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I have an old computer that only runs bootable CDs and it does not have BIOS. I was thinking that it might be able to boot a live Linux USB from a live Linux CD because it also does not have a DVD drive and I wish to install via the DVD version.

So using a live Linux disc and using the GRUB loader – or whatever you call the first screen that asks you what you want to do – there normally is a custom option where you can write your own boot code.

If this is possible – and I have no idea if it is – what would be the boot command for the USB? I do realize that I would need to find out the generic name for the USB before I started.


If you are wondering: It's an eMachine, about 10-15 years old, has 512MB of RAM (which I upgraded from 256) and I believe a Pentium 3 or 4 processor. Yes I realize there are other ways to do this, like using the 13 disc set, but I really rather not wait to download ALL of those discs as I already have the iso for the DVD version that I already tested and it has the options I want.

I'm installing openSUSE, but that's not important as I want the answer for future reference.

Also, I would like to know how to find the generic name for the USB when plugged in — I have no idea where to find that without the BIOS.

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FYI: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BIOS –  iglvzx Jan 4 '12 at 23:15
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All standard pcs have bioses - many 'consumer' pcs just hide them away. Something that old, might not have usb support, so cds are the safe bet –  Journeyman Geek Jan 4 '12 at 23:35
    
@Journeyman Geek you are correct I had thought that if it didn't show an option and F12 didn't work there was no bios I am incorrect and there is a very sneakily hidden bios with no warning using the delete key. I had no expected that as it didn't tell me anything. –  gabe Jan 5 '12 at 7:24
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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Most Linux distro's can be installed from a single CD (e.g. OpenSUSE) and additional packages then installed over the Internet using the native package manager. I have installed RHEL/Centos this way (use 1st CD of set, deselect all packages, install, boot, use package manager).

There is no need to copy an image intended for a USB flash drive onto a CD.

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* Correction "I was planning on using openSUSE in Server version/mode on this computer as it can not handle a gui with any alacrity or grace. Otherwise no complaints as it is archaic and I;m asking it to do some serious computing. –  gabe Jan 5 '12 at 7:14
    
@CGeniusGo: I believe you can do a non-GUI openSUSE install using the Network ISO (perhaps the Installer uses VESA but AFAIK it doesn't install Gnome or KDE desktops) –  RedGrittyBrick Jan 5 '12 at 10:39
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