My friend told me to install Fedora12 in his laptop with a destroyed DVD drive. What i did first is made a bootable USB and extracted the required files into it from the Fedora DVD ISO image. Then went to the fedoraproject site and read the docs about the requirements and started. With the below process you can install Fedora12, or any distro capable of installing from ISO image, from an HDD, USB or whatever.

  • Get the ISO image of Fedora, or a DVD.

  • Switch to super user, and make a mount directory and mount the ISO image. For DVD, use the mount point where the DVD gets mounted automatically.

    mkdir /mnt/fedora
    mount -o loop /path/to/fedora.iso /mnt/fedora
  • Copy the kernel image "vmlinuz" and the initrd file "initrd.img" into the USB drive, partition or an HDD partition, from where you are willing to boot. I will call it partition ‘A’, place them in the root of partition ‘A’ or in some directory. Also copy the "images" directory from "/mnt/fedora" into partition ‘A’ so that the installation could start from “/images/install.img” . In the below example the partition ‘A’ is mounted on /media/disk, change this path as per your requirement.

    cp /mnt/fedora/syslinux/vmlinuz /mnt/fedora/syslinux/initrd.img /media/disk
    cp -r /mnt/fedora/images /media/disk
    • If the ‘A’ partition is in HDD then open your system’s "grub.conf" file then add a new entry to boot from the "vmlinuz" kernel image from partition ‘A’. The GRUB entry will look like below. Adjust the GRUB bios device and the path to the "vmlinuz" and "initrd.img" images as needed.

      # Append this to existing grub.conf
      title Fedora12 Installation
      # Set the root where you have the vmlinuz and initrd.img stored, should point to 'A'
        root (hd0,1)
        kernel /pathto/vmlinuz
        initrd /pathto/initrd.img
    • And if partition ‘A’ is a USB disk partition install grub in your USB drive with grub-install . Follow this post on how to install GRUB in /dev/sdX which represents your USB drive. Please be sure to set the boot flag of the partition where you store the boot files, ie the boot directory of the bootloader you are using.

      Now create "/media/disk/boot/grub/grub.conf" with your favorite text editor in USB partition and enter the below, and save it. Make sure the kernel and the initrd path are correct and the "vmlinuz" and "initrd.img" files are reachable with the path relative to the root of the USB drive.

      vi /media/disk/boot/grub/grub.conf
      title Fedora12
      # These paths are relative to the root of the USB drive
        kernel /pathto/vmlinuz
        initrd /pathto/initrd.img

      Or if you have installed Syslinux then create "/media/disk/syslinux/syslinux.conf" and enter the below text in the file

      DEFAULT vesamenu.c32
      PROMPT 0
      LABEL fedpra12
      	MENU LABEL Fedora12
      	KERNEL /pathto/vmlinuz
      	APPEND /pathto/initrd.img
  • Now copy the "fedora.iso" into the same partition or in the same or some other ‘B’ partition. To make sure that the installer picks up the ISO image place the it at the root of the partition (don’t keep it inside any directories). Or if you place it inside any directory, remember the path. And also note that the partition should be an ext2, ext3, ext4, or a vfat partition and not an ntfs. To make a portable USB installer key, copy the ISO image into the USB drive. And to install locally from ISO image copy the image in the same ‘A’ or some other partition in HDD. The setup is done.

  • If you are booting from USB then Keep the USB plugged in and reboot the computer, and boot from the USB drive. Setup the BIOS so that it first boots from the USB drive, or select the USB drive from the BIOS boot device list. Or if you are booting from HDD then select the new GRUB entry you created to boot.

    Then select Keyboard Layout, select Language, and then you will be asked to select the installation image. Select Hard Drive installation method, and select the partition where you have kept the ISO image and provide the path where the image is present. For example if the partition is /dev/sdb1 where the ISO is present, select it and if the ISO image is at the root (top-level) of the partition then enter one slash “/” as the path. In case you have put the ISO file in some directory then you need to enter the directory path here, like if it is in a directory “newdir” then enter “/newdir/” and proceed. The installation will start.

  • Just before the packages start to install at the Bootloader configuration window,remember to check Bootloader options, and make sure that the Bootloader is installed on the disk in which you are installing Fedora. Change the disk order from the option as needed. It might happed that you install from the USB and anaconda selects to install GRUB on your USB instead of your HDD.

The USB installation is very helpful. You can make a standalone USB fedora install with a 4GB USB drive, and carry it with you, instead of carrying a DVD. And you can download the images and install directory without need to be burnt into a DVD, and save a lot of DVDs.


03.03.11 : Added information: Boot flag needs to be set to the partition containing the boot files.


2 thoughts on “Install Fedora12 from HDD/USB

  1. This procedure is for installing fedora on a system which already has some distro of linux installed. Is there any way of installing linux from hdd on a system which has only windows installed in it. Corridering that I also want to retain windows and perform dual boot.

    1. Not necessarily the system needs to have some other OS installed. If your system does not have any GNU+Linux OS installed, then make a bootable USB and start fedora installation from the USB as described above, and the installation will start. Then you continue normally, create new partitions etc.
      The stuff is about installing fedora without using the DVD. Instead we are using a HDD or a USB to store the installation image, and booting from something other than the DVD.

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