I have old Toshiba Tecra A2 laptop without working cd-rom and windows xp running. I need install Linux on it , some lightweight one, due of 512mb of RAM installed. I have read this post , but I havent another computer nearby, so I cant install Ubuntu via netboot/PXE.

Maybe there is another way to do this? And if so, what Linux distribution will be most suitable for such configuration(Pentium M 715 1.5 GHz, 512 MB RAM, 60 GB HDD)


  • Can you boot from USB? – Keltari Mar 8 '16 at 19:41
  • @Keltari - no, definitely and unfortunate. – Pavel L Mar 8 '16 at 19:44
  • Can you add a USB CDROM drive to it temporarily? – wallyk Mar 8 '16 at 19:47
  • @wallyk - no, I cant. again, unfortunately, theres lack of such devices out there. no usb boot in bios, no cd-rom working, only laptop with dying windows, WiFi and LAN. its all I have. – Pavel L Mar 8 '16 at 21:30

I can think of two possible solutions:

  1. Your Tecra has a cardbus slot. You can buy a CardBus to USB adapter, and then install Linux via a thumb drive.
  2. You can remove the drive and install it in a machine with similar hardware. Then install Linux on that drive in the new computer. Then transfer it back to the Tecra and - hopefully - it will detect the hardware changes.
  • I was unaware you could use a Cardbus/USB adapter to boot from, if it works it could be a viable option. – acejavelin Mar 8 '16 at 19:58
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    to be honest, im not sure. However, if doesnt work, you can always return the adapter. – Keltari Mar 8 '16 at 20:54
  • @Keltari - thanx, remove the drive and some way write the boot could be the last possible option, as I see. – Pavel L Mar 8 '16 at 21:58

From this question and answer, it is pretty clear that booting from USB is not possible, even with a USB CD/DVD drive. You also do not have a working CD/DVD drive and no access to netboot/PXE. There isn't really another option I am aware of unless you wanted to pull the hard drive and write the boot/install image to a bootable partition on the hard drive or perhaps just install the distro but you may have issues switching hardware after installation, then return the hard drive to your laptop and start the installation from there (I am not positive this would work, but it would in theory). Some searching on eBay or similar sites may net you a very cheap CD-ROM or DVD drive for this laptop, since it is so old there is likely little monetary value in the components.

As far as the "most suitable" distro for this device, it would have to be lightweight, VERY lightweight, such as Puppy Linux or one of it's variants, or perhaps one of these options.

  • thanx, "pull the hard drive and write the boot/install image to a bootable partition on the hard drive" - I can do this, but that drive is afaik old IDE not SATA, so I dont really know where I can push it to. But if I can do this - how could I write the boot into pulled drive? – Pavel L Mar 8 '16 at 21:50

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