[sf-lug] how to install linux on laptop with no cd drive?

Akkana Peck akkana at shallowsky.com
Sun Jul 8 12:00:53 PDT 2012

Michael Shiloh writes:
> i have an older laptop that has no cd drive and it will not boot
> from an external drive (thumbdrive or external cdrom).
> how can i install linux on it?

How hard is it to open up the laptop and pull the hard drive out?
The easy solution is to attach the hard drive to another Linux 
computer via a USB adaptor, and install Linux on the disk that way.

Be careful when installing grub or other bootloaders, though --
make sure it's using UUIDs for the disk, so it won't care whether
it shows up as the first or second disk on the system.  (Of course,
you'll also want to be careful that you don't overwrite the grub on
the machine you're using to do the install!)

I'd recommend making a separate small partition for /boot,
and installing the PLOP boot manager, http://www.plop.at/
It's a neat little setup you can install under grub or other Linux
boot loaders that will let you boot from a USB stick, even if the
machine is too old to do USB boot on its own. PLOP will come in handy
if you get anything wrong (e.g. fstab entries) while installing
Linux to that disk while it's mounted on another machine, or if
you ever want to install another distro or boot from a live distro.

> i know that wubi will allow me to test linux but i want install
> completely over windows.

You *might* be able to use wubi to install grub and then PLOP while
the disk is still in the original laptop, then use PLOP to boot from
a USB stick with a Linux installer. But I haven't used wubi so can't
say for sure if that would work.

Good luck!


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