Booting from CDs via grub

This is a way of getting a grub menu entry which will boot a CD on a PC which can't boot from CD's through the BIOS.

What you do is set the kernel to memdisk (which comes with the syslinux package) and set the initrd to the Smart Boot Manager (SBM) master boot record copied from a SBM floppy. The steps are:

  1. Install syslinux, copy memdisk to /boot and then remove syslinux:

aptitude install syslinux
cp /usr/lib/syslinux/memdisk /boot
aptitude purge syslinux
  1. Download SBM from their website ( and execute the install program to write an SBM MBR onto a floppy:

./sbminst -t us -d /dev/fd0 -b
  1. Copy enough of the mbr to get all of the sbm program, for v 3.6-4 30k is enough:

dd if=/dev/fd0 of=/boot/sbm-mbr.img bs=1k count=30
  1. now you have memdisk and sbm-mbr.img in /boot so put in a grub menu item in /boot/grub/menu.lst:

title [[SmartBootManager]]-CDBoot
  kernel /boot/memdisk
  initrd /boot/sbm-mbr.img
  1. reboot and try it out!


PeterSalisbury March 2006

LinuxHints/BootCD (last edited 2006-12-21 07:13:26 by 81)