Using a GRUB Boot Floppy

The GRand Unified Boot loader (GRUB) can attempt to boot a system from a floppy without a viable custom-made boot floppy. The image for the floppy can be downloaded from and copied to a floppy using dd. (rawrite.exe would be used on a Microsoft system.) Or, if you have a boot floppy from an existing system using GRUB, that one will work as well.

GRUB has its own command shell, file system drivers, and search function (much like command completion in the bash shell). It is possible to boot using the GRUB floppy, examine the drive partitions, and search for the kernel and initrd image as well, using them to boot the system. Worthy of a chapter all its own, the GRUB documentation is extensive: In addition to info grub (the info system is similar to the man system for documentation), the GRUB documents contain a tutorial worth reading. The GRUB boot loader is shown in Figure 17.5.

Figure 17.5. The GRUB boot loader gives you incredible flexibility in booting even unfamiliar systems.

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