Appendix B. Installing Without Partitioning

This chapter explains how to install Red Hat Linux 7.0 without creating Linux partitions on your system.

NotePlease Note

Although this is a great way to explore the world of Red Hat Linux without having to put Linux partitions on your system, please note that you will still have to perform a full Red Hat Linux installation as outlined in this manual.

NotePlease Note

You must currently have a formatted DOS (FAT) filesystem in order to perform this type of installation. Users who have Win95/98 should have no problems with this type of installation. Users who have NTFS partitions (such as those using Windows NT) will have to create and format a DOS (FAT) filesystem before this installation can be performed. This installation will not work unless the DOS (FAT) filesystem has been formatted prior starting the Red Hat Linux installation.

The Ups and Downs of a Partitionless Installation

There may be reasons why you might want to perform a partitionless installation, but there also are some drawbacks (depending on how you look at them). We'll discuss these potential drawbacks below.

Here we will cover the basics of what will happen, both during an installation and as a result of this type of installation, and how your system will be affected.

Basic Installation

You will perform a basic Red Hat Linux installation. However, instead of adding Linux partitions to your system, you will edit an existing, formatted DOS (FAT) partition (that must have enough free space) to be named root (/).

Unlike a typical Red Hat Linux installation, you will not need to format any partitions, since you will not be adding any partitions to your system.

LILO (LInux LOader) and Boot Disk

In a partitionless installation, you will not configure LILO (the LInux LOader). In a typical installation, you are able to choose where you would like LILO to be installed -- either on the master boot record (MBR) or on the first sector of your root partition -- or you can choose not to install LILO at all.

You must create a boot disk in order to access Red Hat Linux with a partitionless installation, and you will be prompted to create a boot disk at the end of the installation.

NotePlease Note

In order to boot Red Hat Linux in a partitionless installation using the boot disk, you must have your BIOS configured correctly. Your BIOS must be set to boot from the floppy drive (A) in order for it to use the boot disk.

To change your BIOS settings, you will need to take note of the instructions given when your computer first begins to boot. Often you will see a line of text telling you to press the Del or F1 key to enter the BIOS settings.

Next, you must find the section that allows you to alter your boot sequence. The default is often C, A or A, C (depending if you boot from your hard drive [C] or a floppy drive [A]). Change this sequence so that the floppy drive (A) is first in your boot order and that your hard drive (C) is second. This instructs the computer to first look at the floppy drive for bootable media, if it cannot be found there, it will look at your hard drive next.

Make sure to save your changes before exiting the BIOS. For more information please refer to the documentation that came with your system.

Performance Implications

Red Hat Linux will perform slower than it would if it had its own dedicated partitions. However, for those of you unconcerned with speed, a partitionless installation is a great way of seeing what Red Hat Linux has to offer without having to deal with partitioning your system.