Is there an installation boot floppy?

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Is there an installation boot floppy?

Post by oldman »

Does anyone know if there is a floppy image to allow installation when the bios does not support booting from a cd/dvd.

I have an old pentium2 computer that I would like to use as a test machine, but the bios only supports booting from a floppy or the harddrive. I have installed a dvd reader that works.

What I am looking for is a bootable floppy image that boots up and then accesses the dvd drive to continue the installation.

I have done a forum subject search, but found nothing.
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Re: Is there an installation boot floppy?

Post by videlux »

Hello oldman

1.) Maybe you have a look at: Smart Boot Manager (SBM).
I first found it on my (K)Ubuntu-CD.
(If you have one, look there into the directory "install" with the floppy-image-file sbm.bin and the readme.sbm.

Searching the web for "Smart Boot Manager", I found for example:
This nifty boot floppy makes it easy to boot your computer from various devices, and is especially good for booting from a CD in machines with older (or flaky) BIOS. ...
The project site with download is here:

The tool is also mentioned in the faq-file of the Knoppix-wiki:
There You find the question:
Q: My computer won't boot from CD. What should I do?
(look at the explanations there)

There's one limitation: Quote: "Smart Boot Manager does not support SCSI, so if the CD drive that you can't boot from is SCSI, this method won't help."

And of course, always have a look at wikipedia, here the german-language-link:

2.) GRUB
The bootloader GRUB gives the possibility to boot a CD-Image which is stored somewhere on the harddisk.

Maybe you have already a running linux on your harddisk? Then you could try to configure GRUB, by editing the file menu.lst

If not, you could also try a method similar to my experiments:
Therefore have a look at
FreeDOS is available as CD-Image and also with a floppy-disk.
A minimalistic FreeDOS is installable from floppy disk.
Install Freedos on a 300MB (or-500MB or 1000MB) partition. Let Freedos format the partition with FAT32.
Make sure, FreeDOS starts properly
Together with the FreeDOS-CD there comes also a GRUB for DOS version. (somewhere in \FDOS\bin) I made a copy into the root-directory c:\ together with the menu.lst
At leat in my versions GRUB only starts, when DOS runs without any drivers. That means, for first experiments, type F8 for single stepping, and simply answer no or esc to all steps. (it can be made more comfortable as boot-entry in the FreeDOS bootmenu too, but therefore the fdconfig.sys and autoexec.bat must be edited.)
When finally you have the naked DOS-prompt, then run grub.
With GRUB I am able to start out of FreeDOS: FreeDOS, ReactOS, Linux, HAIKU
I for myself have not yet tested the method to boot a CD-image stored on the harddisk, but it's mentioned in the example-sections of the original menu.lst or in the manual of GRUB.

Please also look here:

Finally I remember, once having read something about the possibility to copy the files from the Reactos-CD to the harddrive. (or you had to perform a first-stage-install on another system, capable to start from CD, then copy these first-stage-installed-files to your target-system) Then you have to start the system with a bootfloppy containig the Reactos-own freeloader. In former running versions of ReactOS, which I could install directly from CD, I let ReactOS write a boot-floppy.
Later experimental versions sometimes had difficulties to install. Then I copied the files freeldr.sys and freeldr.ini from the current CD to a copy of the former boot-floppy.

So far some proposals of mine.

good luck
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Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:23 pm

Re: Is there an installation boot floppy?

Post by oldman »

Thanks for your suggestion videlux.

Since my original post I have tried xosl115 with success, but this installs to the mbr, which I would prefer not to have to do. Also btmgr-3.7-1, this has a floppy image, which is what I want, but when I ran it, it says that the cd is not bootable.

I have just found a floppy image for smart boot manager which I will be trying today. This should work because it is part of xosl.

So thanks again for your help
Posts: 1156
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:23 pm

Re: Is there an installation boot floppy?

Post by oldman »

I have now succeeded, so here are two links to help anyone else.

This is the link to the floppy image of smart boot manger

And this is the link to rawwrite a win32 programme for writing the floppy image to disk
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