Booting from floppy to install 8.1

perryh at perryh at
Thu Jul 29 08:00:53 UTC 2010

I'm trying to solve a chicken-egg problem.

I need to boot from floppy to install 8.1, and I don't already have
a running 8.1 system on which to build a set of 8.1 floppy images.
(The machine in question is an oldish Pentium-III that only boots
from its hard drive or from floppy -- the BIOS claims it can also
boot from its ATAPI Zip-250 drive but that capability doesn't seem
to be working.)

By comparing the contents of the 7.3 bootonly ISO and the
corresponding floppy images, I've figured out how to construct
_almost_ everything on the floppies from the contents of the
bootonly ISO.  The exception is the boot floppy's boot/loader,
which is not the same as or obviously derivable from any file
on the bootonly ISO including the ISO's boot/loader (which has
changed between 7.3 and 8.1, else I'd feel reasonably safe about
trying to use the 7.3 boot floppy's boot/loader file).

So, in order of simplicity:

Should I be able to do a network install of 8.1 using a 7.3 boot
floppy set?  (I'm not planning to set up zfs, at least initially.)

If not, are the 7.3 and 8.1 boot/loader files similar enough that
the boot/loader from a 7.3 boot floppy "should" work when all else
in the floppy set is from 8.1?

Is there a reasonable way to build the proper boot/loader file for
an 8.1 boot floppy using a 6.x or 7.x system?

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