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I have to install a linux distro (any Debian-based, or Debian itself, fits my needs) on a machine that I have physical access to (I can insert a CD in its drive), it is connected to my LAN, but... I have no monitor or keyboard to plug to it (without scrambling everything up in my room!).

I know it's a strage question, but did anybody create a bootable Debian/Ubuntu/etc... CD/DVD that automagically starts up a VNC server with no (or default) password, so that I can install the OS without even plugging a monitor and a keyboard?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I have found a blog entry from someone who tried to install debian over ssh, but i would only try it if you already have some linux know-how :

Couldn't you put the harddisk of this PC in another PC with keyboard/monitor to install Debian on the disk?

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The last hint seems to be the 'killer' one. In my 'main' machine I've even got an external HDD dock... Problem is: isn't the system configured for the hardware it is installed into, or this isn't true for Linux? Will everything work as expected when I put the HDD back on the other machine? What about GRUB and its /dev/sda stuff, which is hardware dependent? Thanks. – gd1 Nov 5 '11 at 21:36
If you install to /dev/sdb and the disk is later /dev/sda (or so) then you have to check/change at least "/etc/fstab" and /boot/grub/menu.lst" before you move the disk to the other machine. Maybe you can replace or unplug the other disks in the inst. machine so that the new disk is already the fist disk at the time of the installation (or which disk it will be in the dest. machine) and all configfiles will be written with the correct value. The other parts of the hardware shouldn't be a problem. i had many hardware upgrades (even mainboard changes) without reinstalling the system. – rmweiss Nov 5 '11 at 22:56
I see... I agree you on the /etc/fstab part, but I think that /boot/grub/menu.lst is not enough... after updating it, you have to re-install grub (or not?). – gd1 Nov 6 '11 at 7:07
i think you're right. re-install grub with into the boot sector of the disk. like i said: it's easier if you install on the same /dev/sd* device that you later use in the other system. – rmweiss Nov 6 '11 at 9:01
Ok got it... Thanks – gd1 Nov 6 '11 at 11:10

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