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Thread: HOWTO Boot from any .iso file without needing a working CD-ROM - REALLY USEFUL!

  1. #1
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    HOWTO Boot from a .iso file without needing a working CD-ROM - REALLY USEFUL!

    BOOT ANY OS USING THE Gujin BOOTLOADER

    Below is a faster method for installing/running any OS / LIVE-CD directly from a separate hard disc partition.

    I was spurred into discovering the below method while trying to install various distros on an old Sony Vaio that didn't have a CD-ROM drive.

    I currently use the below method to test various Distro's I find on DistroWatch.com.

    Advantages of the below method

    • Runs quicker than booting from a physical CD

    • Reduces the number of dead CD's thrown into our landfills.

    • No need to find the correct vmlinuz & initrd.gz files to boot the .iso file.


    Disadvantages

    • You will need a floppy drive (get a USB drive on eBay) and a floppy disk (ask your gran


    Method

    • Download the operating system .iso file - check with md5sum if there is a signature available.

    • Set aside a partition for the .iso file.*


    * Before booting from the .iso file you will need to partition your drive. In essence you will need to boot from another media either a floppy, 2nd drive or USB key and run some type of partition software e.g GPARTED, QTPARTED...

    There are some older partition floppies hidden on the net I would appreciate some recommendations that support most file systems.


    • Use the below commands to copy the OS/LIVECD .iso file to a spare partition:


    Code:
    sudo su
    WARNING THE BELOW COMMAND WILL OVERWRITE THE SELECTED PARTITION, MAKE SURE IT'S CORRECT!

    Code:
    cat filename.iso > /dev/sda3
    In the above example I'm copying the .iso file filename.iso
    to the partition called sda3 (3rd partition on the first hard disk).

    Tip: use the command
    Code:
    sudo fdisk -l
    from a prompt to discover the partitions in your computer.[/COLOR]

    • Next boot from either a Gujin * floppy bootloader or install Gujin to your hard disk.


    Quick method to install Gujin to a floppy

    Download the install-x.x.tar.gz file from sourceforge.

    Extract the boot.144 file.

    Copy the above file to a floppy disc via the below command:

    Code:
    cat boot.144 > /dev/fd0
    Floppy disks are one of the least reliable media around, so be prepared for multiple bad disks. It's a good idea to compare (with cmp) the written floppy disk with the image file. If cmp finds a difference, throw that floppy away and try another one.

    Code:
    cmp boot.144 /dev/fd0


    • At the Gujin prompt select the required OS / LIVECD.

    • You should now be booting from the .iso file directly off your hard disk.


    POST INSTALL (if you install ubuntu using this method)

    Use the below commands to get Synaptic working (thanks to mlind for the workaround):

    sudo mount -o loop cd.iso /mnt/image
    sudo rm /cdrom
    sudo ln -s /mnt/image /cdrom
    sudo apt-cdrom -m add

    Links

    Boot from a MacOSX .iso file:

    http://forum.insanelymac.com/index.p...f=136&t=103507

    I would appreciate your help in refining/correcting this HOWTO and answering questions.

    Thanks John
    Last edited by john_spiral; August 16th, 2008 at 11:46 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: HOWTO Boot from any .iso file without needing a working CD-ROM - REALLY USEFUL!

    john_spiral,

    Thank you for this tip. (It appears you posted it before the 'Thanks' button became a feature on the Forum, and as a consequence the button does not show up in this thread.)

    I have not explored it beyond a quick look at the gujin site, but it is of interest to me for something I would like to do in the near future. My second-hand Dell Optiplex G X 240 P4 1.7GHz 768MB RAM desktop only has bay space for one internal 3.5" HDD, but has two IDE channels on the mobo and accommodated in the BIOS. I have already modified it so that two externally powered IDE HDDs mounted in caddies sitting on top of the case are connected by an 80 wire cable-select ribbon cable to the primary IDE channel.

    I had intended placing a third HDD in the presently vacant single internal drive bay as soon as I can obtain a ribbon cable with sufficient separation between the drive connectors to permit the third HDD and the CD ROM drive to be connected to the secondary IDE channel. Under this arrangement the HDD would have been pegged back to the 33 ATA rating of the optical drive, even though the mobo will handle 133 ATA, which all my HDDs are.

    Your tip has shown me a way whereby I may be able to demount the optical drive and possibly install a 3.5" IDE HDD in its 5.25" bay space, yet still be able to download and install from an ISO when I need to. That will give me four IDE HDDs running at 133 ATA rating, two of them powered from the internal PSU, and two from an old AT PSU mounted externally and manually switched on in advance when booting. I understand there is also a performance boost in terms of access time for a CD that has been copied to a HDD as against one running in a lower ATA rated optical drive.

    If I need to access bootable CDs I can simply transfer one of the HDDs in its caddy to my son's desktop computer (which has CD R/W and DVD R/W drives and is also set up for HDD caddies) and copy the CD or DVD to that HDD. If I nevertheless find I still require the convenience of a CD ROM drive on my own computer for simply viewing content or running/installing applications, I can always plug in an external USB CD drive.

    Overall your tip promises me increased flexibility in the use of my older hardware, especially so far as backups and partition images on separate HDDs is concerned, as well as simply extra storage capacity.

    You ask about older partitioning floppies. I have used the DOS version of Paragon Partition Manager 2002 to view, clone, move, re-size, and create partitions for both Windows and Linux. I obtained it from a computer magazine CD as a 'freebie' and created the floppy from that. It seems to work OK, but I do not know whether it is looked upon with favour by Linux gurus. I also do not know if it is downloadable from the internet.

    Edit. I now see a 'thanks' button I swear was not there before. Perhaps it only appears if one is logged in. I press the button.
    Last edited by Forrest Gumpp; February 16th, 2008 at 06:02 AM. Reason: Spelling and site blindness

  3. #3
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    Re: HOWTO Boot from any .iso file without needing a working CD-ROM - REALLY USEFUL!

    Hi Forest,

    Good to hear you are investigating the above method, hopefully you will like me find it extremely useful for both installing Ubuntu and testing various Live CD's.

    I've been using it for a while now and find it extremely useful for testing any new Linux Distro directly from my hd without the speed
    limitations of my CD-ROM.

    The only major drawback is the dreaded cat command which has the potential to nuke your system.

    Thanks for the tip on Paragon Partition Manager 2002, does it support Linux type partitions?

    John
    Last edited by john_spiral; February 17th, 2008 at 11:53 AM.

  4. #4
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    Re: HOWTO Boot from any .iso file without needing a working CD-ROM - REALLY USEFUL!

    Just a bump to say I've made some updates to the HOWTO.

    all those users looking to test the new Ubuntu 8.04 Alpha 5 might find this HOWTO useful.

    John

  5. #5
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    Re: HOWTO Boot from any .iso file without needing a working CD-ROM - REALLY USEFUL!

    Yes, Paragon Partition Manager 2002 does support Linux file systems. I have used it to view, alter, create, and format Linux partitions before attempting to use install CDs for the first time. I have also cloned both whole HDDs and individual partitions with it.

    I first installed it under Windows, from a 'freebie' magazine CD, and then created the DOS version floppy which is now all that I use.

    I have seen somewhere a reference to a list of partitioning tools that are not favoured by Linux gurus, but have not been able to find it again. I do not know how Paragon Partition Manager is viewed within the Linux community, so be cautious.

    I have not experienced any problem with it, but then again, how would I really know? I'm not highly experienced with computers in general and Linux in particular.

    It seems your topic has attracted a lot of views. Thanks for the update info.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Re: HOWTO Boot from any .iso file without needing a working CD-ROM - REALLY USEFUL!

    Quote Originally Posted by Forrest Gumpp View Post
    Yes, Paragon Partition Manager 2002 does support Linux file systems......
    Thanks for that good info Forrest!

  7. #7
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    Re: HOWTO Boot from any .iso file without needing a working CD-ROM - REALLY USEFUL!

    Another method would be to create a bootable Ubuntu pendrive from an installation iso. Each time a new version of Ubuntu comes out or you wish to install a different variant of Ubuntu you could simply overwrite the pen from a previously downloaded iso image.

    That would save 4 CD's every six months for starters. Desktop i383, Server i386, Desktop 64bit and Server 64 bit.

    Another advantage is you could also store the cached files on there thus saving you the bother of downloading what is currently 184 updates after the installation has completed on the target computer.

    I assume you would need a FAT32 partition for booting and perhaps another for storing the files but im not sure how to make it bootable.

  8. #8
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    Re: HOWTO Boot from a .iso file without needing a working CD-ROM - REALLY USEFUL!

    Quote Originally Posted by john_spiral View Post
    BOOT ANY OS USING THE Gujin BOOTLOADER
    install Gujin to your hard disk
    This is an interesting and simple way to test and try different linux distro and I will try this on my laptop.

    But one thing is my laptop don't have floppy drive and I hope to not mess up my current used HDD by install new bootloader for try new system. So I think install Gujin bootloader onto USB flash jump drive is a good choice, I hope to know if it is possible to have Gujin and linux iso file both on USB drive or just Gujin bootloader on USB drive and linux iso file on internal HDD to achieve same boot.

    thanx in advance!

  9. #9
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    Re: HOWTO Boot from any .iso file without needing a working CD-ROM - REALLY USEFUL!


  10. #10
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    Re: HOWTO Boot from any .iso file without needing a working CD-ROM - REALLY USEFUL!

    @ john_spiral

    Does this mean I can with this method use other distros not just for tryin.What I realy want to ask is:Using this method can I use other distros like I install them with CD(updates,upgrades.installing packages)?Thanks and sorry for my ignorance.

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