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I have a very old pc (Dell optiplex g150) with a floppy drive, a harddisk and some usb ports. Now the bios does not seem to support to boot from usb drive.

I want to install ubuntu server. Is it possible, that I boot from some certain floppy disk, which then loads usb drivers and boots from the usb drive to start the installation? Or is there another way to install ubuntu?

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Do you have a working network card from which Internet may be accessed? And do you have another computer which could connect to that network card? – AndrejaKo Apr 12 '11 at 12:24
Yes, it is connected to a network (and the internet) and I have another pc on the same network. – Peter Smit Apr 12 '11 at 12:25
Great. I'll write an answer. – AndrejaKo Apr 12 '11 at 12:28
up vote 4 down vote accepted

There is a utility called Plop that can be run from the floppy and will then let you boot from USB. Here is the link to the section on floppy disks --> plop floppy disk

It already has the generic USB drivers loaded, so it should be pretty simple.

It is an easy tool to use, and it describes how to copy the image onto a floppy.

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One thing to remember with this is that the USB ports are likely only 1.1 compliant, so you may be limited to 12 Mbps from USB. I would go with the network option, as it is likely 100 Mbps, and you have another PC you could use as the file server. – Joshua Nurczyk Apr 12 '11 at 13:11
I agree--the network solution is better and easier if you have a second computer available. I just like to put all options out there. – Theo Apr 12 '11 at 13:14
Also, I checked with Dell, and the GX150 specs only mention USB, not USB 2.0--thus this way in this case would be limited to 12Mbps. – Theo Apr 12 '11 at 13:15

One way to install Ubuntu would be to use network installation and TFTP. You'll need to set up a TFTP server on another computer on the network and set the old PC to boot from network. There is a guide which describes needed steps here.

If the computer doesn't support booting from network, then you could try booting from floppy. The idea is to install GRUB on the floppy and use it to run the installation.

If you can connect the hard disk to another computer, then there is this guide which may help. It's idea is to make partitions and copy installation files to the hard disk on another computer and then use the floppy to boot the installation files.

If you can't to that, there are guides to install Ubuntu using floppies here, this guide explains how to install Ubuntu using floppies by making minimal boot floppy which will download data from the Internet.

Some of the guides are a bit old, so you may have to install older version of Ubuntu and later upgrade, or try your luck by experimenting with newer versions.

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Another option is to move the harddisk to another more descend machine, install Ubuntu and bring it back

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