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#1 2007-09-23 10:33:52

hokasch
Member
Registered: 2007-09-23
Posts: 1,461

Tricky Installation - w/o bootable media and no spare partition

Hello all!

I wish to replace my current ubuntu-installation on a Dell C400 with Archlinux. But: there are no external Devices, and the BIOS won't let me boot from Usb. Fast Arch Install from existing Linux should be my way, but I only have one partition - with Ubuntu on it.
Would it also be possible to mount the Install-Iso from an external, non bootable usb-drive instead of a built-in disc?
Or will Install from USB stick do the trick for me? I did not really get it what syslinux is doing, e.g. if boot-from-usb is required, 

Besides the Ftp-Installation being currently broken, another idea was to load the kernel and initrd.img from the ftp-iso with grub (similar to how I installed ubuntu from within win98, following this).
My Grub menu.lst entry would look like this:

title Archlinux install
kernel (hd0,0)/boot/arch/vmlinuz rootdelay=5
initrd (hd0,0)/boot/arch/initrd.img

So... thats were I stand right now. Any Comments / Suggestions?

thanks
hokasch

edit: link fixed

Last edited by hokasch (2007-09-24 12:20:32)

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#2 2007-09-23 10:44:14

Ramses de Norre
Member
From: Leuven - Belgium
Registered: 2007-03-27
Posts: 1,289

Re: Tricky Installation - w/o bootable media and no spare partition

Maybe you can create a directory under ubuntu and use this to install an arch root to that directory, the method is the same whether the directory is a mount point for another partition or just a plain directory. When finished you tar your ubuntu installation and replace everything under / by the contents of the arch dir.

It's kind of tricky and I'm not sure if it'll work while your running ubuntu from the same partition but if you make a backup beforehand you haven't got much to loose.

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#3 2007-09-23 13:20:15

retsaw
Member
From: London, UK
Registered: 2005-03-22
Posts: 132

Re: Tricky Installation - w/o bootable media and no spare partition

How did you install Ubuntu on the laptop without bootable media?

You might want to setup one of the mini Linux distros that can run from RAM (such as DSL) to boot from your hard drive, then you can boot that with the copy to RAM feature, once you have something like DSL running from RAM, then you'll be free to delete the files on your hard drive except Grub and the files DSL needs (you want to have something bootable should things go wrong), after that you can follow the guide for installing from an existing Linux.

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#4 2007-09-23 13:52:27

hokasch
Member
Registered: 2007-09-23
Posts: 1,461

Re: Tricky Installation - w/o bootable media and no spare partition

Installed Ubuntu with the Network Install loaded by Grub for Dos (from win98). Perhaps it will work in a similar way for Archlinux (see my first post), but I don't now enough about it to just go for a try. Perhaps someone can comment on how the chances are getting it to work that way. On the other hand, I do not know how long the ftp-install will be broken. 

Running DSL from RAM to split the system partition propably will work, but how to install DSL then? Would that not confront me with the same problem?

Install Arch in a plain directory sounds like it could work, but I am not trusting my LInux-Skills enough at the moment to start that kind of adventure...  If I screw it someway and end up without a bootable OS, this will force me to by one of this fucking expensive Dell-Drives.

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#5 2007-09-23 17:12:12

retsaw
Member
From: London, UK
Registered: 2005-03-22
Posts: 132

Re: Tricky Installation - w/o bootable media and no spare partition

I haven't tried this so I'm not 100% sure this will work, but here's an untested rough guide to installing DSL to boot from your hard drive:

1) Download DSL iso
2) Mount the iso so you can access the files (e.g. "mount dsl.iso /mnt/iso -o loop")
3) Copy the KNOPPIX dir to your / and the linux24 and minirt24.gz file to /boot/
4) Add the following lines to your GRUB menu.lst

title DSL
root (hd0,0)
kernel /boot/linux24 ramdisk_size=100000 init=/etc/init BOOT_IMAGE=knoppix frugal toram
initrd /boot/minirt24.gz

Hopefully this will get DSL booting from your hard drive, let me know if you have any problems.

I wouldn't try resizing the system partition with DSL installed in this manner, just for the reason that if you make a mistake or something goes wrong, you might not be left with any way to boot your laptop.


Another way to install Arch (or any other distro for that matter) is to remove the hard drive and perform the installation on another machine (you can purchase 2.5" to 3.5" adaptors cheaply on ebay which will allow you to connect a laptop drive to a desktop if you need to).  This is the method I'd probably use myself.

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#6 2007-09-24 00:22:27

Lone_Wolf
Member
From: Netherlands, Europe
Registered: 2005-10-04
Posts: 4,214

Re: Tricky Installation - w/o bootable media and no spare partition

http://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=283021  describes an easier way to do what you want.


Booting with apg Openrc, NOT systemd.
Automounting : not needed, i prefer pmount
Aur helpers : makepkg + my own local repo === rarely need them

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#7 2007-09-24 11:17:20

hokasch
Member
Registered: 2007-09-23
Posts: 1,461

Re: Tricky Installation - w/o bootable media and no spare partition

Thanks for your help & patience!

@retsaw: ok, I had no problems booting DSL. but looks like I am not smart enough to figure out what will be the next step, following install-from-existing-linux I thought the DSL-trick was to create the needed free partition. but many thanks again for the tip to connect the harddisc to another machine - when become deeply involved in trying to solve a problem, sometimes you oversea obvious things.

@lone wolf: this absoulutely looks like a more easy way... unfortunately it would not work until the ftp-install is fixed. anyhow - really nice work.

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#8 2007-09-24 19:39:44

retsaw
Member
From: London, UK
Registered: 2005-03-22
Posts: 132

Re: Tricky Installation - w/o bootable media and no spare partition

You could use DSL to create a free partition if you want to, I'm just concerned that the act of shrinking the partition that contains GRUB may cause files GRUB needs to be moved to a different physical location on the disk and stop GRUB from working.  Although I'm not sure how GRUB works at that level so it may not actually be an issue.

To resize a partition from DSL:
1) Make sure the partition is unmounted
2) Resize the filesystem with "resize2fs" (or the appropriate tool for your filesystem), when doing this step I make it quite a bit smaller than I actually want it.
3) Repartition with cfdisk, you can't resize with cfdisk, you'll have to delete and recreate the partition with its new size, this is safe as long as you remember to keep the start of the new partition in the same place and don't make it smaller than your newly resized filesystem (which is why I make the filesystem smaller than I actually want in the previous step)
4) Run resize2fs again to have it automatically resize to fill up any free space in the partition.

I didn't look at which wiki article you linked before, but now I have I would say I prefer skipping the official installer and installing using this guide

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