Install Fedora from a USB disk without a DVD

Fri 26 December 2008 by Thejaswi Puthraya

Install Fedora from a USB disk without a DVD

Fedora has a release schedule of 6 months ie they release a new version every 6 months. 6 months is too short but there are a lot of new features that are packed into every release that it makes it very tempting to upgrade or re-install the new version.

Till recently I used to burn the ISO images that I downloaded from the torrents onto a DVD and install. After that the DVD was virtually useless. I tried using DVD-RWs but I felt that it was a waste of time especially when cheap high-capacity USB disks are easily available.

I searched around for a solution and found a promising post on the Fedora Forum.

I am writing it for my personal archival reasons but if you find it useful please send a thanks mail to the poster (sideways).

The solution works if you are using Fedora only but shouldn't be difficult to tailor for other distros.

First install the livecd-tools package that gives us the ability to create custom livecds from the images.

# yum install livecd-tools

Then you mount the Fedora ISO image that you downloaded onto a directory and copy the boot.iso to your USB disk. Remember to keep your USB disk in an unmounted state.

# mkdir /mnt/iso
# mount -o loop <path to>/Fedora-10-i386-DVD/Fedora-10-i386-DVD.iso /mnt/iso
# livecd-iso-to-disk /mnt/iso/images/boot.iso /dev/sdb1

Mark your USB disk as bootable.

# /sbin/parted /dev/sdb
(parted) toggle 1 boot
(parted) quit

Next mount your USB disk and copy the install.img file to your USB disk.

# mkdir /media/<usb disk>/images
# cp /mnt/iso/images/install.img  /media/<usb disk>/images/
# cp <path to>/Fedora-10-i386-DVD/Fedora-10-i386-DVD.iso /media/<usb disk>/

That's it...just boot off your USB disk (older motherboards might not support this feature). When you are asked for the location of the installation files point to Hard-disk and then to your USB disk. can easily install off the USB disk. No need to waste a DVD and you can do your bit for the environment by reducing garbage.

All credits go to Sideways for this fantastic method.