Dec 26 2008

Installing Ubuntu/Debian from USB Thumbdrive to a CDDrive-Less and Floppy Less System

Published by at 5:19 am under linux,Ubuntu

I wanted to install Ubuntu 8.04  on a system that did not have a CDROM drive and floppy. So  I had to install from a USB stick. Installation from USB stick is not straight forward either. Hence, I thought of sharing how I installed the OS. Please follow the steps below:

  1. Get a USB thumdrive with atleast 1 GB freespace.
  2. Format the drive using Windos Format tool
  3. Download syslinux . Syslinux utility is avilable for both Linux and WIndows. I downloaded Windows version. Follow this link to learn more about SysLinux. Syslinux is used to install the bootloader on the USB Drive
  4. Insert the thumbdrive into your Windows machine and open a command window
  5. Execute  syslinux.exe -m -a -d e: ( Here e: is assumed to be the Drive letter for the USB thumbdrive. ). After this command, you should see syslinux.cfg in the root dir of the thumbdrive.
  6. Download Ubuntu 8.04 ISO image to your local drive.
  7. Using “Winrar” extract the ISO image on to your harddisk. This is needed to copy some files into the USB thumbdrive.
  8. Download initrd.gz and vmlinuz files  for Ubuntu 8.04 ( Hardy ) from this link. These files are required for installing from USB Thumbdrive. ( NOTE: If you want to install a different version of OS, Say 8.10, then you need to download these two files that was built for that version of OS. For example, for 8.10, these two files for Ubuntu 8.10 are  here)
  9. Copy the following into USB thumdrive root folder
    1. copy the contents of isolinux into the root dir of USB thumbdrive. (To be unambigious:  isolinux is a folder you get when you extract the 8.04 iso image  )
    2. create a directory named “install” and copy “initrd.gz” and “vmlinuz”  into this folder.
    3. copy the whole 8.04 iso image into the USB thumdrive. ( To be unambiguous: You need to copy the whole ISO image and NOT the extracted files )
  10. Rename isolinux.cfg to syslinux.cfg
  11. Plug in your USB thumbdrive
  12. Power your  system  (Make sure that you have set your Bios to boot from USB-HDD )
  13. Ubuntu install screen will be presented and follow the instructions to complete Ubuntu 8.04 Installation

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