The biggest problem for people using floppy disks to install Debian seems to be floppy disk reliability.
The boot floppy is the floppy with the worst problems, because it is read by the hardware directly, before Linux boots. Often, the hardware doesn't read as reliably as the Linux floppy disk driver, and may just stop without printing an error message if it reads incorrect data. There can also be failures in the Driver Floppies most of which indicate themselves with a flood of messages about disk I/O errors.
If you are having the installation stall at a particular floppy, the first thing you should do is re-download the floppy disk image and write it to a different floppy. Simply reformatting the old floppy may not be sufficient, even if it appears that the floppy was reformatted and written with no errors. It is sometimes useful to try writing the floppy on a different system.
One user reports he had to write the images to floppy three times before one worked, and then everything was fine with the third floppy.
Other users have reported that simply rebooting a few times with the same floppy in the floppy drive can lead to a successful boot. This is all due to buggy hardware or firmware floppy drivers.
If you have problems and the kernel hangs during the boot process, doesn't recognize peripherals you actually have, or drives are not recognized properly, the first thing to check is the boot parameters, as discussed in Section 5.2, “Boot Parameters”.
If you are booting with your own kernel instead of the one supplied
with the installer, be sure that
CONFIG_DEVFS is set in
your kernel. The installer requires
Often, problems can be solved by removing add-ons and peripherals, and then trying booting again.
If you have a large amount of memory installed in your machine, more
than 512M, and the installer hangs when booting the kernel, you may
need to include a boot argument to limit the amount of memory the
kernel sees, such as
During the boot sequence, you may see many messages in the form
can't find , or
something not present
can't initialize , or even
this driver release depends
Most of these messages are harmless. You
see them because the kernel for the installation system is built to
run on computers with many different peripheral devices. Obviously, no
one computer will have every possible peripheral device, so the
operating system may emit a few complaints while it looks for
peripherals you don't own. You may also see the system pause for a
while. This happens when it is waiting for a device to respond, and
that device is not present on your system. If you find the time it
takes to boot the system unacceptably long, you can create a
custom kernel later (see Section 8.4, “Compiling a New Kernel”).
If you get through the initial boot phase but cannot complete the install, the bug reporter menu choice may be helpful. It copies system error logs and configuration information to a user-supplied floppy. This information may provide clues as to what went wrong and how to fix it. If you are submitting a bug report you may want to attach this information to the bug report.
Other pertinent installation messages may be found in
/var/log/ during the
after the computer has been booted into the installed system.
If you still have problems, please submit an installation report. We also encourage installation reports to be sent even if the installation is successful, so that we can get as much information as possible on the largest number of hardware configurations.
Please use this template when filling out
installation reports, and file the report as a bug report against the
installation-reports pseudo package, by sending it to
Package: installation-reports Boot method: <How did you boot the installer? CD? floppy? network?> Image version: <Fill in date and from where you got the image> Date: <Date and time of the install> Machine: <Description of machine (eg, IBM Thinkpad R32)> Processor: Memory: Partitions: <df -Tl will do; the raw partition table is preferred> Output of lspci and lspci -n: Base System Installation Checklist: [O] = OK, [E] = Error (please elaborate below), [ ] = didn't try it Initial boot worked: [ ] Configure network HW: [ ] Config network: [ ] Detect CD: [ ] Load installer modules: [ ] Detect hard drives: [ ] Partition hard drives: [ ] Create file systems: [ ] Mount partitions: [ ] Install base system: [ ] Install boot loader: [ ] Reboot: [ ] Comments/Problems: <Description of the install, in prose, and any thoughts, comments and ideas you had during the initial install.>
In the bug report, describe what the problem is, including the last visible kernel messages in the event of a kernel hang. Describe the steps that you did which brought the system into the problem state.