There are some circumstances where somebody wants to install Ubuntu (or similar), but cannot access the CD drive as a boot medium. This is particularly relevant to older computers, where the BIOS ''does not'' have a ''first boot'' option, to enable the CD drive as the ''first boot device.''
The Smart Boot Manager offered on a Ubuntu CD, can (sometimes) overcome this limitation.
I should add some warnings at this point.In researching the method about to be described, it can only be described as your worse nightmare!
The sbm.bin file, that ultimately has to go onto a floppy disc, shows in Windows® as 1.40MB. However, a fully formatted ''clean'' floppy will show as 1.38MB - so here's the first problem. If you have anything but a '''pristine floppy''' with '''absolutely no bad blocks, the process will fail.''' In experimenting with this procedure, I had three floppy discs fail in succession. All right, they were old (who uses floppy discs these days?), but it goes to prove the need.
Having successfully built the floppy, out of three machines I had available for testing, one simply would not boot from this floppy. Whether that is a function of the drive itself near to its end of useful life I don't know, but it seems there is no guarantee this method will work 100% of the time.
This page is written with the complete novice in mind, therefore I apologise in advance to our more advanced readers, who may find some of the content mundane.
A Ubuntu CD, properly burned or obtained from Canonical and the Rawrite utility.
First, as mentioned above, you need a pristine floppy formatted clean. This means, no files on it whatsoever. It's not a start-up disc or anything like that, just a blank floppy.
Place the floppy in your Windows® computers drive and open up Windows Explorer. Right click on the floppy drive and select Format.
Next, click Start. (I chose a quick format, but if you leave all the boxes clear, it will do a full format for you).
Now you need to download and install Rawrite.
I already had Rawrite2.exe on the computer, so I used that.
It comes as a compressed file, so the first thing you need to do is decompress (or unzip) the file. Simply double clicking the file will start the process in Windows XP, earlier versions may need a utility to achieve the same result. When Double Clicking, you will see this:
Now select; Extract All and you will continue to here:
Just follow the wizard, by selecting or making a file to extract to, as below:
I decided to create a new directory to extract into by using the Make New Folder option:
And when it's complete, you'll see this:
Having extracted the files, Rawrite is now ready to use, but first, we need to locate the file we need off the Ubuntu CD. It is located within the install folder. The file required is sbm.bin
As you can see, my CD drive is drive N: and this becomes important for the subsequent command we need to use in rawrite to write the file to the floppy.
Go to the file you used to decompress rawrite and double click on the rawrite executable. In my case, it was rawrite2.exe
This will open up a command line type window.
Notice the first request is to: Enter disk image source file name
This, I have to say, is a source of confusion and I found the suggested command on the Ubuntu site to be useless. So here's what I did. I gave the full path to the sbm.bin file, like so:
Note: substitute your drive letter as required.
Having typed in the path, hit the Enter key and the next thing it will ask is where to write to. This of course is your floppy drive which in my case (and most others) is drive a: Again, substitute your floppy drive letter if necessary.
So type in a: and hit Enter
You can now see the file being written to the floppy.
When it's done, you will see a Done report on the screen, before you are returned to the command prompt.
If the process fails, you may get a failed message, but in my case, rawrite simply shut itself down - disappeared!
Remember, any hint of a faulty floppy and it will fail, but if all is well, you will be able to use this disc now, to boot your computer and use the CD drive to install Linux.