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
There are different techniques for creating floppies from disk images, which depend on your platform. This section describes how to create floppies from disk images on different platforms.
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.
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=
filenameof=/dev/fd0 bs=1024 conv=sync ; sync
filename is one of the floppy disk image
files (see Section 4.2, “Downloading Files from Debian Mirrors” for what
filename should be).
/dev/fd0 is a commonly used name of the floppy
disk device, it may be different on your workstation
(on Solaris, it is
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
floppy_name is the name the floppy
disk was given when it was formatted (unnamed floppies default to the
unnamed_floppy). On other systems, ask your
If you have access to an i386 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