4.3. Creating Floppies from Disk Images

Bootable floppy disks are generally used as a last resort to boot the installer on hardware that cannot boot from CD or by other means.

Disk images are files containing the complete contents of a floppy disk in raw form. Disk images, such as boot.img, cannot simply be copied to floppy drives. A special program is used to write the image files to floppy disk in raw mode. This is required because these images are raw representations of the disk; it is required to do a sector copy of the data from the file onto the floppy.

There are different techniques for creating floppies from disk images. This section describes how to create floppies from disk images on different platforms.

Before you can create the floppies, you will first need to download them from one of the Debian mirrors, as explained in Section 4.2, “Downloading Files from Debian Mirrors”.

No matter which method you use to create your floppies, you should remember to flip the write-protect tab on the floppies once you have written them, to ensure they are not damaged unintentionally.

4.3.1. Writing Disk Images From a Linux or Unix System

To write the floppy disk image files to the floppy disks, you will probably need root access to the system. Place a good, blank floppy in the floppy drive. Next, use the command

$ dd if=filename of=/dev/fd0 bs=1024 conv=sync ; sync

where filename is one of the floppy disk image files. /dev/fd0 is a commonly used name of the floppy disk device, it may be different on your workstation (on Solaris, it is /dev/fd/0). The command may return to the prompt before Unix has finished writing the floppy disk, so look for the disk-in-use light on the floppy drive and be sure that the light is out and the disk has stopped revolving before you remove it from the drive. On some systems, you'll have to run a command to eject the floppy from the drive (on Solaris, use eject, see the manual page).

Some systems attempt to automatically mount a floppy disk when you place it in the drive. You might have to disable this feature before the workstation will allow you to write a floppy in raw mode. Unfortunately, how to accomplish this will vary based on your operating system. On Solaris, you can work around volume management to get raw access to the floppy. First, make sure that the floppy is auto-mounted (using volcheck or the equivalent command in the file manager). Then use a dd command of the form given above, just replace /dev/fd0 with /vol/rdsk/floppy_name, where floppy_name is the name the floppy disk was given when it was formatted (unnamed floppies default to the name unnamed_floppy). On other systems, ask your system administrator.

4.3.2. Writing Disk Images From DOS, Windows, or OS/2

If you have access to an i386 or amd64 machine, you can use one of the following programs to copy images to floppies.

The rawrite1 and rawrite2 programs can be used under MS-DOS. To use these programs, first make sure that you are booted into DOS. Trying to use these programs from within a DOS box in Windows, or double-clicking on these programs from the Windows Explorer is not expected to work.

The rwwrtwin program runs on Windows 95, NT, 98, 2000, ME, XP and probably later versions. To use it you will need to unpack diskio.dll in the same directory.

These tools can be found on the Official Debian CD-ROMs under the /tools directory.