I've tried quite a lot of methods to get a Linux booting from a USB HDD / Stick (non-capable of emulating a USB FDD) as
hands-free and compatible and easy as possible. I've tried the following variant and found them less compatible or hands-free
than the method I'm presenting in the next chapter:
- LILO / GRUB and EXT2/3
- FreeDOS, LOADLIN and a KnoppixOid (=Knoppix or something similar like damnsmalllinux)
- FreeDos, GRUB for DOS and aKnoppixOid
The method is based on the assumption that Isolinux and Syslinux share the same configuration format. So do do the
- On the Medium create a small FAT16 partition at the beginning (100-1023MB depending on the KnoppixOid you are going to use.
Set it to bootable using your favourite partition editing tool (e.g. cfdisk)
- Format it with a FAT16 filesystem.
- Download newest Syslinux and compile it (you'll probably need to install nasm before)
- In the 'unix' directory you'll find the syslinux tool you can use to install syslinux to that partition (it will write a
special bootsector and creates a file on that partition.)
- Now copy the contents of a KnoppixOid CD/iso to the partition.
- Now move the isolinux.cfg to the partition's root if it isn't alredy there. Move everything with it that resides in the same
- Rename isolinux.cfg to syslinux.cfg
- You're done... it is supposed to boot like the CD would do... unless your BIOS is too old/braindamaged to boot USB at all or
is restricted to USB Floppy booting.