I failed trying to do a network install and I only managed to find an external USB box where to fit the hard drive (I don't have another desktop computer to use as a booting option).

    I made a bootable USB pen drive, booted on my laptop, connected the external USB hard disk, but I am unable to install on it, because - apparently - something fails when I try to create partitions. I **can** write to the disk, for example using dd, but I cannot partition it. To give you an idea, I tried partitioning it by creating a sparse file of the same size, partitioned it with fdisk, then used dd to copy that image onto the hard drive. It worked, but installing with Anaconda still failed because of reasons I can't understand.

    Since USB was giving me issues, I used the same trick (dd) to copy the bootable USB pen drive onto the hard drive, then plugged it back in the computer and - finally - I got a working Fedora Live on that computer.

    The problem is that I am unable to install it on the hard drive, probably because the live system and the installation disk must be different (which normally makes a lot of sense). In this situation, I would like to remove all the partitions but the live system, install and remove the live afterwards. In principle it's doable, and if there was a way to see precisely what steps anaconda is performing, I could tweak them and do them manually, but I did not find a way to see that (would be very convenient and useful to learn many things, though).

    I noticed doing anaconda -h that there are a couple of interesting options, specifically:

    Code:
      --image IMAGE_SPEC
            Specification of disk image file to be used as installation destination. IMAGE_SPEC must have format
            <path>[:<name>] where <path> specifies the path of an image file and an optional <name> component is
            used to identify the disk during installation. <path> must be a local path but it may be relative or
            absolute. If <name> is not specified, a name is synthesized from the basename of <path>. <name> may
            not contain a colon or a slash. This option may be used multiple times to specify multiple disk
            images. It is an error to specify the same <path> twice or to use duplicate names. The --image and
            --dirinstall options are mutually exclusive.
      --dirinstall [DIRINSTALL]
            Use the device mounted at /mnt/sysimage as the installation destination. The --dirinstall and --image
            options are mutually exclusive. The /mnt/sysimage directory can be overridden by setting the
            ANACONDA_ROOT_PATH environmental variable before starting anaconda.
    But I don't really understand how to use them. I am not sure --image fits my needs, but can I maybe manually partition the system, then mount the root in /mnt/sysimage and use --dirinstall?

    Any advice at this point is welcome
    Cheers

  2. #2
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    Re: Installing from live hard disk (over itself!)

    Hi Akiross
    When I run into problems with hard disks, and I have a live USB working, I usually wipe that hard disk using dd

    sudo dd if=/dev/null of=/dev/sd? count = 100 where ? is the target disk drive letter (? = a if only one disk on your computer).
    That dd command wipes out the hard disk directory.

    Thereafter run your Fedora installation from the USB. Anaconda will partition the disk and install the system.
    On reboot, if the logon prompt occurs, then you have succeeded.
    Warning. The first logon may take a few minutes, as Gnome builds a lookup dictionary.
    Subsequent logons should be normal.
    Leslie in Montreal

    Interesting web sites list
    http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showth...40#post1697840

  3. #3
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    Re: Installing from live hard disk (over itself!)

    Quote Originally Posted by lsatenstein
    Hi
    Thereafter run your Fedora installation from the USB. Anaconda will partition the disk and install the system.

    Hello, thanks for your suggestions! But as I stated above, unfortunately I am not able to boot from USB. This is why I used dd to copy the live image onto the hard drive itself and booted from it.

  4. #4
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    Re: Installing from live hard disk (over itself!)

    I never tried using a spinner partition to do an install. I believe that a mount of the ISO would be the way.
    I don't exactly remember the mount instructions.

    I also wonder if doing an install with VM will do the job too.
    Leslie in Montreal

    Interesting web sites list
    http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showth...40#post1697840

  5. #5
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    Re: Installing from live hard disk (over itself!)

    Ahaha it's so fun because I *just* managed to start the installation process using VirtualBox I am in the installation process (I had to follow these instructions https://superuser.com/questions/4950...in-virtual-box and I also had to wipe the hard drive first because it tried to boot from it). I am still not sure if the hard drive will be usable in the machine, thought but I really hope so!

    Besides this, the problem with mounting the ISO is that I still require to boot the system in some way, but I am unable to do so. So, dd-ing the ISO over the disk made it bootable, but I ran in the issue that the disk was protected by anaconda (cannot install over the same drive of the live system), so I had to change the code myself, but then I ran into the problem of the disk being formatted as a ISO9660 cd-rom, but I fudged up and corrupted everything. In the end, I thought about using a VM and, as said earlier, I am currently in the process of installing. I'll report later to share and let you know if the disk is bootable and usable.

    Meanwhile, thanks a lot for your suggestions!

  6. #6
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    Re: Installing from live hard disk (over itself!)

    I'm glad to report that it worked Apparently, one can install fedora directly over an hard drive by using VirtualBox.
    Thanks again for your help!

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