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What needs to go on a boot disk?

I am trying to make a boot disk for my linux installation. Because I have a scsi floppy drive, none of the provided tools will work.

So I put a formatted floppy (it came formatted ext2/dos) into the drive and tried copying /boot/vmlinux or /boot/initrd.img, but it always failed to boot off it. I tried with both dd and cp even though I dont really understand the difference (any help here?)

Can anyone help me make the boot disk or at least give me some sort of explanation?

Thanks very much
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glebspy
Asked:
glebspy
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3 Solutions
 
paullamhkgCommented:
Linux boot disks are useful in a number of situations, such as testing a new kernel, recovering from a disk failure (anything from a lost boot sector to a disk head crash), fixing a disabled system, or upgrading critical system files safely (such as libc.so).

There are several ways of obtaining boot disks:

Use one from a distribution such as Slackware. This will at least allow you to boot.

Use a rescue package to set up disks designed to be used as rescue disks.

Learn what is required for each of the types of disk to operate, then build your own.

Some people choose the last option so they can do it themselves. That way, if something breaks, they can work out what to do to fix it. Plus it's a great way to learn about how a Linux system works.

Have a check here http://tldp.net/HOWTO/Bootdisk-HOWTO/ for how to make a bootable floppy disk.

or you can try to get a linux boot disk from here http://bengross.com/smallunix.html or here http://dilbert.physast.uga.edu/~andy/minilinux.html if you just want a linux floppy for rescue purpose.
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glebspyAuthor Commented:
I do not want a rescue disk. I want to be able to boot from floppy into a full linux system.

If I make a floppy with initrd.img on it, is that enough? If not, what other files do I need?
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paullamhkgCommented:
if you want to make a linux bootable disk which will read the boot kernel from a floppy, I will said no, you need to make a mini kernel and put into your floppy also, and edit your boot file to point to your floppy kernel.

if you want to have a floppy to boot which will going to use your linux kernel in your PC/server, yes, but I think you can use mkbootdisk to create a boot disk.

The mkbootdisk program creates a standalone boot floppy disk for booting the running system. The created boot disk will look for the root filesystem on the device mentioned in /etc/fstab and includes an initial ramdisk image which will load any necessary SCSI modules for the system.
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g0rathCommented:
take a look at slackware, they have two floppy disk method....

1st disk is the kernel boot loader, and the 2nd is the image of your filesystem that it stores into the ramdisk so that you no longer need the floppies after it's loaded.

I have friends that made a floppy only bootable router for debian...it's fun stuff, but you'll need to read up on the HOW-TOs or see the Slackware method.
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arn0ldCommented:
you said "scsi floppy"? do you also have a  scsi hard drive?
is you problem getting the floppy itself to boot or to that the bootloader can not load from your scsi partition?
did you rebuild your kernel with "embedded" (non - module) scsi  support?

what boot loader are you using?

I  use lilo, created a custom kernel(s) and can boot from my  ide floppy into
ide and scsi drive partitions -
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glebspyAuthor Commented:
no it is an ordinary ide hard drive. The reason I said scsi floppy is because it appears as /dev/sda0. Actually it is a USB floppy.

I can boot from this floppy drive, but I have not been able to make a bootable floppy using the Mandrake mkbootdisk utilities. It always says i/o error or not enough space (although there is enough).

I dont know about the kernel (Mandrake 9.2), I have never recompiled it.

I am using lilo.
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paullamhkgCommented:
USB is act as SCSI in linux, that why it use /dev/sda0.

have a check here https://lists.dulug.duke.edu/pipermail/dulug/2002-January/003957.html someone come across similar situation, may be you can have a idea from this url

Anyway below is a step of making a boot disk which I think you already tried, is it?
[newuser@localhost newuser]$su -
Password: yourrootpassword
[root@localhost newuser]#
cd /lib/modules
ls
Here, you can find the kernel version of your Linux system. The kernel is the heart of any Linux system. Your kernel version will be something similar to 2.4.x-yy
mkbootdisk --device /dev/sda0 2.4.x-yy

Summary
As root, in a terminal window, cd /lib/modules; choose kernel number; then type mkbootdisk --device /dev/sda0 kernel.number.

 
 
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arn0ldCommented:
this works for me:

copy current boot disk to 2nd diskette(I use dd)
mount copy /mnt/fd0
copy vmlinux to  /mnt/fd0

cp   /etc/lilo.conf lilofl.conf
include following  in  lilofl.conf:
      boot=/dev/fd0
     
    image=/mnt/fd0/vmlinux
        label=linux_flop
       root=/dev/hda3 ## what ever  
   
    image=/boot/vmlinux
        label=linux
       root=/dev/hda3 ## what ever

run
 lilo -v -v -C /etc/ lilofl.conf

umount /dev/fd0
       


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