Sunday, September 27, 2020

New Linux on old hardware

Since our family relies on the servers in our basement for email, music, movies, and so on it's been bothering me that we have no extra hardware in case something goes wrong.

I've been given two old Dell machines, I want to use one for stuff and one as spares in case something breaks.

Both needed reinstalling: I like Ubuntu and made myself a memory stick with Ubutnus usb-creator software.  The machines never managed to boot of those.  The Ubuntu server ISOs are too large to fit on a CD. Found ubuntus netboot ISOs for 18.04 which fits a CD ten times over.  Again they didn't boot from the memory stick nor off a CD with various error messages or just passing it by and booting off the old OS on the harddrive.

After a while I recalled "unetbootin" - a old, but still updated - tool to make memory sticks from ISO images. It currently lives here: https://unetbootin.github.io/

I had to repartition my memory stick (cfdisk /dev/sdc in my case) and make a msdos filesystem (mkfs.msdos /dev/sdc1) and mount it.

Then unetbootin could make it bootable and indeed my quite old hardware was able to see my memory stick as a hard drive and boot for it with no further issues.

Win of the day.