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Thread: Boot from Floppy TO USB

  1. #1
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    Boot from Floppy TO USB

    Debian has one... http://wiki.debian.org/BootingFromFloppyToUsb

    It's in case your BIOS can not boot from USB.

    You will boot floppy first and the floppy will hand over the rest of the boot process to the USB driver. Where can I get such a BootromFloppyToUSB floppy image for Ubuntu?

  2. #2
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    Re: Boot from Floppy TO USB

    thank you for posting this, i have needed something like this before =)

  3. #3
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    Re: Boot from Floppy TO USB

    It's easy to make your own GRUB boot floppy disk, here, check out the how-to in this link, How to make your own personalized GRUB Floppy Disk.

    Since you're wanting to boot a USB, I recommend that you should use the newest and most advanced stage2 file in your GRUB floppy disk. Intrepid Ibex's GRUB contains the most advanced stage2 file.
    Intrepid Ibex's GRUB can search for your device by the file system UUID number, so you'll have reliable booting regardless of what the hard disk numbering scheme is in different computers you might want to use it in.

    I uploaded one for someone else a few days ago, but they didn't need it, it's here in case you want it though, http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php...87&postcount=5

    EDIT: how to edit your GRUB menu for Intrepid's GRUB's uuid booting, link: uuid

    Regards, Herman
    Last edited by Herman; January 1st, 2009 at 04:43 AM.
    Ubuntu user since 2004 (Warty Warthog)

  4. #4
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    Re: Boot from Floppy TO USB

    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Herman View Post
    It's easy to make your own GRUB boot floppy disk, here, check out the how-to in this link, How to make your own personalized GRUB Floppy Disk.
    I am using grub4dos as bootmnager, it's great. It doesn't have stages. It's just the bootcode inside MBR plus an small file called grldr.

    Doesn't I need the correct initrd and kernel switch?

    Intrepid Ibex's GRUB contains the most advanced stage2 file.
    Sorry, what is 'Intrepid Ibex's GRUB'? Is it a fork of GNU GRUB?

    Will the stage2 from Hardy also work?

    I currently prefer 8.0 over 8.1 because in 8.1 the mouse driver inside VMware is broken (I either boot on bare metal or in VMware).

    Intrepid Ibex's GRUB can search for your device by the file system UUID number, so you'll have reliable booting regardless of what the hard disk numbering scheme is in different computers you might want to use it in.
    Independent on what which harddisk numer, great thing...

    Do you mean this would be also kernel update independent?

    If I understand right... If I boot grub from floppy and use the stages from 8.1 I am perfect for USB booting for all time?

  5. #5
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    Re: Boot from Floppy TO USB

    Sorry, what is 'Intrepid Ibex's GRUB'? Is it a fork of GNU GRUB?
    Not really, at least I don't think so, it's still GNU GRUB 0.97, but it has a patch to give it the ability to boot by the file system uuid numbers instead of the 'root' command, as well as in the kernel line too.

    Will the stage2 from Hardy also work?
    Yes, it will work fine as long as you use it in the same computer or in other computers that have the same hard disk numbers. It may not be quite as reliable at finding the right device in just any computer you might want to use or if you add or remove a hard disk. If you aren't planning on going anywhere and you only own one computer, that probably will never be a problem for you, please just disregard that part of my advice.
    Ubuntu user since 2004 (Warty Warthog)

  6. #6
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    Re: Boot from Floppy TO USB

    Can you provide please a premade floppy image with GRUB and this UUID feature and upload it? I guess this could actually help more then the stage2 file alone.

  7. #7
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    Re: Boot from Floppy TO USB

    Alright, here it is.
    Code:
    dd if=/home/username/grub_uuid.img of=/dev/fd0 conv=notrunc
    You should be able to use a command something like the one above to make your floppy disc. Good luck.

    Regards, Herman
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Herman; January 2nd, 2009 at 05:18 AM.
    Ubuntu user since 2004 (Warty Warthog)

  8. #8
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    Re: Boot from Floppy TO USB

    After you dd that image to the floppy disk, you'll need to edit the menu.lst file in it before it will boot anything.

    You should delete all the numbers after the word kernel and after the word initrd.img and change to your own UUID numbers.
    Ubuntu user since 2004 (Warty Warthog)

  9. #9
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    Re: Boot from Floppy TO USB

    Thanks, that's pretty nice in any case. Also cool because you have additionally the option to from CD-ROM and to emulate a floppy image.

    Only one thing is still questionable.... After telling the BIOS to boot the floppy, it will start grub. But how could grub boot the USB? Grub has still no USB drivers inside?

    Do I need to copy the initrd and kernel to the floppy? The original purpose of the floppy was "Boot from Floppy TO USB", like the floppy image debian is providing...

  10. #10
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    Re: Boot from Floppy TO USB

    I said you'll need to edit your menu.lst file yourself, but I can help you with that if I know the necessary details about your Ubuntu installation in the USB, mainly, the file system's UUID number.
    You can easily get that by booting the floppy disk and pressing your 'c' key to change from menu mode into GRUB's Command Line Interface and typing the uuid command.
    That will list all of the partitions in your computer, along with the names of the file systems and thier uuid numbers. Your Ubuntu will probably be the only one that has the ext3 file system.
    If you're not sure, (if you have more than one ext3 file system or a reiserfs, you can test which is the right partition by taking a look at the /etc/lsb-release file. Just type 'cat (hd0,4)/etc/lsb-release and GRUB will show you that file, which will tell you what version of Ubuntu you're looking at.
    Then type 'uuid' again and take a careful note of the exact uuid number to edit your new menu.lst file with later.
    You should easily be able to edit the menu.lst file from a live cd or from your operating system if you can get it to boot.

    As far as I know, the BIOS in your computer must support booting USB booting to be able to boot a USB drive. Your theory sounds correct though, if you could fit a Linux kernel and initrd.img on a floppy disc you should be able to boot those and mount the file system in the USB. According to Rute User's Tutorial and Exposition - byPaul Sheer, we should be able to do that and how to do so is explained in this page, 31. lilo, initrd, and Booting. I tried that myself quite some time back, we should be able to use GRUB or LiLo, but the problem I ran into was our modern Linux kernel seems to have grown much too large to fit in a floppy disc. You might be able to do it with a smaller or stripped down kernel. There are how-tos about how to re-compile your Ubuntu kernel and you might be able to do that and fit one on a floppy disc. That would be worth looking into. Try all the ideas you have and see what you can do, you never know until you try, and you're never beaten until you give up.

    I thought you only wanted the boot floppy with GRUB in it so you'll be able to boot in computers that do support USB booting so that you won't need to go around changing each computer's BIOS settings everywhere you go, (if you're travelling for example).

    What exactly is in the Debian floppy disc? ( http://wiki.debian.org/BootingFromFloppyToUsb),? Have you downloaded the image from there and made it into a floppy and taken a look at it?

    Regards, Herman

    EDIT: I was just taking another look, it was a long time ago when I tried it, maybe I'm wrong.
    A floppy disk is 1.44 MB, x 1,048,576 bytes each comes to 15099494.4 bytes.

    floppy disc 15099494.4 bytes
    GRUB is 4096 (according to the output from 'ls -lS /boot')
    Ubuntu kernel 1905688
    initrd.img - 8401688
    ===========================
    4788022.4 - room left over - if my maths is correct - ?
    Last edited by Herman; January 2nd, 2009 at 08:43 PM.
    Ubuntu user since 2004 (Warty Warthog)

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