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My friend's laptop was in a car accident (he's fine!). However the laptop is very old its an Acer Aspire 1520 the CD-rom drive is broken and there is no floppy drive.

I made him a USB boot before I took a look at it and found that his BIOS cannot boot from USB. The only thing I have is a GRUB console but he is keen to just install XP (on USB) and use it just for Movies.

Is it possible using the GRUB console to get access to the USB and start the windows install? It's a tall order but I think this may be the way, or trying to install via LAN which I don't think will be achievable.

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I would try to get a USB cd/dvd drive and work on getting the computer to boot to that. –  jmreicha Oct 23 '11 at 15:34
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This post shows the manual commands required - you just need to find out the drive number, which can be accomplished with GRUB's tab completion. –  new123456 Oct 23 '11 at 15:38
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Oct 23 '11 at 15:00

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1 Answer

To elaborate on new123456's comment:

The USB device should be detected as a mass storage device and treated just like a hard drive. So, in grub, type root (hd (don't press Enter yet) and then hit tab once or twice to see what hard drives Grub can see. The USB device, if it's recognized, will probably be hd1. Don't specify a partition number; just add a closing parenthesis. So the line will be root (hd1). Then after that, type the following:

chainloader +1
boot

If that doesn't work, change root (hd1) to root (hd1,0) and try it again.

If for some reason Grub can't see the USB drive, try plugging in a USB CDROM and booting off that.

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