Install Linux on a machine running Windows – Remotly, no CD-ROM, no PXE…

One day, I got stuck with that server running windows, and I wanted to install Linux on it…

It was connected to an IP-KVM, so I thought I’m in control, and I can just boot it up with PXE, but there was my surprise, no PXE support in the BIOS !!!!

And the machine has no CD-ROM, the IP-KVM doesn’t provide virtual media capabilities…

A little googeling around, I was mainly looking for a way to install grub on this machine, and there is was; Grub4Dos, as well as this wiki page

I used method 5, placed grldr and grld.mbr from grub4dos package, created folders C:\boot and C:\boot\grub

I grabbed the kernel and Ram disk from CentOS mirrors in the PXE folder

Embedded the kick start file into initrd.img using the the method described in this post.

Transferred the kernel and the modified ram disk to the windows machine and placed them under C:\boot

And created C:\boot\grub\menu.lst with the following content:

title My Linux installer of choice
kernel   (hd0,0)/boot/vmlinuz  vnc vncpassword=password ip=dhcp ks=file:/ks.cfg
initrd   (hd0,0)/boot/initrd.img

Now one last thing to do before rebooting, added the following line into boot.ini (as described in method 5

Now it looks like this:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows Server 2003, Standard" /noexecute=optout /fastdetect
C:\grldr="Start GRUB"

Rebooting the machine, and choosing “Start GRUB” in the boot up menu instantly brought the beloved grub menu…

Now the setup started up, and I get to watch it by connecting using VNC to <ip>:1…

Installation done, reboot done; bye bye Windows, welcome Linux… 🙂

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One Response

  1. Epic! I don’t know if I will ever get stuck in this situation… but I might try it just to be hardcore! Another great post, keep it up 🙂

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