Possible to boot ISO from HDD?

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Possible to boot ISO from HDD?

Postby KernelJ on Sat Apr 21, 2007 12:02 pm

I do not have a working CD Burner at the moment and I'd like to know if you can boot the Linux Mint ISO from the HDD.

One method suggested by other distros such as Ubuntu and Knoppix is this:

1. Download GRUB for DOS and extract the file "GRLDR" to the root directory of your boot partition, e.g. C:\

2. Edit your C:\boot.ini file so that it has the extra line:

Code: Select all
c:\grldr="Start GRUB"


E.g.

Code: Select all
[boot loader]
timeout=20
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(0)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(0)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
c:\grldr="Start GRUB"


3. Open the Linux ISO file and extract the Kernel and Initial Ramdisk files to a directory on your boot partition, C:\boot\. The files in question are vmlinuz and initrd.gz and are located in the casper\ directory of the ISO.

4. Edit GRUB bootloader menu C:\menu.lst so that it points to the location of the ISO image and contains boot information:

Code: Select all
title Linux Mint 2.2 ISO
   kernel (hd0,0)/boot/vmlinuz ramdisk_size=1048576 bootfrom=/dev/hda8/*.iso root=/dev/ram rw quiet splash --
   initrd (hd0,0)/boot/initrd.gz


Using the correct /dev/hdxy block device based on primary or logical partition ordering. Software such as PartitionMagic or Paragon Partition Manager make it easy to identify the block device. In this case it is /dev/hda8 and is on the root directory. *.iso works as it is the only ISO image in the directory.

As you can see, I have used the config:

Code: Select all
kernel (hd0,0)/boot/vmlinuz boot=casper ramdisk_size=1048576 bootfrom=/dev/hda8/*.iso root=/dev/ram rw quiet splash --


The standard LiveCD boot config is:

Code: Select all
file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper initrd=/casper/initrd.gz ramdisk_size=1048576 root=/dev/ram rw quiet splash --


The only option I have been unable to accomodate is file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed as I could not find the file in question.

Restarting the computer and selecting to boot into the ISO as normal leads to a BusyBox prompt and not the GUI so omitting the quietand splash options shows the following bootlog:

Code: Select all
... [79.891788] usb 1-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice

cp: unable to open '/root/var/log/': No such directory
Done.
Begin: Running /scripts/init-bottom...
mount: Mounting /root/dev on /dev/.static/dov failed: No such file or directory
Done.
mount: Mounting /sys on /root/sys failed: No such file or directory
mount: Mounting /proc on /root/proc failed: No such file or directory
Target filesystem doesn't have /sbin/init

BusyBox v1.1.3 [...]

/bin/sh: can't access tty: job control turned off


Anyone know what's going wrong?

Would it not be relatively easy to design a piece of software that allows you to select an ISO from HDD partitions and boot it? I mean, so it could be used for all bootable ISOs?

If a HDD ISO booting method could be made simple it could also encourage novices to use the system. I think BeOS worked along these lines - no separate partitions, no CD burning.

Help appreciated. Thanks.
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Postby Husse on Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:08 pm

Welcome to Mint KernelJ
One way of accomplishing this is to use a virtual machine of some kind, but that don't let you install in "the real world"
I'll fire up my reserve box and see what results I get.
I'm too tired after working long hours well into this morning so it'll have to wait until tomorrow at the earliest
It seems that things don't happen in the right order (or maybe I'm just tired) but you are on to something so it would be nice if you could investigate further
Last edited by Husse on Sun Apr 22, 2007 6:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Possible to boot ISO from HDD?

Postby scorp123 on Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:32 pm

KernelJ wrote: If a HDD ISO booting method could be made simple ...
Due to technical reasons I think this won't be easy :wink:

KernelJ wrote: it could also encourage novices to use the system.
What's wrong with the live CD? :D Come on, CD- or DVD-burners really aren't that expensive anymore. Take Bosnia for example: Given the civil war they had down there and given the vast destruction in some areas one might regard Bosnia as being a "third world country" ... but even there: Those people who have PC's also have a CD- or DVD-burner ... even if it's not the newest model, so what: it works and it's enough to burn a Linux ISO. :D

KernelJ wrote: I think BeOS worked along these lines - no separate partitions, no CD burning.
Yes, they did something stupid like that with one of the last releases, BeOS R5 PE if I am not mistaken. They used a boot loader camouflaged as Windows *.EXE file that would load BeOS after a double-click ... but the thing wouldn't always work as promised (e.g. it got sometimes easily confused if there were multiple partitions). Having a clean Live CD means that Windows has nothing to do with the boot process :D A live CD clearly is superior. :D
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Postby Husse on Sat Apr 21, 2007 7:55 pm

A live CD clearly is superior.

Agreed
But at the moment I can only burn CDs not DVDs so it would be fun to test the opportunity mentioned by KernelJ with the KDE ISO :)

I will shortly be able to burn DVDs, at least that's the intention
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Postby NiksaVel on Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:23 am

there's also the method to boot from a usb stick... :D
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Postby Husse on Sun Apr 22, 2007 6:08 am

there's also the method to boot from a usb stick...

What's that just to the right of the monitor?? An USB stick?
Oh yeah :oops:
//edit//
The first attempt failed
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Postby KernelJ on Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:01 am

I don't have any suitable USB drive, unfortunately. That requires a machine with a USB-drive booting option (i.e. newer computers) also. I'd rather not use a Virtual Machines as performance will take a hit.

I know CD/DVD writers are very cheap, but if it was easily technically achievable to boot ISOs from a HDD, I'd like to be able to. What about the method above with GRUB for DOS, is that on the right track or what's going wrong?
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Possible to boot ISO from HDD?

Postby nick on Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:01 pm

I cannot tell you what is wrong with your scripts but:

HOWTO: Install Ubuntu Linux without burning a cd

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=28948
May be of use?

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Postby KernelJ on Sun Apr 22, 2007 1:12 pm

HOWTO: Install Ubuntu Linux without burning a cd

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=28948
May be of use?


It seems to be much the same method as I used. However, I just want to boot into the LiveCD, not install the OS, and that seems to change the procedure a little.

Yes, they did something stupid like that with one of the last releases, BeOS R5 PE if I am not mistaken. They used a boot loader camouflaged as Windows *.EXE file that would load BeOS after a double-click ... but the thing wouldn't always work as promised (e.g. it got sometimes easily confused if there were multiple partitions).


It worked for me anyway!
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Postby Husse on Mon Apr 23, 2007 6:15 am

It worked for me anyway!

Did you manage to run the live CD off a HDD?
Not quite clear to me :)
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Postby KernelJ on Mon Apr 23, 2007 2:04 pm

Did you manage to run the live CD off a HDD?
Not quite clear to me :)


Nope. Haven't been able to the the LiveCD to work.. I meant the BeOS RC5 thing worked for me, was fairly convenient...
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Postby Husse on Tue Apr 24, 2007 5:49 am

Try to use a USB stick (they are extremely cheap now if you don't have one) It should work, but my first attempt failed, there are a few steps to take and I might have missed something ;)
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Postby Ignanik on Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:15 pm

kernelj I think this might help
http://www.pclinuxos.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=26&topic=12114.0
And read this while your at it
http://www.pclinuxonline.com/wiki/PoorManInstall
I Tryed it on FAT partition once and it worked not only with PcLOS but also with Ubuntu , Kubuntu , puppy , Havent tryed it on mint but you could :)

After all it is a grub PMI How To. MIght be useful to you
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Postby Dlerdom on Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:39 pm

I've been trying to do this for days. I have my reasons for not burning a DVD, it doesn't matter. I've added vmlinuz and initrd to a grub entry and put the file in an empty ext3 partition. As soon as I boot into it there's lots of streaming text on the screen about various hardware being detected and then nothing happens.
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Postby Rune on Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:23 am

You may be able to do it this way

I extraced all the files from the iso to a partition (hdd6)

Then I added this entry to my existing grub


title Mint
root (hd0,5)
kernel /casper/vmlinuz file=/dev/hdd6/preseed/ubuntu.seed root=/dev/hdd6 boot=casper initrd=/casper/initrd.gz ramdisk_size=1048576 root=/dev/ram rw quiet splash --
initrd=/casper/initrd.gz

I've literally just done this and booted it, so I've not worked out how to make it save any changes as yet, though if you just wanna boot it so you can run the 'desktop installer' that should be sufficient

Basically to boot a live cd from the hard drive, you copy the cd files to a partition, and then look at the cd's isolinux.cfg file to work out your grub entry


Mint's isolinux.cfg entry looks like this:

menu label ^Start Linux Mint
kernel /casper/vmlinuz
append file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper initrd=/casper/initrd.gz ramdisk_size=1048576 root=/dev/ram rw quiet splash --

There other entries there for failsafe etc, but you don't need all of them in your grub just to get it booted

As you can see I just added the necessary bts to make it look for mint on the partition rather than on a cd


Hope that helps

Incidentally, does anyone know how to make it save live cd changes?


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