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Floppy boot disk for Source Mage GNU/linux on Dell XPI CD

3 replies [Last post]
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Joined: 2008-04-14

Hi all,

I recently bought a Dell XPi CD laptop on eBay. I love the laptop (old hardware wrox) but it shipped with Win98SE. I want to install Source Mage GNU/linux on this machine, so I downloaded the ISO bootable CD image. However, my laptop's BIOS doesn't support booting from a CD -- only floppy or HDD. My only other computer that has a floppy drive is not linux -- it is windoze xp Sad So is there any way to make a bootable floppy disk that redirects to the CD? I need to be able to make this floppy on windoze so if there is any utility that can do this on windoze as well as on gnu/linux. Is this possible? If so, how do I do it once I obtain the software?

Thx in advance,
sweeneytodd

a thing's picture
Offline
Joined: 2005-12-20
workaround

First check if there is a BIOS update that can boot from the CD drive.

I doubt that floppy that redirects to the CD drive is possible if the BIOS cannot boot from the CD drive anyways. It might be possible with something like virtualization, but a computer that old would not have the resources to do that smoothly.

Perhaps you could install a minimal GNU/Linux system from a floppy which can then be used to install more. IIRC Debian has a floppy for this.

Offline
Joined: 2008-04-14
Thanks, but...

I checked to see if there was a BIOS update, but all I found out was they stopped updating this particular BIOS ages ago and the newest and therefore final version doesn't support booting from CD.

However, I discovered a tiny boot manager that installs on a floppy designed specifically for systems like mine that can't boot from cd. It's called super boot manager or something like that. When I boot up that I press enter on the cd option but it gives me a "Disk error! 0xAA" whatever that means. I've tried at least 3 different burns of the cd so I know the cd can't be the problem. At least I don't think it is.

As for your other suggestion, installing a minimalist gnu/linux distro that boots from the floppy, I think that is probably my best option. Is there a way to convert an existing gnu/linux system into another one? IE installing debian or something that has a floppy boot disk and then convert that debian/whatever system into a Source mage gnu/linux system?

a thing's picture
Offline
Joined: 2005-12-20
good iso image?

Did you check the md5 or sha1 sum of the ISO image before burning?

I think you can always convert a Unixish system to another. However, it would probably be fairly tedious. I think it would be easier to convert to a source-based distro (Source Mage, Gentoo, EasyLFS) rather than a binary distro (Fedora, Debian). However, since the computer is so old, it would take days to compile a source-based distro (depending on how much you install).

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