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1. Introduction

1.1 Why Build Boot Disks?

Linux boot disks are useful in a number of situations, such as:

There are several ways of obtaining boot disks:

I originally chose the last option - learn how it works so that you can do it yourself. That way, if something breaks, you can work out what to do to fix it. Plus you learn a lot about how Linux works along the way.

Experienced Linux users may find little of use in this document. However users new to Linux system administration who wish to protect against root disk loss and other mishaps may find it useful.

A note on versions - this document has been updated to support the following packages and versions:

Copyright (c) Tom Fawcett and Graham Chapman 1995, 1996, 1997.

Permission is granted for this material to be freely used and distributed, provided the source is acknowledged. The copyright conditions are intended to be no more restrictive than version 2 of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation.

No warranty of any kind is provided. You use this material at your own risk.

1.2 Feedback and Credits

We welcome any feedback, good or bad, on the content of this document. Please let us know if you find any errors or omissions. Send comments, corrections and questions to Tom Fawcett ( or Graham Chapman (

We thank the following people for correcting errors and providing useful suggestions for improvement:

        Randolph Bentson
        Grant R. Bowman
        Scott Burkett
        Cameron Davidson
        Bruce Elliot
        Javier Ros Ganuza
        HARIGUCHI Youichi
        Duncan Hill
        Bjxrn-Helge Mevik
        Lincoln S. Peck
        Dwight Spencer
        Cameron Spitzer
        Johannes Stille

1.3 Change History

v.2.3, 4 April 1997. Changes in this version:

v2.2, 1 September 1996. Changes in this version:

v2.1, 18 August 1996. Changes in this version:

Summary: this was a major cleanup to reflect changes between kernel version 1.2 and 2.0. Specific changes are:

v2.0, 12 June 1996. Changes in this version:

Version history:

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