Question: Can I install DSL via floppy drive only?

From user AwPhuch
Posted: April 14 2004,10:37

Hello everyone.
Im still blown away that I was actually able to do what I was planning on doing...
Ill explain...I have a very old laptop that a buddy of mine was gave to me, its a 75Mhz Pentium (classic) 16Megs RAM, 540MB harddrive, no CD ROM or USB available, 10/100 Kingston KNE-2 PCMCIA card, the only info online I could find about it was (FCC ID:FMA7600)...I truly thought I was fighting a futile battle but now im surfing the web on this little monster!

OK before I go into how I did it I want to let anyone know that before they get frustrated and throw it out of the window take a step back and catch your breath...many times I wanted to quit but kept on trying...


1.  Get the ISO image from DOWNLOAD PAGE

2.  Get your favorite ISO viewer program (ISOBUSTER, DAEMON TOOLS, or whatever)

3.  Extract the ISO files to your harddrive:
Code Sample

4.  Get WINRAR and UnRAR for DOS files.

5.  When you rar the files you will have to go into the adv tab and select the old archive names (otherwise you get filenames like unrar.part01.rar which will confuse DOS), dont worry about compression or whatnot it should handle that automatically. Once you rar the files you should have around 30-32 rar files that will fit on a floppy.

5.  With a WIN98 WIN98(no ramdrive) boot floppy (dont worry about the error message about no cdrom) fdisk 2 (50meg) primary fat 32 paritions on the harddrive (dont worry about the extra space...Linux will handle that later).
Code Sample
Format them (C:\ and D:\) with format C: /u or D: /u

6.  Using 2 "good" floppies copy over the individual rar files to the D: drive on the computer [/CODE]a:\copy *.* d:[/CODE], once you have all the files copied over we need to:
A: check the integrity of the files and
B: extract the files back to thier original state.
Code Sample
unrar t unrar.rar  <---to test
unrar x unrar.rar c:\  <---to extract to c drive

7.  Now that the rar files are useless we can fdisk and delete the d drive...

8.  Create a DSL boot floppy by using RAWWRITEWIN and boot.img from the KNOPPIX dir.

9.  Boot from DSL boot floppy and it will auto detect the c drive (/dev/hda1) and start running DSL.

You can either-
A: stop right here
B: create a swap parition if you want one
C: do a harddrive install

A: Will run directly from the /dev/hda1 compressed (a little slower but saves room)

B: Create a swap partion - Go into a terminal or shell and typing cfdisk (create a type 82 [linux swap] file however big you want it 64 Meg should be more than enuff)
Code Sample
sudo su (to become root)
tab to new
select primary
select starting cylinder, you can either select end cylinder or +64M and it will automatically calculate the cylinders needed for the swap space.
tab to type (hit a key to bypass) type 82 (for linux swap)
make sure you remember the name of the partition (more than likely /dev/hda2)
at the command line
tab to write and hit ok
ok now to activate the swap parition you just created
at command line type
Code Sample
mkswap /dev/hda2
once its done it will roll right back to a command line
then type swapon -a or reboot the system and then the DSL startup will automatically see the swap partition and mount it

C: Harddrive Install - If you dont have much ram like me (16megs) a swap partition is what is needed so do that 1st if you have enuff ram 32+Megs then you probably dont need a swap...
Code Sample
sudo su (to become root)
tab to new
create a primary (linux ex2) partition on the remainder of the HD
remember the parition name (more than likely /dev/hda3)
write and ok back to command prompt
cd /usr/sbin
then type ./dsl-hdinstall and follow the prompts

once its installed you can delete the fat32 partition that had the original files from DSL.

Once you do that you should now have a complete and running DSL  system on your laptop and not have had to use a cd rom or find out about a network install...

Hope this helps