Boot floppy

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A Boot Floppy is a floppy disk containing information on how to act at the startup of a system. It allows you to start programs like an installer for an OS or to run a Live CD. They also allow you to dual-boot without touching the master boot record (just pop in the floppy when you want to boot into the non-default OS).

Creating a GRUB boot floppy

  • Insert a writable floppy
  • Go to a terminal
  • su to root
  • #fdformat /dev/fd0 (change /dev/fd0 if your floppy drive isn't at that location)
  • #mke2fs /dev/fd0
  • Now mount your floppy drive somewhere (e.g. to /mnt/floppy with #mount -t ext2 /dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy)
  • #grub-install --root-directory=/mnt/floppy '(fd0)'
  • Now create a valid grub.conf file at /mnt/floppy/boot/grub/grub.conf
  • Unmount floppy (e.g. #umount /mnt/floppy)

Creating a LILO boot floppy

  • Insert a writable floppy
  • Go to a terminal
  • su to root
  • #fdformat /dev/fd0 (change /dev/fd0 if your floppy drive isn't at that location)
  • #mke2fs /dev/fd0
  • Now mount your floppy drive somewhere (e.g. to /mnt/floppy with #mount -t ext2 /dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy)
  • #cd /mnt/floppy
  • #mkdir etc
  • #mkdir boot
  • #cp /boot/boot.b /mnt/floppy/boot
  • Now create a valid lilo.conf file at /mnt/floppy/etc/lilo.conf
  • Unmount floppy (e.g. #umount /mnt/floppy)

Creating a Smart Boot Manager boot floppy

Smart Boot Manager is slightly different from normal boot loaders. This isn't really suitable for booting a system but is good if your computer is having difficulties booting from a floppy or CD/DVD-ROM.

  • Download either the static Linux binary or the DOS executable (depending on whether you are installing from Linux or Windows -- only Linux will be documented by me): Download page (external link)
  • Insert a writable floppy
  • Go to a terminal
  • su to root
  • #cd to the directory where you saved 'sbminst-static'
  • #chmod +x sbminst-static
  • #sbminst-static -t us -d /dev/fd0

Tips:

  • For Chinese language instead of English, change the -t us to -t zh
  • You can install Smart Boot Manager to the MBR by changing /dev/fd0 to /dev/hda but Smart Boot Manager can't boot an OS itself so you will still need GRUB or LILO installed on the superblock of your Linux (or other OS) partition
  • If you want to install to the MBR and want to create a backup of what is already there just in case you want to uninstall Smart Boot Manager at any time, add -b backup_file to the sbminst-static command line options
  • To uninstall Smart Boot Manager, use the command #sbminst -u backup_file or when in Smart Boot Manager, there is an uninstall option

Creating a Gujin boot floppy

Gujin is also able to boot CD/DVDROMs and can also boot most systems.

  • Insert a writable floppy
  • Check that this floppy has no bad sectors by reformating it (like in Grub or Lilo)
  • Download the latest Gujin install pack "install-*.tar.gz" and extract the file boot.144
  • Copy this boot image to the floppy by: cp boot.144 /dev/fd0
  • There is no configuration file to set up, everything is autodetected at boot (there is a setup screen at boot too).

Tips:

  • If you have the error message that this file does not fit on the floppy, you have tried to copy boot.144 in the floppy filesystem, and what you should do is to copy it to the device, so that it replaces the filesystem, by going to a terminal and typing the exact command shown.
  • You may need to umount the filesystem by umount /dev/fd0 in some distributions, before you try to copy the file to the device.

See Also

External Links