Originally Published: Thursday, 10 June 1999 Author: David Apfelbaum
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Dave's Diary, Entry 2: Creating a Red Hat boot disk

Okay, next you'll need a boot disk. So start by getting a couple of blank disks. (You'll eventually need a total of 3.) And getting a copy of the boot images.

Now, normally you'd just grab the boot images off your Red Hat 5.2 CDROM....


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Okay, next you'll need a boot disk. So start by getting a couple of blank disks. (You'll eventually need a total of 3.) And getting a copy of the boot images.

Now, normally you'd just grab the boot images off your Red Hat 5.2 CDROM. But, Red Hat's errata for 5.2 lists an updated boot image (see the specific errata entry). So, head over to Red Hat's mirror list and pick your favorite mirror. I'll use ftp2.3dgamers.com as an example because it's near the top of the list, it's 55 milliseconds away from my home box, and maybe I can steer them some business as a thank-you for mirroring Red Hat.

Now, normally you'd be inclined to poke around in this directory. DON'T do that! That directory contains the original boot images dated October 14. You'll want the updated versions that reside in the updates directory, dated December 29. Specifically, you want boot.img and supp.img.

Now, if you have access to a Linux system, you can create your boot disks by inserting a blank floppy and entering:

dd if=boot.img of=/dev/fd0 bs=72k

Then switch disks (removing the first boot disk and inserting a second blank floppy) and enter:

dd if=supp.img of=/dev/fd0 bs=72k

And remove your second supp disk.

A few things to note here. First, this is going to erase everything on your floppy disks. There are no nice little questions asking if you're sure. Anything on those disks is just toasted. Second, get the "of=/dev/fd0" right the first time. Double check it. If you mistype the wrong device in /dev, you could just as easily wipe the first 1440 kilobytes of your hard drive. Or the first 1440 kilobytes of any partition on your hard drive. (Typically, floppy drives start with /dev/fd* and hard drives start with either /dev/hd* or /dev/sd*.) Third, unless permissions have been set up to allow you to write to the floppy drive as any user, you may need to run these dd commands as root.

Naturally, if you're just starting out, you may not have access to a Linux box. So, you can also create these boot disks under DOS. To do this you will need the program called rawrite. It should be located in the dosutils subdirectory of your Red Hat CDROM. Or you can grab it off your favorite mirror, such as ftp2.3dgamers.com.

Rawrite, like most of Linux, is not guaranteed to work. But it does work for almost all PC systems. (See the rawrite3.doc file.) I have been told that one needs to use DOS--that Windows will not handle rawrite gracefully. And that I should reboot, press F8 as soon as it says "Starting Windows 95..." (before the flash screen), and select boot into DOS. However, that appears to be just another rumor. Rawrite works fine for me in a dos-shell window under Win95 and Win98. Your mileage may vary.

Anyway, you run rawrite. When prompted, specify the boot.img file (and path if necessary). Specify the floppy drive (a:). Put a blank disk into the drive. Press Enter. When done, repeat the process to create the supp disk. For example:

C:\linuxstuff> rawrite
Enter disk image source file name: boot.img
Enter target diskette drive: a:
Please insert a formatted diskette into drive A: and press --ENTER-- : [Enter]

Addendum: This is all nicely documented in the Appendix B of Red Hat's manual over at Red Hat's Web site.

Write-protect (flip the little slider on) your new boot floppies. I once saw a Linux boot floppy infected with a Monkey-B virus.





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