2.7 I have Linux Installation CDs but no install floppy. What do Ido?

If your computer can boot from the CD drive (older computers cannot), you don't need a boot diskette to install Linux. Have a look at your BIOS setup; the boot sequence can often be set up there (the default is often floppy followed by hard drive). My computer has the CD drive specified as the first boot device in the BIOS yet still cannot boot from the CD drive. So the BIOS setup does not necessary reflect the capability of your machine. If you can boot from the CD drive, just insert the RedHat CD into the CD drive and reboot the computer to enter the RedHat Linux installation program.

If you don't know how to access your BIOS setup, read this paragraph. The BIOS setup can typically be entered at boottime by pressing the proper key at the right moment (often when a prompt is briefly displayed). Most often, it is the <Del> key. Here is a list of key combinations used by popular BIOSes: Acer notebooks: <F2> during Power-On Self-Test (POST). American Megatrends (AMI): <Del> during Power-On Self-Test. Award: <Del>, or <Ctrl><Alt><Esc>. Compaq: <F10> after the square appears in the top right corner of the screen during boot-up. Dell: <Ctrl><Alt><Enter>. DTK: <Esc> during Power-On Self-Test. IBM Aptiva 535: <F1> while the square with the wavy lines is displayed in the upper right corner during power-on. IBM PS/2: <Ctrl><Alt><Del>, then <Ctrl><Alt><Ins> when the cursor is in the top right corner Mr. BIOS: <Ctrl><Alt><S> during Power-On Self-Test. Packard Bell: For some models, <F1> or <F2 > during Power-On Self-Test. Phoenix: <Ctrl><Alt><Esc> or <Ctrl><Alt><S>, or <Ctrl><Alt><Enter>.

If your computer cannot boot from the CD drive, make an install boot diskette from under DOS or the MS Windows DOS mode. (You have go to to "Shutdown" and "Restart in MS-DOS mode", not just run a DOS window).

It is important that you have a perfectly good floppy (without even one bad cluster). The program that makes the diskette does not check if the floppy was written properly. Also, don't count on the DOS FORMAT utility finding a faulty floppy--it probably won't. If I were you, I would make two or three boot floppies at once--you may be surprised how many diskettes have problems. For me, the third floppy worked! If your install diskette does not boot, make another one--it definitely should boot.

Here are the commands. To make the boot floppy run:

F:\dosutils\rawrite.exe -f F:\images\boot.img -d a: -n

To make the supplemental (optional) diskette run:

F:\dosutils\rawrite.exe -f F:\images\supp.img -d a: -n

This assumes your CDROM is the DOS "F:" drive, and your floppy is "A:", adjust the commands if the drive letters are different on your system.

The commands above run the utility "rawrite" and specify the input file ("disk image", after the option "-f") and the destination drive (after the option "-d"), and suppresses the prompt to insert a floppy (option "-n"). You may find it easier to run rawrite without any argument--it will interactively prompt you for the input image (pick the file name as in the commands above) and the destination drive letter.

From under Linux, you can make a boot floppy as follows.

If the floppy needs low-level formatting, you can format it under Linux using:

fdformat /dev/fd0H1440

Mount the RedHat CDROM:

mount /mnt/cdrom

cd /mnt/cdrom/images/

Write the floppy image to the floppy:

dd if=boot.img of=/dev/fd0

[The ``dd'' command copies files. The above command specifies that the input file ("if") is ``boot.img'' and the output file ("of") is /dev/fd0, which is the first floppy drive, i.e. the floppy drive number zero (if you want to write to your second floppy drive, use /dev/fd1). ]

To verify that the disk image was written to the floppy correctly, you can use one of the following four ways:

[1st way]

cmp boot.img /dev/fd0

[2nd way]

diff boot.img /dev/fd0

[3rd way]

md5sum boot.img

md5sum /dev/fd0

[compare if the two returned md5 checksums are identical]

[4th way]

sum boot.img

sum /dev/fd0

[compare if the two returned sums are identical]

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