Computer Music Politics Miscellany

Creating a Quick Boot Disk

Lilo, the Linux Loader

If you would like to boot from a floppy and not have to wait for the kernel to load from the floppy then have lilo load from the floppy (fast) and launch a kernel on the HD (very fast). This is useful in dual boot boxes that have NT and Linux on them. I personally don't like to mess around trying to get lilo to work with NT for dual booting. The floppy route is effective and there is no risk of screwing up NT, any more than it is.

  1. prompt> mkfs.minix -c /dev/fd0 1440
  2. prompt> mount /dev/fd0 /floppy
  3. prompt> cp /boot/boot.b /floppy/
  4. prompt> {editor} /floppy/lilo.conf

    (Below are the contents of lilo.conf on the floppy:)

    # /floppy/lilo.conf
       vga = normal
    # end of global
       image = /boot/vmlinuz
          root = /dev/hda1
          label = linux
    # end of /floppy/lilo.conf
  5. prompt> lilo -C /floppy/lilo.conf

Note that there is no kernel on the floppy; the kernel is on the HD! The floppy boots fast and launches the kernel on the HD.

Now reboot with the floppy. This should be pretty fast.

This is not a substitute for a rescue floppy; for that you need a bootable kernel on the floppy.

GRUB, An Alternative to Lilo

A useful alternative to lilo is grub. It will fit on a floppy, loads very fast, and it can boot NT with little effort. In many ways grub is easier to configure than lilo.

If you need to boot a variety of OS's on your machine, grub may be just what you are looking for. I've used it to boot successfully Linux, FreeBSD, Plan 9, Windows NT, Win 2000, and MSDOS. There is little it won't boot. Download grub from

Last updated: Saturday, 13-Sep-2014 01:47:47 UTC