Fedora Core 18 NetInstall from USB stick

Post describes Fedora Core 18 installation on an old PC with no CDROM and no USB boot option in BIOS. Fortunately, PC had dual boot (Fedora 13 and Windows XP), so existing GRUB was reused to start installation. The solution was to copy netinst.iso image to the USB device and to load new kernel and initial ramdisk from it.

Well, to be completely fair, CDROM was present but it was defective (burned ISO media was unreadable), so I lost couple of hours until I gave up of trying to fix this device. OK, here are Fedora installation steps (no CDROM and no boot from USB):

  1. From http://fedoraproject.org/en/get-fedora-options#formats link, download “Fedora 18 Network Install CD” ISO image (about 300MB)
  2. Mount Fedora-18-i386-netinst.iso and copy vmlinuz and initrd.img from /isolimux folder to the /boot directory on the hard disk (If necessary, files can be renamed)
  3. Copy Fedora-18-i386-netinst.iso to the USB drive with FAT file system (e.g. to the /boot_fc18 directory)
  4. Check mount point of USB drive (in my case it was /dev/sdc1)
  5. Add the following entry to the /etc/grub.conf file:

    title FC18 net installation
    	kernel /boot/vmlinuz stage2=hd:/dev/sdc1:/boot_fc18/Fedora-18-i386-netinst.iso
    	initrd /boot/initrd.img

Just append this few lines and save grub.conf (it’s not needed to run grub2-install utility on FC13). After reboot, choose “FC18 net installation” option from the boot menu and installation should begin flawlessly.

My old PC was with two hard disks and with dual boot option (WinXP and Linux). I tried to copy netist.iso image to the Windows partition but kernel was not able to mount NTFS partition. The solution was to move ISO image to the USB disk with FAT file system and to point stage2 kernel parameter to the sdc device (first two hard disks are /dev/sda and /dev/sdb).

Before installation, check mount point for your USB disk.

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