I have a server with only a CD Rom drive. From what I can tell the bios doesn't allow booting to USB devices. I want to load an OS which is red hat linux. I have the bootable DVD for the OS/Software, but like I said I only have a CD Rom. I have created an ISO of that DVD.

Earlier I was given advice from members to do a pxe boot or network boot.

I have used bart PE to build a boot CD for purposes of ghosting. Can I build a bart PE disk that will point to a usb drive that has an ISO on it and kick it off?

Or what would be your best advice and directions for doing a network boot? I have never done that before, so there will be a learning curve for me.

I would like to do it with the least amount of effort, as this is just a side self training project I am doing.

The server is a DL320 G1 I believe, so it isn't the newest by any means, but it is just for testing and lab purposes so I don't need high end performance. I tried finding an updated bios for it to see if it would support booting to USB, but wasn't able to find one that would update the bios.

Looking for any advice that might help me out.

  • I should specify better, the os is based off of red had linux I believe.
    – jherlitz
    Jul 14, 2009 at 15:25
  • Oh and I have added a IDE DVD drive to the system, and unplugged the original CDRom which I believe is scsi, however, the system doesn't recognize the DVD drive I installed as a bootable drive. Wonder if a USB dvd drive would work??
    – jherlitz
    Jul 14, 2009 at 15:26
  • Confirmation that USB support is not available for this generation of server: forums11.itrc.hp.com/service/forums/… straight from the horse's mouth. Jul 14, 2009 at 15:26
  • The CD Rom on this server is a combo CD Rom/Floppy, which I believe is scsci. Sorry, should have added that to the last comment.
    – jherlitz
    Jul 14, 2009 at 15:27

3 Answers 3


It would be helpful if you said what the operating system was, instead of saying that it's "RedHat based" and leaving it at that.

I reall can't believe nobody has said this already, but here goes...

Many versions of RedHat Linux supported creating bootable floppy diskettes with network drivers that allowed you, without using PXE, to install from a remote machine hosting the install files (over SMB, NFS, or HTTP, if I recall properly). That's probably your path of least resistance, assuming that your OS is "based" on one of the RedHat versions that allowed that (and assuming that whoever customized it didn't remove that functionality from Anaconda, the RedHat installer program).

I've installed many an older RedHat system from mirrors of the OS directly over the Internet (once even thru a dial-up router) this way.


It's unclear how much Cisco might've modified the RedHat setup. I'm seeing postings, etc, that indicate that it's still using Anaconda, but they may have stripped the ability to install over a network. It's highly likely that they are using a kickstart configuration to ensure that it's installed with the same partitioning, etc, every time.

Finding a motherboard diagram for that box isn't proving to be simple. I'd pop the case and see if it has standard 36-pin IDE headers on the board. The CD-ROM is IDE (according to the QuickSpecs here: http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/10692_div/10692_div.html), but it's probably on a proprietary connector. There was a version of the server that uses IDE hard disk drives (I have two of them like that at a Customer site running some ancient version of Cisco CallManager), so there's a chance there are connectors for IDE there.

If it does have an IDE connector, pop a standard internal DVD-ROM drive onto it (supplying power from an external supply if the box doesn't have molex connectors for a standard power supply) and run it that way just long enough to get the OS installed.

  • Ick! You're dredging up memories of installing Slackware from floppies that I downloaded one-at-a-time through a 14.4k modem! +1 for the horror! ;-) Jul 14, 2009 at 15:37
  • Yeah, I can say which OS. It is Cisco Unified Communications Manager 6.x. I am familiar with 4.1, but want to play with 6.x to see how it is, self teach, and play. Just for lab purposes. Should be fun huh!
    – jherlitz
    Jul 14, 2009 at 15:57

The quickest and easiest way to do this would be to just go out and buy a 20$ USB DVD drive. I've booted all sorts of servers off of those devices when there was only a normal CDROM drive installed.


Doesn't Red Hat have a CD Version you could download and burn to CD? I haven't installed it in a long time so I don't know off hand.

  • CentOS still offers CD downloads Jul 14, 2009 at 15:23
  • Fedora is discussing removing the complete set of CD images (the same installer and package set as the DVD, over 4/5 cds), I'd be fairly suprised if RedHat had already removed them. Jul 14, 2009 at 15:49

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